Martyr (politics)  

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The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In politics, a martyr is someone who suffers persecution and/or death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a political belief or cause.



The Manchester Martyrs were three Irishmen executed after being condemned for association with the killing of a policeman in Manchester, England in 1867. The day after the executions, Frederick Engels wrote to Karl Marx: "Yesterday morning the Tories, by the hand of Mr Calcraft, accomplished the final act of separation between England and Ireland. The only thing that the Fenians still lacked were martyrs. ... To my knowledge, the only time that anybody has been executed for a similar matter in a civilised country was the case of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. The Fenians could not have wished for a better precedent. Ten Irish Republican Army members died during a 1981 hunger strike, including Bobby Sands.

The Belfiore martyrs (in Italian, Martiri di Belfiore) were a group of Italian pro-independence fighters condemned to death by hanging in 1853 during the Italian Risorgimento. They included Tito Speri and the priest Enrico Tazzoli and are named after the site where the sentence was carried out, in the valley of Belfiore at the south entrance to Mantua.


The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of 19th century agricultural labourers in Dorset, England, who were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. The rules of the society showed it was clearly structured as a friendly society, that is, a mutual association for the purposes of insurance, pensions, savings or cooperative banking; and it operated as a trade-specific benefit society. But at the time, friendly societies had strong elements of what are now considered to be the principal role of trade unions, and wages were at issue. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced not to death but to transportation to Australia, a harsh form of exile.


In the People's Republic of China, people who died in the cause of the Communist PartyTemplate:Mdashmost particularly the many victims of the 1927 Shanghai massacre but also including devoted humanitarians during the Chinese Civil War such as the Canadian physician Tillson HarrisonTemplate:Mdashare honored and commemorated as martyrs. The red scarf worn by the 100+ million Young Pioneers honors their spilt blood. Jiang Zhuyun and Liu Hulan are notable female martyrs who have been commemorated in various media. Notable monuments include the Monument to the People's Heroes at the confluence of Suzhou Creek and the Huangpu River in central Shanghai and the Longhua Martyrs' Memorial.

Many communist activists have died as martyrs in India, due to their allegiance to various communist parties, such as the CPI(M) and the CPI. Most of them hail from mainly leftist states such as Kerala, and Tripura. In Kerala, many are killed in protests by the police, and some are assassinated by activists in other political parties, such as the INC and the RSS. The district of Kannur has reported to have had the most political murders. Here, the RSS are known to have used brutal violence to eliminate CPI(M) workers.


In the United States, the assassinations of Malcolm X in 1965 and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 have been linked to their leadership in movements to improve the rights and quality of life of black citizens, Black Nationalism and the Civil Rights Movement respectively.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Martyr (politics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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