Five centuries ago, Germany experienced a massive popular revolt that spread through the countryside and towns. The German lords drowned the revolt in blood, but the popular demands for freedom and equality have resonated right up to the present day.
Martin Empson is the author of several books including “Kill all the Gentlemen”: Class Struggle and Change in the English Countryside. He is currently working on a book about the German Peasant War of 1525.
The origins of capitalism lie in the transformation of English agriculture from the 16th century on. The early stages of this process provoked a huge wave of social unrest, starting a tradition of resistance to class domination that still continues today.