Every online shop claims to be "on a mission" or "creating a community" these days. But with Radical Tea Towel, our goal of raising awareness of radical history was there from the beginning, and we didn't have to 'create' any community - a community already existed. We love getting to know you through your emails, messages and comments, and we thought you'd like to get to know us too – from what we do, to what inspires us.
The Revolutionary Spark
A revolution begins with a catalyst – and that’s Bea, who had the idea for Radical Tea Towel back in 2011. Now, she looks for ways to grow the revolution, makes sure we get the goods, and calls to arms on social media.
Her favourite radical from history is Rosa Parks: ‘She is often described as "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement" but however we describe her, she was certainly an incredibly brave and inspirational woman who challenged the institutional racism of her day.’
The Chief Radical
Every revolution needs a leader, so when he's not subversively leaving radical tea towels around North Korea, Luke makes sure the rest of us do our bit the best we can.
His favourite bit of radical history is how US independence saw radical 18th century ideas about freedom form the basis of a new political system: 'Obviously today we can see the flaws in that imperfect system - the gross marginalisation of women, native Americans and people of colour. But what happened in 1770s America was a wake-up call to power, and I think created a context in which ordinary people could think about claiming their own freedom - whether they were later inspired by Karl Marx, Emmeline Pankhurst or Martin Luther King.'
What does a revolution look like? Tim will tell you. As the designer for Radical Tea Towel, he comes up with most of the stunning artwork on our products.
He considers himself a pacifist, but his favourite radical event in history is the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916: 'This may be a rather strange choice, but I am fascinated by the desperation to which people were driven and the frankly very small odds they had of success.' He recalls the poet W B Yeats when reflecting on the bleak romanticism of their plight with the words, 'A terrible beauty is born.'
Who were our radical ancestors? What's the legacy we're following? To understand the present, we have to look back at our past, and that's exactly what Pete's radical history emails and blog posts do. It's with his expertise that we can forge our own radical path!
With so many remarkable individuals, It's impossible for Pete to choose his favourite figure from radical history, but if he had to, he'd say Sylvia Pankhurst: 'She always appreciated that the struggles for feminist, economic, and racial emancipation are linked together, and she did all of her politics with that truth in mind. Also, like me, she's a Mancunian!'
You can’t have a revolution without the right words – and that’s what Tom’s here for. Writing about our products and editing our emails, Tom helps us to put our radical ideas into words. That way, we can get our radical message out to as many people as possible!
Tom’s favourite radical figure is James Baldwin, civil rights activist and LGBTQ icon: 'What I love about Baldwin is his incredibly deep knowledge of people and their emotions. He understood love, loss, hate, and pain, and he always found the words to talk about them.'
The revolution might not be televised, but it will definitely be on YouTube! Francisco helps us to tell our radical stories in film-form, editing and animating our videos to make them as fun and entertaining as possible. Think of him as our radical propagandist!
Francisco’s favourite radical figure is Martin Luther King Jr: 'He was a man that worked hard to bring greater equality to America and ensure civil rights for all people. Unfortunately, not everything he fought for has been accomplished, but we can only move forward together as one, spreading love.'