The Luddite were victims of press vilification two hundred years ago, and the tradition continues. They were much more than mindless machine breakers, although they did attack both property and people. These machines were destroying skilled jobs and emboldening the master manufacturers to treat their workers with contempt. The Luddites may have been wrong in their belief that they could hold back technological change, but they were organised and principled people who were trying to restore some social justice.
“Luddite” is used here as a badge of honour rather than a term of abuse.
With the help of the excellent ludditebicentenary.blogspot.co.uk I have written a brief history of the events leading to the last executions. It is here;
The primary sources, covering the whole period, are highly recommended!