‘Les Misérables’ is a musical set in the first half of the 19th Century in France. Marius Pontmercy is a student revolutionary fighting the injustices against the poor that trap them in a vicious circle hunger and crime. In this speech, he galvanises his supporters in preparation for the revolution…

We can’t strike. Why not? Because it’s against the law to strike! The king has declared that everything is a crime. Writing is a crime. Two weeks ago, the police destroyed the Galaty, the worker’s newspaper. They smashed the press. They burned over two thousand newspapers but that didn’t satisfy the king. Three days ago at a student meeting, a peaceful meeting, soldiers broke it up and arrested two of my friends. Writing, talking, going to class, speaking out is a crime. Being poor is a crime. Being poor is the worst crime of all. And if you commit these crimes, you are condemned for life. Our government has no mercy, no pity, no forgiveness. And there’s no work for us. And because there’s no work, our children are starving. Tell me: why are we powerless to save the people we love? All of you know. Tell me – why? The king betrayed us. We were promised the vote, do we have it? Do we have the vote? Where is the republic our fathers died for? It’s here my brothers. It lives here in our heads. But most of all, best of all, it’s here in our hearts. In our hearts – WE ARE THE REPUBLIC!