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Monday, 2 May 2016

Against the darkness


(The people of Gaza currently have to endure a life under occupation, while also having to cope with only 3 hours of electricity a day. The following poem is dedicated to their daily resistance. 

Darkness surrounds the lives,
Of the people of Gaza,
But the echo of dignity sizzles and sustains,
Under times heavy burden,
The struggling flame of resilience never fades. The sorrow of existence,
Now well tended,
Comfort found huddled in ruins,
Under starry sky's,
Where shadows meet endurance
To ignite, hearts, mind and blood.

Among the cracks and dust,
Strains of hope refuse to die,
Pavements littered with citrus scent,
Allow imprisoned people to remain free,
And with touch and words,
In this hard place, pride is shared,
Freedoms light still growing strong. 

The hourglass delivers comfort,
Against the darkness, light shines,
People find ways to survive,
That allows thoughts to persist,
Laughter and kindness to rise,
In togetherness, dignity stands proud,
Against the darkness of oppression,
Currents of resistance never fade.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Origins of May Day: International Workers Day

What are the Origins of May Day - Rosa Luxemburg ( 5/3/1871 - 15/1/19)


Rosa Luxemburg



' The happy idea of using a proletarian holiday celebration as a means to attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there decided in 1856 to organise a day of complete stoppage together with meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favour of the eight-hour day. The day of this celebration was to be April 21. At first, the Australian workers intended this only for the year 1856. But this first celebration had such a strong effect on the proletarian masses of Australia, enlivening them and leading to new agitation, that it was decided to repeat the celebration every year.
In fact, what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own strength than a mass work stoppage which they had decided themselves? What could give more courage to the eternal slaves of the factories and the workshops than the mustering of their own troops? Thus, the idea of a proletarian celebration was quickly accepted and, from Australia, began to spread to other countries until finally it had conquered the whole proletarian world.
The first to follow the example of the Australian workers were the Americans. In 1886 they decided that May 1 should be the day of universal work stoppage. On this day 200,000 of them left their work and demanded  the eight-hour day. Later, police and legal harassment prevented the workers for many years from repeating this (size) demonstration. However in 1888 they renewed their decision and decided that the next celebration would be May1, 1890.
In the meanwhile, the workers' movement in Europe had grown strong and animated. The most powerful expression of this movement occurred at the International Workers' Congress in 1889. At this Congress, attended by four hundred delegates, it was decided that the eight-hour day must be the first demand. Whereupon the delegate of the French unions, the worker Lavigne from Bordeaux, moved that this demand be expressed in all countries through a universal work stoppage. The delegate of the American workers called attention to the decision of his comrades to strike on May 1, 1890, and the Congress decided on this date for the universal proletarian celebration.
In this case, as thirty years before in Australia, the workers really thought only of a one-time demonstration. The Congress decided that the workers of all lands would demonstrate together for the eight-hour day on May 1, 1890. No one spoke of a repetition of the holiday for the next years. Naturally no one could predict the lightning-like way in which this idea would succeed and how quickly it would be adopted by the working classes. However, it was enough to celebrate the May Day simply one time in order that everyone understand and feel that May Day must be a yearly and continuing institution.
The first of May demanded the introduction of the eight-hour day. But even after this goal was reached, May Day was not given up. As long as the struggle of the workers' against the bourgeoisie and the ruling classes continues, as long as all demands are not met, May Day will be the yearly expression of these demands. And , when better days dawn, when the working class of the world has won its deliverance then too humanity will probably celebrate May Day in honour of the bitter struggles and the many sufferings of the past.'

1894


So today May Day, the 1st of May is now recognised all over the world as International Workers Day. It is a day for the working class to down tools and take to the streets in protest against capitalism and wage slavery. We should not  forget Chigago , Haymarket either,  where on May 4, 1886, demands for an eight hour working week became particularly intense. Where a demonstration largely staged by a group of anarchists, caused a crowd of some 1,500 people to gather. When policemen tried to disperse the meeting, a bomb exploded and the police opened fire on the crowd. More than 100 people were injured. Eight leading Chicago anarchists were subsequently arrested, and charged with the bombing, despite no evidence of their involvement, five were sentenced to be hanged, two were given life sentences and the last was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The trial is now known by legal historians as one of the worst miscarriages of American history.



 In 1889 the congress of the Second International Workingman's association adopted a resolution to take up the fight for the 8 hour working day and to make 1st of May a worldwide day of protests in memory of the Haymarket martyrs, as they had become known.
The first British May Demonstration was held in the 1890's and in London alone, attracted 300,000 protestors in Hyde Park, and has continued to this day. Since then,  May Day has become established as an annual event to commemorate all the workers who have died in the struggle against those who exploit them. A celebration of international struggles and our solidarity. Many today will remember the 400 plus who have died in the recent Bangladesh building collapse.With these acts of solidarity we also lay down the foundations of a future world.  In Britain we even have a Bank holiday now close to the day, that the Tories have considered scrapping because of it's association, which thankfully has failed.
Today also marks a neo-pagan festival,Beltane, the Celtic festival of Summer's beginning a time to dance under a Maypole, a time of cleansing and renewal,drink and be merry, follow Jack in the Green, the mystical Green Man of legend.
I see no reason why not to celebrate all of the above.
Happy May Day
Heddwch/peace


A Garland for May Day
1895, Walter Crane 

Remember the dead,
fight for the living. 



Saturday, 30 April 2016

Avoid head trash


The world is currently,  being destroyed by psychopaths, dont keep calm, go out and make change. But be careful do not be a garbage can  for anything that does not fuel your intellect, stimulate your imagination and help connect with others. Refuse to carry other peoples head trash. When conflict arises , face it with who you are, whilst being open to other perspectives.
Respect your intellect and heart felt passions. Give respect to others by not taking what they are responsible for, if you do it can infect you with a mind virus of cynicism or defeat and you wont even know it.
But without action very little will be done, be persistent ,and  try and be consistent, I realise though that under present conditions of capitalist domination it is easy to switch to negative thought patterns, that can lead to cynical resignation, that can become an obstacle in itself. So find others that you can connect with, share your ideas, that help one another build together,  help create a new world, a better one. Avoid cutting yourself from this possibility no matter what the circumstances. The secret is to to begin, there is no room for compromise. Laugh together, avoid disconnection, avoid futility and fruitlessness, focus on struggle and change. Resignation is death. Revolt is life. Avoid head trash.
It's obviously not as easy as it sounds, I've been on anti-depressants for last ten years, but recently been avoiding them, reconnecting  taking a chance, my inner scream still carries an anguished enthusiasm for changing the world. I guess it takes time, chemicals can help, can lead to a life though of numbness, especially in the absence of community or solidarity, alienation can lead to all sorts of malaise, if you really want to change, there are ways to achieve it,  don't trust me though I'm no shrink or doctor, I know that it is not always possible to prevent unhelpful thoughts from occurring, these words  just some gathered food for thought, just remember to look after yourself, and if your strong enough you can  look out for and help others.

Friday, 29 April 2016

What Zionism has meant for Palestinians


 There is currently a lot of discussion in the public realm in the UK about anti-semitism (anti-jewish racism), As Israel lobby groups ( among others) try to equate the two.
For some being critical of Israel is now seen as  the same thing as being anti-jewish or rasict. Personally I will always oppose beyond the pale and vile racism wherever it tries to lay it's hat. An abhorrent stain that has no place in modern society and should always be condemned and given zero tolerance.
I am not a member of the Labour Party  but like many others I have been talking to feel that the crisis of anti-semitism in the Labour party has been deliberately created by the media,  whilst co-ordinated by the right wing element of the party and the Zionist lobby.
The prospect of a pro Palestinian like Jeremy Corbyn as elected leader has triggered a dirty tricks operation worthy of a CIA effort to destabilise a South America  country, all aided by a compliant media, serving to stir things up and foster division, running on hysterical soundbites to smear instead of encouraging unity.The Daily Mail being chief among them, with a terrible history of their own when it comes to this issue. Is is wrong to simply criticize a country that illegally treats and oppresses the Palestinian people on a daily basis.
Anti-semitism tragically exists  and must continually be exposed and fought against, in the same way as other forms of racism by all concerned with fighting racism and fascism.
I should also point out that Anti-semitism and anti-zionism are not the same. Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within jewish life since it first emerged in 1897. In my  humble  opinion it is entirely legitimate for non-jews as well as jews to xpress opinions about it. Remember not all jews are zionists and not all zionists are jews.
As an anti racist and an anti fascist I do not think it is helpful to discredit those who simply make legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. I will continue to support anyone who seeks to promote peace with justice.
What is being forgotten about though and utterly marginalised is the Palestinian narrative. Should we forget the fact that for the Palestinian people, Zionism is an ideology that denied their very existence and has continued to justify their ethnic cleansing from their home and lands.
We should be seeking some balance, not get whipped up by hysteria, by forces serving to feed their own dubious agendas. We should continue to fight racism, fascism  with all our might whilst exploring and understanding all narratives.

Here is a link to an interesting article I discovered earlier. Heddwch/peace.

http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160429-what-zionism-has-meant-for-palestinians/ 




Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Cassetteboy vs Jeremy Hunt



Another Labor of love from Cassetteboy.  Jeremy Hunt should stop telling us how reckless and dangerous the Junior Doctors' strikes are, because trained medical  professionals  clearly feel his policies are far more reckless and dangerous.
Jeremy Hunt can keep saying that it is in the best interests of the NHS, but the actions of him and his government speak far louder than his lies. Time for him to drop the ego and listen to the heart of the NHS - the doctors.
Luckily the junior doctors are standing together, taking part in the first all-out strike in the history of the NHS,  it's up to us to support them, as they continue to defend and save a publicly funded , publicly owned, our beloved  N.H.S. 

Parasites ( poem dedicated to Sir Phillip Green, David Cameron among others)


Scoffing cucumber sandwiches on gilded lawns,
Like ravenous vultures they feed on the helpless,
Mock the poor, ignore our pain,
While washing down champagne,
Reeking of greed, taking all that we need,
Lying and cheating is their game,
Exploiters of people for profit,
The world is their oyster,
See how they scoff it,
Fed by a relentless drive for more,
Appropriated from the labor of others,
After pushing and grabbing for far to long,
In the end will have to make amends,
Having been found proven,
To have been in the wrong,
But may pay no heed,
The greed remains,
Too entangled,
Trapped inside,
Too deeply hidden,
To be removed.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

79 Years ago - The Bombing of Guernica.


                         Guernica- Pablo Picasso

During the afternoon and early evening of Monday, April 26th, 1937,  the German and Italian fascist air forces destroyed the Spanish town of Guernica in a raid lasting three hours. The war crime was ordered by the Spanish nationalist military leadership and carried out by the Congor Legion of the German luftwaffe and the Italian Aviazone Legionairre. Designed to kill  or main as many civilians as possible, Operation Rugen was deliberately chosen for a Monday afternoon when the weekly town market would be at its most crowded. Guernica, in the Basque  country where revolutionary sentiment among workers was deep, was defenceless from the bombers, which could fly as low as 600 feet.
The airplanes made repeated raids, refuelling and returning to drop more bombs. Waves of explosive, fragmentary, and incendiary devices were dumped in the town. In total, 31 tons of munitions were dropped between 4.30 in the afternoon and 7.30 in the evening. In the aftermath of the raid, survivors spoke of the air filled with the screams of those in their death throes and the hundreds injured. Civilians fleeing the carnage in the fields surrounding the town were strafed by fighter planes. Human and animal  body parts littered the market place and town center, a horror soon immortalised by Pablo Picasso's Guernica.
Guernica was effectively wiped of the map. From a population of 5,000 some 1,700 residents were killed and a further 800 injured. Three quarters of the buildings were raised to the ground. Farms four miles away were flattened.


The savage and barbarous attack was a deliberate attempt to terrorise and intimidate the workers of Republican Spain. Spanish nationalist general Emilio Mola had spoken of destroying the industry of Barcelona and Bilbao in order to cleanse the country. In other words, the Nationalists would endeavour to destroy the industrial proletariat. As the historian Paul Preston has recently written in Spanish Holocaust, the Nationalist forces had launched a scorched earth policy during their rapid advance through Spain, most notably in Badajoz, where many hundreds of revolutionary workers were machine gunned to death in the city's bullring.
The fascist government of Berlin and Rome were only to glad to assist Franco in his 'cleansing' of the Spanish population, as both a geo-political necessity and as a test for their military command, new military technology and fighting forces. At his trial for war crimes at Nuremberg, the leading Nazi Hermann Goering would tell the tribunal that he had urged Hitler to send German forces to stem socialism in the Iberian theatre and to test out the Luftwaffe.
We should never forget.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/04/twih-a23.html
The destruction of Guernica was part of Franco's wider, brutal campaign against the existence of the Spanish Republic. This campaign led not just to widespread destruction of property, but thousands of civilian casualties too, as well as widespread displacement. Many sought refuge abroad, as many as 3,800 Basque children were evacuated to England and Wales for the duration of the war. The British Government at the time callously refused to be responsible for the children, but  throughout the summer children were dispersed to camps throughout Britain. Eight of these colonies were here in Wales. They were received with a mixture of hostility and kindness, but they had all managed to escape the grips of Franco's fascist Spain.
Picasso's picture still resonates with clarity, capturing the full terror and horror of this terrible moment in history.

Guernica: The history and art of:-



Guernica - Paul Eluard - P Picasso  - Victory at Guernica
Music: Richard  Wagner and Herbert Von Karajan


extract from poem written by Paul Eluard, a surrealist poet and friend of Picasso, in August, 1937.

Lovely world of cottages
Of the night and fields
Faces good in firelight good in frost
Reusing the night the wound and blows

Faces good for everything
Now the void fixes you
Your death will serve as a warning

Death the heart turned over

They made you pay your bread
Sky earth water sleep
And the misery of your life.