Monday, 19 April 2021

Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising


April 19th  marks the first day of the month long 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It is one of the most symbolic and well-known acts of anti-fascist resistance ever to take place, an armed uprising against Nazi attempts to transport the Jews in the ghetto to death and labor camps.
The Nazi persecution of the Jews in Poland began with the invasion of the country in 1939. Jews very quickly lost their rights; by October 1939 they were forced to register and have the word ‘Jude’ stamped on their identity papers. They were soon forbidden from many ordinary activities, such as walking on the pavement, or going to schools, libraries or museums. Synagogues were blown up, or turned into prisons or factories, and many Jews were abused and humiliated on the streets.
Within a few weeks of the Nazi consolidation of Poland, Governor Hans Frank ordered four hundred thousand Warsaw Jews to enter a ghetto. By November 1940, around five hundred thousand Jews from across Poland had been sealed behind its walls, severed from the outside world and plunged into social isolation. Surrounded by a ten-foot-high barrier, the creation of the ghetto meant the relocation of approximately 30 percent of Warsaw’s population into 2.6 percent of the city, the designated area being no more than two and a half miles long and having previously housed fewer than 160,000 people. Conditions inside the Ghetto were horrendous. Many families inhabited single rooms, and the dire lack of food meant that roughly one hundred thousand people survived on no more than a single bowl of soup per day. The sanitation system collapsed, and disease became rampant. After 18 months of incarceration some 63,000 Jews had died due to the hunger, disease, overcrowding and cold.
The Ghetto was internally controlled by the Judenrat – Jewish Council, which was set up by the Nazis to carry out their instructions. The Judenrat included people who tried to help Jews who were suffering from the harsh Ghetto conditions, but also had members who would attempt to save their own skin by any means, with little regard for their community. A Jewish police force, which was notoriously brutal, was used by the Judenrat to enforce Ghetto “law” internally. Antisemitic Polish “Blue” police guarded the Ghetto. There was also an independent police force that served to gather intelligence for the Gestapo, though this was later absorbed into the main force. The Judenrat came to be regarded with contempt by the populace, as the conditions in the Ghetto worsened, and was nicknamed the Judenverat (Jewish betrayal).
During November 1941 news reached the underground in Warsaw of mass killings of Jews following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in summer that year. Communal leaders also heard reports of an extermination camp at Chelmno, where Jews were being gassed to death. However, finding the information almost unbelievable and not wanting to destroy morale, they left the Ghetto inhabitants uninformed.
An Anti-Fascist Bloc was created in the spring of 1942 as the existence of death camps and the slaughter of thousands of Jews at isolated locations was confirmed. Consisting of left-wing Zionists and communists, the organisation had no arms, but set up combat units and distributed propaganda. The Anti-Fascist Bloc issued appeals calling on the population to reject the collaboration and compromises of the Judenrat. However, most Jews continued to listen to the passive advice of the Judenrat. The efforts of the Anti-Fascist Bloc were initially either ignored or rejected
Attitudes towards resistance changed dramatically in the summer of 1942, when, through the Judenrat, the Nazis decreed: “All Jewish persons living in Warsaw, regardless of age and sex, will be resettled in the East …”. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp that summer. In July 1942, at the initiative of the Zionist youth groups, a meeting was held which formed the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ZOB – Jewish Combat Organisation). The ZOB’s political wing consisted of the various Zionist organisations and the communists. It was led by Jewish communists such as Mordechai Anielewicz and Zivia Lubetkin. In October the Bund (Jewish Socialist Party), Poland’s largest Jewish organisation, joined as well. Only the extreme Jewish nationalists did not participate; instead they decided to fight separately as the Irgun Zvai Leumi (Jewish Military Union).
Within a few weeks the ZOB had drawn up by-laws, describing the purpose of the organisation as being the defence of the Ghetto against further deportations and collaborators.
For ZOB militants, collaborators represented an auxiliary wing of fascism that was instrumental in facilitating the deportation of Polish Jewry. To demonstrate that this stance would not be accepted in the ghetto, ZOB militants chose to execute Jewish policeman Jacob Lejkin. For his “dedication” in deporting Jews to Auschwitz, Lejkin was shot, and his example triggered widespread panic in the collaborating establishment. This was followed by the execution of Alfred Nossig in February 1943. Józef Szeryński, the former head of the ghetto police, committed suicide to avoid his own fate.
These acts ensured ZOB’s centrality in the resistance movement, and also encouraged resistance from beyond their ranks. They aimed to prove that challenging collaboration was both possible and a moral duty, and within a short period of time had won many ghetto inhabitants to this position.
 As the months progressed, the spectre of death became ever-present. Between June and September 1942, three hundred thousand Jews had been deported or murdered, a destruction of the Polish Jewish community. In these desperate circumstances, people lost everyone and many young people began to dispense with anxieties about protecting their families and commit instead to militant political activity. Simply put, the more Jews were murdered in the ghettos, the less personal obligations were felt by survivors, and the more the feeling of responsibility for causing further anguish from Nazi reprisals receded.
During the winter of 1942/3 underground bunkers and secret hiding holes were constructed throughout the Ghetto, while ZOB attempted the difficult task of securing weapons. Some were obtained from the black market and from German and Italian deserters, but at a high price. A small quantity of arms was acquired from the Polish resistance (Home Army), which operated under the instructions of the Polish government in exile, based in London. Supply from the Home Army was limited because of a combination of antisemitism and fear that the weapons might be used in the future on the Soviet side in the event of a war between Poland and the Soviet Union. More arms were delivered once ZOB had proven itself as effective, but in total they only ever made up 10% of the ZOB arsenal.
German troops surrounded the Ghetto on 18 January 1943 in an attempt to deport the last of Warsaw’s Jews. Even though they were taken by surprise, five ZOB units engaged the troops and killed or wounded some 50 Germans, seizing weapons in the mêlée. ZOB casualties were high, but after three days the deportations were halted.
Deportations were suspended until April, 1943, the eve of Passover, the Jewish festival of liberation when Heinnich Himmler,ordered the fascist forces were to carry out the final liquidation of the Ghetto. On 19 April 1943  2,000 men, including Waffen SS, Wehrmacht, Latvian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian fascists, supported by units of the Polish “Blue” police, advanced on the Ghetto, the area of which was now less than 1,000 by 3,000 metres. 
With the civilian population underground in prepared bunkers, the 22 ZOB combat units took their positions. Some were in the central Ghetto area and others in the factories. As the fighting proceeded they were joined by the Irgun and other unaffiliated units.
 ZOB units attacked the fascists – who were led by SS Lt General Jurgen Stroop – with guns and homemade petrol bombs. Stroop had expected little resistance from those he had described previously as “this Jewish trash and subhumanity” who are “cowards by nature”. 
The Jewish residents refused to come out. Instead, and to their surprise, the Germans found themselves being shot at from all sides with rifles, pistols and automatic weapons. Grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown from windows, and a handful of Germans were killed.
The next day, 20 April, Waffen SS reinforcements entered the Ghetto and were bombarded with grenades and explosives. In one incident alone an electric mine killed some 100 Germans. They responded with tanks and field artillery and began setting fire to Ghetto buildings. ZOB replied by burning down the warehouses of the agency in charge of expropriated Jewish property. Despite the fire and smoke, which began to envelop the Ghetto, morale was high. On one roof the Jewish blue and white banner flew alongside the red and white Polish flag. On another roof a banner stated, “We shall fight to the last”.
Flamethrowers were brought in on 22 April, to force out the tens of thousands of Jews still hidden underground. The Ghetto became engulfed in flames and thousands of Jews were burned alive. Stroop reported:
They jumped from burning windows and balconies, abusing Germany and the Führer … over and over again, we observed that the Jews and bandits preferred to return to the flames rather than be caught by us.
Marek Edelman succeeded Amielwicz when the Zionist leader and ZOB commander died in battle.The Ghetto held out into May. Zivia Lubetkin, one of the few ZOB survivors of the epic battle, recalled. “We sat in the dark, scores of Jewish fighters, still carrying our weapons, surrounded by thousands of eager and expectant Jews. Was it not May Day? … How grave the responsibility we felt as the last desperate Hebrew warriors! We could not hold out against the Germans’ consuming fire for long without water or food or weapons.
It was a battle that the Jews could never have won, no matter how heroic the resistance. The ZOB headquarters was surrounded on 8 May, after three weeks of combat. Over 100 fighters were inside. The Germans blocked the entrances and sent gas into the bunker. The fighters decided to kill themselves rather than be taken alive. ZOB Commander Anielewicz was among them. During the revolt he wrote:
It is now clear to me that what took place exceeded all expectations … The last wish of my life has been fulfilled. Jewish self-defence has become a fact. Jewish resistance and revenge have become actualities. I am happy to have been one of the first Jewish fighters in the Ghetto.
Two days after the end of the battle, 75 ZOB survivors crawled through Warsaw’s sewers. They escaped with the help of comrades in the resistance on the outside of the Ghetto.By mid-May, the ghetto had been razed, and the Great Synagogue of Warsaw personally blown up by General Stroop on May 16 to celebrate the end of Jewish resistance. Of Warsaw’s 350,000 Jews, few were to survive the war. Of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews, only 50-70,000 were to remain alive.
 On the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, it is important to remember this heroic act of   resistance, when Jews decided to fight against their oppressors rather than be forced to die in a concentration camp. All too often, mainstream media and historians peddle the myth that “the Jews just walked into the camps.Those brave souls who gave their lives in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising might beg to differ. On this day, we remember their sacrifices in the struggle against  fascism.
Despite its tragic end, the Warsaw Uprising left a lasting legacy.It inspired Jewish youth, in ghettos from Lvov to Będzin to Białystok, and in camps including Treblinka and Sobibor ,to resist, and the bravery of the men, women and children involved has inspired a number of books, poetry, songs and films. 
The ghetto fighters left us a universal message of humanism and hope in the face of barbarism. It was an inspiration understood by some of the leaders of the Polish resistance, one of whom commented that “the blood of the ghetto fighters was not shed in vain…it gave birth to an intensified struggle against the fascist invader”. 
It is a message that we need to remember as we confront racism and fascism wherever and whenever it raises its head.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Mendacious Audacity


As Prince Phillip gets laid to rest
Hogging the limelight, for last time,
Political corruption, the web of cronyism
Still very much alive and kicking,
From ex  PM dodgy Dave Cameron
To current crooked Conservative M.P's,
The clearest picture is being painted
Of how deep the chumocracy goes,
Take Mr Matt Hancock for instance
With shares in family firm used by NHS,
Are people really not that surprised by all of this
Sleaze is the beating heart of Tory Government,
Nepotism rules, as they steal from our pockets
In the name of capitalism, greed and avarice,
A motley bunch of miscreants with fingers in every pie
While the rest of  us daily keep feeling the squeeze,
Lobbyists and private contractors dining out care free
Steelworkers lives lie in balance, after collapse of Greensill
Tories carry on regardless, simply not giving a bloody toss
Time to spring clean the lot of them, cast out the obliquity.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Valeriano Orobon Fernandez- A Las Barricades /Towards the Barricades

 

Valeriano Orobón Fernánez  Spanish anarcho-syndicalist theoretician, trade-union activist, translator and poet, who wrote the Spanish lyrics of the CNT anthem 'A Las Barricadas'was born in Cistérniga, Valladolid Province, on April 14th, 1901. The son of a railway worker and Partido Socialista Obrero Español militant, he attended the Centro de Estudios Sociales de Valladolid secular school and frequented the city's libertarian bookstores. 
Orobón Fernandez was active in the Spanish labour movement from an early age and fell under the influence of one of Valladolid's most prominent anarcho-syndicalist activists, Evelio Boal. In 1919 he represented the section of Valladolid in the congress of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo at the Teatre de la Comedia in Madrid.
In 1922 he moved to Oviedo to avoid military service and once the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera was established, he went into exile in France, living in Lyon at first and then, from the autumn of 1924, in Paris. An intellectual with a flair for languages, he quickly picked up French and took on the responsibility of running the Librairie internationale de Paris, which at the time was being financed by the Los Solidarios group. He also became director of the magazine 'Iberión', which he later transformed into the journal 'Tiempos Nuevos' in 1925, and established links with Max Nettlau and Sébastien Faure. In this period one of his greatest concerns, to which he dedicated a significant amount of time and thought, was the theoretical renewal of anarchism, but it was his opposition to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the Spanish monarchy, who he had castigated during a meeting opposing the war in Morocco, that in July 1926 eventually saw his expulsion from France.
He then took refuge in Berlin with Rudolf Rocker and began studying German, which would later become his main language of choice, used especially at his frequent attendance at conferences on Spanish literature. There he found not only his life partner, Hilda Teage (1895-1977), but also the friendship of prominent German anarchists such as Max Nettlau and Agustín Souchy. He also began a career as a language teacher at the Berlitz Academy, first in Leipzig and later in Hamburg, Vienna and London. He also worked as a translator for various Spanish publishers including La Revista Blanca, for whom he translated Max Nettlau's 'Elisée Reclus : Anarchist und Gelehrter' (Elisée Reclus : Anarchist and Scholar; 1928) as 'Eliseo Reclus, la vida de un sabio justo y rebelde' (Elisée Reclus, the life of a just and rebellious sage; 1928) and Theodor Plivier's 'Des Kaisers Kulis' (The Kaiser's Coolies; 1930) as 'Los coolies del Kaiser : novela de la Marina de Guerra alemana' (Novel of a German Sailor; 1930. In addition, he belonged to the secretariat of the IWA / AIT, rebuilt in Berlin in 1922, and translated numerous articles and writings that, published in the 'La Revista Blanca' journal in Barcelona, providing Spanish anarchists with first-hand information on what was happening in the rest of Europe. 
In 1931 he published 'Sturm Über Spanien' (Storm over Spain) and, with the proclamation of the Second Republic in April 1931, he returned to Spain. There he came to the conclusion that, based on his travels in the rest of Europe, that the CNT,at the time the largest labour union and anarchst orgnisation in Spain, due to its organic strength and militancy, was the only European working force capable of making revolution. He settled in Madrid and began an active union militancy in the CNT's sindicato de la construcción, helping to overturn the dominance of the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) in the sector.
In 1932 he began to collaborate with the film production, distribution and exhibition company Filmófono, translating and writing posters for foreign films. That same year he published 'La C.N.T. y la revolución' (1932) in which he reiterated that anarcho-syndicalism had to strive to organise society in a decentralised form as much politically as economically, whilst affirm that anarcho-syndicalism was the most important revolutionary force in Spain and rejecting any and all influence that the communist government of the Second republic may have on the operation of the CNT. 
In 1933 he published in 'Tierra y Libertad' his translation of Vaclaw Swiecicki's Polish socialist revolutionary song 'Warszawianka' (Whirlwinds of Danger) in Spanish as 'A las Barricadas', which became the anthem of the CNT and one of the most popular songs of the Spanish anarchists during the Spanish Civil War. It is such a rousing moving anthem, inspiring the working class to answer the call to arms and fight the fascisit threat to our essential freedoms.
Fernandez also took part in the great meeting in Barcelona alongside Buenaventura Durruti that called for a boycott of the electoral. Additionally, as a member of the secretariat of the AIT he tried to mediate between the supporters of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (Iberian Anarchist Federation) and the CNT's moderate 'possibilist' Trentistas faction supporters.
Following the CNT insurrectionary failures of 1933, he deduced the need for a tactical rectification of his position: the CNT alone could not carry out the revolution, it needed the support of the socialist UGT. On January 29, 1934, his article 'Consideraciones sobre la unidad ¡Alianza revolucionaria, sí! ¡Oportunismo de bandería, no!' (Considerations on unity. Revolutionary Alliance, Yes! Opportunist Banditry, No!) appeared in the Madrid newspaper 'La Tierra'.
It provoked something of a storm. In the article he put forward his reasoning on the need for libertarians to collaborate with socialism and aroused the concern of the authorities who ordered his imprisonment in March 1934, just at the time when an agreement between the Asturian CNT and UGT was being negotiated and a general strike of the construction called for by both unions that would paralyse Madrid. Thus, the Republican authorities tried to stop a process that could have ended in some form of revolutionary action.
Having suffered from tuberculosis since the early 1920s, in prison the deterioration of his health accelerated, and a second prison term in March 1936 was to provide the final nail in his coffin. Valeriano Orobón barely survived a few months after his release and died in Madrid on June 28, 1936, a few weeks short of being able to witness the fact that his proposals for the unity of the workers' organisations had played an essential role in the defeat of the coup in July 1936 and resulted in the loosing of a torrent of revolutionary action across Spain. 

 A las Barricadas

Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.

El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.

Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.

Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.

El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.

Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.

En pie el pueblo obrero, a la batalla
hay que derrocar a la reacción.

¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.
¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.

nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.
El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.
El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
En pie el pueblo obrero, a la batalla
hay que derrocar a la reacción.
¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.
¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/las-barricadas-barricades.html

Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.
El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.
El bien más preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y valor.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
Alza la bandera revolucionaria
que del triunfo sin cesar nos lleva en pos.
En pie el pueblo obrero, a la batalla
hay que derrocar a la reacción.
¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.
¡A las barricadas! ¡A las barricadas!
por el triunfo de la Confederación.

Towards the Barricades
  
Black storms shake the air
Dark clouds blind us
Although pain and death [may] await us
Duty calls us against the enemy

The most precious good is freedom
It must be defended with faith and courage

Raise the revolutionary flag
Which carries us ceaselessly towards triumph
Raise the revolutionary flag
Which carries us ceaselessly towards triumph

Black storms shake the air
Dark clouds blind us
Although pain and death [may] await us
Duty calls us against the enemy

The most precious good is freedom
It must be defended with faith and courage

Raise the revolutionary flag
Which carries us ceaselessly towards triumph
Raise the revolutionary flag
Which carries us ceaselessly towards triumph

Get up, working people, to the battle
[We] have to topple the reaction
To the Barricades! To the Barricades!

For the triumph of the Confederation
To the Barricades! To the Barricades!
For the triumph of the Confederation 


 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Legacy of the 1981 Brixton Riots



On Saturday 11th April 1981, Brixton was set ablaze as hundreds of local youth fought with the Metropolitan Police. The country was in recession, unemployment amongst African Caribbean  members of the community was high, and the quality of housing was poor. In the week preceding the Brixton Riots, Operation Swamp 81, saw over 1,000 people ( mainly  from the  young black community) being stopped and searched adding to the increased  frustration of the local people. Tensions were high.
A house fire in January 1981, in nearby New Cross, saw 13 black youths killed.https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2017/01/linton-kwesi-johnson-new-crass-massahkah.html Some believed that the fire, far from an accident, had been the result of a racially motivated arson attack and anger quickly spread at the unwillingness of the police to investigate the possibility.
Then on April 10 , rumours of police brutality against a black man resulted in an  angry crowd confronting police for a few hours before the disturbances  were contained. 
But what happened next in a battle between  police and residents was to become one of the most significant outbreaks of civil disorder in 20th Century London. Police continued operating their hated 'sus' laws,  where in order to stop someone, police only needed suspicion.  At the time the police were exempt  from the Race Relations Act, and many people targeted  were from  the ethnic community, which  led to accusations of racial prejudice. It left many people feeling humiliated, with a sense of indignity and rage, many young men, had also been savagely beaten by the police. Police were said to have mounted a campaign of harassment against the black community in south London that one former officer claims amounted to "torture".There was a general feeling of bitterness and resentment, with many believing that the Conservative Thatcher Government were using the police as its military wing , and that they were under siege.
After arrests were made the following night tensions rose again, igniting violence which spread across  the streets. The streets  of Brixton became a battle zone. After police arrived in  full riot gear, people started gathering to throw makeshift petrol bombs and set light to police cars. For three days, rioters - predominately young, black men - fought police, attacked buildings and set fire to vehicles.


By the  time hostilities  had ended,  over 360  people had been injured, 80 of whom were bystanders,,  28 premises burned and another 177 damaged and looted. The police arrested 82 people. To the largely Afro-Caribbean demonstrators it was a “show of strength” against police brutality, deep rooted social and economic problems ,high unemployment and institutionalised racism, and perilous  tensions exacerbated by discriminatory tactics by the police.
Brixton would act like a catalyst for copycat riots in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester, Leeds and other parts of inner-city London, and after the riots a police enquiry was held under Lord Scarman , his report issued on November 25 1981 placed the Brixton Riots into the context of racial disadvantage faced by young blacks. It also blamed the police for escalating the tensions and called on law enforcement agencies to in the future consult and co-operate with the Brixton community. But 4 years on 25 September 1985, police shot Mrs Cherry Groce in error while looking for a man in connection with a robbery. The incident fuelled a new wave of anger in the community, many of whom felt that the police had not learnt the lessons of 1981.
Rioters barricaded Brixton Road, setting fire to the cars. Shops in Brixton were firebombed and looted. One person was killed and 50 people injured. Over 200 people were arrested. Mrs Groce spent two years in hospital and was permanently disabled as a result of the shooting.
There have been many many miscarriages of justice since. the death of reggae singer Smiley Culture for instance and Roger Sylvester, a mentally ill thirty-year-old beaten to death by the police in 1999 while under hospital restraint (he had been detained for apparently wanting to kick down his own front door), lest we forget Mikey Powell who die in police custody in 2003 and the flawed investigation into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence. Many Black lives too are still in danger in police custody. 
40 years later Brixton, seems a transformed place, marked by gentrification,now teeming with boutique food stalls, starbucks, and restaurants and new bespoke housing developments. 
But there are many lessons to be learned. Many of these new developments are simply out reach financially for most locals. Police racism continues, as does unemployment and poverty. And in spite of a government drive to bring more people into work, unemployment among ethnic minority communities is still twice the general rate.
Capitalist society still suffers from a sickness that breeds ,the big criminals of the land get rich and fat, get rewarded for their crimes (ie the bankers) whilst the poorer members of our communities are stigmatised, getting poorer, punished because of the greedy. And though Margaret Thatcher is long dead, her polices and ideas that helped ignite these past troubles still lingers on through our current incumbents.
Young Black men in London are 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched than the general population, a study of official data by University College London shows, with claims that trut and confidence in police ae under serious strain.The pandemic has also really highlighted the divide between rich and poor in Brixton in terms of digital access, housing space, and access to space study and work. Also the recent publication of the government;s controversial and divisive race report, also denied the existence of institutional racism in the UK, which whatever it says is still very real.You only have to look at how the Windrush generation were treated to see evidence of this, and the hostile environment for immigrants that the Government has created while stoking the flames of Britains  culture war  .https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/02/culture-war-government-race-report 
It is significant that 40 years later, we have another right wing Tory  government that doesn't care about poor or marginalised communities or that Black lives matter. With the rise of the far right being racist is seen as acceptable.  Unrest can easily be fermented, when conditions on the streets are ignored.The new Police Bill also fermenting much anger.  Riots that have happened since, like those seen in Brixton do not happen without a reason. We have to renew our commitment to dismantling all the structures of racism more than ever. 

Hiatus - Insurrection (feat. Linton Kwesi Johnson)          


Guns of Brixton - The Clash



Friday, 9 April 2021

On the Death of The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh : A Critical Appraisal


Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died this morning, Buckingham Palace announced. He  was 99 years old. He had been discharged last month from hospital, after undergoing what Buckingham Palace described as a “successful procedure” for a pre-existing heart condition, and after being admitted for an infection in February.
The Queen and Prince Philip were married for an incredible 73 years. Losing someone who has been by your side for most of your life - whoever you are - must be unbelievably painful.
It's a sentiment shared by progressive figures - royalist and republican alike - today. Read some of their reactions here.
Nevertheless  I would be a hypocrite if I chose to join in the chorus of platitudes that are sweeping the mainstream media across the nation and the world at this moment of time, so there will be no sychophantic gestures or  deference from me.to a xenophobic dinosaur and relic from another age. .
The press will no doubt tomorrow carry  page after page covering the life of Philip Mountbatten, and one cannot put on the television or the radio without some gushing tribute to the man who is currently being hailed as some kind of national treasure.At least Channel 4 have taken the decision to continue normal scheduling after Prince Philip's death.
But everywhere else his many “gaffes” are now being celebrated, as amusing eccentricities, but the fact remains he was as fine an example of the good old-fashioned traditional British racist and bigot as you could get.
On one occasion, he warned a British student he met in Hong Kong that if he stayed there too long, he’d go “slitty-eyed.
He also once congratulated a young man who hiked across Papua New Guinea on not being eaten by the locals.In 2002, he asked Australian aboriginals whether they still “chucked spears at each other 
The Prince once asked Filipina nurses working for the National Health Service (NHS) if there was anyone left in their country, and told an Indian businessman with the surname ‘Patel’ at an official event at Buckingham Palace “there’s a lot of your family in tonight” in reference to the 400 Indian guests in attendance.
Some of the Prince’s comments on women have also attracted criticism.While receiving a gift from a Kenyan woman in 1984, the Duke saw fit to ask: “You are a woman, aren’t you?
He also told the Scottish Women’s Institute that “British women can’t cook” during a visit in 1961.
When told by a female Sea Cadet that she worked in a nightclub in 2009, the interested Duke asked: “Is it a strip club?
Although he was the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip he certainly ruffled a few Scottish feathers over the years. He once asked a Scottish driving instructor: “how do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” during a 1995 visit.
Prior to this incident, when Prince Philip had visited China in 1986, he had told British students studying over there: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed."
In 1999, the Duke of Edinburgh made a racist comment on Indian workers. While on a visit to an electronics factory in Scotland, he had seen a messy fuse box and said it looked "as though it was put in by an Indian." Within hours, the Buckingham Palace said: "The Duke of Edinburgh regrets any offence which may have been caused by remarks he is reported as making earlier today. With hindsight, he accepts what were intended as light-hearted comments were inappropriate," the Independent reported.
 In 1999, Prince Philip had reportedly asked black politician, Lord Taylor of Warwick: "And what exotic part of the world do you come from?"
According to the Telegraph, in May 1999, when Prince Philip had visited Cardiff, Wales, he had told children from the British Deaf Association, who were standing by a Caribbean steel band: "If you're near that music it's no wonder you're deaf".
In 2003, the prince told the President of Nigeria, who was in national dress: “You look like you’re ready for bed!”
In 2009, the prince asked a black dance troupe "Diversity" who had come at the Royal Variety Performance: "Are you all one family?"
In 2010, during a prize-giving ceremony for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, a girl told him that she had been to Romania to help in an orphanage. He replied: "Oh yes, there's a lot of orphanges in Romania - they must breed them".
The Palace has never apologised doe any of his bigoted comments mentioned above, and while I acknowledge their sense of loss, by accepting them and his behaviour in the eyes of those who  take a more critical gaze are as tarnished and complicit,
Prince Philippos Andreou Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was born on Corfu on June 10 1921,Philip never liked to admit to his Greek origins, much preferring to identify himself with the Danish royal family.An anti-monarchist uprising forced his family to flee, so Philip left the country when he was only a baby, and on top of that, his father was accused of treason and banished.
 With Europe increasingly in turmoil throughout the interwar period, he ended up at school first in Germany and then in Britain and when the Second World War broke out, he became an officer in the Royal Navy. If he had remained at school in Germany then he would certainly have ended up a Nazi, fighting for Hitler. 
 Not only has he never shown any great liking for parliamentary democracy, but three of his sisters married men who became senior Nazis. His youngest sister, Sophie, was married to an SS Colonel who headed up Goering’s special intelligence agency. After the  death of his pregnant sister, Cecile, and her husband, George Donatus, the Grand Duke of Hesse (who were themselves members of the Nazi Party), Philip was photographed in a funeral march alongside his family members by marriage who wore full Nazi garb. Beside him marched his surviving German brothers-in-law: Prince Christoph of Hesse, husband of Philip's youngest sister, Sophie, conspicuous in his SS garb; and Christoph's brother, Prince Philipp of Hesse, in the brown shirt of the SA. Philip's uncle, Lord Louis ("Dickie") Mountbatten, followed just behind in British naval dress. As for Philip, when he was preparing to marry the future queen Elizabeth, he too cunningly changed his name from Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg to Mountbatten.
 One of his great disappointments in life was never to have become king. Instead he became  the royal consort condemned to forever go through the empty pretence of caring about the lives of ordinary people in order to safeguard both the monarchy and the social order more generally.
Along the way he picked up a lot of titles, Prince Philip's full title was HRH (His Royal Highness) The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Garter, Knight of the Thistle, Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, Companion of the Order of Australia, Companion of The Queen's Service Order, Privy Counsellor.
He was also  named a Knight of the Order of the Elephant in Denmark, a Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu in Papua New Guinea and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion." But wait, there's more. He's also received the distinction of being named "a Knight Grand Cross with Brilliants of the Order of the Sun by Peru," as well as been awarded "the Collar of the Order of the Queen of Sheba by Ethiopia, and the Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle by Mexico. Absolutely bonkers.
Over the years his casual  racism, bigotry, class prejudice and reactionary views on just about everything have all been either marginalised or suppressed. A man without any concern whatsoever for ordinary people and  so  out of touch with modern sensibilities,was somehow turned by the magic of PR into someone who has devoted himself to charity. 
Ok Prince Philip was the first President of the World Wildlife Fund-UK from its foundation in 1961 to 1982, and was International President of WWF (now World Wide Fund for Nature) from 1981 to 1996,but you would not have found him  chaining himself to a tree . His approach was  more of a practical one.
"If we've got this extraordinary diversity on this globe it seems awfully silly for us to destroy it. All these other creatures have an equal right to exist here, we have no prior rights to the Earth than anybody else and if they're here let's give them a chance to survive," he told the BBC. He also said he was more concerned with "the conservation of nature" rather than being a "bunny hugger," which is the term he used to describe animal lovers.Which he certainly was not because he killed animals for sport and fun. He also believed that the main environmental crisis the Earth faces is overpopulation, for which he once suggested a possible solution: voluntary family limitation. Bloody hell!.
Well now his time has finally come. And though no huge admirer, he might not have been captain of the ship he  married into, but he steered the Crown through the turbulent years of the postwar years. He will be missed as a husband, a father, grandfather and great grandfather.
There will be no state funeral for the duke. The College of Arms, which is responsible for helping to arrange state events and ceremonials, said that his body instead would “lie at rest in Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George’s Chapel”.
 The death of the controversial divisive Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh  certainly marks the end of a chapter not just for the British royal family – but for European monarchy itself. Surely it's now time for the Queen to retire and Britain  to call a referendum of whether we really want Charles to be our head of state, or time to abolish the monarchy  all together, and end these symbols of power and privilege once and for all. 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

International Roma Day


Today I celebrate International Roma Day., celebrating and recognising, the rich history, culture, language of their communities.International Roma Day was officially declared in 1990 in Poland, during the fourth World Romani Congress in honour of the first major international meeting of Roma representatives, 7-12 of April, 1971 in London.
My solidarity goes out to all Roma people worldwide who are still experiencing  massive inequality and huge amounts of racism,  discrimination and exclusion state sponsored  and otherwise.
Romani people have suffered  persecution throughout their history, having left Northern India/Pakisan around one thousand years ago. In the ensuring centuries they have spread across many countries across thee globe. Europe, North and South America, Russia, China and the Middle East. Some were nomadic people. Others tried to settle but were met with hostility and either abandoned their identities or became nomadic like their brothers and sisters. What remained however and strong, was that on the move or in settlements, was a tight knit community, but still faced ongoing discrimination and persecution. 
Lest not forget,that though official figures do not exactly exist, it is is estimated that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani and Sinti,from Central Europe were killed in the 1930s and 1940s. the Nazis  killing about 25 percent of Europe's entire Roma (a.k.a. Gypsy) population, accounting for half their total population at  the time. This genocide, known in the Romani language, as Porajimas which can translate as “destruction.” It's remembered as the worst event in their peoples' history. Other Romani people in the Balkans prefer to use the term 'samudaripen,' translating as “mass killing,” but there's still no general consensus in the community regarding how to call this tragedy, sometimes even borrowing the word 'holokausto.'
Roma persecution by the Nazi regime began in 1933 and during the 1936 Olympic Games, the Roma and Sinti were forcibly relocated to a camp on the outskirts and were not allowed to leave unless they had a job. Their property was confiscated and sold; they were never compensated. Between 1933 and 1945, more than 400,000 people were forcibly sterilised by the Nazis, including thousands of Roma and Sinti, In the late 1930s, the first deportations of Roma to concentration camps began. While the yellow star worn by the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is best known, the Roma had their own symbols, brown or black triangles, symbolising their ethnicity and their inherent ‘anti-social’ status.
Today it is important to remember that many Roma continue to suffer from systemic discrimination and violence. Discriminatory treatment and stereotyping prevents Roma from fully participating in political, social and economic life around the world. Roma experience  exclusion, violence and repression in the countries where they live. They are forced to live in conditions that are degrading to human beings. They are discriminated against in the labour market because of their ethnic identity.
 Rather than seek to address the discrimination faced by these marginalised communities, it appears the government plans to punish them further by introducing legislation which includes proposals to criminalise trespass and the act of setting up an ‘unauthorised’ encampment. The Police Powers and Protections Bill, which, seeks to implement a 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto pledge to “give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampment” and to ‘make intentional trespass a criminal offence.’ Trespass is currently governed by civil law and upgrading trespass to a criminal offence would have significant ramifications for GRT communities in particular, and must be opposed...
Aa I hope you share this day of remembrance, that continues to cast a light on the human rights issues and violations of so many, lets also show a gratitude to a beautiful community that so enriches our lives and continue to reject the negative stereotypes and bias that impacts and  keep on defending their rights and way of life.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Unwavering Ripples


Ghost ships of memory, good to renew
Some think of the great reset and conspiracy,
Forget about the ages of  timeless struggle
Peoples constant fight against forces that cudgel.

Conscious people rallying together, very visible
Not afraid to defend the right to protest,
In our darkest hours, delivering defiance
Standing up for rights,against injustice.

Carrying  forward opposition,with considerable hunger
Speaking truth to power that tries to obscure,
Roaring loud  not to be cowed into silence
Against media and political manipulation.

While  establishment tries to maintains its malfeasance
Creating dominant discourse that excludes dissidence,
Leaving many feeling isolated, marginalised and powerless
By protesting we challenge their corrupt moral agenda.

It's a duty, an act of  faith, a moral obligation
Freedom of speech so great, the world long been wrong,
These are times for anger, because fascism still growing
A real cause for concern as history keeps repeating.

Life is a battleground, a road of constant endeavour
Through windows of emptiness and despair keep calling,
Never  forget to find hope in seeds of solidarity 
Continue to dance among the firmament of belief. 

In beautiful actions of awakening, keep resisting
Let naughtiness run riot, criss-crossing many obstacles
Stay safe, be careful, wherever you may be treading
Keep promoting democratic values so enriching,

When calls go unheard, unreceived, ignored
Fill air all around with inexhaustible reason,
Take your time to explain your cause with devotion
Remain empowered, releasing anger and defiance.

To avoid Orwellian Police state that will brutalize
There is the need to demonstrate, with no compromise
Between the tears and pain that continue to fall
Look forward to a time when justice forever rains.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

The Pagan Roots of Easter


 Easter is known for its bunny rabbits, colored eggs, hot cross buns.But all the fun things about Eater are actually Pagan in origin.
Christians have historically placed and named their holidays after pagan ones,  Christmas https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-pagan-roots-of-christmas-happy.html and Halloween are two well-known examples of this, replacing Yule and Samhain respectively.https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2020/10/samhain-reflections.html
 Easter used to be the Festival of Eostre, originally a Anglo- Saxon word, denoting a goddess of spring, dawn, and fertility,in honour of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover.According to St. Bede, a seventh and eighth-century  Northumbrian monk and historian, who reported that pagan Anglo-Saxons in medieval Northumbria held festivals in her honor during the month of April.
 Rabbits, thanks to their tendency to have lots of babies very quickly,  so they are a perfect animal to symbolically represent the fertility of springtime, that has been absorbed into Easter. But no one is quite sure how the idea of an “Easter Bunny” that delivers eggs and treats to good children came about. The egg tradition traces back to Germany and eastern Europe, where painting eggs was popular in the spring, and the Osterhare, or Easter bunny has a curious relationship with the Goddess that gave the holiday her name.
 In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara a.k.a. Eostre “healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.” Eostre, originally a Anglo- Saxon word, denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honour of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover.
The origins of Easter are wrapped up in a celebration of seasonal renewal that has taken place in numerous cultures for thousands of years around the time of the Spring Equinox. Some argue that even the Christian version of Easter merely perpetuates an age-old, familiar theme of resurrection rather than honoring an actual person or event in history.
Ishtar, was the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols. After Constantine decided to Christianize the Empire, Easter was changed to represent Jesus. 
 For obvious reasons, eggs have been a symbol of fertility for many cultures since antiquity. The egg is literally new life, so what better representation of the spring, when the time of winter, scarcity and darkness had ended. Eggs, like many traditions that were tied to the fertility of the earth and cycles of the season, became associated with Easter as pagan traditions were absorbed.
Easter Eggs or painted eggs are a Middle Ages tradition which is borne out of the Lenten fast. Since people were fasting, eggs weren't being eaten and were stored up until Easter Sunday. During this time, people began to decorate them to give to children. They were often painted red to symbolise the blood of Jesus, and the shell used to represent the empty tomb of the resurrection.
Chocolate eggs first appeared in the 17th century in France in the court of Louis XIV based on this tradition and in 1725, solid chocolate eggs were produced. The first chocolate Easter egg appeared in Britain in 1873 and then in 1875, Cadbury’s created the modern Easter egg we know today.
 According to an ancient “Sumerian legend of Damuzi (Tammuz) and his wife Inanna (Ishtar), [...] Tammuz dies, Ishtar is grief–stricken and follows him to the underworld.” Here, “‘naked and bowed low’ she is judged, killed, and then hung on display. In her absence, the earth loses its fertility, crops cease to grow and animals stop reproducing. Unless something is done, all life on earth will end.”
 Inanna is missing for three days after which her assistant seeks help from other gods. One of them goes “to the Underworld” gives Tammuz and Ishtar “the power to return to the earth as the light of the sun for six months. 
After the six months are up, Tammuz returns to the underworld of the dead, remaining there for another six months, and Ishtar pursues him, prompting the water god to rescue them both. Thus, were the cycles of winter death and spring life.” Since this myth was discovered on tablets dating back to around 2500 BC, Tammuz and Ishtar might be the protagonists of the first pagan Easter story.
Commentators have cited numerous reasons why cultures have chosen to celebrate Easter in some form. Popular themes have included,light conquering darkness; barren winter giving way to spring birth
life conquering death;good vs. Evil, virgin birth and sacrifice
Often, these themes are regarded as part of recurring cycles, like the seasons. Every spring, the world comes back to life. Flowers emerge. Birdsong fills the air. Animals give birth to their young. Death always leads to new life. Some elements, such as the three-day timeline and the hero going to Hell, are also scattered among the myths.
 One writer draws “parallels between the story of Jesus and the epic of Inanna.” This “doesn't necessarily mean that there wasn't a real person, Jesus, who was crucified, but rather that, if there was, the story is structured and embellished in accordance with a pattern that was very ancient and widespread.”
 Other sacrificial heroes have included Attis, lover of Cybele, both of them gods, but Attis “was born of a virgin.”  “Attis was Cybele’s lover, although some sources claim him to be her son.” Attis “fell in love with a mortal and chose to marry.”
In response to Cybele’s rage, Attis “fled to the nearby mountains where he gradually became insane, eventually committing suicide.” She regained her sanity, and “appealed to Zeus to never allow Attis’s corpse to decay.” Every year, “he would return to life during the yearly rebirth of vegetation; thus identifying Attis as an early dying-and-reviving god figure.”
Other gods associated with resurrection include Horus, Mithras, and Dionysus. “Dionysus was a divine child, resurrected by his grandmother. Dionysus also brought his mum, Semele, back to life.” The Sumerian goddess Inanna, or Ishtar, was hung naked on a stake and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the underworld.
Hot cross buns are related to “Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it.” Eventually, “defiant cake-baking pagan women” were successful and a cross was added to the buns to Christianize them.
 The only time the word “Easter” is found in the Bible (Acts 12:4), it is there by mistranslation. The word in the original Greek is “Passover.” Jesus died at the time of the Passover feast, but the Passover is not Easter and Jesus did not die at Easter time. Passover is the historical and still-celebrated Jewish festival commemorating the exodus led by Moses of the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity.
 Passover traditions include the consumption of unleavened bread, and Jesus distributed the same to his  disciples at the Last Supper.
 The Passover celebrations also included the sacrifice of lambs. (Hebrew slaves in Egypt marked their doorsteps with the blood of such sacrifices so that the angel of death would pass-over their families.) Similarly, mankind can be saved from spiritual death through the blood spilled by Jesus through his sacrifice on the cross
Unlike Christmas, which is always on the same day each year, Easter is a moveable celebration where the date is set by the Church and computed according to the cycle of the moon.
There have been several attempts to have a fixed annual date, but like many other things tradition has prevailed and the old Pagan calculation remains to this day.
Since the 10th century, there have been 15 attempts by senior Church leaders to regulate the date of Easter.
In 1928 the UK Parliament passed an act that allowed for Easter Sunday to be always the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April, but there was neither agreement with other governments, nor the Roman or Eastern Churches.
In 1990 the Vatican agreed to a fixed date, but there was still no general consensus. And as recently as 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby launched an attempt by the Anglican Church.
Anyway whatever your beliefs I hope your  having a wonderful blessed, peaceful weekend, am sure Cadbury's  and other confectionary merchants are very happy. Stay safe.



Thursday, 1 April 2021

Remembering the Revolutionary Life of Gil Scot Heron (1/4/49 -27/5/11)


Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron  was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and ’80s.
Born in Chicago, Illinois on April 1, 1948 to parents Bobbie Scott Heron, a librarian, and Giles (Gil) Heron, a Jamaican professional soccer player. He grew up in Lincoln, Tennessee and the Bronx, New York, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. Heron attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received an M.S. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University.
 By age 13, Scott-Heron had written his first collection of poems. He published his first novel, The Vulture, a murder mystery whose central themes include the devastating effects of drugs on urban black life, in 1968 at age 19.  Four years later,  Scott-Heron published his second novel, The Nigger Factory (1972), which, set on the campus of a historically black college (HBCU), focused on the conflicting ideology between the more traditionally Eurocentric-trained administrators; the younger, more nationalistic students—founders of  Members of Justice for Meaningful Black Education (MJUMBE); and the more moderate students and their leader, Earl Thomas.
 Scott-Heron,  is however, best known as a musician and songwriter. In 1970, he released his first album, New Black Poet Small Talk at 125th and Lennox,. The liner notes of that first album credit the influence of Malcolm X and Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton alongside that of Billie Holiday and John Coltrane. Gil Scott-Heron’s art grew out of social movements and fed back into them.
Then came. Pieces of Man (1971), Free Will (1972) and Winter in America (1974). These albums include such classic signature works as “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,”  “Lady Day and John Coltrane,” “Whitey on the Moon,” “No Knock On My Brother’s Head,” and “Home Is Where the Hatred Is.”
One of his most critically acclaimed albums, Winter in America, was released  as the strongest waves of the revolutionary tide of the ’60s and ’70s were already ebbing into the Nixonian Reaction. The U.S. military had finally withdrawn from Vietnam, and other institutional gains from the movement could be seen in the form of legislation like the Clean Air Act of 1970 or the formation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But following the capitalist recession of 1973, the Western world was mired in stagflation: inflation coupled with economic stagnation and high unemployment. The title track laments those dynamic parts of America that “never had a chance to grow.
 Known for his oral word performance, Scott-Heron walked onto the international stage simultaneously as did many of the Black Arts Movement poets, including Amiri Baraka,https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2014/01/amiri-bakara-lee-roi-jones-71034-9114.html Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, and Nikki Giovanni.https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2016/06/happy-birthday-nikki-giovanni-7643.html He shared their conviction that art must be functional and, therefore, as artist and communal leader, he must embrace his role as a significant political voice inevitably committed to the liberation of black people. Scott-Heron’s cacophonous voice resonated as well with that of Malcolm X, the militant prophet-leader of the Nation of Islam who inspired a generation to address the needs and condition of the urban black masses.  The electric, edgy, angry sounds he created with his fusion of soul, jazz, blues, and poetry—often in collaboration with musician Brian Jackson—make him a forerunner to a later generation of rap artists, particularly such socially conscious rappers as Tupac Shakur, Jay Z and Dr. Dre.
 The author of songs dealing head-on with the abuse of drugs and alcohol, songs like “The Bottle” and “Angel Dust,” went through his own struggles with substance abuse in his later years. It is difficult not to see this personal struggle as an expression of the historical demobilization and depoliticization that overtook the movements that meant so much to him
Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,  featured the first version of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The track has since been referenced and parodied extensively in pop culture.A diatribe against mass medias trivialization of social upheaval and the seeming paralysis of those who watch via television.
Regarding the song, he said: "The revolution takes place in your mind. Once you change your mind and decide that there's something wrong that you want to effect that's when the revolution takes place. But first you have to look at things and decide what you can do. 'Something's wrong and I have to do something about it. I can effect this change.' Then you become a revolutionary person. It's not all about fighting. It's not all about going to war. It's about going to war with the problem and deciding you can effect that problem. When you want to make things better you're a revolutionary."
Gil Scott-Heron wrote this song when he was 21 years old. He would perform and release several reworkings of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" in his lifetime.The lyrics build a strong, intelligent and humorous case against American consumerism:

"The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal."
"The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner."

These words remind us that big business owns almost everything we see on television. Scott-Heron contends that if the common people were to rise to rebellion, there will be no news coverage of the event.
Gil Scott-Heron spoke on the poetry in this song: 

"All of those poems do not just represent me. They represent the people I know and the people I see. You have to separate the problems that effect the whole community from the problems that effect just the individual person. A good poet feels what his community feels. He feels what the organism that he's a part of feels. And one of the problems that our community was facing as a whole was the fact that we were being discriminated against and there was something that needed to be done."
 
The electric, edgy, angry sounds he created with his fusion of soul, jazz, blues, and poetry,often in collaboration with musician Brian Jackson, make him a forerunner to a later generation of rap artists, particularly such socially conscious rappers as Tupac Shakur, Jay Z and Dr. Dre.
In 1975 Scott-Heron became the first artist to sign with Clive Daviss new Arista label. His second Arista release, From South  Africa to South Carolina , contained the energetic Johannes-burg, a proclamation of solidarity with blacks in then apartheid  white-ruled South Africa that reached the Top 40. Our vibration is based on creative solidarity: trying to influence the black community toward the same kind of dignity and self-respect that we all know is necessary to live, Scott-Heron  said  Were trying to put out survival kits on wax.  Gil Scott’s 1976 song would become an anthem against white minority rule  in South Africa and the struggle for liberation in that country.
 By the late 1970s Scott-Heron had developed a serious cocaine habit, and he later progressed to freebasing. Drugs were his escape from the pressures of the music business, and they were also a refuge from difficulties in his personal life. He had a turbulent marriage to actress Brenda Sykes that ended in divorce, as well as several on-again, off-again romances, and he had four children from different relationships. “Love is a difficult thing for me to experience,” he once wrote poignantly. As his addiction took its inevitable toll on his body, his career, and his life, he was unable to admit the seriousness of his problem or accept help from anyone, even those who cared about him deeply. 
Scott-Heron parted company with Jackson in the early 1980s and explored jazzier territory as well as the techno-funk that had begun to dominate black pop. As well as exploring more personal issues, he continued attacking specific political targets. The U.S. presidential election of conservative Republican Ronald Reagan.Ray-gun, as Scott-Heron was fond of calling him,unleashed a further torrent of musical scorn.
In 1980 Scott-Heron also released his anti-nuclear anthem Shut Em Down on the all-star No Nukes concert album. However, as the decade advanced, Scott-Heron was increasingly isolated in his political militancy.
In 1984 Arista released The Best of Gil Scott-Heron, but would drop the artist the following year. He collaborated with jazz legend Miles Davis on Let Me See Your I.D. for the anti-apartheid benefit album Sun City, but otherwise stopped recording for several years, though he continued to tour and a documentary film was made about him. Unfortunately for fans, most of his albums went out of print. With the exception of the Best of collection and the earlier The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, much of his work would not be available on CD for many years. The re-release in 1988 of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised reintroduced to a new generation the Scott-Heron classic Whitey on the Moon, a satirical comment on American socioeconomic values,
He shunned conventional pop stardom but nevertheless became a star, playing to large crowds and winning abundant critical praise. I was lucky to be able to see him perform on a number of occassions in the late nineteen eighties, once at Glastonbury, can't remember the correct year, perhaps someone could remind me, and 3 times more in London at C.N.D and anti apartheid rallies one I think in Hyde Park? .
 Apparently the era I saw him perform, his talent was on the wain, but I did not notice, I did not care, all I remember was a powerful, incendiary, sweet , soulful, smoky voice , gently rallying us against the cruelty of the world. He became a bit of a hero to me, so it was sad not to have him around for a while, but the thing is, for some of us he never did go away. His songs of freedom lifting us through our sombre histories, stirring and always inspiring.His sad songs and his melancohly somehow reaching and getting through.
He briefly returned to the studio for 1994’s Spirits. That album featured the track “Message to the Messengers,” in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its newfound power responsibly.  I aint comin at you with no disrespect/All Im sayin is you damn well got to be correct/Because if youre gonna be speaking for a whole generation/And you know enough to handle their education/Be sure you know the real deal about past situations/And aint just repeating what you heard on a local TV station.
He used his voice to chart the injustices and cruelty of American society for years, raging against its  hypocricy,with wit, empathy, and justified anger, the irony being, it was this very same system that turned on him, culminating in jail sentences and stretches due to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, found with too much gear in his pockets, labelled and spat out. Sure he had problems, but when this man needed help, what did they do? They locked him up, that was really going to cure him, no I don't think so, just another sad reflection of a cold stinkin' rotten system.Anyway in my opinion a brave, charismatic figure, He never stood on fences, his language and honesty apparent to all who witnessed him.. 
He continued to perform, and he received new attention thanks to the rise of hip-hop, but he was in no shape to work regularly, and his last years included several stints in jail for drug possession. Followng After his release from prison in 2007,  in 2010 released a new album, I'm New Here, to widespread critical acclaim.
Although he was on good terms with his children, he died alone  aged 62, on May 27, 2011, in a New York hospital,  where he apparently told the staff he had no next of kin. His daughter Gia, saw this as typical of her father’s self-protective pride: “Maybe he didn’t want people to see him in that weak and vulnerable position.
 In 2012, he posthumously received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and two years later was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
 Gil Scott-Heron’s voice and songs  continue to project the strength, the anger, the humanity and the beauty of struggles in our own time whose deeply political words continues to inspire many.
 
It's Your World - Gl Scot Heron
 
 The ground beneath my feet
I know was made for me
There is no any one place where I belong
My spirit's meant to be free
And soon now everyone will see
Life was made for us to be what we wanna be!

And it's your world
It's yours and yours and yours
And what you see
Was not meant for me
It's your world
But you don't have to be lonely
'Cause in your world
You are truly free!

The thoughts that fill my mind
Are a very special kind
Because they're home to me and me alone
And then I realize
That we all have a home inside
That was meant for us to be what we wanna be

And it's your world
It's yours and yours and yours
And what you see
Was not meant for me
It's your world
But you don't have to be lonely
'Cause in your world, you are truly free!

Music of life fills my soul
Music of love makes me feel whole
As human history unfolds before my eyes
My spirit's meant to be free
And soon now everyone's will be
It's your right to be whatever you wanna be!

And it's your world
It's yours and yours and yours
And what you see
Was not necessarily meant for me
It's your world
But you don't have to be lonely
'Cause in your world
You are truly free!

And it's your world
It's yours and yours and yours
And what you see
It was not meant for me
It's your world
But you don't have to be lonely
'Cause in your world
You are truly free!

And it's your world
It's yours and yours and yours
And what you see
It was not meant for me
It's your world
But you don't have to be lonely
'Cause in your world
You are truly free!

You are truly free
(So go 'head) Be what you wanna be
You are truly free
(So go 'head) Be what you wanna be
You are truly free
(So go 'head) Be what you wanna be
You are truly free
(So go 'head) Be what you wanna be 
 

 
The World - Gil Scot Heron
 
The world!
Planet Earth; third from the Sun of a gun, 360 degrees.
And as the new worlds emerge
stay alert. Stay aware.
Watch the Eagle! Watch the Bear!
Earthquaking, foundation shaking,
bias breaking, new day making change.
Accumulating, liberating, educating, stimulating change!
Tomorrow was born yesterday.
From insde the rib or people cage
the era of our firdt blood stage was blotted or erased
or TV screened r defaced.
Remember there's a revolution going in in the world.
One blood of the early morning
revolves to the one idea of our tomorrow.
Homeboy, hold on!
Now more than ever all the family must come together.
Ideas of freedom and harmony, great civilizations
yesterday brought today will bring tomorrow.
We must be about
earthquaking, liberating, investigating
and new day making change in
the world. 
 
The Revolution Will Not be Televisised
 
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out foreeer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
About a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution WILL put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live. 
 

 I Think I'll Call it Morning - Gil Scot Heron

'm gonna take myself a piece of sunshine
and paint it all over my sky.
Be no rain. Be no rain.
I'm gonna take the song from every bird
and make them sing it just for me.
Be no rain.
And I think I'll call it morning from now on.
Why should I survive on sadness
convince myself I've got to be alone?
Why should I subscribe to this world's
madness
knowing that I've got to live on?

I think I'll call it morning from now on.
I'm gonna take myself a piece of sunshine
and paint it all over my sky.
Be no rain. Be no rain.
I'm gonna take the song from every bird
and make them sing it just for me.
Why should I hang my head?
Why should I let tears fall from my eyes
when I've seen everything that there is to see
and I know that there ain't no sense in crying!
I know that there ain't no sense in crying!
I think I'll call it morning from now on.