Sunday, 22 January 2017

Is it OK to punch Nazis?

"Punching Nazi's" has been trending across social media, here's a little disclaimer from me, it really is a tried and tested method, a simple act of resistance that has been proven to work  let's continue it until a whole generation has learnt it's the thing to do. Punch Nazi's and organise!
There should be no tolerance for intolerance. Those who preach racial hatred and instigate racism, from Hitler, Mussolini  to white nationalist Richard Spenser above ( who is well known for his promotion of white supremacist views, at the time of the incident in video, Mr. Spencer was explaining the meaning of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure adopted as a mascot by the alt-right, a racist, far-right fringe movement that is anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist. ) deserve all that's coming to them.
Remember there is nothing civil about fascists in the first place.
Mr. Spencer said he was worried about being attacked again.“I don’t think I could go out to an inauguration event without bodyguards or a protest or a conference,” he said. “I am more worried about going out to dinner on an average Tuesday because these kind of people are roaming around.”
On Periscope, Mr. Spencer also expressed concern about the spread of the footage of the attack online.“I’m afraid this is going to become the meme to end all memes,” he said. “That I’m going to hate watching this.” So from the horses mouth, punching a nazi works. And if you fail to get your message across you need to punch harder.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Donald Trump: the world is watching

Currently in light of the Trump presidency, and  following yesterdays post am feeling quite numb. But I also  realise that we are all now living in  days of anxiety, fear and confusion and a period of deep transition. We must continue to bear witness and try to keep hope alive, let love triumph not the forces of racism and hate, standing  up against the forces of the far right and the politics of hate by continuing to build Bridges Not Walls, refusing to accept a world where bigotry and extreme right wing views and language are accepted.
Donald Trump now the leader of the most powerful countries in the world for at least four years wants you to give up and let him shape the world in his backward vision.For anyone concerned  about human rights, the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, be under no illusion, poses an acute threat to the global human rights movement. He’s threatened our planet and he’s threatened Muslims, women and countless others with his hate filled rhetoric with echos of the 1930's ,and it should be noted that currently the White House has removed its climate change web page, and the healthcare, civil rights and LGBT sections. The election of Donald Trump makes our world an incredibly dangerous place. If you believe another world is possible,now is not the time to simply sit back  and watch the Donald Trump show from the sidelines, we must continue to resist Trumpism,  and combat the conditions that allowed its emergence.
As Donald J. Trump starts his term as 45th President of the United States, tell him to abandon the hateful rhetoric and promise to stand up for human rights for everyone in America and around the world.

Take action :

 Will you stand up for human rights , President Trump?

Another world is possible.

an earlier poem:-

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Apologies some Sally Oldfield , for the mighty furbster Jane Elizabeth Husband ( (9/5/60 - 8/1/17) cheers - Love is everywhere

as fires flicker

and tears are shed

in numbness

my own eyes dripping wet

charged now

with  everlasting love

gliding and glittering

in a thousand different ways

trusting and always knowing

when dreams overflow

love is everywhere.

Linton Kwesi Johnson - New Crass Massahkah

On this day  in 1981 13 young people died in a fire  in New Cross, London, after a party  in a suspected racist attack. The police bungled the investigation  and no one was arrested or prosecuted.  The police interrogating party goes as if they were criminals rather than victims.
Sickeningly racist abuse was sent to victims families.
In the immediate aftermath of the fire to voice anger against the authorities apathy a march took place across London, involving about 15,000 black people.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Wonderful news: Chelsea Manning's Sentence Commutted


Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, the US army soldier,,one of the most prominent whistleblowers in modern times who with immense bravery exposed the nature of modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who then went on to pay the price with a 35-year military prison sentence,will  now be released on May 17, instead of remaining in military custody until 2045 as originally sentenced,as a gift from outgoing President Barack Obama.
This momentous announcement of a commutation  that can not be reversed by a future president, that I didn't think was actually going to happen.does not compensate in any way though, for the brutal treatment Chelsea was illegally subjected to while awaiting trial at the Quantico Marine Brig , having to spend 7-years imprisoned for releasing documents that should never have been classified in the first place, that were clearly in the public interest, that helped shed light on human rights abuses, war crimes, corruption, and government deception. Manning twice attempted suicide last year,also going on a hunger strike which only ended after the military agreed to provide her with gender transition treatment. at the male military prison where she was being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as a result of the terrible ordeal that she was forced  to endure.
Chelsea lived for four years as a teenager here in Wales. Her Welsh family have said in a statement that they were "overjoyed", adding that there would "always be a welcome for her here in Wales". 
Congratulations Chelsea, and thank you to the to all the people across the country and the world who stood by her in  their unrelenting support for her cause. Without them, this day would not have been possible, this victory is a victory for all who continued to stand with her.For once justice has prevailed. Let us hope that Chelsea, this deeply sensitive intelligent  heroic woman, who has inspired millions around the world, now gets the life that she has been denied for years. I cannot wait for the day that she actually walks free.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

What are years - Marianne Moore ( 15/11/ 1887 - 5/2/ 72)

Death takes us all, we never know when, life is all about letting go, at moment I feel a presence so deep, a drifting cloud so full of love. In trying difficult circumstances , we have to try and remember we are all the same, we are all exposed, all equal, it’s our individuality that distinguishes one among others and our inspiring strength that encourages others even at death, all of us naked none of us safe. We are imprisoned in a world of mortality , and because of this we must fight everyday to give meaning to our lives. At this present time I take comfort in the belief that the soul never dies, it continues to live on after death. 
The following poem by American modernist poet Marianne Moore  I hope helps explore my drifting thoughts deeper.

What are years

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt, —
dumbly calling, deafly listening—that
in misfortune, even death,
encourage others
and in its defeat, stirs
the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
in its surrendering
finds its continuing.
So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Remembering Chartist leaders found guilty of high treason in Newport Rising of 1839

The People’s Charter had been launched in the spring of 1838 to demand universal male suffrage and other egalitarian electoral reforms. - See more at:
The People’s Charter had been launched in the spring of 1838 to demand universal male suffrage and other egalitarian electoral reforms. - See more at:
The People's Charter had been launched in the spring of 1838. The Chartists wanted the vote for all men (though not for women) and a fairer electoral system. They also called for annual elections, the payment of MPs, and the introduction of a secret ballot.Working conditions in many coalfields and ironworks in South Wales were harsh, and there was often conflict between workers and employers. Given these circumstances, it was no surprise that Chartism developed quickly. In the summer of 1838 a Working Men's Association was formed in Newport, Monmouthshire to publicise the People's Charter. Within six months, the radical leader John Frost estimated that there were between 15,000 and 20,000 Chartists in the county of Monmouthshire.Chartism fought for democratic demands, but it was not solely a democratic movement, it was a revolutionary class struggle to change society. William Price, a Pontypridd Chartist leader said: "Oppression, injustice and the grinding poverty which burdens our lives must be abolished for all time."

In May 1838 eloquent public speaker  Henry Vincent, well known locally for his speaking tour of South Wales a year earlier, on 2 August all of 20 miles away in Monmouth was arrested for making inflammatory speeches. When he was tried on the 2nd August at Monmouth Assizes he was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. Vincent was denied writing materials and only allowed to read books on religion.
Chartists in Wales were furious and the decision was followed by several outbreaks of violence.John Frost toured Wales making speeches urging people not to break the law. Instead Frost called for a massive protest meeting to show the strength of feeling against the imprisonment of Henry Vincent. Frost's plan was to march on Newport where the Chartists planned to demand the release of Vincent.
The authorities in Newport heard rumours that the Chartists were armed and planned to seize Newport. Stories also began to circulate that if the Chartists were successful in Newport, it would encourage others all over Britain to follow their example.On 4 November 1839, 5,000 men roused with much anger  marched into Newport ,and attempted to take control of the town. They marched to  Westgate Hotel, where they had heard that after several more arrests, local authorities were temporarily holding several chartists, began chanting "surrender our prisoners". Troops protecting the hotel were then given the order to begin firing into the crowd, killing at least 22 people, and another fifty being wounded and resulted  in  the uprising being bought to an abrupt end. Among the injured was a Chartist named John Lovell, who was shot in the thigh and badly wounded. It would be the last large scale uprising in the history of  mainland Britain.

                                                   the attack on Westgate Hotel
Following the Newport defeat, South Wales was placed under martial law and hundreds of Chartists arrested or forced into hiding.Within days  many of the alleged the ringleaders including Frost were arrested and in December they were accused of high treason. John Lovell, Charles Waters, Jenkin Morgan, Richard Benfield and John Rees , on the advice of their counsels, were urged to plead guilty in the hopes that the Crown prosecutors could prevail upon the Judges to set the death penalty aside in their cases and on the 15 January 1840, they appeared together in court and pleaded guilty. The remaining four Chartists in Monmouth gaol - James Aust, Solomon Brtton, George Turner, Edmund Edmunds, were brought before the bar where to everyone's amazement, the Attorney General withdrew all charges against them and they were freed with a verbal admonishment.
 However on 16th January 1840, Lord Chief Justice Judge Tindal  having found them guilty  sentenced  John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones to a traitors death of hanging, drawing and quartering, the last time such a sentence was issued in the UK.
                                          Zepaniah Williams, John Frost, William Jones
The severity of the sentences shocked many people and thanks to the vigorous lobbying and protests  in support of the convicted Chartists, it led to to their sentences being commuted to transportation for life.When they actually received a total pardon in 1856. Jones stayed in Australia as a watchmaker and Williams stayed in Tasmania, where he subsequently made his fortune discovering coal. However, John Frost, who had worked as a school teacher in Tasmania, returned to Britain, where he received a triumphant welcome in Newport.
The Newport rising was a turning point for the Chartist movement. 'Physical force Chartism' was no longer popular however, and an uprising of the size seen in Newport for the time being has never happened again. However the movement gained strength and popularity throughout Britain and although it failed its purpose at the time, five of the Six Points of the original Charter which the Chartists had campaigned for have since been conceded, only the demand for Annual Parliaments not so far being accepted. A beautiful mural  as written about here previously:-
depicting four scenes from the Newport Rising, located in a pedestrian underpass in the city, was  recently shamefully destroyed to make way for a shopping center.
Long may the Chartists struggle and its leaders be remembered who helped give voice to the popular misery and discontent of the time in their struggle for democracy.