Tuesday, 28 February 2012

You Can't Evict an idea.

So after over 4 months protestors have been removed and evicted from outside St Pauls Cathedral.
The right wing press would like us to think, that this the end of the story, dissent has been overcome, the people will simply dissapear.
A coordinated attempt to suppress a movement that has delivered a clear consise message, that the system t is corrupt, and the people were  sick and tired of it . The occupy movement here in Britan and across the globe has raised public awareness of corporate greed and the need for economic accountability. The message of a  need for social fairness  and the redistribution of wealth has been clearly delivered, loud and clear.
This symbol of opposition to what is now seen by many as runaway capitalist greed has been shut down, for now at least, but evicting ideas is not exactly the best way to express the powers of a political democracy.
When people come together and question the system, authorities tremble at the solidarity shown..Especially at a time when the government suffers a surge in public unpopularity.  Lets also not overlook the fact that RBS chief executive Stepen Hester's million pound bonus and it's eventual with it's eventual withdrawal, along with  his predescessor, Mr Goodwins knighthood all played out against the background of occupy.| Especially at a time when the government suffers from a surge in public unpopularity.
Protests against corporate greed and social inequality will continue, the people of the occupy movement, like wild seeds will keep spreading. By springtime, these seeds will continue to grow, spreading like it did before, moving forwards, getting stronger and stronger. 
However much they try, you simply can't kill or evict an idea, especially  when the message happens to be a populist one.

Occupy London Eviction: Tents Being Removed From St Paul's Cathedral.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Charlie Chaplin ( b16/4/1889 - 25/12/77) - Citizen of the World

Charlie Chaplin in the news recently because M.I.5  failed to determine where the silent film star was born,  does it really matter? He himself in his autobiography said 'he was born on 16th April 1889, at eight o'clock at night, in East Lane, Walworth, London but was also a self proclaimed 'citizen of the world' who did not pledge his allegiance to any specific Country or cause. The fact that nobody knows for certain where he was born certainly adds to his mystique.
He subsequently became the most well-known actor of the early 2oth century, becomming an iconic figure in his Little Tramp costume, which consisted of baggy pants, bamboo cane, bowler hat, and oversized shoes. His acting credits numbered 87 , starting of in 1914 in Making a Living  and ending with Countess from Hong Kong in 1967. His many classic films include  The tramp, (1915) The Kid (1916) A Days pleasure (1919)  The Idle Class (1920) and The Gold Rush (1925).
It is known that had socialist ideas, informed by being bought up in extreme poverty, his younger days were spent living in workhouses, and he numbered many left wing friends as his friends and acquaintances. He generally held his tongue, but after the 1930' with the film City Lights (1931)

City Lights - intro monument

 and Modern Times (1936)  which was seen by many as an overt attack on the capitalist system,  his films began carrying messages with explicit political statements, with the characters he played often taking sides with the downtrodden working class.

Chaplin's critique of Industrialization
first segmet in Modern Times.

Clip from Modern Times.

Chaplins father had died of drink by the time he was 10, and his mother unable to bear the poverty she endured,  suffered from bouts of insanity, deep experiences that never left him. He himself was an voracious reader on economic theory and philosophical treatise.A strong humanitarian he was disturbed by the rise of nationalism and the social effects of the Depression, of unemployment and of automation, and hatred of the mechanisation of the world and even devised his own Economic Solution, based on a more equitable not just of wealth but of work.
His classic film The Great Dictator (1940) saw him taking on the nazis. Here he pitted his celebrity and humour against Hitlers own celebrity and evil. He played a dual role as a jewish barber who has lost his memory in a plane accident in the First World War, and spends time in hospital before being discharged into an anti-semitic country that he does not understand, and Hynkel (Hitler) the dictator leader of Ptomainia, whose armies are the forces of the Double Cross, and will do anything along the lines to increase his possibilitis for supreme power. It ends with Chaplin in his own words giving us a message full of humanitarianism, with a sense of great hope.

Chaplins final speach in the Great Dictator

However  despite his pro-war effors, he uncritically supported the war effort, especially the Soviet Front, he was targetted by J Edgar Hoovers F.B.I who apparently saw him  as a dangerous radical and subversive, and put it about that he was a communist.
His 1947 film Monsier Verdour saw him showing mass murder and the abuse of workers in an attempt to increase business profits. He was not afraid and for the times was quite daring.  Though he atttended Communist Party meetings, he never actually admitted actual membership of the party. He was a principled man however because at the height of the McCarthy witchhunts he never betrayed any of his friends who he knew were, and continued to support and defend them, as they were forced to testify before the House of Un-American Activities Committe ( HUAC), the tide of his popularity was turning against him mainly due to the propoganda aimed at him at the time. It is possible that his independent wealth saved him, being part owner of the United Artist Movie studio, and he himself never got an invitation to testify, the witchhunters possibly afraid of the damage a brilliant comedian like Chaplin could inflict.

HUAC in action

Humanitarian, Yes . Communist??

After this he was effectively hounded out of the U.S.A, by political persecution and paranoia, being accused of 'moral depravity', he was known for his fondness of women, and had numerous affairs. His imprints were removed from the Hollywood walk of fame, such were the authorities disdain for him and were subsequently lost to the mists of time. Because  of being pilloried by the right-wing press and reactionary institutions like the American legion and all the subsequent propoganda unleashed against him he began to lose favour with the American public. Ironically in 1952 saw the release of Limelight , which could be seen as a semi-autobiographical story concerning a story about a once famous comedian who has lost his ability to command his audience, basing his performance on Frank Tinney (1877-1940) an American Black film comedian and the Spanish clown Marceline (1873 - 1927) for me personally a film of great pathos.

Charlie Chaplin in Limelight

In 1952, the United States Attorney General told him that his re-entry to the U.S would be challenged on charges of turpitude and political unreliabilty. He had never actually attained American citizenship, in the first place, he'd actually refused it, so he destoyed all his American possesions and escaped to Europe.
In 1957 he starred in The king of New York where he was the first film-maker to dare to expose, through satire and ridicule, the paranoia and political intolerance which overtook the United States in the Cold War period. It would be another 16 years until it was actually screened in America, such was its daring. He starred as the deposed king of  Estovia who flees to America where he is tormented by a McCarthy style investigation.

Exiled, he settled at the Manir de Bar in Corsier Svr Vevey, Switzerland where he was to spend the rest of his days. He did return once more to the U.S.A in 1972. As well as acting, and being a father to many children his versatility  extended to writing, composing music and sports. He was also a self-taught violinist and celloist which he played left handed.He died in his sleep on Christmas day 1977, in his home in Switzerland.
His legacy lives on, as much for his  great intellectual vision, but as  a brilliant comic who has bought me much laughter over the years with the combination of his acrobatic agility and his ability to express through the medium of film, great depths of emotion and feeling. A little man, but big in my eyes.

" Like everyone else I am what I am: an individual,
unique and different,
with a lineal history of ancestral promptings
and urgings; a history of dreams,
desires, and of special experiences,
all of which I am the sum total."
- Charlie Chaplin

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

People have the power.

Protest does work, whether by demonstrating, letter writing  or sending e.mails. Power can be achieved by sitting in an armchair and by the click of the mouse , through social media perhaps,  or by taking to the streets, participating in community action, resisting,  direct action or  by any means at ones disposal.
This week we have seen Tesco shift their policy in relation to workfare, which now means that those working 25 hours a week at one of its stores will earn around £175 compared with £55 if they had stayed on benefits. This reversal was only achieved because people shouted  out their opposition. If people had stayed silenced we would not now be in a position of  seriously undermining this Tory led Coalitions job scheme. Superdrug electronic retailer Maplins & Mind (Mental Health Charity) have all announced that they have pulled out of the scheme completely, after Waterstones and Sainsbury's also quit. Small victories can be achievable when  people work together.
When people stand together in solidarity, change can occur, if people keep pushing  decisions can be overturned. But there is never a time for complaceny, especially when we live in  a time of much urgency. Where decisions sometimes need to be overturned in a matter of immediacy.
The N.H.S bill is still being attempted to be pushed through by the Tory's even  though it is clearly in dissaray. But the government's Higher Education White Paper has now been shelved. If the people had not got angry  would Mr Stephen Hester  have an extra £1 million in his pocket, would Mr  Fred Godwin still be called a Sir. Would Murdoch's scurrious activies gone unfestered.
Meanwhile people are standing in solidarity with their neighbours, the Greeks offer us a glimpse of a society that will not be silenced. The Occupy Movement also has been a wonderful breath of fresh air, clamouring too for political change. Seeds of new ideas are flowering everywhere like flames. People connecting, saying no to austerity everywhere , in  these  tumultuous times  people are  standing up.
Anything is possible.... I guess, the air is alive and crackling, people globally looking for and demanding new explanations, answers. Subsequently we have seen oppressive leaders toppled, regime change, millions saying no to war, a rising tide against the old orders.Outside the box of corporate realms and governmental consensus, people are finding their voice, their strength, finding their power.
Still a long way to go, and  so much more to achieve, but  it is together we will achieve  real change ( not in the 'we are in it together' of Mr Cameron's lies and old school ties, because clearly we  are not, but their is a definite realisation that the future is one where the concentrated measures of wealth are not in the hands of an elite few. I believe together, as individuals or in groups we can bring about  real change, whether it be for human rights,  economic and social justice , working for a culture of peace , equality and freedom, in the words of John Lennon ' some people call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.'  Reality sandwiches, taste bitter sometimes, but one things for certain, the People have the power and by acting together in movements of solidarity , this power will grow.

Patti Smith - People have the Power.

I was dreaming in my dreaming
of an aspect bright and fair
and my sleeping it was broken
but my dream it lingered near

in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognised
and my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry

that the people have the power
to redeem the work of fools
upon the meek the graces shower
it's decreed the people rule

The people have the power
The People have the power
The people have the power
The people have the power

Vengeful aspects become suspect
and bending low as if to hear
and the armies ceased advancing
because the people had their ear

and the shepherds and the soldiers
lay beneath the stars
exchanging visions
and laying arms
to waste in the dust

in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognised
and my senses newly opened
exchanging visions
and laying arms
to waste in the dust

in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognised
and mysenses newly opened
I awakened to the cry


Where there were deserts  
I saw fountains
like the cream  the waters rise
and we strolled there together
with none to laugh or criticise
and the leopard and the lamb
lay together truly bound
I was hoping in my hoping
to recall what I had found
I was dreaming in my dreaming
god knows a pure view
as I surrender to my sleeping
I commit my dream to you


The power to dream to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it's decreed the people rule
its decreed the people rule
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth's revolution
we have the power.
People  have the power . . .

Monday, 20 February 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week: Call it as it is

This week is Israeli Apartheid week
Calling the Israeli regime as one of apartheid is not rhetoric, nor is it an exaggeration or a propaganda tool. This is the reality in modern day Palestine, where the Israeli regime is based on discrimination, through laws,practices and most aspects of life. This apartheid regime is not only imposed on the people in Palestine, but also on millions of Palestinian refugees denied their right to return home because they are the wrong religion.
As awareness across the world continues to increase regarding the Israeli Apartheid regime in Palestine, each effort in this aspect would help accelerate the conclusion of this shameful page in history. And as this awareness rises, campaigns to boycott, divest and sanction this regime provide a very effective and natural response. The world witnessed a similar response transpire and bear fruit in the case of South Africa, and there are very good reasons to believe that it will do the same in the case of Palestine.
Palestinians are also being regularly and illegally barred from reaching the Dead Sea Beaches in the occupied |West Bank according to a Supreme Court Petiton filed by Israel's leading civil rights organisation, The Association  of Civil Rights (ACRA) The Israel military is using the Ha'avera checkpoint on Route 90, the only open access route in the occupied West Bank for travel to the Dead Sea, to turn back Palestinians, mostly on weekends and on Jewish holidays. Also Israeli policies on Palestinian residency have also arbitrarily denied thousands of Palestinians the ability to live in and travel to and from the West Bank and Gaza, and according to Sarah Leah Whitsun  the director at  Human Rights Watch  " Israel has never put forth any concrete security rationale for blanket policies that have made life a nightmare for Palestinians whom it considers unlawful residents in their own homes. The current policies leave families divided and people trapped on the wrong side of the border in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel should revise these policies, and allow requests for families to re-unite, so that Palestinian can live with their families where they want.http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/05/israel-end-restrictions-palestinian-residency
Israel Apartheid Week, ( this year will be its eighth) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across across the globe. It hopes to educate people about the nature of Israel. They demand full equality for Arab citizens of Israel ( who already have it), an end to what is known as the occupation and the dismantling of the apartheid wall, with the protection of Palestinians, and their right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in U.N resolution 194. Also the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held in Cape Town 2011 which used International Law as its basis found Israel guilty of the crime of apartheid and the persecution of the Palestinians, http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/.
The Wall is but one element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian residents of the West Bank. There are over 600 closure obstacles blocking Palestinian movement within the West Bank. In addition, the system of roads is segregated: travel on hundreds of kilometres in the West Bank is restricted or prohibited outright for Palestinians, whereby Israelis are able to travel about freely. About one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is completely prohibited to Palestinians without a special permit issued by the Israeli military.
These severe restrictions violate not only the right to freedom of movement. They also effectively prevent Palestinian residents from excercising a wide reange of other human rights, including their right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living. Farmers are stopped from assessing their fields and thus from exersising their right to sustain their livelihood. Many Palestinians are also prevented from seeking work outside their locality. Children are prevented from accessing schools and students face restrictions in choosing their university of choice. Patiients are prevented from assessing hospitals, blocking them from exercising their right to the highest sustainablr standard of health , and so on.
Yesterday amazingly it was announced that the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy would dispatch 'envoys' around the world in an attempt to undermine plans for Israeli Apartheid week and in effect legitimise Israel's actions, as they have done time and time again.
However  Former Attorney General of Israel Avi Zer-Aviv http://www.shalomlife.com/news/5170/israeli-apartheid-fact-or-fiction/ says
"Despite its best intentions, Israel has created a system of seperation in the West Bank which fits the textbook definition of apartheid. According to Michael Ben-Yair, Attorney General of Israel throughout the nineties, "in effect, we established an apartheid regime in the Occupied Territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day." He is not alone in asserting this perspective. Many notable Israelis like Meron Benvenisti, Akiva Elder, and Shulamit Aloni, to mention a few, agree that Israeli style apartheid is a reality."

At this moment in time, around the world a new internationalism is being formed. People are standing in solidarity with each other in struggle. Standing together for democracy, equality, human rights and economic justice. After 63 years of struggle, is it not the Palestinians time,  as they resolve to continue their struggle against Colonisation, occupation and apartheid, an inspiration to movements struggling for freedom , justice and equality around the world.
Palestine I hope, too  will soon be free. 
Israeli Apartheid Week in Europe is 
February 20 -March 10

No one is free until everyone is free!

Sunday, 19 February 2012


      Every little helps Tesco say
      Every little  labour without pay 
      Helps Tesco profits grow
      when the wages are Zero  

      Every little bit of free labour
      Means they can get bigger and BIGGER
      Every little bit means they get richer
      whils't the poorest people just get poorer

      Every little bit helps Tesco grow
      Until they're everywhere you go
      Tesco extra and Tesco metro
      Tesco gaming and Tesco Petrol

      Tesco optician and Tesco phone
      Tesco bank and Tesco at home
      Tesco direct and Tesco online
      Tesco clothing and Tesco wine

      Tesco finance and Tesco optician
      Tesco sports and Tesco television
      Tesco can even create a place for you to defecate in harmony and contemplation 
      If you sign up for Tesco finest Bathroom design consultation

      I step out to the left and every little corner shop's gone  
      And in its place another Tesco Metro Tesco.con   
      I step out to the right and the post office is no longer there
      But Tesco is - offering cheap mobile phones and half price beer

      Tesco value range - value for who
      Certainly not for me or you
      Value for Tesco means engaging in slave labour
      They're snatching your friend and they're snatching your neighbour

      Work for free and they won't promise you a job
      The name of their game is to make a few bob 
      They're open all night
      And they're doing all right

      Making billions of pounds of profit each year
      Thanks to their friends in government and to workfare
      One thousand four hundred people worked without pay
      Whilst only three hundred got to stay

      This is enslavement  of the unemployed
      But they can't understand why we're annoyed
      Every little Teco Work Fare
      Should be replaced with work that's fair

     With a living wage for every employee
     Not a scheme of exploitation and slavery
     Every little help that Tesco helps itself to for free    
     Is a crime against freedom and humanity
     Every little Tesco metro
      needs to go
     until people not profit are put first
     As  the Tesco bubble's about to burst

Zita Holbourne is a performance poet, spoken word artist, visual artist
and a Community & Trade Union Activist



Friday, 17 February 2012

No to workfare.

As unemployment continues to blight the lives of millions, Britains biggest private sector employer is taking on staff for free.Tesco's claim that 1,400 people have worked  their in past 4 months without pay. Only 300 got a job. This is outrageous, but this kind of thing happens it seems under tory led governments. In  reality, workfare is part of the governments welfare to work 'experience' programme in which they force the unfortunate who happen to be claiming JSA to work to work full-time stacking shelves at profiteering superstores. They do however get a bus fare thrown in. No wage, doing the same work as someone else who gets paid. It's the start of a dangerous slippery slope.
NAWRA ( National Association of Welfare Rights Advisors)http://www.nawra.org.uk/ says" This proposal
is very worrying. They are completely inadequate legal and medical safeguards - bearing in mind that these are people witl long-term health problems and disabilitis, often serious ones. Compulsary, unpaid work may worsen some people's health, with the consequences of the DWP's savings being passed on to the NHS at greater cost. If jobs are there to be done, people should get the rate for the job, instead of being part of a growing, publicly funded, unpaid workforce which, apart from being immoral, actually destroys paid jobs."

As Owen Jones on Question Time last night brilliantly stated this is not on. Tesco's however are not the only ones, engaged in this dubious practice, there are a lot of other high street stores that have actively got involved -Asda, Holland & Barrett, Primark, H.M.V, TK Maxx and Top Shop and others. If the uproar and contoversy surrounding this  continues, many will withdraw from it.
This is the predatory economy David Cameron is creating where the poor become throw away fodder for the richest in their greedy pursuit of more.
This is wrong and if you agree with me there is a government e-petition that you can sign here which is gaining much momentum as I write.


Interesting related  article in the Guardian Newspaper. can be found here.


Oh and another thing:-
Britain 1834 Poor Law
1. No able bodied person to recieve money or other help from the Poor Law authorities except in a workhouse.
2. Conditions in workhouses were to be made very harsh to discourage people from wanting to recieve help.

Britain in the near futre
1. No able-bodied person to recieve money or other help from the authorities except in slave/voluntary labor
2. Conditions in voluntary/slave labour to be made very harsh to discourage people from wanting to recieve help.
Welcome to Tory Britain, slipping back in time.

Article 4, human rights:-
coerced or forced labour is a crime against a persons human rights.

enough said.....

                                           NO TO WORKFARE

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein and Alfonso Cuaron

A short and impressive film drawing on Naoni Klein's book 'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.
Directed by  Alfonso Cuaron, director of 'Children of Men'.
Capitalism, it sure does not look as if it's working to me.

 One World, one Revolution

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mamos - Heaven's prequel

Mamos is the pen name of a revolutionary, christian, activist, teacher , poet, living in the middle of the spiritual desert that is the U.S .
His words offer us a powerful, resonant, fierce immediacy. His poetry for me connects,  and he seems to use words  like bullets or as seeds for change. Political poetry has a long standing tradition in America and world history. Poetry used as paths of liberation, and as messages of hope.
Daily we hear tales of economic misery,  of economic injustice, but voices of  opposition are getting louder. I guess we live in an age where there is no time for complacency. Voices like Mamos's provide us with visions of our anger and frustration, and our demand for real change.

Heaven's prequel

A spken word poem inspired  by the same piece as the title of  Black Orchid's recent zine " Between the zeal of the young and the patince of the old". http://blackorchidcollective.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/reflections_antipolice_seattle/

We won't be revolutionairies,
we'll be the revolution.

We are the fault lines
the divine sign
and when it comes time
we'll be feelin fine

'Cause we'll take your profits
break them
the things we need
we'll make them
we'll put you in the cemetery
if you try to take them.

Because change
is somewhere between destruction and creation.
It's the pent up creativity after centuries of alienation.
It's the bread riot 'cause we need to eat
It's the love dance we start in the street
'cause we can't wait to find a place to meet
ad besides,
we just abolished the whole concept of temptation.

So why are you still here bragging about your nation?
Fuck your orders and your bombs and all your plantations

We are the global upheaval
Nat Turner's sequel
Marx's equal
and heaven's prequel.

And yeah, we're stormin' it-
fuck what's realistic, we're steadily ignoring it
'cause what's on our plate
is way more drastic than 1968
and even back then our graffiti was explorin it
"Demand the Impossible"
not the same old boring shit

Because communism
is somewhere between "where the people are at"
and utopia
between the crowd's spontaneous upsurge
and heaven's door opening
between democratic workers' councils
and the end of work as we've known it

We won't be communists
we will be communism
just like when we wer workers
we breathed capitalism,
ate, drank, and pissed everyone of its divisions
and each day reproduced that horrible condition

when shit pops off we'll be breathing liberation
drinking freedom
and eating emancipation
reproducing prophets
who speak in conversation
not so much laboring
as being our creation
not so much working for it
more like generation
of everything between us
that concieves revelation

More fine words here

Friday, 10 February 2012


Palestinians in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan are living in fear of imminent eviction. Last week Israeli authorities posted demolition orders on several houses in Silwan's al- Bustan neighbourhood, which they plan to develop into a theme park. With 1,000 people set to lose their homes, this would be the largest single mass demolition since 1967. Three days before the orders were issued, Israel shut down a local football club and a kindergarten.

Please take urgent action to help the Palestinians of Silwan save their homes

Silwan lies just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. Since the early 1990s the town has been targeted for Israeli settlement, largely coordinated by a charity called Elad (the city of David Foundation). For the al- Bustan neighbourhood Elad's plans are to build the "King's Gardens", a theme park for tourists to walk in the footsteps of the biblical King Soloman. But this  means sending in bulldozers to knock down the homes of families who have lived there for generations.

Even the British government has criticised the plans. On 30 December, minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said, " I condemn the decision by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee to build additional structures in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan... This is another provocative and deeply counter-productive step, the latest in a series by the Israeli authoritis." Yet Burt and the British government have done nothing to back up the comment, and continuesto offer Israel preferential treatment. This sends a message to the Israeli government that it can ignore the criticisms.

Please ask your MP to demand that the government takes concrete action to stop the bulldozers.


At present many children from Silwan take their toys to school every day, not wanting toleave behind in case their homes are knocked down. Your action will help end this climate of fear

Thak you for taking action to save Silwan

Best wishes

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

75th Anniversary of the Battle of Jarama


This month marks the 75th anniversary of the battle of Jarama in the Spanish Civil War, seven months following the army revolt led by Franco on July 18th 1936. Almost immediately foreign volunteers enlisted in left wing militias to defend the Spanish Republic.
On February 7th the fascists unleashed an offensive on the Jarama Valley, the river was strategically important, and their the aim  was of cutting communications between Valencia and Madrid, and hence the Republican Forces.
Jarama was the first battle that the British Batallion of International Brigadiers went into battle, with as many as 500 British volunteers fighting.
Jarama marked the beginning of a bruising and often dispirited campaign. By the end of the first day of battle, the British batallion found itself with less than half the number they had set out with, the next few days were a bloody brutal ordeal.On February 12th the British, deployed in the hills on the east bank of the river Jarama, in a place that became known as 'Suicide Valley",  the fascists were able to virtually surround the British Batallion  but even though they were outnumbered, they still  managed to keep the fascists at bay, but suffered  heavy losses.
On February the 18th the brigadiers lauched a counter attack, but this was stopped by the fascists. Despite the poor conditons, the brigadiers managed to stand firm , which resulted in a stalemate situation that would carry on untill the end of the war.  Of the 500 brave men only 140 survived, the memory of this battle haunting them for many years later. But the vital road that Franco needed to have cut remained open.  I remember those who throughout this conflict their faith and ideals remained intact,with their bravery, sacrifice and committment to their noble cause. Comrades that stood together and fought for good against  the evils of fascism.
No pasaran.

                                             The battle of Jarama 1937

A poem by the young International Brigades volunteer John Lepper charts the day's fighting in the Jarama valley .With music by John Webster with Brindaband featuring flamenco guitarist Steve Homes.Followed by two more reflections on this battle.

Battle of Jarama - John Lepper.

The sun warmed the valley
But no birds sang
The sky was rent with shrapnel
And metallic clang

Death stalked the olive trees
Picking his men
His leaden finger beckoned
Again and again

Dust rose from the roadside
A stifling cloud
Ambulances tore past
Klaxoning loud

Men torn by shell-shards lay
Still on the ground
The living sought shelter
Not to be found

Holding their hot rifles
Flushed with the fight
Sweat-streaked survivors
Willed for the night

With the coming  of darkness
Deep in the wood
A fox  howled to heaven
Smelling the blood.

Jarama Front - T.A.R Hyndman

I tried not to see,
But heard his voice.
How brown the earth
And green the trees.
One tree was  his he could not move.
Wounded all over,
He lay there  moaning.

I hardly  knew:
I tore his  coat
it was easy -
Shrapnel had helped.

But he was dying
And the blanket sagged.
'God bless you, comrades,
He will thank you.'
That was all.
No slogan,
No clenched fist
Except in pain.

                                             Jarama Valley - Woody Guthrie

Jarama - A.M. Elliot

Unrisen dawns had dazzled in your eyes,
Your hearts were hungry for the not yet born.
In  agony of thwarted love and wasted life,
Through all long misery, from countries torn
With savage hands, you did not shrink or bend,
But marched on straighter, prouder to the end.

Not blindly, fighting in another's war
Lured by cheap promises and dugged with drums,
Striking down brothers in the name of lies,
Slaves of the blackest with all senses numbed-
But clear-eyed, bravely, counting all the cost,
Knowing what might be won, what might be lost.

The rifles you will never hold again
In other hands will speak against the night.
Brothers have filled your places in the ranks
Who will remember how you died for right
The day you took those rifles up, defied
The power of ages, and victorious died.

Comrades, sleep now. For all you loved shall be.
You did not seek for death, but finding it-
And such a death - better than shameful life,
Rest now content. A flame of hope is lit.
The flag of freedom floats again unfurled
And all you loved lives richer in the world.

 Civil War Veteran in his own words.

Poems reprinted from
The Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse

Two earlier posts of interest here


Sunday, 5 February 2012

William S. Burroughs (5/2/14 - 2/8/97) - Happy Birthday Bill.

That genius Uncle Bill would have been 94 if he was still around. Then again his benevolent spirit still resonates here at teifidancer. Still remembered, this invisible man whose echoes still penetrates todays present. A true subversive always travels in disguise, the masks that are weaved are what shape us. Adventuror's beyond control.Soft voices in rythym still gently explode.
Listen all you boards, syndicates, governments of the world. Pay it all, pay it all back.
those crimson shadows, raising pen to a point, tales of twists , rubs it all out, we sit and wait for silence,
nothing lasts forever, only the usual manoeuvres, in the distance the motionless brake,the dark air carries the cry, moves through memory and saunters by, forbidden words that gather sorcery,and yes no borders are necessary, fragments follow crooked constellations, best to observe, shut out the order, there are no accidents, nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen. Smash the control images, smash the control machine.
                                              Willliam S . Burroughs - Is everybody in?

William S.Burroughs - Twilights last gleaming

Williams S. Burroughs - Pantopen Rose

William S. Burroughs - words of advice for young people.