Sunday, 29 April 2012

Emma Goldman (27/6/1869 - 14/5/40 ) - ANARCHISM : WHAT IT REALLY STANDS FOR.

Emma Goldman was deemed controversial in her own lifetime, with Teddy Rossevelt calling her a "madwoman.. mental.... as well as a moral pervert." In her life she was certainly not one who bowed down to convention or compromise. Her ideas were all about the right to stay alive in ones senses, to live in a world that celebrated this. She certainly lived her life with a fierce intensity, with her unthwarted desire for freedom and all it's possibilities. Her creed was one of individualism and essentially libertarianism and spent her lifre conumed by its spirit of revolt. A Russian Jewish immigrant at the age of 17, she moved by her own efforts from seamstress in a clothing factory to become an internationally known radical lecturer, writer and friend of the oppressed.  She was many things I guess, a feminist, a writer of vision, incredible public speaker but was first and foremost an anarchist. Her writing and ideas covered a variety of issues, including aethiesm, freedom of speech, capitalism, free love and women's suffrage. From the 18-90s and for years thereafter, America reverberated with the sound of her name. She was jailed for inciting riots, advocating birth control, and is their at nearly evert turnpoint in America's 20th Century history.Some have argued that it was her passion that was her undoin, her unwavering committment to her ideals..... but it was because she loved the world and had so much thirst for it that she gave back 100 percent. Oh there a Welsh connection too, because in June 1925 ahe married a coal miner from Carmarthenshire named James Cotton in order to obtain British citizenship, In Wales too, she found people who shared her  vision and her calls for social justice. Over 60 years after her death she remains an iconic figure to many, and below I republish one of her more celebrated works. Her most fundamental message was the paradoxical command to be yourself and be your own commander-in-chief. The possibilities and expectations of her words still commanding hope.
                                              Ever reviled, accursed, ne'er understood
                                                 Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
                                               "Wreck of all order," cry the multitude,
                                                   " Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage."
                                              O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven
                                                  The truth that lies behnd a word to find,
                                               To them the word's right meaning was not given.
                                                   They shall continue blind among the blind.
                                               But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
                                                    Thou sayest all which i for goal have taken.
                                                I give to thee to the future! Thine secure
                                                     When each at least unto himself shall waken.
                                                Comes it in sunshine? In the tempes's thrill?
                                                      I cannot tell-but it the earth shall see!
                                                 I am an Anarchist!   Wherefore I will 
                                                      Not rule, and also ruled I will not be!
                                                                                                  -  JOHN HENRY MACKAY    

The history of human growth and development is at the same time the history of the terrible struggle of every new idea heralding the approach of a brighter dawn. In its tenacious hold on tradition, the Old has never hesitated to make use of the foulest and cruelest means to stay the advent of the New, in whatever form or period the latter may have asserted itself. Nor need we retrace our steps into the distant past to realize the enormity of opposition, difficulties, and hardships placed in the path of every progressive idea. The rack, the thumbscrew, and the knout are still with us; so are the convict's garb and the social wrath, all conspiring against the spirit that is serenely marching on.
Anarchism could not hope to escape the fate of all other ideas of innovation. Indeed, as the most revolutionary and uncompromising innovator, Anarchism must needs met with the combined ignorance and venom of the world it aims to reconstruct.
To deal even remotely with all that is being said and done gainst Anarchism would necessiate the writing of a whole volume. I shall therefore meet two of the principal objections. in doing so. I shall attempt to elucidate what Anarchism stands for.
The strange phenomenon of the opposition to Anarchism isthat it brings to light the relation between so-called intelligence and ignorance. And yet this is not so very strange when we consider the relativity of all things. the ignorant mass hasin its favor that it makes no pretense of knowledge or tolerance. Acting, as it always does,by mere impulse, its reasons are like those of a child. "Why?" "Because." Yet the opposition of the uneducated to Anarchism deserves the same consideration as that of the intelligent man.
What, then, are the objections? First, Anarchism is impractical, though a beautiful ideal. Second, Anarchism stands for violence and destruction, hence it must be repudiated as vile and dangerous. Both the intelligant man and the ignorant mass judge not from a thorough knowledge of the subjct, but either from hearsay or false interpretation.
A practical schem, says Oscar Wilde, is either one already in existence, or a scheme that could be carried out under the existing conditions; but it is exactly the existing conditions that one objects to, and any scheme that could accept these conditions is wrong and foolish. The true criterion of the practical, therefore, is not whether the latter can keep intact the wrong or foolish; rather is it whether the scheme has vitality enough to leave thestagnant waters of the old, and build, as well as sustain, new life. In the light of this coception, Anarchism is indeed practical. More than any other idea, it is helping to do away with the wrong and foolish; more than any other idea, it is building and sustaining new life.
The emotions of the ignorant man are continuously  kept at a pitch by the most blood-curdling stories about Anarchism. Not a thing too outrageous to be employed against this philosophy and its exponents. Therefore  Anarchism represents to the unthinking what the proverbial bad man does to the child,- a black monster bent on swallowing everything; in short, destruction and violence.
Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction is the veruy thing that Anarchism is combatting? Nor is he aware that Anarchism, whose roots, as it were, are part of nature's forces, destroys, not healthful tissue, but parasitic  growths that feed on the life's essence of society. It is merely clearing the soil from weeds and sagebrush, that it may eventually bear healthy fruit.
Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. The widespread mental indolence, so prevalent in society, proves this to be only too true. Rather than to go to the bottom of any given idea, to examine into its origin and meaning, most people will either condemn it altogether, or rely on some superficial or prejudicial definition of non-essentials.
Anarchism urges man to think, to investigate, to analyse every proposition; but that the brain capacity of the average reader be not taxed to much, I also shall begin with a definition, and then elaborate on the latter.

      ANARCHISM:- The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by
         man- made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore  
         wrong and harmful, as well as unecessary.

the new social order rests, of course, on the materialistic basis of life; but while all Anarchists agree that the main evil today is an economic one, they maintain that the solution of that evil can be brought about only through the consideration of every phrase of life,- individual, as well as the collective; the internal, as well as the external phases.
A thourough perusal  of the history of human development will disclose two elements in bitter conflict with each other; elements that are only now beginning to be understood, not as foreign to each other, but as closely related and truly harmonious, if only placed in proper environment: the individual and social instincts. The individual and society have waged a relentless and bloody battle for ages, each striving for supremacy, because each was blind to the falue and importance of the other. The individual and social instincts,- the one a most potent factor for individual endeavor, for growth, aspiration, self- realzation; the other an equally potent factor for mutual helpfulness and social well-being.
The explanation of the storm raging within the individual, and between him and his surroundings, is not far to seek. The primitive man, unable to understand his being, much less the unity of all kife, felt himself absolutely dependent on blind, hidden forces ever ready to mock and taunt him. Out of that attitude grew the religious concepts of man as a mere speck of dust dependent on superor powers on high, who can only be appeased by complete surrender. All the early sagas rest on that idea, which continue to be the Leitmotiv of the biblical tales dealing with the relation of man to God, to the State, to society. Again and again the same motif, man is nothing, the powers are everything. Tus Jehovah would only endure man on condition of complete surrender. Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become concious of himself. The State, society, and moral laws all sing the same  refrain: Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become cocios of himself.
Anarchism is the only philosophy which brings to man the consciousness of himself; which maitains that God, the State, and society are non-existent, that their promises are null and void, since they can be only fulfilled through man's subordination. Anarchism is therefore theteacher of the unity of life; not merely in nature, but in man. There is no conflict betwwwn the individual and the social instincts, any more than there is between the heart and the lungs: the one the recepacle of a precious life essence, the other the repository of the element that keeps the essence pure and strong. The individual is the heart of society, conserving the essence of social life; society is the lungs which are distributing the elemnr to keep the life essence- that is, the individual - pure and strong.
"The one thing of value in the world," says Emerson, "is the active soul; this every man contains within him. The soul active sees absolute truth and utters truth and creates." In other words, the individual instinct is the thing of value in the world. It is the true soul that sees and creates the truth alive, out of which is to come a still greater truth, the re-born, social soul.
Anarchism is the great liberator of man from the phantoms that have held him captive; it isthe arbiter and pacifier of the two forces for individual and social harmony. To accomplish that unity, Anarchism has declared war on the pernicious influences which have so far prevented the harmonious blending of individual and social instincts, the individual and society.
Religion, the dominion of human needs; and Government, the dominion of human conduct, represent the stronghold of man's enslavement and all the horrors it entails. Religion! How it dominates man's mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began. Anarchism rouses man to rebellion against the black monster. Break your mental fetters, says Anarchism to man, for not until you think and judge for yourself will you get rid of the dominion of darkness, the greatest obstacle to all progress.
Property, the dominion of man's needs, the denial of the right to satisfy his needs. Time was when property claimed a divine right, when it came to man with the sme refrain, even as religion, "Sacrifice! Abnegate! Submit!" The spirit of Anarchism has lifted man from his prostrate position. He now stands erect, with his face toward the light. He has learned to see the insatiable devouring, devastating nature of property, and he is preparing to strike the monster dead.
"Property is robbery," said the great French Anarchist Proudhon. Yes, but without risk and danger to the robber. Monopolizing the accumulated efforts of man, property has robbed him of his birthright, and has turned him loose a pauper and an outcast.

Proudhan  in 1865.

Property has not even the time-worn excuse that man does not create enough to satisfy all needs. The A B C student of economics knows that the productivitey of labour within the last few decades far exceeds normal demand. But what are normal demands to an abnormal institution? The only demand that property recognises is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade. America is particularly boastful of her great power, her enormous national wealth. Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation arte wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor,in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soillness army of human prey.
It is generally conceded that unless the returns of any business venture exceed the cost, bankruptcy is inevitable. But those engaged in the business of producing wealth have not yet learned even this simple lesson. Every year the cost of production in human life is growing larger (50,000 killed, 100,000 wounded in America last year); the returns to the masses who help to create wealth, are ever getting smaller. Yet America continues to be blind to the inevitable banruptcy of our business of production. Nor is this the only crime of the latter.  Still more fatal is the crime of turning the producer into a mere particle of a machine, with less will and decision than his master of steel and iron. Man is being robbed not merely of the products of his labor, but of the power of free initiative, of originality, and the interest in, or desire, for, the things he is making.
Real wealh consists in things of utility and beauty, in things that help to create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in. But if man is doomed to wind cotton around a spool, or dig coal, or build roads for thirty years of his life, there can be no talk of wealth. What he gives to the world is only gray and hideous things, reflecting a dull and hideous existence, - too weak to live, too cowardly to die. Strange to say, there are people who extol this deadening method of centralized production as the proudest achievement of our age. They fail utterly to realize that if we are to continue in machine subserviency, our slavery is more complete than our bondage to the King. They do not want to know that centralization is not only the death knell of liberty, but also of health and beauty, of art and science, all these being impossible in a clock-like , mechanical atmosphere.
Anarchism cannot but repudiate such a method of production: its goal is the freest possible expression of all the latent powers of the individual. Oscar Wilde defines a perfect personality as "one who develops under perfect conditions, who is not wounded, maimed, or in danger." A perfect personality, then, is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose the mode of work, the conditions of work, and the freedom to work. One to whom the making of a table, the building of a house, or the tiling of the soil, is what the painting is to the artist and the discovery to the scientist, - the result of inspiration, of intense longing, and deep interest in work as a creative force. That being the ideal of Anarchism, its economic arrangements must consist of voluntary productive and distributive associations, gradually developing into free communism, as the best means of producing with the least waste of human energy. Anarchism, however, also recognizes the right of the individual, or numbers of individuals, to arrange at all times for other forms of work, in harmony with their tastes and desires.
Such free display of human energy being possible only under complete individual and social freedom, Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organised authority, or statutory law, - the dominion of human conduct.
Just as religion has fettered the human mind, and as property, or the monopoly of things, has subdued and stifled man's needs, so has the State enslaved his spirit, dictating, every phase of conduct. "All government in essence," says Emerson, "is tyranny." It matters not whether it is government by divine right or majority rule. In every instance its aim is the absolute subordination of the individual.
Referring to the American government, the greatest American Anarchist, David Thoreau , said: "Government, what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpared to posterity, but each instance losing its integity; it has not the vitality and force of a single living man. Law never made man a whit more just; and by means of their respect for it, even the well disposed are daily made agents of injustice."

Henry David Thoreau ( 12/7/17 - 6/5// 62)


Indeed, the keynote of government is injustice. With the arrogance and self-sufficiency of the King who could do no wrong, governments ordain, judge, condemn, and punish the most insignificent offenses, while maintaining themselves by the greatest off all offenses, the annihiliation of individual liberty. Thus Ouida is right when she maintains that the "State only aims at instilling those qualities in its public by which its demands are obeyed, and its exchequer is filled. Its highest achievement is the reduction of nankind to clockwork. In its atmosphere all those finer and more delicate liberties, which require treatment and spacious expansion, inevitably dry up and perish. The State requires a taxpaying machine in which there is no hitch, an exchequer in which there is never a deficit, and a public, monotonous, obedient, colorless, spiritless, moving humbly like a flock of sheep along a straight high road between two walls."
Yet even a flock of sheep would resist the chicanery of the State, if it were not for the corruptive, tyrannical, and oppressive methods it employs to serve its purposes. Therefore Bakunin repudiates the State as synonymous with the surrender of the liberty of the individual or small ninorities, - the destruction of social relationship, the curtailment, or complete denial even, of life itself, for its own aggrandizement. The State is the altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.
In fact, there is hardly a modern thinker who does not agree that government, organised authority, or the State, is necessary only  to maintain or protect property and monopoly. It has proven efficient in that function only.
Even George Bernard Shaw, who hopes for the miraculous from the State under Fabianism, nevertheless admits that " it is at present a huge machine for robbing and slave-driving of the poor by brute force." This being the case, it is hard to see why the clever prefacer wishes to uphold the State after poverty shall have ceased to exist.

George Bernard Shaw

Unfortunately there are still a number of people who continue in the fatal belief that government rests on natural laws, that it maintains social order and harmony, that it diminishes crime, and that it prevents the lazy man from fleecing his fellows. I shall therefore examine these contentions.
A natural law is that factor in man which asserts itself freely and spotaneously without any external focus, in harmony with the requirements of nature. For instance, the demand for nutrition, for sex gratification, for light, air, and exercise, is a natural law.But its expression needs not the mavhinery of government, needs not the club, the gun, the handcuff, or the prison. To obey such laws, if we may call it obedience, requires only spontaeity and free opportunity. That governments do not maintain themselves through such harmonious factors  is proven by the terrible array of violence, force, and coercian all governments use in order to live. Thus Blackstone is right when he says , " Human laws are invalid, because they are contrary to the laws of nature."
Unless it be the order of Warsaw after the slaughter of thousands of people, it is difficult to ascribe to governments any capacity for order or social harmony. Order derived through submission and maintained  by terror is not much of a state guaranty; yet that is the only "order" that governments have ever maintained. True social harmony grows naturally out of solidarity of interests. In a society where those who always work never have anything, while those who never work enjoy everything, solidarity of interests is non-existent; hence social harmony is but a myth. The only way organised authority meets this grave situation is by exptending still greater privileges to those who have already monopolized the earth, and by still further enslaving the disinherited masses. Thus the entire arsenal of governmet - laws, police, soldiers, the courts, legislators, prisons, -is strnuously engaged in " Harmonising" the most antagonistic elements in society.
The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute stanstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimise the horrible scourge of its own creation.
Crime is naught but  misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, econonic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statues can only increase, but never do away with crime. What does society, as it exists roday, know of the process of despair, the poverty, the horrors, the fearful stuggle the human soul must pass onits way to crime and degradation. Who that knows this terrible process can fail to see the truth in these words of Peter Kropotkin:
" Those who will hold the balance betwen the benefits thus attributed to law and punishment and the degrading effect of the latter on humanity; those who will estimate the torrent of depravity poared abroad in human society by the informer, favoured by the judge even, and paid for in clinking cash by governments under the pretext of aiding to unmask crime; those will go within prison walls and see what human beings become when deprived of liberty, when subjected to the care of brutal keepers, to coarse, cruel words, to a thousand singing, piercing humiliations, will agree with us that the entire apparatus of prison and punishment is an abonimation which ought to be bought to and end."

Peter Kropotkin ( 9/12/1842- 8/2/21)

Peter Kropotkin

The deterrant influence of law on the lazy man is too absurd to merit consideration. If society were only relieved of the waste and expense of keeping a lazy class, and the equally great expense of the pharapheralia of protection this lazy class requires, the social tables would contain an abundance for all, including even the occasional lazy individual. Besides, it is well to consider that laziness results either from special privileges, or physical and mental abnormalities. ur presentinsane of production fosters, both, and the most astounding phenomenon is that people should want to work at all now. Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of man should find in work both recreation and hope.
To achieve such an arrangement of life, government, with its unjust, arbitrary, repressive measures, must be done away with. At best it was but imposed one singkle mode of life upon all, without regard to individual and social variations and needs. In destroying government and statutory laws,  Anarchism  proposes to recue the self-respect and Independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Only in freedom can man grow to his full stature. Only in freedom will he learn to think and move, and give the very best in him. Only in freedom will he realize the true force of the social bonds which knit men together, and which are the true foundation of a normal life.
But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism?
Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policemen, fro the flatheaded parson the the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritavely of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed?

 John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their charactersr, their habits their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their sil in a field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?
Freedom, expression, opportunity, and above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.
Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominions of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dminion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on a free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will gurantee to every human being free assess to the earth and full employment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes and inclinations.
This is not a wild fancy or an aberation of the mind. It is the conclusion arrived at by hosts of intellectual men and women the world over; a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society: individual liberty and economic equality, the twin forces of the birth of what is fine and true in man.
As to methods. Anarchism is not, as some may suppose, a theory of the future to be realized through divine inspiration. It is a living force in the affairs of our life, constantly creating new conditions. The methods of Anarchism therefore do not comprise an iron-clad program to be carried out under all circumstances. Methods must grow out of the economic needs of each place and clime, and of the intellectual and temperamemental requirements of the individual. The serene, calm charachter of a Tostoy will wish different methods for social reconstruction than the intense, overflowing personality of a Michael Bakunin or a Peter Kropotkin.

Michael Bakunin

Equally so it must be apparent that the economic and political needs of Russia will dictate more drastic measures than would England or America. Anarchism does not stand for military drill and uniformity; it does, however, stand for the spirit of revolt, in whatever form, against everything that hinders human growth. All Anarchists agree in that, as they also agree in their opposition to the political machinery as a means of bringing about the great social change.
"All voting," says Thoreau, "is a sort of gaming, like checkers, or backgammon, a playing with right and wrong; its obligation never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right thing is nothing for it. A wise man  will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority." A close examination of the machinery of politics and its achievements will bear out the logic of Thoreau.
What does the history of parliamentarism show? Nothing but failure and defeat, not even a single reform to ameliorate the economic and social stress of the people. Laws have passed and enactments made for the improvement and protecton of labor. Thus it was proven only last year that Illinois, with the most rigid laws for mine protection, had the greatest mine disasters. In States where child labor laws prevail, child exploitation is at its highest, and though with us the workers enjoy full political opportunities, capitalism has reached the most brazen zenith.
Even were the workers able to have their own representatives, for which our good Socialist politicians are clamouring, what chances are there for their honesty and good aith? One has but to bear in mind the process of politics to realise that its good intentions is full of pitfalls: wire-pulling, intriguing, flattering, lying, cheating; in fact, chicanery of wevery description, whereby the political aspirant can achieve success. Added to that is a complete demoralization of character and conviction until nothing is left that would make one hope for anything from such a human derelict. Time and time again the people were foolish enough to trust, believe, and support with their last farthing aspiring politicians, only to find themselves betrayed and cheated. It may be claimed that men of integrity would not become corrupt in the political grinding mill. Perhaps not; but such men would be absolutely helpless to exert the slightest influence in behalf of labor, as has been shown in numerous instances. The State is the economic master of its servants. Good men, if such there be, would either remain true to their political faith and lose their economic support, or they would cling to their economic master and be utterly unable to do the slightest good. The political areas leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue.
The political superstitition is still holding sway over the hearts and minds of the masses, but the true lovers of liberty will have no more to do with it. Instead, they believe with Stirner that man has as much liberty as he is willing to take. Anarchism therefore stands for direct action, the open defiance of, and resistance to all laws and restrictions, econonomic, social and moral. But defiance and resistance are illegal. Therein lies the salvation of man. Everything illegal necessiates integrity, self-reliance, and courage. In short, it calls for free independent spirits, for "men who are men,and who have a bone in their backs which you cannot pass your hand through."
 Universal suffrage itself owes its existence to direct action. If not for the spirit of rebellion, of the defiance on the part of the American revolutionary fathers, their posterity would still wear the King's coat. If not for the direct action of a John  Brown and his comrades, America would still trade in the flesh of the black man.

True the trade  in white flesh is still going on, but that too, will have to be abolished by direct action. Trade-unionism, the economic arena of the modern gladiatior, owes its existence to direct action. It is but recently that law and government have attempted to crush the trade-union movement, and condemned the exponents of man's righrt to organisz to prison as conspirators. Had they sought to assert their cause through begging, pleading, and compromise, trade-unionism would today be a negligible quantity. In France, in Spain, in Italy, in Russia, nay even in England ( witness the growing rebellion of English labor unions), direct, revolutionary, economic action has become so strong a force in the battle for industrial liberty as to make the worl realise the tremendous importance of labor's power. The General Strike, the supreme expression of the economic consciousness of the workers, was ridiculed in America but a short time ago. Today every great strike, in order to win, must realize the importance of the solidaric protest.
Direct action, having proven effective along economic lines, is equally potent in the environment of the individual. There are a hundred forces encroach upon his being, and only persistent resistence to them will finally set him free. Direct action against the authority in the shop, direct action against the authority of the law, direct action against the invasive, meddlesome authority of our moral code, is the logical, consistent method of Anarchism.
Will it not lead to a revolution? Indeed, it will. No real social change has ever come about without a revolution. People are either not familiar with their history, or they have not yet learned that revolution is but thought carried into action.
Anarchism, the great leaven of thought, is today permeating every phrase of human endeavor. Science, art, literature, the drama, the effort for economic betterment, in fact every individual and social opposition to the existing disorder of things, is illuumined by the spiritual light of Anarchism. It is the philosophy  of the sovreignty of the individual. It is the theory of social harmony. It is the great, surging, living truth that is reconstructuring the world, and that will usher in the Dawn.

Emma Goldman, Union Square, New York 1916.

Reprinted from
Dover Publications, New York

Further Reading:-

Emma Goldman - Living My Life, Penguin
Emma Goldman: An intimate life -Alice Wexham.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Guernica a poem by A.S Knowland.

Guernica - Pablo Picasso

Seventy-five years ago,  in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town of Guernica was carpet bombed by Fascist Italian and Nazi German forces. Three-quarters of Guernica was destroyed, and as many as 1,600 civilians were killed. The attack was immortalised in Pablo Picasso's Guernica, one of the most iconic paintings of the twentieth century.Which showed the horrors of war as expressed by the destruction of Guernica.
Franco, who ruled Spain as a fascist dictator for nearly forty years, from 1936 until his death in 1975, claimed the attack on Guernica never took place. They tried to blame the Basques, but the truth is Germany deliberately bombed the town to destroy it and observe in a clinical way the effects of such a devastating attack, practicing a new form of warfare, where only civilians were the targets.In October 1937, a Nationalist officer told a Sunday Times correspondent: 'We bombed it, and bombed it, and bombed it and Beuno why not.'This atrocity horrified the world and helped shift public opinion towards the Spanish Republican Cause, but shamefully the British Government stuck steadfastardly to its non intervevention line. The fascists hated liberalism and humanity, their ideology was one of evil destruction, 'Long Live Death' they cried.  Guernica represented their creed, with one of the Fascist Generals declaring " Like a resolute surgeon, free from false sentimentality, it will cut the diseased flesh from the healthy body and fling it to the dogs. And since the healthy flesh is the soil, the diseased flesh, the people who dwell on it, fascism and the army will eradicate the people and restore the soil to the sacred national realm... Every socialist, Republican, every one of them, without exception, and needless to say, every Communist, will be eradicated, without exception.' An ideology of unfettered hate, and evil..... it's ideology still trying to tear the world apart, as we can see with what has happened in Norway, or on the streets of Britain where it's forces seek to gather, fostering  hatred and division.
After Guernica , George Steers eyewitness account in The Times described what he saw as 'without mercy, with system', words that remain tragically pertinent to the bloody legacy of carpet bombing in conflicts ever since. Conflicts that continue across the world.... humanity still descends into darkness.... the Rape of Nanking, the Second World War, the Holocaust, Syria, Bahrain, Cheknya, Rwanda, the continuing confontation between Israel and Palestine......
So we must remember Guernica , and  its legacy, we must make sure the fascists are stopped in their tracks, we must not let them pass.... we must carry on singing no pasaron to whatever disguise they dress themselves up in..... The English Defence League, The British National Party or the British Freedom Party.
We much continue to be enraged by crimes against humanity, and together we should try to work together for peace.

Guernica - A.S Knowland

Irun- Badajoz - Malaga - and then Guernica

So that the swastika and the eagle
might spring from the blood-red soil,
bombs were sown into the earth at Guernica,
whose only harvest was a calculated slaughter.
Lest freedon should wave between the grasses
and the corn its proud emblem, or love
be allowed to tread its native fields,
Fascism was sent to destroy the innocent,
and, goose-stepping to the exaggerated waving
of the two-faced flag, to save Spain.

But though the soil be saturated with blood
as a very efficient fertiliser, the furrow
of the ghastly Fasces shall remain barren.
The  planted swastika, the eagle grafted
on natural stock shall wither and remain sere;
for no uniformed force shall marshall the sap
thrilling to thrust buds into blossoms, or quicken
the dead ends of the blighted branches;
but the soil shall be set against an alien crop
and the seed be blasted in the planting.

But strength lies in the strength of the roots.
They shall not pass to ruin Spain!

Reprinted from
The Penguin Book of
Spanish Civil War Verse (1980)

Further Reading:-

The Spanish Civil War - Hugh Thomas
Penguin (1965)

They Shall Not Pass:
The Spanish People at War
-Richard Kissh (1974)

Two earlier posts on the
Spanish Civil War Below.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Explosions In The Sky - Magic Hours

Just found out that teifidancer has become a grandad/tadcu....... the world can sometimes feel like a shitty place, but at the moment I feel like dancing...... so off to wet the nippers head....... I have years ahead now off telling the nipper of my dreams of another world, but that can wait for a while....... will be back soon.......
off for celebratory smoke ...
kick out the tories........they offer our children nothing.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Pussy Riot in prison....... take action to stop moral panic that's gone to far.

Last February, five members of the Russian feminist punk-rock collective, Pussy Riot performed a 'punk prayer' next to the main altar of Mosco's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, that is not open to anyone but a priest..... A video of the incident can be seen below, where their faces masked with colourful stylish balaclavas sang a song wth an obscene chorus, appearing to mock Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church and apparently savaging Vladimir Putin. 3 were subsequently arrested and charged with hooliganism ( Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alehina and Yekaterina Samusevich) a little bit over the top in my opinion and leave Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church up for more mockery, if they take away the freedom  from Pussy Riot. Blind moral panics about , I suppose are nothing new...... going back to the witch hunts and the dawning of punk and rock and roll.......
PUSSY RIOT have said that " we realized that this country needs a militant, punk-feminist, street band that will rip through Moscow's streets and squares, mobilise public energy against the evil crooks of the Putinist Junya and enrich the Russian cultural and political opposition with themes that are important to us: gender and LGBT rights, problems of masculine conformity, absence of a daring message on the musical art scenes, andthe domination of males in all areas of public discourse." I say amen to that.
Yesterday over 30 supporters  were arrested outside a Moscow City Court theyare facing a possible jail term of up to seven years......  supporters include prominent artists, muscicians and activists, organised a protest festival outside the court, where a carnival atmosphere took place..... with people carrying balloons and chanting the words ' freedom', before things decended into chaos.The band members were refused bail and will be kept in jail until June 24.

A PussyRiot Supporter yesterday

Putin does have a sense of humour I suppose and is unlikely to be upset at being lampooned in a punk song. What's more worrying is that the Orthodox Church appears to be saying that the event should be treated more seriously because it took place inside a church. Normally this sort of incident would attract a maximum six month sentence.
Freedom of expression should be defended and more importantly the Orthodox Church should not be above criticism.
Please go to the following link and send message to President Putin asking him to intervene in this case to secure the release of the women and to pardon them if they are convicted.

Pussy Riot - Punk Prayer

Thursday, 19 April 2012

ATOS are reported to be Liars, while the B.B.C remains silent during yesterday's news!!

French  company Atos which  has a £108 million per year contract with the government, in shocking news has failed to remove grossly missleading claims from its website, depite being ordered to do so by the Advertising Standards Authority ..... Their very fussy about their image, and like bullies can display a willful arrogance... their dodgy figures boast  that
" Each year Atos Healthcare process over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice completing over 800,000 face-to-face medical assessments within our nationwide network of over 140 medical examination centres.'
" All our 1700 + healthcare professionals are fully trained to undertake disability assessments."
But Freedom of Infomation requests by the website WhyWaitForever.com reveal that referrals averaged 751,000 per year and the number of healthcare professionals was just 848 - far less than claimed by Atos....... those bunch of *****.
Atos has refused to cooperate with the ASA investigation, and despite being ordered to make changes to theseunsubstntiated claims, the material is still up their on their website ... They also have a history of trying to silence their critics and last year forced a thriving support forum for disabled people to shut down after users had the bravery to critisise the company. In the real world, round my place, the word Atos  is enough to put the fear in all and sundry and if I was not a nervous wreck in the first place, well I sure am, after just one whiff of the afformentioned.
And this story does not end there,  yesterday's  TheGuardian website had the headline "Disability right protesters bring Trafalgar Square traffic to a standstill,  it was all over facebook and the internet media as well but watching the BBC news last night... nothing there, they'd rather tell us a little bit more about the bloody jubilee, not a report on hown the hardest hit are beginning to find it difficult out there, and the reasons why, and Atos's involvement......

Disabled protester at London Demonstration.

source The Guardian

Atos they really do care though.....I read that somewhere, on their website I suppose.....but many people up and down the country are unhappy with the treatment they have recieved from ATOs, who have been shown time and time again to be making huge numbers of flawed decisions, part of the growing misery for profit culture that we are getting from David Cameron's we definitely are not in  it altogether government...... so it's a shame the BBC has been silent, but hey, their licence is up for renewal, and they want to bury bad news .... friend went for appeal theother day.... the assessment was over in less than 30 minutes! He didn't say much.... just nodded...... he was so bloody frightened, in 2010/11 their were 127,000 ESA tribunals...... working out at 350 per day..... of these, 47,600 were successful, ie, the client won! That's 37%, or 130 per day.... that's the numberof times ATOS have got things wrong. It would be nice to see the BBC reporting details like this.... but their probably scheduling a programme on stereotypical  benefit cheats or lovely police people with smiley cameras.  Oh and its's goin to get far worse George Osbourn has also mentioned that a new Comprhensive Spending Review would be tasked with finding between £10-11bn more savings in Welfare spending so a lot more work for ATOS or whoever is the scrupulous!! profitering operator by then, anyone heard of Serco, such quality, the wonderful principles they bring to the world ...... think I've worn myself out, and will have to go for lie down, but even though the government does not care and the BBC is playing it safe...... their are good folks out their, who offer a bit of hope.... this link is particularly useful .... ever tried ringing ATOS.... it will take you quite a while.... ..... Oh and ATOS if you're watching no malicious intent, just some honesty.

Thanks  to Political Scrapbook Blog

"Nothing is more discouraging than unappreciated sarcasm."

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners Day

Today marks the occasion of Palestine Prisoners Day. It will see the Palestinian prisoners movement launching the Karamah (Dignity strike). They hope to place the oppressive nature of the Israeli state under the spotlight once again. In a brave move, highlighting the strength of Palestinian resistance to occupation, 1600 will embark on an indefinite strike demanding their  basic rights as political detainess.
The Israeli state was created in May 1948, by a violent occupation of the land of the Palestinian people. This has been combined by a systematic policy of expulsion, persecution against the Palestinian people. Also since 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem as a result of the six-Day War, the West bank and the Gaza Strip, some 700,000 Palestinians have seen the daylight from behind  the walls of Israel's prisons, which works out at about 20% of the total population of the Palestinian authority. Israel seems to deny the Palestinians  their very existence, and their most basic rights: land, housing, education and health. In  the Palestinian authority practically every person has a relative or acquaintance that has spent or is spending time in an Israeli prison.  They are considered by the Palestinian people to be freedom fighters, whether they are members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any other Palestinian organisation.
The "courts" of the occupation are part and parcel of this denial of Palestinian existence. All forms of dissent are criminalised and there are thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. Also confessions allegedly obtained by duress are accepted as evidence, and Palestines in the Occupied Territories are subjected to Israeli military law, while Israel's ilgal settlers are governed by Israel Civil Law, a clear example of an aparthid system. And many would consider the Occupied Territories themselves as one giant prison camp.
 It is in this context that Palestinian political prisoners, including children, will atempt to break this silence, willing to die in order to highlight this daily reality of their lives. The majority of the 4,600 Palestinians have refused their meals today, while 1,200 of them promise to hunger strike indefinitely. Israel also still uses administrative detention, a legislation that dates back to British protectionl of the region. This procedure allows Israel to detain suspects indefinitely without charges being made against them, simply by repeating the implied 6 month periods of detention time after time.
Today is specially symbolic, because it is also the day that Israel release Khader Adnan, who himself spent 66 days on hunger strike.
They  have many from  the international community on their side, hopefully questioning the impunity of the Israeli state and their own governments involvement, sanding together and expressing their solidarity. Already their have been rallies worlwide to support them with detained activists from the 'Welcome to Palestine' flytilla  joining them on hunger strike in solidarity. Hopefully the issue of the Palestinian prisoners will be revived, and they are not simply forgotten, and Israels violations against them will continue to be exposed, personally I  support  their struggle  as part of a universal struggle for human rights, respect and dignity.

Testimony of Palestinian Prisoner - Dr Addul-Azi

Call for international support:
on Palestinian Prisoners Day

Palestinians behind Bars: Prisoners without human rights

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Carlo Carra ( 11/2/1881 - 13/4/66) -Leaving the Theatre/ Notturno A Piazza Beccario di Milano/ Funeral of the AnarchistGalli

Leaving the Theatre

Notturno A Piazza Beccario di Milano

                                               Horseman of The Apocalypse

Funeral of the Anarchist Galli

Art is an important part of life. Friday was the anniversary of the death of Carlo Carra, the Italian Futurist painter, who tried to imbue his panting with movement and life.
At their best his pictures literally glow on the canvas,, he stated off in life as an anarchist, though unfortunately by the end of his life he had drifted far away from this pulse and had swapped it for an ideology of coldness and reactionary political views, but his art I can't really disagree with, and it is this that lives on.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Samuel Taylor Coleridge ( 21/10/1772 -25/7/1834) - A Sunset

Sometimes you wake up, and theirs nothing one can do, but grin and bear it, let the mind drift, expand, relax, wait..... this morning,  feeling the flame of indecision, it must be the grass..... ahthe tangle of tendrils and doliage, why does our world have to be so splintered. Behind us a riot of protection, in the afternoon the sky is falling.

 A Sunset

Upon the mountain's edge with light touch resting,
There a brief while the globe ofsplendour sits
And seems a creature of the earth, but soon
More changeful than the moon,
To wane fantastic his great orb submits,
Or cone or mow of fire: till sinking slowly
Even to a star at length he lessens wholly.

Abrupt, as Spirits vanish, he is sunk!
A soul-like breeze possesses all the wood.
The boughs, the sprays have stood
As motionless as stands the ancient trunk!
But every leaf through all the forest flutters
And deep the cavern of the fountain mutters.

Sunset - JMW Turner

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sara Teasdale (8/8/1884 - 29/1/33) There Will Come Soft Rains

American, Poet...... her work was much influenced by the poetry of Chrisina Rossetti. She spent a lot pf her short life in ill health, and despite several men falling in love with her, she died after an overdose of sleeping pills.
The following poem is from her 1920 collection, 'Flame and Shadow'  which inspired and featured in a famous short story of the same name by the Science Fiction writer, Ray Bradbury. Bradbury published his story in the 'Martian Chronicles' in 1951,  with the title 'August 2026: There Will Be Soft Rains' written in an era, like today when many people were concerned about the devastaing effects of nuclear weapons, the story depicts a world in which human beings have been destroyed by nuclear force. A cationary tale that followed the recent bombings in Agust 1945, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

There Will Come Soft Rains.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground
And swallows calling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild-plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Russian animated film, from 1987
based on Ray Bradbury's story
-Budet Leskovy Dozhd
Director - Nazim Tylyakhozayev

Gray Tree , 1911 - Piet Mondrion

Monday, 9 April 2012

Jubilee! Is somebody taking the Mickey??..

They're closing  our libraries, taking apart our N.H.S, taxing our elderly, causing fuel panic, giving bungs to the police, snooping on our e.mails and phone calls, attack the poor and generally stealing the future from our kids, and they expect us to throw a party for some old parasite. They really are taking the Mickey !!!
More wonderful stuff over here.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Thom Gunn (b.29/08/25 - 20/04/04 - Considering the Snail.

Thom Gunn, I like his stuff a lot, we share a birthday.
Borm in Britan, after moving to America, he became associated with San Francisco and the excesses of American bohemianism and all its primal urges. He wrote about violence and rebellion, love and decline, a life spent living on the edge, walking on the wild side. In his poems, as in his life he liked to take risks..... a life of studied abandon, he became known as a gay poet, who wrote in both traditional poetic forms and free verse, about the dispossessed, the marginalised where themes of love and lust interwined. Yet his themes also included the ordinary, the mundane,  and was particularly good when tackling the 'sniff of the real'. One of lifes bright things,  sadly departed, another one of those poets that I keep on returning to.
The following poem I find beautiful, delicate in its flow.

Considering the Snail

The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth's dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts, I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail's fury? All
I think is that if later
I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
umagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.

Reprinted from
Collected Poems
Faber and Faber 1993

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ever get the feeling they're taking the piss?

Yep..... we're all in it together these days. Don't panic carry on regardless! But lets face it, it's the poorest who seem to be getting hit the hardest, while 5 million pensioners were being robbed of their pensions, did not see Millibandy or Cleggy causing to much of a fuss.
All part of the same heierarchy that seems to want to tell us what to consume and when to consume it, what to think and where to think it, what to dream and when to dream it, giving alienation new and dreadful dimensions. And as for the worker who is actually conscious of being alienated, of being exploited, who dares on insisting on their right to strike , well not under the Labour Party,  the Conservatives or the Liberals  you wont..
All the mainstream parties have to offer is the absurdity  of living under capitalism, same old social layers, that treat people as disposable fodder.
Guess theirs a lot of anger in the air at the moment, but room for optimism too, a need for change, it was demonstrated in Bradford last week, the people are fed up with the same old same olds. At the moment, unfortunately I think its going to get a whole lot worse before it starts getting any better, and Cameon and his ilk keep on playing the  blame game,  but  blaming the victims instead of the financial institutions who caused this economic crisis in the first place. And if you happen to be mentally ill, do not for God sake go out dancing,  your not allowed to look as if your actually having a good time, they'll stop your benefits, their aim to keep us afraid. Well some of us aren't anymore, simply tired and had enough.
Oh look at the politicians on parade, hey love the olympics, fawn at the Queen, support pointless wars, well a lot of us don't support any of that little lot, clearly in a time of austerity, if you scrapped that little lot their would be a huge amount of money to spend, on things of far more importance. Their answers to  put up the price of cheap lager, and the price of Moet and Chandon Champagne remains unaffected, kill of our N.H.S, privatise essential services.. All in it together, I think not.
Soon I hope their complaceny will be shaken, the potential for an awakening is thir, we have to say no to apathy......we have to rage, against their machine, be resiliant,  keep saying no to their capitalist domination, escape from their status quo........ show them all the contempt they deserve, so as Eostre approaches, time to take stock..... we must not let them  crush our expectations, we must remain free to dream, I really believe that their common thread can be defeated by a common united opposition. So Happy Eostore all...
Solidarity hey its such a lovely word....... a change is imperative,  a faith in a future not based on their old formulas. The future could be very beautiful or it could continue as it is......  why do Milliband, Cameron and Clegg all seem to operate from the same thread, because all of them are afraid of the  latent power of us all, they need one another in order to control us, and hey it does not need to be this

George Formby - It turned out nice again

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Adrienne Rich (16/4/29 - 27/3/12) - Poet of Liberation R.I.P

The American poet Adrienne Rich passed away last week at her home in Santa Cruz, California. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, the elder of 2 daughters of Arnold Rich a doctor and Helen Jones Reed, a gifted pianist and composer.
She married in 1953 and bore 3 sons, at a time when she was still struggling with conflicts over the prescribed roles of womanhood verses that of artistry. But as time moved forward she confimed her identity as a lesbian, which radicalised her fusion of political commitment and poetic artistry.
She first published a volume of poetry in 1951, which earned praise from W.H Auden.Her poems were ones of defiance and fury, against convention, and as a force for change, which also revealed a tenderness and warmth, with moments of uncertainty and self questioning. She is considered to be one of the most influential poets of the late twentieth century. There is scarcly an anthology of feminist verse that does not contain her work or engage with her ideas.  She is credited with bringing the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.
Her concerns also included questions of language and history, the denial and claiming of power, the action of poetic imagination in change, a politics of place and of struggle.
In one of her uncompromising essays she wrote 'All human life on the planet is born of a woman. The one unifying, incontrovertible experince shared by all women and men is that months - long period we spend unfolding in a womans body.'
Her pamphlet ' Twenty one Love Poems' 1977 which was incorporated into the following years 'Dreams of a common language.' marked one of the first direct treatments of lesbian desire and sexuality, a theme which she continued with throughout her work.
As well as using words as a force for change, she attended rallies against the vietnam war, organised poetry reading for peace and marched for womens rights, fundraised for the Black Panthers, and was a supporter of the progressive Jewish movement New Jewish agenda. In 1997 during the Clinton administration she rejected the National Medal of the Arts, because of Clintons anti-arts policies. writing ' There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art- in my own case the art of poetry - means nothing if it simply decorated the dinner table of power which holds it hostage. The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A President cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonoured.' and as late as 2002 with painful arthritis marched against the Iraq War, she was also a supporter of Palestinial  liberation.
She despised oppression of every kind and hurled against it. Throughout her life she spun words from a revolutionary tongue, pointed the direction while embodying the essence of the destination, with declarations of love and war. She said ' The poem arrives at itself with the immedacy of sunlight stinging glass.'
Long may her spirit be remembered. R.I.P.

Adrienne Rich - What kind of Times are these

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks of into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who dissapeared into those shadows.

I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread,
but don't be fooled this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
it's own ways of making people dissapear.

I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light -
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it dissapear.

And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you anything?
Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.

Adrienne Rich at a glance.

WAIT (2006)

In paradise every
the desrt wind is rising
third thought
in hell there are no thoughts
is of earth
sand screams against your government
issued tent  hell's noise
in your nostrils   crawl
into your ear-shell
wrap yourself in no-thought
wait  no place for the little lyric
wedding-ring glint the reason why
on earth
they never told you


My three sisters are sitting
on rocks of black obsidian.
For the first time, in this light, in this light, I can see who they are

My first sister is sewing her costume for the procession.
She is going as the Transparent lady
and all her nerves will be visible

Ny second sister is also sewing,
at the seam over her heart which has never healed
At last, she hopes, this tightness in her chest will ease.

Ny third sister is gazing
at a dark-red crust spreading westward far out on the
Her stocking are torn but she is beautiful.



Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things looks at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises
Is is only a door.


To have seen you exactly, once:
red hair over cold cheeks fresh from the freeway
your lingo, your daunting and dautless
eyes. But then to lift towards home, mile upon
back when they'd barely heard your name
- neither as terrorist nor as genius would they
detain you-
to wing itback to my country bearing
your war-flecked protocols-
that was a mission, surely my art's pouch
crammed with your bristling juices
sweet dark drops of your spirit
that streaked the pouch, the shirt I wore
and the bench on which I leaned.


It's only a branch like any other

green with the flare of life in it

and ifI hold this end, you the other

that means it's broken
broken between us, broken despite us
broken and therfore dying
broken by force, broken by lying
green, with the flare of life in it

But say we're crouching on the ground  like children
over a mess of marbles, soda caps, folil, old foreign coins
- the first truly precious objests. Rusty hooks,glass.
Say I saw the earrings first but you wanted it.
Then you wanted the words I'd found. I'd give you
the earrings, crushed lapis if it were,
I would look long at the beach glass and the sharded shelf
of the lightbulb. Long I'd look into your hand
at the obsolete copper profile, the cat's eye, the Lapis.
Like a thief I would deny the words, deny they ever
existed, were spoken, or could be spoken,
like a thief I'd bury them and remember where.

The trade mames follow trade
the translators stopped at passport control:
Occupation: no such designation-
Journalist, maybe spy?
That the books are for personal use
only -could I swear it?
That not a word of them
is contaband - how could I prove it?



I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to be quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plain's enormous spaces around you
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of idetity with strangers.
i know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatique of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty
I know you are reading this poem which is not your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening to somethiing, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.


A revolutionary poem
will not tell you who or
when to kill, what and
when to burn, or even
how to theorize. It
reminds you . . . where and
when and how you are
living and might live, it is
a wick of desire

Selected works

Selected Poems. Chatto & Hogarth P Windus 1967

Twent-one Love Poems. Effies press. 1976

Selected Poems, 1950-1995.Salmon Pub 1996

Dark Fields of the Republic : Poems 1991-1995.W.W Norton 1995

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010

Diving into the Wreck. W. W. Norton 1975

A wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems 1978-1981. W.W Norton 1982.