Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Presence

Today marks Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows, All Saints or Winters Eve,The Festival of the Dead. There are several explanations for its origin, one being the Roman festival of the dead 'Parentalia', but another origin, not necessarily exclusive from the Roman one, is from the ancient Celtic old day of Samhein (sa-wain). and most of the traditions that we celebrate on Halloween have its origins in Celtic/Gaelic Culture.
Samhein, which means November in Irish, was the end of summer and the harvest season in the Celtic calender. It was the last great feast held outdoors before the cold months to come. The last night of October also marked the ancient Celts New Years Eve. Marking the end of the summer and the beginning of Winter.
The Celts  believed that on Samhein, the veil between the living and the dead was dropped for one day, and the spirits of the living could intermingle with the spirits of the dead. The spirits that could now cross into the land of the kiving were dangerous, and often played tricks both playful and malevolent on theliving. In an effort to stop those spirits from meddling with the dead and playing tricks on them, the living would dress up in costumes and  masks in order to fool the spirits into thinking that they were one of them. This is where the idea of trick and treating comes from.
It was I guess the Christian religion  that replaced the early origins with it's own traditions and celebrations  with Pope Gregory 11 moving the christian holiday of 'all hollows Eve' from May 13th to November 1st  to coincide with the feast of Samhein, to downplay the festivals pagan roots, but in many parts of the world on this night special cakes and food are prepared for the dead and remember departed loved ones.
Over the years we have ended up with the modern commercialised, corporate version that is now known as halloween. But Samhein and its energy has bever fully died out and still burns bright.
The following is a poem that I have composed to mark the occasion. Happy Samhein have a magical time.

The Presence

There was a sprinke of magic  in the air,
drifting on a pitch black night,
as the wind hummed and cried,
bending and twisting,
its shadows and shapes.

We heard a knock,
rattling on the door,
we  slipped outside,
into the dark,
but no one was there,
just a cigarette,
smouldering on fallen autumn leaves.

A gust rose up,
a lost soul perhaps?
looking for shelter,
then we heard a primeaval roar,
its siren releasing,
an enticing whistle,
that connected us,
to the evenings presence,
peculiar figments,
poking at logic.

But we'd had enough of trickery,
it was getting to late to fathom,
we kissed goodnight,
sailed upstairs,
to the other side of the moon,
where we concealed our mysteries,
buried our illusion,
beyond the dance of spirits,
whirling through the cosmos.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Stop the gas and electricity rip-off

With news that energy companies have claimed  they should not face a windfall tax because  their £3.74 billion in profits are not " particularly big"  leaves me mightily pissed off to say the least. I at least have the comfort of libraries,( for now!) but  with soaring energy prices expected to kill at least 200 pensioners per day over Winter, this greed simply has to stop.
The tories  are sleeping comfortably as we freeze, we need to stop their coziness with corporate juggernauts and tax these companies now. Enough is enough.
The recent hikes in customer bills really has to stop,  hopefully todays  Energy and Climate Change Committee  will achieve something, but I am deeply sceptical.
Anyway here is a link to the big sixes recent profits, executive pay and bonuses.

Our current high energy prices are one of the most scandulous things goin on in this country at the moment, and has to be stopped, as people are left shivering, stuck between eating and keeping warm. It is also unbelievable that our utilities are no longer publicly owned.
We are being ripped off, it's  as simple as that the energy companies and this government deserverdly need to be demonised. We must keep up the pressure.
I urge people to sign the following petition.

Stop the gas and electricity rip-off


Monday, 28 October 2013

Transitory ( a poem for Lou Reed 2/3/42 - 27/10/13 R.I.P)

White light, white heat,
and another voice flys,
yesterday the wind twisted,
and velvet dreams,
scattered over New York streets.

Volatile tonque defused,
a bright intensity,
blurs into time,
the universe shifts,
its pale blue eyes.

The black angel's death song sang,
goodnight ladies, waiting for its man.
the satellite of love, hanging 'round,
walking on the wild side.

There's a bit of magic in everything,
and then some loss to even things out,
after drinking alchemy at 80 mph,
another poet sleeps, does  not compromise,
slipping slowly away, falling into our memory,
to lanquidly whisper, over all tomorrow's parties,
his words will still retrieve our hearts,
to rescue us,  as we remember.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dylan Thomas (27/10/14 -9/11/53) - Poem in October /

Today, the late great Dylan Thomas would have turned 99. I have always been a great  admirer of his life and his unfailing commitment  to his craft, that continue to inspire. Today I thought I'd celebrate his birth, with  one  of his fine poems. Raise a glass and enjoy. We will be hearing a lot more about him next year, what with it being the centenary of this legends birth.

Poem in October

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbours wood
     And the mussel pooled and the heron
               Priested shore
          the morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
        Myself to set foot
             That second
  In the still sleeping town and set forth

 My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
    Above the farms and the white horses
                And I rose
       in rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
      Over the border
          And the gates
  Of the town closed as the town awoke.

 A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
   Blackbirds and the sun of October
       On the hill's shoulder,
Here we found climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where i wandered and listened
      To the rain wringing
           Wind blow cold
  In the wood faraway under me.

  Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea the wet church the size of a snail
    With its horns through mist and the castle
              Brown as owls
        But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
         There could I marvel
              My birthday
 Away but the weather turned around.

It  turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
     Streamed agan a wonder of summer
              With apples
         Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
          Through the parables
              Of sun light
  And the legends of the green chapels

  And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
     These were the woods the river and the sea
               Where a boy
        In the listerning
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide
       And the mystery
            Sang alive
   Still in the water and singingbirds.

   And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
    Joy of the long dead child sang burning
               in the sun
        It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there in the summer moon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
          O may my hear's truth
              Still be sung
  On this high hill in a year's turning.



Thursday, 24 October 2013

Russell Brand talks revolution with Jeremy Paxman

I like this a lot, currently goin viral,
and here is a link to the article  that sparked the interview, We no longer have the luxury of tradition . I am the first to admit, that I have been more than mildly irritated by Mr Brand in the past, but am liking his drift into a more serious direction have always been partial to a bit of Zenarchy. Mr Brand came across as a man of principle,with what sounded to me like genuine anger, and was more than a match for Mr Paxman, which is always a pleasure to see. Hat's off to him, and power to the people. The old certainties are fading fast.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Storyville - Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer/ Pussy Riot member moved to new Russian prison Colony.

Watched the above Monday evening, Sundance award-winning documentary which tells the compelling story of how a group of young, feminist punk rokers known as Pussy Riot have captured the world' attention by protesting against Putin's Russia. Through first-hand interviews with band members their fsmilies and the defense team, and exclusive footage of the trial, it highlights the forces that transformed these women from playful political activists to modern-day icons.
In early 2012 , members of the collective donned their colourful trademark balaclavas and paricipated in a 40-second 'punk prayer protest' on the altar of Moscow's cathedral. Once arrested, Nadia, Masha and Katia  were accused of religious hatred in a trial  that triggered protests and arrests in Russia and caused uproar around the world. The film reveals the personal motivesand courage of the women behind the balaclava and exposes the state of Russian justice through the courts final verdict.

Meanwhile it has been reported by Russian media  that Nadehda Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two-year sentence for her part in the anti-kremlin stunt, has been moved to another prison, but the defence has no information on her current whereabouts. Her lawyer told the RAPSI news agency on Monday, " Nadya is no longer in the prison colony. Investigative procedures were planned for today. I arrived, and the investigator told me that Tolokonnikova was not there; I was in shock. He was told that she had been transferred, but where to, we don't know," Khrunova  said.

It is believed she is being transported to the Penal Colony in Nizhny Tagil, in the Sverlovsk Territory, not Siberia but still almost 1800 KM from her familylawyers and supporters. Tolokonnikova  was hospitalised on October 1 after staging a nine-day hunger strike in protest against prison conditions. Last month  Tolokonikova, 23 published a letter that described in graphic detail the brutal conditions inside prison colony IK-14 in Mordovia, where she had been serving since after the end of her trial in August last year. She alleged prisoners work up to 17 hours a day for six or seven days a week, are deprived of toilet access and washing facilities, and are subject to regular beatings.
Her jailed fellow Pussy Riot member, Maria Alekhina has withdran her early release plea in solidarity with her bandmate.
Let us  remember that the members of Pussy Riot were punished  by a draconian authority, purely on politically motivated grounds. Their right to free speech curtailed, and they remain prisoners of conscience.
Hopefully they will remain brave and strong and are not simply forgotten, and the world continues to demand their absolute freedom.


Monday, 21 October 2013

Time and Remains: Reflection on the Palestinian Landscape - James Morris

A quick word about the exhibition " Time and Remains: Reflection on the Palestinian Landscape" by James Morris which is on at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre until 2nd November. I would encourage everybody to see it, especially those who do not know much about the recent history of Palestine. It is a very interesting, instructive and fascinating account.

In Time and Remains
the photographer James Morris brings together two distict stories observed within  the landsape of Israel/Palestine. The first documents the traces of the now historical Palestinian presence in much of  the Israel landscape and references the destruction and expulsions of the 1948 war that brought about the state of Israel entitled That Still Remains. The second documentsWhen the time comes the physical manifestations of conquest, occupation, settlement and control in the contemporary landscape of the West Bank. Together they are witness to both a cause and a consequence of this on-going conflict.
The work is the result  of 6  visits  to Israel and the West Bank that James Morris visited  beteen 2011 and 2012.

In the first story many of the pictures are taken on or very close to the original location of a Palestinian village or town. Many scenes defy, in what there is left to see, the history of the place. In others it is more obvious.
It also confronts the Israeli foundation myth that Palestine was a land without people, for a people without land, by documenting the sacttered remains from across the country of the now historic Palestinian presence in much of Israel's landscape.

Thee scond narrative  looks at the contemporary landscape of the West Bank;  in the light of persistent failures to achieve any lasting resolution to the conflict, in a place where Israeli settlers and Palestinians  appear to exist in parallel worlds.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Free the Arctic 30

It has been 30 days since Russian agents stormed the Arctic Sunrise and arrested all 30 people on board. It has been 30 days of injustice but pressure is mounting.
This weel, 11 Nobel Peace prize winners, including Desmond Tutu and BettyWilliams  wrote to President Putin to aksk him to ensure that Piracy charges against the Artic 30 are dropped. In a personal phone call, German chachellor Angela Merkel expressed her concern over the imprisonment of the30 and hoped the case would be resolved soon.
The U.K, foreign minister William Hague has spoken to his Russian counterpart the the Prime Minister David Cameron said in Parliament this week that he's asking for daily updated on their situation.
They join a growing list of senior politicians including from Brazil. the U.S and the Netherlands, who have spoken publicly aboutthe Artic 30.
The 30 men and women were brave enough to confront the oil industry in one of the last untouched places on earth, protesting new oil and gas development in  the Penchora sea. Seized at gunpoint by the Russian coast guard on September 18, now they are being silenced and intimidated on trumped up charges of piracy.It is impiortant to emphasise that the ship was involved in a peaceful and non-violent protest.

Please join me in keeping up the pressure.
Send letter to Russian Embassy to free these activists and stop the repression of peaceful protest.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Inequality: how wealth is distributed in the UK

 New polling by ineguality briefing suggests that most people perceive the distributon of wealth in the UK to be far more equal than it actually is, in fact, for more more tha 30 years the gap between the richest and the rest has widened - and the trend shows no sign of slowing, as this oorganisation makes clear.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pressure mounts on President Obama's failure to close Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Today is Blog Action Day, which today marks the issue of human rights.Where to start human rights effects us all, daily global injustices, a whole myriad of issues. Unfortunately the list of human rights abuses is endless. I have written recently about the plight of the Palestinians, refugees and asylum seekers, today I thought I'd change tack a little and remind the world of the plight of  Guantanamo Bay.
Leading human rights groups have accused President Barak Obama of not following through on a commitment to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, more than four months have passed since he delivered his May 23, 2013, apeech at the National Defense University, in which he committed the United States to the goal of closing the Guantanamo prison, following a broken promise of five years earlier but, since then the population of Guantanamo has only been reduced by only two detainess, noving only from 166 to 164. Of these detainess, 84 were cleared for tranfer by national security officials more than four years ago.
The U.S.A claim to be a champion of human rights cannot survive whilst this prison remains open.11 years since the first prisoners were first tranferred to the prison camp and the world is still living with this insult to justice. It is now time for Obama to give good on his promise.
Guantanamo has come to symbolise the shocking human rights violations associated with the so called 'war on terror, including arbitrary detention, secret detention, torture and other ill-treatment, together with  renditions and unfair trials.
It has also recently been revealed  that the U.S secretly used a variety of tactics to break the will and resolve of Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers, with  Shaker Aamer, the last former British resident, after nearly 18 years behind bars, held without charge or conviction of any charge, being particularly targeted, .
The fact remains that human rights concerns in Guantanamo Bay remain an unfinished story, where people have been abandoned by the principles of jutice that America, so often proudly boasts about. It  is now time, and right for the U.S Government to  close its book on  this prison, ends its  use of unlawful detention, and  close Guantanamo for good , and meets its human rights obligations.
Though this issue no longer attracts global headlines, it is an issue that refuses to go away, and cannot be simply sidelined and swept awy. The fact remains that many still languish  inside Guantanamo, abandoned by the principles of justice that America so often proudly boasts about.
The following video gives testimony from five detainess, in this animated film revealing the daily brutality of life inside Guantanamo prison, where prisoners are kept indefinitely without charge or trial by the country that claims to be the beacon of civilization for the rest of the world. WARNING: Contains disturbing images.

Here is a link to an organisation called Reprive that  campaigns  to deliver justice and save lives in Guantanamo Bay.

and here is a link to an Amnesty International page about the subject.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

"All in this together:" Are benefits ever a lifestyle choice? by Dole Animators.

Following  yesterday's announcement that the the Red Cross are  going to try and help deal with the grinding poverty in this country, and the reality that millions are being forced  to choose between eating and heating, and Channel 5's latest so called documentary On Benefits and Proud, rehashing the usual crap about scroungers on benefits, glossing over  many peoples harsh realities, adding to the daily attacks by a right wing media , determined to spread propoganda on behalf of the government, I wonder where the programmes are that examine the electricity/gas companies holding our country for ransom, the stories of rising poverty that are overlooked. It is easy to find scapegoats, so called benefit scroungers being the target for a rabid media,  owned by millionaires, intent on serving the governments hand. It is so easy to blame the crisis of government and economy at the foot of the poor, who did  not cause the existing troubles of austerity in the fist place., a media that serves to  to stir up division, without answering any of the problems, while  the Bankers still unpunished, still getting rewarded, and MP's demand subsidies for food and alcohol in the House of Commons.  
The above film captures some of the real experiences people are facing today in the light of the UK governments recent changes in  the welfare system.
Dole animators is a group of benefit claimants based in the UK who have worked together to make this animated documentary.
You can find out more information about this project at:

Monday, 14 October 2013

100th anniversary of Senghenydd Mine Disaster

One hundred years ago at 6.00 a.m this morning 14 October 1913, a series of terrible explosions ripped through the Universal Coal Pit in the village of Senghennyd,  a town in the Aber Valley, four miles north west of the town of Caerphilly, in South Wales ( U.K).
The cause of the disaster was thought to have been a 'firedamp', when a spark ignites metane gas, and then explodes, this explosion sucks coal dust on the floor into the air and causes a huge explosion. In Senghennyd this spread even further underground of the mines, and was followed by 'afterdamp', where deadly poisonous gases  replaced the missing air and oxygen.
The result was 439 miners and 1 rescuer  being killed and it is now considered to be the worst mining accident in the U.K  and  the most serious in the terms of loss of life. The rescue operation lasted for 3 weeks, although by then the chance of finding anyone left alive had long faded. It would send shockwaves throughout the world, reminding people of the terrible cost of coal. Today hundreds of people have been attending a special memorial event to mark the occasion, with a memorial and a  walled garden opened,on which individual tiles will be laid with the name,age and addresses of all those who were killed in the Senghennyd disaster and a wall of rememberance, acting as a 'path of memory' to all other miners who have died in accidents across the mining community here in Wales.
 According the Carwyn Jones the Welsh first minister ' The Senghennyd tragedy has come to symbolise the dangers and sacrifices made by those who went undergroung in search of coal but never returned home. It is fitting that this should be the location for a memorial dedicated to all the miners that have died in mining disasters across our nations.'
On a personal note I can never forget the tales my own grandad told me, who himself was a miner in the valleys in the 1930's as was his father before him, and many of his relatives, who taught me never to forget the long list of tragedy, human grief and loss in our history, and the sorrow of communities like Senghennyd who have lost their loved ones.I never forget too, how some peoples lives are  expendable in the pursuit of profit.

Mourning of the Valley - Documentary telling the story of the 1913
Senghennyd Mining Disaster

F The Tories Freestyle

Not my usual musical cup of tea,
but respect, even though  they all seem to
be the same sides of the coin,
but in the meantime, this
works a treat.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

World Mental Health day 2013: Time to End the Stigmatisation

Today marks World Mental Health Day, a day that provides campaigners to raise awareness of the importance of positive mental health and to challenge the stigma that people with mental health issues daily experience.
Sadly despite the efforts of many, the subject of mental illness remains a taboo subject, the fact is that many in your community suffer from a wide of different problems like clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, and anxiety and others. In my community it is hardly ever talked about, many of us are left to face our problems in silence, we have to choose  between societies consensus ways of dealing with things, medication, psychotherapy, counselling etc etc, or simply learning to forget.
Personally I started this blog as a means of recovery, I'm getting there but still have a long way to go. I don't have clear answers, but I  now no longer bottle up  my feelings or emotions, I have learnt techniques to release them. I refuse to be labelled.
But I have also noticed how the press stokes up the fears and anxieties of mental illness, stigmatises people that should be getting some kind of support, in the midst of this the current tory government daily attacking the most vulnerable amongst us with their attacks on welfare claimants, cuts in services that are essential to peoples well beings.
What people with mental illness really need is support and understanding, to be accepted as we are  openly and warmly, not to be used, as scapegoats, to be hidden  and forgotten about. People who live with mental illness are among the most stigmatised groups in society. We are challenged doubly. On one hand with the struggle of our symptoms that result from our illnesses and then by the stereotypes and prejudice that results from peoples misconceptions about mental illness. Many people are robbed of opportunities that help define  a quality life,  jobs, safe housing, health care and affiliation with a diverse group of people, and are left feeling almost invisible and on our own.
Prejudice leads to discrimination and so on. The other day the Sun newspaper continued the sterotyping with a disgusting  headline, that further demonstrated the daily attacks that people with mental health issues suffer from. Everyone needs to experiences of 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' without the resort to crude stereotypes and attacks  that do not help remove stigmatisation.
It is time that people change their attitudes and outlook, and for politicians to redress the balance.
Ramble over off to see G.P for an M.O.T.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Philip Chevron (17/6/57 - 13/10/13) R.I.P Faithfully Departed

Just heard that guitarist with one of my favourite bands the Pogues, Philip  Chevron, died yesterday aged 56 after a long battle with cancer.  He regarded his fate with great stoicism - he told the Irish Daily Mail earlier this year " I am gay, Irish,Catholic, alcoholic pogue who is about to die from cancer - and don't think I don't know it."
He had first performed with the Irish punk band the Radiators from Space, before he joined the Pogues, contributing  to some of their more memorable albums, in addition to playing the banjo and mandolin, he added magic to their legendary performances, who I was fortunate to see back in the day. A punk heart with a penchant for the work of Betolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.
Later  he became almost like the bands unofficial spokesperson.
My thoughts are with is friends and family.

The Pogues - A Thousand Ships are sailing

The Radiators from Space - Faithfully Departed

Philip Chevron and Spider Stacy

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Deaths per thousand at european borders : Welcome to Fortress Europe.

It is now estimated that over 300 people will have died when a ship full of migrants sunk off  the Italian island of Lampedusa.Since then on Monday, 13 refugees drowned off the coast of Scicily while attempting to swim to shore. These people have  joined the thousands of people who have already died thanks to the racist policies of Fortress Europe. Policies  have been designed to make it almost impossible to legally reach Europe and consequently as a result of this people are forced to take desperate risks.
One of the first divers to reach the wreck reported that " There were bodies everywhere, trapped inside the wreck, but also on top  of it and around the boat. I saw at least 100 corpses. But what struck me most was that some of them were locked in an embrace - they were hugging each other as they exhaled their last breath. Nobody wants to die alone. I still can't get the sight out of my head. I can't think of anything else."
The map above shows graphically the scale of deaths on the borders of Fortress Europe - this latest disaster off Lampedusa was of a scale that it was reported on. But as shown again and again there is a constant death toll of small groups and individuals that are not judged to be even worth reporting on.
Europe cannot go on sealing its borders and pretend this is not happening. Movement of people is inevitable due to social conflicts, repression, despaired poverty or natural disasters, there will be further asylum seekers and further tragedies, as  people try to escape persecution.
I believe that Europe must act together and dismantle its barricades to avoid further tragedies. These deaths are not isolated incidents, they are symptomatic of policies that no longer see the humanity of those fleeing their homeland.  For most refugees they are  denied access to the asylum system and are treated like criminals.By making legal immigration and asylum nearly impossible these policies will  lead to further tragedy.Border militarisation, asylum laws, detention policies, deportations and carrier sanctions etc etc. that lead to the  tragic death of migrants and refugees must continually be questioned. Senselessly increasing military  patrols near the coast of North Africa is simply not a solution, and while condolences are always  good to hear, there must be a better way, and the continued detention of vulnerable desperate people must be avoided, and the laws of immigration should not be punitive.  However much European governments try, it is impossible in this global world to shut its doors, we are living in the age of migration, fact, we must look for solutions not more punishment.
The survivors of Lampedusa are now crammed into a refugee centre  on the tiny island, with many forced to sleep in the open.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Palestinians plant flower beds with spent tear canisters

In the middle of the desert landscape of the West Bank, a small village has become an oasis of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. It's residents have planted flowers in hundreds of spent Israeli tear gas grenades, to honor those killed during their weekly protests against the seperation barrier in an act of peaceful resistance.This garden is located in the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, the defacto capital of the proposed Palestinian state.
It serves to commemorate too Bassen Abu Ramah, a protest leader who was killed in 2009, when a tear gas grenade struck him in the chest during a demonstration.
This beautiful garden , acts as a counter marker, against the cruelty of the seperation wall, that divides neighbour from  neighbour, and symbolises directly their complex situation
In the most difficult of circumstances, some how hope, manages to flower.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Battle Of Cable Street Sunday 4th October 1936

Short documentary on the East End Of Londons militant anti fascist action against Mosely's British Union of Fascists on this  day 77 years ago 4th October 1936.
In the end the fascists were thwarted because of a determined group of united people who would not let them pass.77 years ago, people from all backgrounds worked together to prevent Oswald Mosley's fascists from marching through a Jewish area in London. We might like to think those days are behind us, but anti-semitism, racism and intolerance against Muslims is on the rise. The far-right are growing throughout Europe. After seventy seven years we must still remain vigilant to this. We should never forget events like the battle of Cable Street. Teach your kids about it.

This post is dedicated to Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail and all other fascist scum who think they can pass among us.

W.H. Davies ( 3/7/1871 - 26/9/40 ) The Battle for Cable Street.

You ask me how I got like this, Sir
Well, I don't care to say
But I will tell you a little story
Of when I was in a big fray.

I'm not very well in my old age
And as I sits drinking my broth
My mind goes back to 1936
That Sunday,Otober the fourth.

I was walking down Bethnal Green Road, Sir
just walking about at my ease
When the strains of a famous old song, Sir
Came floating to me on the breeze.

I stoppe, I looked and listened
Now where have I heard that old song?
Then I dashed to the Salmon and Ball, Sir
I know I wouldn't go wrong.

It was the Intenationale they were singing
They were singing it with a defiant blast
And holding up a big banner
With these words: " THEY SHALL NOT PASS"

And we then marched on to the East End
They were five thousand of us , I am sure
And when we got to the Aldgate
We were met by three hundred thousand more.

'Red Front! Red Front! these workers cried
It was a sight I wouldn't have missed
To see these thousands of defiant workers
Holding up their Mighty Clenched Fist.

The police said 'Now move along please,
This is all we ask'
But we said 'No, not for those blackshirts
Those rotters THEY SHALL NOT PASS'

We then marched on to Stepney Green Sir
You could see that this fight was no sham
For there were thousands of and thousands of workers
Marching from Limehous,Poplar, Stratford and East Ham.

You could see that Mosely wouldn't get through Sir
That our slogan that day was no boast
And I shouted 'Hip Hip hurrah'
And I saw our flag being tied to a lamp post

the children shouted from the windows "O, golly"
For Mosley, no one seemed sorry
But someone ha da the goodness
To lendv us their two ton lorry

We got it over on its side Sir
It wasn't much of a strain
But the police krpt knocking our barricade down
So we built the damn thing up again.

The police said we worked mighty fast
As with a hanky their faces they mopped
So we got out our big red banner
And stuck it right on the top.

The police then charged with their truncheons
They charged us, the working class
But they couldn't pinch our red banner
With these words THEY SHALL NOT PASS

I wish you had been there to see it
You would have said it was a ruddy fine feat
How we kept that old Red Flag flying
On those barricades of Cable Street.

So this is the end of my story
And I must get back to my broth
But I hope you will never forget Sir
It was Sunday October the fourth.

Ghosts of Cable Street
(video showing the scenes of Cable Street,
set to the music of the Men They Couldn't hang)

and again and again
we will cry

Picture below by David Rosenberg

Destruction of Chartist Mural

The destruction of the popular Chartist mural, in Newport yesterday has robbed many Newport residents of part of their rich personal and cultural history. Commemorating the Chartist uprising of 4th November 1839, it was located close to John Frost Square (named after emminent local Chartist leader, who was packed of to Tasmania, only to return later to heroes welcome.) in 1979, made by artist Kenneth Budd, to act as a memorial to the 20 Chartists  who were killed by soldiers outside the nearby Westgate Hotel.
A local campaign had collected over 4,000 signatures in support of keeping the mural. Many locals had gathered to show their opposition, and to try and defy the wreckers, however sadly now reduced to rubble in an act of cultural vandalism. All for the sake of building yet another shopping centre, a disgrace in any context, but absolutely disgusting under the direction of a Labour Council, who do not seem to care about their roots, or the proud heritage of the local people.
We should never forget the  insurrectionary spirit of the Chartists,  and the proud part Newport played in fighting for workers rights,  nor the people of Newport who determingly and willfully campaigned to save this mural from this willful desecration and destruction.

Democracy dead and buried in Newport

Chartist Mural destroyed

After the Lights Go Out (a film  by Dominique Michael)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

These Words

(some words for National Poetry Day)

I make spontaneous verse
I am not very good at rhyme,
I am often non-conformist
my visions speak against injustice,
words released like a slow burning fuse
to fill the air with crackling alarm,
I have felt emptiness, exhaustion
witnessed forces of distortion, 
the politics of empty gestures
shaped by the hands of jesters,
I hurry on, follow tides of innocence
try to swim beyond rivers of ambivalence,
these words are my swords & ploughshares
clouds of abstraction, in intervals of time,
whilst  breathless, I try to run free
empty pockets of contemplation,
share my conscience into  night sky
with each season's passing cry.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why we hate the Daily Mail

The Daily Mail is rightly getting hammered at the moment....which has been cheering me up greatly. Here's last nights stand off on Newsnight. 10 minutes in Paul Dacre gets it! We're still living in dangerous times, however, and the right wing media and their poison need to be fought tooth and nail.
 Long has the Daily Mail's brand been tainted. It's unique combination of bullshit, scaremongering and hatred making it one of the worst newspapers in the world, for some time it has exhibited a right-wing stance on both society and politics. It still holds an inherently racist outlook, whilst supporting whatever right-wing  crazies that cross their path, ie, the Conservative Party, U.K.I.P, or the English Defence League. Combined with a lack of trustworthy news, hypocricy and bullshit. A bully that is constantly attacking the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed and disabled benefit claimants. It's headlines long fuelling xenophobia, bigotry, public anxiety and islamphobia, for too long now it has just been a poisonous piece of toilet paper, that needs to be shut down in the name of human decency, and is strictly beyond the pale.
Lest us not forget that during the 1930's and 1940's this newspaper (if we can call it one) openly supported the Nazis and the Blackshirts.

Daily Mail Poem

I pour scorn on its petty margins,
its distortion of realities silhouette,
the daily shame, should be its new name,
cross out all its lies, we'd be left with empty pages.

Drinking toasts to underbellies of nastiness,
it sharpens its pen on bile,
its agenda of spreading hatred,
is enough to scramble your brain.

Acts like a bully, but is simply scared
                                               of everything,
its dark heart is a destroyer of dreams,
as its wedges of venom drives people apart,
in truth, it reminds me of nothing at all.

In these times, when I think people,
should be drawing closer together,
its pinning sense of intolerance,
fuels only fear, with its jackboots
                               gnashing daily.

its message is not one I want to hear,
we are so diametrically opposed,
dont ever think I will ever be able
                             to call it a friend.

(An earlier headline from this odious paper.)

Hurrah for the Blackshirts