Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Say no to UKIP

Lets Unite and say no to UKIP, say no to racism, say no to homophobia, say no to Europhobia, by not voting UKIP.
I quote: 'In the UKIP local Manifesto  2014, the party leader mentions  that "Today, local communities are under attack... On 1 January 2014, the UK opened its doors to people from both Romania and Bulgaria. Up to 29 million people  more people  are therefore entitled to come here, to take advantage  of our benefits and social houses".

The reality is that just 0.06% of these 29 million have come to Britain but the bad news is a total  of 400 million people from Europe are entitled  to come to the UK if they wish so, because all EU citizens have the right to decide where to reside and work within the European Union. According to Mr Farage, one of these 400 million people  is a member of his own family.

Personally  I find UKIPS  brand poisonous and toxic, pandering to racist rhetoric. They are deploying the same language and tactics  used  openly by racist parties and organisations like the BNP, the EDF and the NF before them, who now instead  of targetting migrants from Africa are  now targetting migrants  within the EU.
Scratch under the surface  and their racism is exposed. Many of their candidates, activists and representatives have been caught out  making derogotary and offensive comments. People like to joke about them, but they continue to spread their venom, and the prospect of them gaining any credence or any asssemblage of power is very frightening indeed.
A wote  for UKIP  is like voting  for the mafia as  representatives of  law and order.It is very worrying that  people are  being attracted and drawn to their dangerous ideas that seem intent on stirring up hatred and fostering division.
In Ceredigion, Wales where I live, we have already seen a so called independent councillor  recently joining their ranks.
I really hope  people stop their tide and stop them in their tracks
Oh and UKIP  also have a freephone  number that  will cost  them from their funds everytime  you call...send them some love  folks...the longer  you stay on the better.....

Here's the number

0800  587  6 587

UKIP top brass can add poor driving to their list of recent controversies after one of their  buses  collided with  a railway roof in Portsmouth recently.... ho ho ho.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Remembering Rana Plaza

On 24 April 2013, over 1,100 people were killed and thousands more were injured in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetto, Primark, Matalan, Mango , Costa and other major brands The fate of the Rana Plaza building turned into a tragedy because workers were forced by their bosses to come to work in a place inspectors had previously ordered closed for safety reasons.It would be the worst factory tragedy in the history of the Garment industry. The majority of the victims were female garment workers. The disaster was entirely preventable. No longer could consumers, workers or governments turn a blind eye  to the dangers facing workers every day.
To this day Gap refuses  to sign a trade agreement that would improve conditions for the workers that produce their clothes. Survivors spoke about the intense costcutting  pressures from Austalian retailers Like Costa. Many of these brands are still stocking clothes made in Bangladesh sweatshops and many workers have no choice  than to return to an industry despite ill-health and fear of another collapse.
We should continue to  demand from the rubbles and ashes of this disaster  that workers particularly women workers  the capacity to fight for a better life, and  as we remember the victims of Rana Plaza we should carry on expressing  our anger at companies mentioned earlier, their disregard for the workers in their supply chains in their thirst for profit.These companies  must take responsibilty for their part in this disaster.
It is more than time  that the fashion industry  make human rights and basic safety non-negotiable. I remember today all those who lost their lives, remember their families, husbands, wives, children, mothers and brothers, all left mourning a loved one and still waiting for justice. A year on, the families of victims and the survivors  are still waiting for full compensation, so they don't  have to live with the additional burden of financial hardship.

In Memoriam

As we remember all those affected, here is a link that names and  calls on all brands that source from Rana Plaza to pay up.

The real cost of fast fashion

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

For Chas (R.I.P)

( for a dear old friend)
In Golden days,
he put a silver spoon on the table,
left sweetness on a rizla paper,
once when beaten, he opened the door,
a hundred hours later, having passed eternity,
he released me gently back into the world,
left no traces of tears or fear,
over the years, out of nowhere,
he would always return,
in richness bought unprescribed love,
together we followed the roads of possibility,
now I remember all the good times,
and try real hard not to be sad,
will miss the beauty of his familiar face,
as the wind blows, I will hear his breath.           

Monday, 21 April 2014

Golden Child ( At the Water's edge)

                                         ( for Aidan Llewellyn my grandson on his 2nd birthday)

Without language yet,
he follows footprints in the sand,
hopping, skipping and jumping,
a moving spirit of the earth,
rising and falling  by the seas edge,
with bright eyes, his curiosity does not rest,
running across sandy beach, in boundless joy,
lost in a landscape of play and dreams.

A swashbuckling cavalier of Peace,
marching along the oceans edge,
we will serve him, as long as he needs,
under the sky and ebbing tides,
walk alongside, his determined grace,
sparkling as spring awakes.

No compass guides this great adventurer,
what sweeter cadence can there  be than this,
this innocent soul, protected by love,
who stops for a moment to watch the waves
                                                     rushing by,
filling us all with wondrous hope,
and though he cannot yet speak of freedom,
we will try and make sure, that it fills his heart,
day after day, year after year,
wish him happiness in every  winding path,
here and now, beyond the corners of this topsy
                                                       turvy world.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Why I support Palestinian Prisoners Day

Today April 17th is Palestinian Prisoners Day, a global day of action demanding justice for all Palestinian prisoners. There are demonstrations happening all over Palestine and in many places across the world.
More  than 800,000 Palestinians including children, have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel sice 1967, while at least 5,000 Palestinians are currently held by Israel. Everyday arrests are made targetting both men and women, adults and minors of varying ages.
These arrests do not target any certain demographic or age group, instead, they target all aspects of the Palestinian Society, including children, seniors, women, men, officials, ministers, legislators, political leaders, union leaders, disabled Palestinians, students, intellectuals, poets and artists.
There are 19 Palestinian women and 200 children who are still imprisoned by Israel in addition to hundreds of children who grew up and became adults while in prison.

Israel is still holding captive 185 Palestinians under arbitrary Administation orders without charge, eleven elected legislators and dozens  of political officials.More than 1,400 Palestinians need medical attention but are, instead, denied the needed medical treatment.
Administrative Detention is the "Unknown enemy" which the detainees face, as it is a punishment without charge, without indictment. Administrative Detainees are held without trial. Neither they or their lawyers are allowed to defend themselves simply because they face what Israel calls a 'secret file' that no one is allowed to see. Each arbitrary order is usually for 1 to 6 months, but are repeatedly renewed and, in many cases, just as the detainees are about to step out of prison, they are then informedof a new order, often spending months and years under such orders without even knowing when, or if, they will ever be freed.
The memory of Palestinian Prisoners day comes this year while the Palestinian people still suffer systematic Israeli violations against them and their familiesthrough the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
G4S is still profiting from Israel's illegal detention and torture of Palestinians. G4S is British/Danish company that services Israeli prisons and checkpoints.
I hope that the international community will continue to take effective measures to ensure that Israel releases unlawfully detained prisoners and ensures that conditions of arrest are consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Israel : Lift 'Ludicrous' restrictions on whistleblower Vanunu a decade after release he is still not free.

(from Press release from Amnesty International)

Ten years after serving a full sentence for his revelations to the press about Israel's nuclear weapons programme, Mordechai Vanunu still faces severe restrictions that arbitrarily infringes on his freedom of movement, expression and associaton, said Amnesty International. The former nuvlear technician served an 18-year prison sentence, the first 11 of which were in solitary confinement for disclosing information to journalists about Israel's nuclear arsenal during the 1980s. Since his release in 2004, renewable military orders, have placed Mordechai Vanunu under police supervision. Among  other things, he is banned from leaving the country and participating in internet chats. He must also seek permission to communicate with any foreign nationals, including journalists. "The authorities continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu appears to be purely vindictive. The government's arguments that these severe restrictions are necessary for national security are ludicrous," said Avner Gidron, Senior Policy Adviser at Amnesty International

Read more from press release here :-

On 21 April 2014 it will be 10 years since Mordechai walked out  of Ashkelon to cheering supporters from around the world. It should also be noted that Mordechai's initial revelations, were not given to the enemy, but to newspapers, in an attempt to protect his own people, the region and the world against great danger, he has served his time most of it in solitary confinement, with civilised justice a prisoner who has served his time is back in society, but Vanunu itseems is being punished again and again.
It seems  that the Israeli establishment cannot forgive Mordechai his act of honesty and, shamefully, the international community has done nothing to support Mordechai as one of the few men who risked his freedom for peace in the Middle East as a man of peace and conscience.
A traitor to some a hero to others, one thing is clear he has served his time , it's time to let him get on with his life.
As 21April approaches UK Vanunu supporters are planning and hoping to raise his profile and the fact that he is still being held in Israel against his wishes. He is still being harassed and  his current status falls very short of being a free man.

There is already one petition circulating entitled:

We are not free until Vanunu is free

(Please sign it below)

I Am Your Spy- Mordechai Vanunu

I am the clerk, the technician, the mechanic, the driver.
They said, do this, do that, don't look left or right,
don't read the text. Don't look at the whole machine. You
are ony responsible for this one bolt. For this one rubber-stamp.
This is your only concern. Don't bother with what is above you.
Don't try to think for us. Go on, drive. Keep going. On, on.

So they thought, the big ones, the smart ones, the futurologists.
There is nothing to fear. Not to worry.
Everything's ticking just fine.
Our little clerk is a diligent worker. He's a simple mechanic.
He's a little man.
Little men's ears don't hear, their eyes don't see.
We have heads, they don't.

Answer them, said he to himself, said the little man,
the man with a head of his own. Who is in charge? Who knows
where this train is going?
Where is their head? I too have a head.
Why do I see the whole engine,
Why do I see the precipice--
is there a driver on this train?

The clerk driver technician mechanic looked up.
He stepped back and saw -- what a monster.
Can't believe it. Rubbed his eyes and - yes,
it's there all right. I'm all right. I do see
the monster. I'm part of the system.
I signed the form. Only now I am reading the rest of it.

This bolt is part of a bomb. This bolt is me. How
did I fail to see, and how do the others go on
fitting bolts. Who else knows?
Who has seen? Who has heard? The emperor really is naked.
I see him. Why me? It's not for me. It's too big.

Rise and cry out. Rise and tell the peopkle. You can.
I, the bolt, the technician, mechanic? Yes, you.
You are the secret agent of the peopkle. You are the eyes of the nation.
Agent-spy, tellus what you've seen. Tell us what the insiders, the clever ones
have hidden from us.
Without you, there is only the precipice. Only catastrophe.

I have no choice. I'm a little man, a citizen, one of the people,
but I'll do what I have to. I've heard the voice of my conscience
and there's nowehere to hide.
The world is small, small for Big Brother.
I'm on your mission. I'm doing my duty. Take it from me.

Come and see yourselves. Lighten my burden. Stop the train.
Get of the train. The next stop - nuclear disaster. The next book,
the next machine. No. There is no such thing.

1987, Ashkelon Prison

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Vittorio Arrigoni Remembered (4/2/75 -15/4/11)

Today I also remember Italian Vittorio Arrigoni,a dedicated peace activist, journalist and freedom fighter for Palestine. From  his arrival until his murder on the 15th of April 2011, Vittorio stayed in Gaza to work with the International Solidarity Movement there, where he attended regular demonstrations, helping both farmers and fishermen, also volunteering in hospitals and ambulances, and helped  document the countless Israeli crimes against humanity that he witnessed. Vittorio also stayed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, which massacred hundreds of unarmed civilians. His daily dispatches during those three weeks, during which 1.400 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians, were published in 2010 in a book titled Gaza:Stay Human, which was translated into English by Daniela Flippin with an introduction by Israel historian and dissident Ilan Pappe. 
Here was a man sadly killed by sectarian forces, his murder an outrage, one of of enormous tragedy. He lived and died expressing his solidarity with the Palestinians, this was a man who loved Gaza, it's land, it's sea and it's sky. A huge inspiration, brave and defiant.
He embodied  a certain spirit of the European anti-fascists of the 1930's and 1940's, who went to fight and die as partisans in Italy and Spain. In his own words he said " My granfathers fought and died struggling against an occupation, another occupation. It was the Nazi-Fascist one. For this reason, probably, in my DNA, there are particles that push me to struggle for human rights and freedom."
Long before   he had embraced the Palestinians cause he had been involved  in human rights issues.
Here was a man, that seemed to me to  define the spirit of humanity, who also  used to also  say "The winner is a dreamer who never gives up." He remains a hero to the people of Palestine.
I hope his great spirit is not forgotten.

" We must remain human, even in the most difficult times, because depite everything, there must allways be humanity within us. We have to bring it to others." - Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni - Staying Human


Hillsborough Disaster: 25 years on

It was on this day April 15, 1989 that 96 Liverpool supporters went to a game of football and never came back. The terrrible events of that day at Hillsborough remain as heartbreaking now as they were 25 years ago.
Today bells will ring 96 times around the city of Liverpool at 3.06, the moment the match was halted. A minutes silence will be observed.After all these, despite Prime Minister  David Cameron  finally aplogising for the cover up attempt by police, investigators and the media, many  people are still searching for answers. 25 years later there have still been no criminal charges against any individual or group on the supposed grounds of insufficient evidence.
On this anniversary, my thoughts go  out to the familis of the 96, Liverpool Football Club and the City of Liverpool.

Post from last year including Carol Ann Duffy Poem on the subject.

Monarchy Monster

In response to the horrendous daily onslaughts of  yet another odious BBC report on Kate and Will and little georgy porgy. Enjoying another 'public funded holiday' while the rest of us suffer from cutbacks. To be honest I'd rather they stay down under, their welcome to them.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Nick Drake - Pink Moon

I saw it written and I saw it say
Pink moon is on it's way
And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon
Hey, it's a pink moon
It's a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon

I saw it written and I saw it say
Pink moon is on it's way
And none  of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon
Yeah, it's a pink moon

So later on  Tuesday morning, will be the first full moon after the vernal equinox, not sure if I will see anything over the skies of West Wales,  but will keep my eyes peeled. According to the Farmers Almanac ' it is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.Tomorrow's is also a total lunar eclipse, giving it the additional name of ' Blood Red Moon'. The name Pink Moon derives from the Native American name for the full moon that takes place in April coming from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is  one of the earliest flowers  to bloom in springtime. The native Americans used phrases and cycles of the moon, to keep track of the changing seasons. Pink Moon, so happens to be one of my favourite songs by the late great Nick Drake.
In some parts of the world now is the time to plant and in other parts of the world it is time to harvest those rewards. A time it is said when the Earth, Sun and Moon  will align. I am not one for prophesy, but there are those that say, that under a Pink Moon, it could be part of significant change in World history too. Personally I quite like  the influence of the old moon, but if we really want to grasp some change, I think  we as a people have a long way to go, but together we can keep pushing, for some real, significant social change.

Just Imagine New York as Gaza!

The Israeli-Palestinian war in 1948 took one area that had been a single, territorial, cultural, ecomomic unit and divided it into seperate areas. After the Israeli occupation  in 1967, there was freedom of movement among the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, which as the occupation continued and people began to resist the occupation - became restricted.
Beginning in the 1990's, Israel  began to seal the borders in ways that were really hard for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Imagine that overnight the mayor of New York declares  that people from Brooklyn can no longer enter Manhattan.People cut off, seperated from friends and loved ones. Imagine F16's roaring over your head, while you try to sleep. Imagine a daily life  under seige, under blockade, restriction of movement, no equal rights, access to clean water and saintation etc etc. This the daily ordeal of the People Of Gaza. Having endured one of the longest blockades in human history, resulting in suffering for the 1.7 million Palestinians living under siege in just 365 sq/km of land. Half of the population are under 18, and two/thirds are refugees.Subject  to attacks  by land, air and sea.
We must  continue to confont Israelis abuses  of the Palestinian's human and political rights, and challenge Israel's illegal seige, keeping pressure on our own Governments to take action on this issue, and  by supporting the many initiatives out there to help the dispirited people of Gaza.

' No man can put a chain about the ankles of his fellow man, without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck. The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous. Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that sociry is an organised conspracy to oppress. rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

Whatever the future may have  in store for us, one thing is certain - this new revolution in human thought will never go backward. When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world."

- Frederick Douglass ( 2/1818 -20/2/95, social reformer, escaped African-American Slave)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier - the first anti-war hit record

Released in 1915, I Didn't Raise My Son to be a Soldier, sung here by the Peerless Quartet, was the first commercially successful anti-ar record and featured prominenlty yn the American ant-war record and featured prominently in the American anti-war movement opposing US entry in the first world war. The warmongering ex-president Theodore Roosevelt objected to the song's message of peace and its early feminism: " Foolish people who applaud a song entitled "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A soldier" are just the people who would also in their hearts aplaud a song entitled "I Didn't Raise my Girl To Be A mother."

Follow stop the War Coalition

Friday, 11 April 2014

Goodbye Sue Townsend (2/4/46 - 10/4/14)

Sue Townsend, passionate socialist,republican, humourist, and author died on Thursaday after a short illness. illness. She was best  known as the author of the succesful Adrian Mole series, which I thoroughly remember, enjoying at the time, when I too was a spotty teenager growing up in the early years of Thatcher's Britains.
She was a big fan of Aneurin Bevan, and used to be a staunch supporter of the Labour Party, but felt left down by them, especially under Tony Bliar during the Iraq war, a war that she opposed. She knew back then that the New Labour bubble was about to burst.
Her work and her life  was informed by her sense of where she came from. The daughter of a post man from Leicester, she left school at 15 working at a series of jobs including factory worker, shop assistant and youth worker, a secret voracious reader, it was with sadness that she was later to lose her sight, and be unable to read her beloved books.
She married a sheet-metal worker aged 18 and leaves behind four children. She had suffered a stroke at Christmas, which had affected her memory and made it " difficult to get the tongue around words." Back in 2009 she said, she would not  be goin on to 'make old bones.'
The world hs lost another fine writer, often  both poignant and funny, theres always a special sadness for writers, who have helped shape our youth. Sue Townsend R.I.P

" I am a passionate socialist, but, God, I can't stand them now. I support the memory and the history of the party and I consider that these lot are interlopers. . . I could  still cry to think about shock and awe, to watch it on television and think 'there are bombers and they're bombing children. That Blair could sit and watch that, with his kids, possibly. How  would he have explained it to his children?"

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Killing Joke - Requiem (A Floating Leaf Always Reaches The Sea Dub Mix:- For David Cameron)

What is God's name?

Does she/he listen to music like this?

If David Cameron thinks he's doing God's work you have to wonder what he worships? That's if he worships any religious figure at all, I think he would get along with Mammon, though, the very personification of greed. Personally think David Cameron has been deluded for a long time now. I do know another thing, that in the wake of Maria Miller's resignation, there's a whole load of people out there, hoping and praying that David Cameron does the same. 'The Bible tells us to bear one another's burdens" he said yesterday, but  his weight on the world is surely to much for us to take, this country of ours shares many faiths and traditions, one thing that is definitely not making this country stronger is David Cameron's Tory Government. He certainly has not listened to the passages from a certain book about giving to the poor, god's apparent deep concern for the poor and social justice. 
So to put it quite simply.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Paul Robeson (9/4/29- 23/1/76) - The People of Wales still proudly remember you.

Keep hearing a lot of bad news today, but I am rminded today that the inevitable Paul Robeson was born today. Not only was he an exeptional athlete, cultural scholar, and actor and singer,  he was also a man dedicated to the causes of freedom and social justice, as a political activist he was hounded and persecuted in the U.S for his opinions. His name and historical contribution are still silenced in most textbooks in the U.S.A , where he was was caught up in the midst of the  McCarthy witchhunts.
Yet all around the world, especially here in Wales, his voice still carries much resonance, gives us some hope.
His first contact  with Wales came in 1928, when he was performing in 'Showboat' in the West End. Whilst in his hotel he was attracted  by the sound of singing from outside. The singing was coming from unemployed  miners who had  marched to London to draw attention to the hardship and suffering endured by thousands of mining families in South Wales. He went outside to meet them, listened to their plight, recognised a shared suffering, and a mutual bond was born. He was to visit Wales many times, between 1928 and 1939, performing at Neath, Swansea and Cardiff. In 1940 he starred in the film Proud Valley, set in South Wales, that captured the harsh realities of Welsh coal miners' lives.
Most famously in 1938, he sang and addressed a massed audience in the Pavillion, Mountain Ash, at the International Brigade Memorial Service, organised to commemorate the 33 Welshmen who had been killed in the Spanish Civil War.
He addressed the audience thus :-

' I am here because I know these brave fellows fought not only for me but for the freedom of the people of the whole world. I feel it is my duty to be here.'

Long may he remain an inspiration. His name remembered as one synonomous with equal rights, the search for justice, peace and solidarity,the unquavering thirst for freedom.

Paul Robeson - Land of My Fathers.

Paul Robeson sings for the workers at Sydney Opera House.

Paul Robeson - We are climbing Jacob's ladder. 

Plant Trees Not Bombs in Afghanistan

It was  the jolting vibrations
that shook our senses,
nonetheless directed by fellow humans.
Our eyes darted from mysterious fears
of losing one another.
"There's been an explosion. Don't come this way!",
torn by our outspoken wish to huddle together,
as if madness could be scattered
among the fragile shells of ourselves.
as if we could
dream the unknown away.

Read more and view photos  here:-

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Thatcher: Tramp The Dirt Down - Elvis Costello

For Margaret Thatcher: 

To this day she remains one of the most controversial and divisive figures to emerge from British politics.

I still remain a proud member of the Thatcher hating society, this so called Iron Lady was responsible for plunging the countinto a pit of unemplyment, riots and despair, selling off  anything of worth. Took us off to war, shortly after waging her own with the so called 'enemy within', a lifelong friend of fascist despot, General Pinochet, etc etc. Her policies made life a misery for millions.

She sought to suffocate all that was around her, rather than give life. An enemy of the people.

Ding Dong, one year on the witch is dead but  her dark legacy still lingers though, time that we buried that also....

Kwibuka - Remembered

Yesterday across Rwanda, thousands gathered in stadiums, shurches and Community centres to take part in  Kwibuka -  the flame of Rememberance.
20 years ago marked the start of 100 of the darkest days in human history. 1 million people were killed in the Rwandan Genocide. We should not forget.
Yet  there are thousands of  lives on the line right now b- lives that are being extinguished because of bigotry, prejudice, hatred and cruelty. lives  that are being  lost with the full awareness - and complicity - of government officials.
In this moment in  time  in Burma, thousands of Rohingya Muslims are being persecuted, languishing in camps where many thousands are being forced to live. Then there are the thousands of Palestinians, stranded in Yarmouk Refugee camp in Syria.
We should not  forget the damage done to our own morality by choosing to ignore genocide, wherever  it is taking place.
Here are some words from Bobby Kennedy, as addressed  to a group of young people from Soweta, South Africa.

" It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Rainer Maria Rilke (4/12/1875 -29/12/26) - Not Poor


We are not poor. We are just without riches,
we who have no will, no world:
marked with  the marks of the latest anxiety,
disfigure, stripped of leaves.

Around us swirls the dust of the cities,
the garbage clings  to us.
We are shunned as if contaminated,
thrown away like broken pots, like bones,
the last year's calender.

And yet if our Earth needed to
she could weave us together like roses
and make of us a garland

For each being is cleaner than washed stones
and endlessy yours, and like  an animal
who knows  already in its first blind moments
its need for one thing only-

to let ourselves be poor like that - as we truly are

Photo: Child and her mother, FSA Rehabilitation Clients, 1939 by Dorothea Lange

Friday, 4 April 2014

Tristan Tzara ( 4/4/1896 -25/12/63) Radical Dadaist Poet of vivid imagination.

The individual . .  .  lives poetry every moment  that he affirms his existence. The poetic image itself, as much as experience, is not only a product of reason and imagination, it is valid only if it has been lived. Every creation is therefore, for the poet, an aggressive  affirmation of his consciousness."

-Tristan Tzara:- Dialectics of Poetry, 1946 

Tristan Tzara was a writer for whom artistic and political revolution were one and the same. He was a Romanian and French poet, essayist and performance artist and founding member of the anti-establishment artistic movement known as known as Dada.
Born Samuel Rosentsock on April 4th , 1896 in Moinesi, Romania, to a wealthy jewish family.In his early youth was  the lover of the dancer Maja Krusceek, he would go on to  to marry the Swedish aritist and poet Greta Knutson.
In 1915 his parents sent him to Zurich, where he enrolled at a University to study philosophy, inspired by the Symbolist Poets, in particular, the works of Arthur Rimbaud. He adopted  the pseudonym Tristan Tzara (sad in country) as a protest of the treatment of  jews in his native country. It was here in Zurich that he was to write the first Dadaist  texts, after meeting  the German Hugo Ball, an anarchist poet and pianist and his young wife Emmy Hennings, a music hall performer, attending events at the Caberet Voltaire, where he also put on shows that would combine performance art, with his poetry and art manifestos, which were all  to become key components of early Dadaism.
His talent as a performer and event organiser, and his role  on the journal DADA and his founding Dadaist writings quickly placed Tzara at the centre of this blossonming movement.
Dadaism was principally an anti-art, anti-war, anti-bourgeois movement born  as a reaction to World War 1. They reacted in horror and disgust to the brutality of thewar, to the mechanical anonymous killing and to the cynical justifications put forward by the powers that be on both sides, who sought to use the seeming logic of their arguments to legitimise their war policy. The Dadaists  accused the public in the belligerent nations  of a deferentia, nationalist attitude, so they formulated  their own position with a corresponding self confidence. Also together with kindred spirits Tzara and the Dadaists laid out in Hugo Balls' original Dada Manifesto (1916),  their opposition to all characteristics of the middle classes, including materialism, convention and consumerism. They believed art had become a commercial transaction both literally and metaphorically, so they navigated a deeper pulse, swimming in the deep end of sighs. They used Dada as  a form of shock art that intended  to provoke and outrage its audience, using obscenity and humour in an attempt to probe the cultural public. Anarchic, nihilistic and disruptive, childhood and chance its two most important sources of inspiration, the name itself a nonsense, a baby-talk word, born out of dissillusionment, a cult of non-art that became overtly political, that for me has much enduring appeal and the presence of immense passion and beauty. He would collaborate with Breton, Aragon, Soupault, Picabio and Paul Eluard, much illustrious company methinks.

" Freedom: Dada, dada, dada,
crying open the constricted pains,
swallowing the contrasts and all
the contradictions, the grotequeries
and the illogicalities of life."

- Tristan Tzara

Tristan Tzara's writing I have only be able to read in translation, unfortunately, highly experimental, rich and anarchic. His later poems would reveal the anquish of his soul, caught between revolt and wonderment at the daily tragedy of the human condition. He was committed to art being used as a  political weapon and  continued to be involved in politics and political activism throughout his life. A stauch anti-fascist he joined the republicans in the Spanish Civil War and became a member of the French Resistance in World WarII. Though originally alligned  with the Communist Party of France, serving a time  in the French National Assembly, he later distanced  himself fom them after the 1956 Hungarian uprising. He did however, remain a spokesman for Dada, and in 1960 was among the intellectuals who protested against French actions in the Algerian War.
On December 24th, 1963, he died in Paris of lung cancer at the age of sixty-seven.Still a Poet of Revolt, a proud defender of Dada's movements. His legacy still echoes in our rumbling confusions, in every art fad that has since echoed,down the age.
The following poems that I share, have no structure or rhthym, but they speak with boldness, beauty and wonder, translated by someone who understands Tzara's potency, the fine poet Lee Harwood ( who I was fortunate to catch reading his own work in Carmarthen last year),  even in translation, the raw honesty is allowed to  breathe and reveal.
Hope you appreciate them as much as I do.

To Make a Dadaist Poem

Take a newspaper,
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next  take  each cutting one aftr the other.
Copy conscieintiously  in theorder in whichthey left the bag
The poem will reseble you.
And there yu are-an infinitely author of charming
sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.


the clashing seas spread the ocean of their idleness
in the beds with white foam sheets
as the sound of pages of waves turned by the reader of
the unsated sky
the loving and steady caress of clouds
dissolves behind the mist
the long awaited promise on the horizon of your smile

the land at its bursting point reveals the young white stone
of a giant's firm breast offered for the length of time
and the wind bites its lips in its black rage

smashed is the clarity passing through the glasses of our lives
the wind chokes the word in the village's throat poor village
its life of strange revelations

shattered is the chain of wors covered in winters and dramas
which connnected the  the intimate revelations of our lives

and the wind spits in our face
the untiring brutality of it all

(Translated by Lee Harwood)

ambling along

the glance's sand
the loose earth
the tower's bark
the exchange of pleasant hills

the first stone
charming octopus
the vines tore off
from the flock of stacks
they're lying

then the low trusting water
and night everywhere
doors banging
unseen hands

the grass sheathed
the voice blocked
the roaf beheaded
the houuse buried

eveything for you you see
you son't see anything anymore

(Lee Harwood)


what is this road that seperates us
across which I hold out the hand of my thoughts
a flower is written at the end of each finger
and the end of the road is a flower which walks with you

glass to pass through peaceful

the joy of lines wind around you soul's central heating
smoke speed steel smoke
geography of silk embroideries
colonised with flowering sponges
the song crystallized
in the
body's vase with the smoke flower

the black's vibration
in your blood
in your blood of the evening's intelligence and wisdom
a blue wrinkled eye in a clear glass
I love you I love you
a vertical comes down  into my tiredeness which no longer enlightenjs me
my heart muffled in an old newsapaper
you can bite it: whistle
let's go

the clouds set in ranks in the offices' fever
the bridges mangle your poor body is very large these milky way
           scissors and cut out the memory in green shapes
in one direction always in the same direction
expanding always expanding

Recommended  Further Reading:-

Chanson Dada :-- Tristan Tzara
Selected poems  translated by Lee Harwood
Black Widow Press, 2005

dada :- art and anti-art
-Hans Richter
Thames and Hudson, 1965

Hugo Ball- Flight out of time
Viking Press, 1974

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Support Musician Omar Saad

Eighteen year old  violinist Omar Saad was recently handed down a sixth prison sentence for his ongoing refusal to serve in Israel's occupation army.Hehas declared that he would  refuse to serve in the army even if he was jailed  sixty times.
He wasa first jailed in early December last year, after he and his siblings  performed a musical protest outside  of an Israeli military induction center in the Galilee, where the majority of Palestinians in present day Israel reside. He has since been handed down six consecutive sentences of twenty days imprisonment.
Omar is a member of the Druze  religious minority, which unlike the majority of Palestinian  citizens of Israel, are required to serve in the military.
However growing numbers of Druze youth are refusing to comply, fasing imprisonment in the process.
The anti-militarization group New Profile is encouraging  letters of support for Omar, as well as letters to the Israeli authorities calling for his release, and letters to the media to bring attention to his plight.

 Turning 18, for most teenagers, means you are no longer imprisoned by your parents, but turning 18 for a Palestinian living in Palestine  1948 land means you are no longer imprisoned to your parents but you are now imprisoned by the Israelis, this  young man who is a wonderful musician should from a village in Galilee has just turned 18 instead of celebrating his 18th birthday he should be free, out playing his beloved instruments with his awakened conscience.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

24th Anniversary Of Anti Poll Tax Riots, London 1990.

On 31st May  24 years ago people took to the streets of London and fought  back against Margaret Thatchers'  hated polltax, leading to running street battles with the police and total chaos in Trafalgar Square - the following has some good footage of this battle.

Thatcher Poll Tax Riots

Prior to this momentous occasion, Anti-Poll Tax Unions had sprung up all across Britain, in defiance many people refused to pay, I remember the Labour Party  shamefully anouncing that they would not support those who refused to pay.
Over 250,000 people sweeped into London on this day, for many people it was not a case of wanting to demonstrate, it was a case of having too. There was no choice, this cruel tax would have seriously impacted on peoples lives.
Most people on the day of this demonstration, arrived unaligned - ordinary people, families, pensioners, the unemployed, students, black  and white, all united as one to fight against this immoral tax.I'd travelled up from West Wales.
The overiding opinion of the time,is that what started as a peaceful protest, with an almost carnival feel to it against an illegal tax was quickly turned into a bloody battle  by uniformed thugs acting under Thatcher's orders, with aided and abetted by agent provocateurs.The use of  charged mounted police also aggravated the situation, leading to many peaceful byestanders  with heads streaming with blood. A very frightening experience.
To this day many people  lay the responsibility of the violence that happened on this day, firmly on the shoulders of Thatcher and her government.
Despite the demonisation of the protestors in the mass media,  people still refused to pay, the campaign  flourished, culminating in millions of people's non payment, bailiffs resisted, courts unable to cope because of opposition and active resistance. It would see the Poll Tax eventually being destroyed, also  helping bring down Thatchers hated tory government.
Today, it seems the tories have still not learnt from  their past mistakes, with  the introduction of the bedroom tax and other horrors.
Hopefully we can bring them down again.

London Poll Tax Riot Documentary 1990

strongly reccommended