Monday, 26 June 2017

Not one Day More

The General Election result was devastating for Theresa May and the Conservatives. She called it to gain a bigger majority in Parliament  and despite massive media bias in her favour failed spectacularly to deliver on that. Now the Conservative Party are in chaos, forced to try to prop up a Government with the deeply conservative and regressive DUP in a desperate attempt to cling on to power. Self serving parasites. Even if they can get a Queen’s Speech through Parliament, this arrangement cannot last long.
The Election result represented a rejection of Tory policies. They know they have no mandate; already the Government has suggested they may have to ease their austerity plans because of huge opposition. We need to make sure the full force of that opposition is felt. If we continue to mobilise in huge numbers we can deepen the crisis for the Conservatives and force big concessions on the NHS, education, housing and jobs. There is already talk of another General Election in the next few months which would likely see the Tories loose further support and be unable to form a Government.
Protests have sprung up across the country and there are many more planned. On Saturday 1 July it is hoped , that campaigns and community groups all over the country, from the trade unions, from political parties, and  individuals  to come together in one massive show of strength. We will be marching against another five years of a Tory Government committed to austerity, cuts and privatisation. We’re marching for a decent health service, education system, housing, jobs and living standards for all. We’ll hold a minute’s silence for the victims of Grenfell Tower and a minute’s applause for the emergency services who responded so bravely.
At this time we must also send our deepest condolences and solidarity to our friends at the Finsbury Park Mosque. Now more than ever we need to show unity in such difficult times.Join us, bring your friends and spread the word.
I will be travelling up with Pembrokeshire People's assembly against austerity.No matter how many buses or coaches are put on there will be lots & lots of people who will be physically unable to travel to London, yet still wish to express their condemnation of these murderous Tory scum.May's failure to form a stable government and their inability to respond quickly & efficiently in the aftermath of the Grenfelll Tower fire indicates the weakness of the old Tory militarist establishment. In this context, pressure on the government from outside parliament is critically important.
Friends based here in West Wales and unable to get to London  will urge to to express there  support [bring placards & visual displays] for ‘Not One Day More – Tories Out – No More Austerity - ‘Justice 4 Grenfelll’ support protest outside the Guild Hall, Cardigan from 10,00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m.
Saturday's demonstration is the first opportunity since the election to show the scale of national opposition to May's government and kick it on its way. Coaches and people are coming from all over the country. Marchers are asked to assemble by 12 noon, at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA. March to Parliament Square Details of the demo are here.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn Rocks Glastonbury

Caught some rather lovely electro pop earlier HMS Morrris, free event at local theatre, in the afternoon, good stuff got home caught up with Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury Festival getting a welcome usually received for rock stars as he arrived on stage with Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis and,thousands chanted his name to the tune of The White Stripes 'Seven Nation Army'.
Mr Corbyn appeared at the Pyramid Stage where he pledged his support to refugees, young people and the environment and took a swipe at US president Donald Trump.
He vowed to cheering crowds that his politics would be "put back in a box"  Also saying: "Look, on the wall that surrounds this festival and there is a message on that wall for president Donald Trump... build bridges, not walls.
Ah Jeremy one minor point, you should have urged everyone to jump them. Remember Jeremy some of your new admirers drawn to your vision of fairness can't afford to catch a bus , let alone to get a ticket for an event like this, Hey ho.
Nevertheless he went on to say;-
"What was fascinating about the last seven weeks of election campaigning around Britain is that the commentariat got it wrong, the elites got it wrong.
"Politics is about the lives of all of us and the wonderful campaign that I was proud to lead brought a lot of people back into politics because they believed there was something on offer for them.
Look, on the wall that surrounds this festival and there is a message on that wall for president Donald Trump... build bridges, not walls.
"What was fascinating about the last seven weeks of election campaigning around Britain is that the commentariat got it wrong, the elites got it wrong.
the elites got it wrong.
"Politics is about the lives of all of us and the wonderful campaign that I was proud to lead brought a lot of people back into politics because they believed there was something on offer for them.
"What was even more inspiring was the number of young people who got involved for the very first time because they were fed up with being told they don't matter and that their generation was going to pay more to get less in education, housing, health, pensions and everything else.
"Well, it didn't quite work out like that and that politics that got out of the box, is not going back in any
He explained that the five-day festival was about "coming together" and symbolised the importance of the environment and peace.Mr Corbyn continued: "Let's stop the denigration of refugees, people looking for a place of safety in a cruel and dangerous world. Let's support them in their hour of need, not see them as a threat and a danger."
Spreading his message across the globe, he added: "Let's tackle the causes of war, the greed for natural resources, the denial of human rights, the irrational imprisonment of political opponents."
The politician shared his own memories of visiting Glastonbury Tor as a child and described it as a "magical area" and a place where "people come together and achieve things".
He paid tribute to suffragettes and other people through history who "laid down their lives" for democracy and justice, as he condemned racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of because we are there demanding an achievement of something very different in our society.  I confess I've written this somewhat under the influence. Feeling the love though, hope is such a wonderful  thing.  Hey he's not the messiah, but he sure rocked the place. One day in the future I will climb the Tor again.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Glastonbury (a memory)

Been 20 years I guess since I got in for free
Hitch hiked from Wales in search of freedom,
Took some magical substances, still  echoing
Had no tent, but strangers rescued me,
I recovered and climbed  Glastonbury Tor
Inhaled more magic, think I hugged a tree,
Lost my gift for speech, but passed on a smoke
Left my footprints, wandered back to Avalon,
Managed to catch the Levellers, and the Prodigy
Felt kindness that I'd never felt before,
Restored my spirit, before returning to Babylon
Maybe I was dreaming, but felt love in a thousand eyes.

Don't be a creep, Radiohead

Radiohead  a band that I have followed for years, and have long admired, I've  got most of their records, I even have a poster in spare bedroom, are planning to cross the Palestinian picket line and entertain Israeli apartheid on July 19, 2017, helping Israel whitewash its oppression of Palestinians.
In a petition to English rock band Radiohead, Jewish voices for Peace asked the rockers to respect the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targeting Israel, and cancel a Tel Aviv gig scheduled for July.
Launched by dozens of Palestinian civil society groups in 2005, the BDS campaign aims to isolate Israel in protest against its apartheid policies towards Palestinians .By agreeing to perform in Israel, Radiohead is helping to create the false idea that Israel is a normal country like any other and helping Israel whitewash its oppression of Palestinians.
In a letter to supporters, JVP noted: “The band knows what social justice means, they’ve stood up for Tibet, and against the War on Terror. York even tweeted about not normalizing Trump. And as artists with a conscience, Radiohead should stand in solidarity with Palestine ...
 “They’d be far from alone. Ms. Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Elvis Costello, Bjork and many others have heeded Palestinian civil society’s call. These artists see apartheid Israel for what it is. And most importantly, they’ve embraced their role in making change.
“Palestinians don't have a choice to reject or accept apartheid in Israel. It is a daily, grinding experience. Radiohead has a choice to do the right thing. I still hold out hope that they will.”
Today, Radiohead will headline Glastonbury, Europe’s largest festival. With your help and social media voice, fans will be on hand making sure the message gets through to Radiohead: Don’t endorse apartheid!
Negative publicity has plagued Radiohead’s European tour, where supporters of Palestinian rights have urged the band to cancel the show and respect the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel until it respects Palestinian rights. In London, Radiohead’s corporate offices were picketed.
Palestiniansthousands of Radiohead fans, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ken Loach, Roger Waters, the Young Fathers and tens of renowned artists have all called on Radiohead to cancel their Israel gig. And during the band’s US tour, Radiohead fans unfurled banners at concerts and published articles in the press to get Radiohead to turn away from playing apartheid.
Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke recently broke the band's silence in an interview on Rolling Stone, describing calls not to cross the Palestinian picket line as "divisive" and accusing supporters of Palestinian rights of "throwing around" the word apartheid. Roger WatersKen Loach and others have responded to Yorke's comments.  
Take action: Radiohead care a lot about their reputation and their image. Publicly call on Radiohead not to perform in Israel by pressing the button below to send a Tweet: 
.@radiohead doesn't want to hear about Palestinian rights. Let's be loud.

There are other ways you can get involved with the campaign: 
Today, can you tweet messages to @radiohead using the hashtags #Glastonbury2017 and #LoveRadioheadHateApartheid to tell them what you think about crossing the Palestinian picket line?
Here are some sample tweets:
  • Don’t play apartheid Israel, @Radiohead. You don’t belong there.
  • No one regrets boycotting Apartheid South Africa. @Radiohead, cancel Apartheid Israel.
  • Don’t be a creep, @Radiohead. Respect the Palestinian picket line. Cancel Israel gig.
  • It’s #NotOK, @Radiohead, to cross the Palestinian picket line. Cancel show in Apartheid Israel #OKNotOK
  • Hey @Radiohead, if your support for justice isn’t “mere rhetoric”, you’ll cancel gig in Apartheid Israel
  • Hey @Radiohead, during apartheid South Africa, artists stayed away. Time to do the same with Israel.
For more tweets, ideas and social media actions, check out the BDS movement’s page here.
If they continue which I sincerely hope they don't, have some Radiohead cd's going spare.
Here is a link to a previous post ;- 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Queen's speech leaves Theresa May humiliated

Yesterday's  Queen's speech  revealed a Conservatives  Government  in complete disarray that  they can't simply laugh  off at the moment, leaving Theresa May utterly humiliated.
In written remarks prepared for the first day of Parliament, the troubled Prime Minister began trying to undo some of the key messages from the Conservatives' election campaign, saying that social care would be addressed and that every school should be fairly funded.
But speaking from the House of Lords throne, Her Majesty unveiled 27 Bills and draft bills  in a very scaled down state opening, last witnessed in 1974 without horses, carriages and much of the other ceremonial highlights usually featured on the occasion, including the Sovereign's Escort.
The priorities for the government included Bills concerning Brexit, including the creation of a standalone UK customs regime and limiting immigration of EU nationals.In the Queen's Speech though there was no mention of any of her hated flagship policies: the Dementia Tax, scrapping hot lunches for infants, means-testing the winter fuel allowance for pensioners, ending the triple lock on pension rises, legalising fox hunting, creating more grammar schools. It can at least be celebrated that the Queen's Speech had no mention of Trump visiting Britain.
Jeremy Corbyn observed that the Tory general election manifesto has even disappeared from the Tory Party's website! He savaged Mrs May’s meagre package of 27 Bills for the next two years  branding it as “thin gruel”.He added: “This is a threadbare ­legislative programme from a government that has apparently run out of ideas altogether.“This is a government without a majority, without a mandate, without a serious legislative programme, led by a Prime Minister who has lost her political authority, and is struggling to stitch together a deal to stay in office and declared Labour is prepared to lead Britain instead.
The Queen's Speech comes at a time when May's premiership has been seen to be increasingly vulnerable and our country's future uncertain, with negotiations over Britain's departure from the European Union having only just begun. May's own position has been called into question ever since her decision to call a snap election. Her attempt to secure a larger mandate ahead of the Brexit negotiations backfired with her losing her commanding majority. This is a Government with no purpose, that cannot be trusted  to build  a stronger economy and a fairer society, or committed to keeping our country safe, let alone enhancing our standing in the wider world and bringing the United Kingdom closer together, they are  not putting themselves at the service of millions of ordinary working people for whom they should be working every day for, in the national interest.
Parliament must pass the Queen's Speech in a vote, but with May yet to secure a deal with the DUP, she is aware that failure to get the speech through could be seen as a vote of no confidence.Tory MPs who virtually all applauded May's decision to call the general election have deserted her in droves and placed all the blame on her for the loss of their majority, many have admitted her weakness and conceded there was little chance of getting her most unpopular ­policies voted through. Their dilemma now though is that if they don't support the government's Bills outlined yesterday, they face the prospect of increased instability in the government and it possibly falling, and then them losing their seats in a new election. As they abandon their core policies, reflecting the Conservative's current weak position with there watered down agenda, this minority government is  hanging on by a thread and running on very thin ice, what mandate do they actually have to govern? The general election showed people are completely fed up with  the cruel austerity policies of the Tories. Policies that they are too muddled at moment to deal with. A Government of pure chaos. We have them on the run, we have to keep pushing, surely it wont be long that Maggie May will be able to stay on.

Jeremy Corbyn's  savages "threadbare "Queen's speech ( Full statement)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

21st June, 1792, Iolo Morganwg founds the Gorsedd of Bardds.

Balmy weather in my corner of Wales, so thought on this Summer Solstice thought i'd return to someone I've written of before, who  was undoubtedly one of Wales's most colourful and intriguing sons. to have emerged from the pages of my country's history books, one Edward Williams who is better known by his bardic name of Iolo Morganwg  He's been a personal hero of mine for awhile, I will refer to him as Iolo  throughout this post,. My first post way back in 2009 incidentaly was inspired by him too ;- I've been wading through memories today, it being the eighth anniversary of when I met my departed soul mate and lover, another unique individual,who inspired earlier post today,  I seem to  be drawn to them, hey ho back to Iolo.
He was born in 1747 in  the parish  of Llancarfan in Glamorgan, southern Wales,and bought up in the village of Flemington, Although English was his home language he soon became interested in the Welsh language, its literature and history. He was a stonemason by craft and travelled throughout Wales and to London. There, he came into contact with the Gwyneddigion Society and began to move in cultural and radical circles.
Iolo Morganwg was a genius,,one of the founder members of the Unitarian movement in Wales, a political radical who supported the French Revolution, a pacifist, republican, accomplished flute playing, antiquarian,a hymn-writer and an able lyrical poet who called himself 'The Bard of Liberty'. A political radical, religious dissenter and pacifist  who believed Wales should have its own national institutions celebrating its unique culture and heritage, known as one of founders of Welsh national consciousness..As a young man working as a stonemason in London, he had seen Welsh culture widely disparaged.,Iolo became heavily involved in the political activities of London - Welsh societies in fostering republican views in Gorsedd ceremonies, and in defending the rights of persecuted Dissenters and freeborn Welshmen. He often styled himself 'Jacobin', 'Citizen' and 'Theocrat', and penned dozens of forthright, satirical and subversive essays and poems. He came close to being jailed himself for seditious libel. On his return to the Vale of Glamorgan in 1795 he was kept under surveillance, especially when he used his Cowbridge bookshop and grocery to support anti-slavery, fair trade and Jacobinism.
Iolo denounced 'kingcraft' and 'priestcraft', thundered against war and injustice, and never tired of proclaiming the benefits of 'Breiniau Dyn' (the Rights of Man). A political animal to the core, he played a prominent part in raising the profile of libertarian causes in Wales and in spreading subversive ideas.  He believed the Welsh poets were the direct descendants of the Celtic druids, and he set about writing so glorious a history it would put the English to shame, even if he had to forge it.
In support of this vision, in 1789 he published a collection of poems by 14th-century Welsh bard Dafydd ap Gwilym. Included were many newly-discovered poems Morganwg had “found,” i.e., written himself. He was also a prolific poet in both Welsh and English, but as well as using his own voice, he was more than capable of writing in the guise of others. The book proved to be popular and this  inspired him to return to London to take the next step in promoting Welsh culture.
Apart from being in my opinion as I've said  a genius, Iolo also was in what in today's terms be an addict, like many of his contemporaries of the time his particular foible was Laudanum.
Iolo  had started taking laudanum as a young man to cure a troublesome cough later for a troublesome bad back .Taking laudanum, tincture of opium, was actually both common and fashionable during the eighteenth century, other  notable  opium eaters of Iolo's time include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Crabbe and Thomas De Quincey among  many others. It is generally believed that the drug does not enrich a dull imagination but rather enhances one that is already active. Laudanum produced a paradoxical effect on users. On the one hand, it gave them the impression that their ideas were clearer and more original because of the laudanum: it enabled them to create unexpected creative links, and also bolstered their belief in the distinctness of their own visions. It certainly seemed to consolidate Iolo's. and many many people were taken in by him despite his drug fuelled hallucinations. What a man though. here's his actual  poem he wrote about his enabler, some parts  could actually read as an ode to a lover ;--

Ode to Laudanum-
WHILST, crowding on my woful hour,
Fate's deep'ning glooms indignant low'r,
And crush my wearie soul;
Thou, Laudanum, can'st quickly steep
My burning eyes in balmy sleep,
And ev'ry grief controul.
When Reason strives, but strives in vain,
To banish care, to vanquish pain,
And calm sad thoughts to rest;
Thy soothing virtues can impart
A bland sensation to my heart,
And heal my wounded breast.

Whilst fell Disease, with rapid flame
Preys ireful on my feeble frame,
Pervading ev'ry vein;
Thou canst repel the venom'd rage,
The fever'd anguish canst assuage,
And blunt the tooth of Pain.
When wakeful Sensibility
Her wrongs recounts, I fly to thee,
And feel her touch no more;
At painful Memory's loud call,
'Twas she, with fingers dipt in gall,
My rankling bosom tore.
With soul-corroding thought oppress'd
Whilst keen affliction fills my breast,
And swells the tide of grief;
O! shed thy balm into my heart,
And, plucking thence the piercing dart,
Bestow thy kind relief.
Now Comfort shuns my woful sight,
And sad returns the sleepless night,
In sable glooms array'd;
I court thy pow'rs with anxious mind,
And, on the down of rest reclin'd,
I bless thy lenient aid.

.My joyless hours I waste alone,
Unpitied weep, unheeded moan,
Unfriended sigh forlorn;
Consign to grief my crawling years,
The victim of desponding cares,
Existing but to mourn.

Thou faithful friend in all my grief,
In thy soft arms I find relief;
In thee forget my woes:
Unfeeling waste my wint'ry day,
And pass with thee the night away,
Reclin'd in soft repose.

.O! still exert thy soothing pow'r,
Till fate leads on the welcom'd hour,
To bear me hence away;
To where pursues no ruthless foe,
No feeling keen awakens woe,
No faithless friends betray.

Poems, Lyric and Pastoral vol I, pp 1-5 was

Iolo believed that the Welsh bards had inherited the learning and traditions of the Druids of the ancient world. Iolo, however, declared that Druidism had survived in its purest form in Glamorgan, his birthplace. He produced a vast corpus of literary forgeries and Druidic lore  to justify this claim, products  of his own very fertile, laudanum-addicted imagination. So in  1791, he returned to London proclaiming, in both Welsh and English literary circles, that he was heir to all the mysteries of Druidism.
So on this day,  the Summer Solstice of  21st of June, Summer Solstice, 1792, Iolo Morganwg held a ceremony on the nearest mountain he could find,  Primrose Hill , and  founded the Gorsedd of Bardds  (in Welsh the Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain), a community of Welsh bards dedicated to preserving Welsh language, poetry and music. He developed the ritual for the ceremony from druidic rites described in ancient manuscripts from his own collection that were later found to have been yet again creations of his own. As they say if you've got an idea, you might as well go for it, wish I was capable of pursuing my inner dreams as Iolo did.
Thanks to Iolo's actions on Primrose Hill  it would see  the revival of the Eisteddfod, otherwise known as the national festival of Wales.The Eisteddfod is a folk festival celebrating Welsh language, music, poetry and literature that traces its lineage back to a grand gathering of musicians and poets held by Lord Rhys of my hometown Cardigan/ Aberteifi  in 1176. From that early progenitor, a vast number of provincial gatherings proliferated over the centuries, sponsored by local lords all over Wales.

Iolo returned to Wales in 1795, and began collecting material for his magnum opus, 'The History of the British Bards', a book that would, he believed, explain all the history and learning of the Druids to the world. In 1801 and 1807, a large number of his forgeries were published in the Myvyrian Archaiology, after he had persuaded the editors that they were texts copied from old manuscripts. Iolo and this is why I like him so much, never wandered or wavered from the devotion to his ideals and inner vision.

In 1819 the eisteddfod festivals and the Gorsedd of Bards came together, thanks once again to Iolo Morgannwg, now 72 years old and still with a keen eye towards promoting Welsh civilization. He traveled to the eisteddfod being held at the Ivy Bush Inn in Carmarthen and drew a Gorsedd circle meant to be a sacred circle of standing stones a la Stonehenge, on the lawn using a handful of pebbles  from his pockets. He went on to admit poets and druids, including the local bishop and festival patron, Bishop Thomas Burgess of St. David’s. giving them white, blue and green ribbons according to their rank. During the chairing ceremony a new rite took form as poets stood either side of the chair, sheathing and unsheathing a sword above the winning poet’s head. The sword used by Iolo  during these 1819 ceremonies can still to be seen at St Fagans National History Museum.

                                          Iolo Morganwg's  sword used in the 1819 ceremony

From then on, the Gorsedd and the eisteddfod continued to develop their relationship, and when the National Eisteddfod was established in 1861, the Gorsedd’s Druidic rituals, now considerably more elaborate than they had been at that first Primrose Hill ceremony of 1792, played a central role, providing high drama and pageantry in the medal ceremonies and in the investiture of important political, religious and cultural figures into the Gorsedd in recognition of their contributions to the nation, language and culture of Wales.
Iolo died in 1826, aged 80 leaving an enormous collection of manuscripts. This collection is now at the National Library of Wales. When Welsh scholars discovered the extent of his forgeries at the beginning of last century, he was rejected and reviled but.I try not to forget this maverick genius, I have a picture of this poet and visionary in my bathroom, a romantic juggler of truth yes, but what a man. Lets continue to celebrate him as a scholar who sought about reviving Welsh culture, I think my nation actually owes this rebel druid a lot of debt.
Happy Summer solstice.

Summer Solstice ( Acrostic Poem)

( Dedicated to sweet Jane, who I was fortunate to encountert down the cellar bar Cardigan/Aberteifi June 21 2009 )

Summer has arrived, the Sun's ray's blaze down
Under influence, releases nostalgic feeling,
Memories of dear departed soul now in afterlife
Marvellous star  releasing  beautiful  light,
Essence of warmth, full of grace and power
Releasing thoughts in the here and now.

Sunrise passes, enters new cycle,
Onwards crosses over new threshold,
Love reigns supreme over the earth
Sharing celebration of renewal, fertility and life,
The wheel turning  and time moving on
In changing seasons as leaves turn, red and golden,
Clinging on to hope, everlasting and clear
End of day listening to music, I will still feel  magic.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Voltaraine de Cleyre (17/11/ 1866 - 20/6/1912) - Poet of Freedom

Voltaraine de Cleyre  was an American  anarchist-feminist , atheist, poet and free thinker.
Cleyre was born in Leslie, Michigan, a small town south of Lansing. Her parents, who were impoverished tailors, left Leslie when Voltairine was about one year old, following the accidental drowning death of another daughter, Marion, at the age of five. The family moved to St. Johns, Michigan, a town on the north side of Lansing . Despite the objections of Voltairine's mother, her father, an atheist and admirer of Voltaire, created her distinctive given name to commemorate his own beliefs
She was placed as a teenager into a Catholic convent in Sarnia, Ontario by her father, because he thought it would give her a better education. Of her time in the convent, she said, "it had been like the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and there are white scars on my soul, where ignorance and superstition burnt me with their hell fire in those stifling days" She attempted to run away by swimming to Port Huron, Michigan, and hiking 17 miles but was returned by her father after being found by family friends. This in combination with family ties to the Abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, as well as her namesake (the philosopher Voltaire), contributed to the radical rhetoric she developed.
She was a prolific writer and speaker, opposing the State, marriage, and the domination of the Church in sexuality and women's lives. de Cleyre at first subscribed to the individualist school of anarchism, but later called herself only an Anarchist, shunning doctrinal fractiousness. She was a colleague of Emma Goldman's. Goldman called her " the most gifted and brilliant woman anarchist America has ever produced," She differentiated herself from Emma Goldman, however stating, "Miss Goldman is a communist; I am an individualist. She wishes to destroy the right of property, I wish to assert it. I make my war upon privilege and authority, whereby the right of property, the true right in that which is proper to the individual, is annihilated. She believes that co-operation would entirely supplant competition; I hold that competition in one form or another will always exist, and that it is highly desirable it should."
During her time in the freethought movement in the mid and late 1880s, de Cleyre was especially influenced by Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Clarence Darrow. Other influences were Henry David Thoreau, Big Bill Haywood, and Eugene Debs. After the . execution of four innocent anarchists in 1887 for the Haymarket bombing was the turning point of Voltairine's life and  she became an anarchist. "Till then I believed in the essential justice of the American law of trial by jury," she wrote in an autobiographical essay, "After that I never could".
In 1888, she threw herself into the anarchist movement, dedicating herself passionately and unceasingly to the cause of liberty for the rest of her life.
She was known as an excellent speaker and writer , in the opinion of biographer Paul Avrich, she was "a greater literary talent than any other American anarchist" who was “A brief comet in the anarchist firmament, blazing out quickly and soon forgotten by all but a small circle of comrades whose love and devotion persisted long after her death.” But “her memory,” continues Avrich, “possesses the glow of legend.” and as a tireless advocate for the anarchist cause, whose "religious zeal," according to Goldman, "stamped everything she did."
Voltairine wrote and lectured on such subjects as "Sex Slavery", "Love in Freedom", "Those Who Marry Do Ill", and "The Case of Women vs. Orthodoxy". She advocated for economic independence for women, birth control, sex education, and the right of women to maintain autonomy in relationships , including maintaining a room of one's own so as to keep one's independence, this is something that she did throughout her life, despite poverty. Anarchist women like de Cleyre and Emma Goldman challenged patriarchal power in society and in the anarchist movement.
She was also a prolific writer of poetry of much depth.Throughout her life though she was plagued by illness and depression, attempting suicide on at least two occasions and surviving an assassination attempt on December 19, 1902. Her assailant, Herman Helcher, was a former pupil who had earlier been rendered insane by a fever, and whom she immediately forgave. She wrote, "It would be an outrage against civilization if he were sent to jail for an act which was the product of a diseased brain". The attack left her with chronic ear pain and a throat infection that often adversely affected her ability to speak or concentrate but still managed to get  back on the lecture circuit 3 months later.
Voltairine de Cleyre died prematurely at the age of 45 on June 20, 1912, at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in Chicago, Illinois from septic meningitis. remaining as she had lived: a free spirit, an Anarchist, owing no allegiance to rulers, heavenly or earthly.". She was buried near Emma Goldman, the Haymarket defendants, and other social activists at the Waldheim Cemetery (now Forest Home Cemetery), in Forest Park, a suburb west of Chicago. around 2,000 people attended her funeral..An important figure in  history whose ideas are of interest today, particularly as we still suffer from the patriarchy, capitalism and statism she opposed. Her freethought poetry and  her passionate, uncompromising essays are still timely, and provocative to this day.

The Voltairine de Cleyre Reader

Love's Ghost  - Voltaraine de Cleyre

Among the leaves and the rolls of moonlight,
The moon, which weaves lace on the road-white
Among the winds, and among the flowers,
Our blithe feet wander --life is ours!

Life is ours, and life is loving;
All our powers are locked in loving;
Hearts, and eyeys, and lips are moving
With the ecstasy of loving.

Ah! the roses! they are blooming;
And the June air, throbbing, tuning,
Sings of Love's eternal summer--
Chants of Joy, life's only Comer;
And we clsp our hands together,
Singing in the war, sweet weather;
Kissing, thrilling with caressing,
All the sweet from Love's rose pressing.

Ah, so easy!--Earth is Heaven,--
Darkness, shadows, do not live;
Like the rose our hearts are given,
Like the rose whos blom is given,
To the sun-gold, and the heaven.
Not because it wills or wishes,
But because 'tis life to give.                         

I am - Voltaraine de Cleyre

I am! The ages on the ages roll:
And what I am, I was, and I shall be:
by slow growth filling higher Destiny,
And Widening, ever, to the widening Goal.
I am the Stone that slept; down deep in me
That old, old sleep has left its centurine trace;
I am the plant that dreamed; and lo! still see
That dream-life dwelling on the Human Face.
I slept, I dreamed, I wakened: I am Man!
The hut grows Palaces; the depths breed light;
Still on! Forms pass; but Form yields kinglier
The singer, dying where his song began,
In Me yet lives; and yet again shall he
Unseal the lips of greater songs To Be;
For mine the thousand tongues of Immortality.

The Toast to Despair - Voltaraine de Cleyre

We have cried, – and the Gods are silent;
We have trusted, – and been betrayed;
We have loved, – and the fruit was ashes;
We have given, – the gift was weighed.
We know that the heavens are empty,
That friendship and love are names;
That truth is an ashen cinder,
The end of life’s burnt-out flames.
Vainly and long we have waited,
Through the night of the human roar,
For a single song on the harp of Hope,
Or a ray from a day-lit shore.
Songs aye come floating, marvelous sweet,
And bow-dyed flashes gleam;
But the sweets are Lies, and the weary feet
Run after a marsh-light beam.
In the hour of our need the song departs,
And the sea-moans of sorrow swell;
The siren mocks with a gurgling laugh
That is drowned in teh deep death-knell.
The light we chased with our stumbling feet
As the goal of happier years,
Swings high and low and vanishes, –
The bow-dyes were of our tears.
God is a lie, and Faith is a lie,
And a tenfold lie is Love;
Life is a problem without a why,
And never a thing to prove.
It adds, and subtracts, and multiplies,
And divides without aim or end;
Its answers all false, though false-named true, –
Wife, husband, lover, friend.
We know it now, and we care no more;
What matters life or death?
We tiny insects emerge from earth,
Suffer, and yield our breath.
Like ants we crawl on our brief sand-hill,
Dreaming of ‘mighty things’, –
Lo, they crunch, like shells in the ocean’s wrath,
In the rush of Time’s awful wings.
The sun smiles gold, and the plants white,
And a billion stars smile, still;
Yet fierce as we, each wheels toward death,
And cannot stay his will.
The build, ye fools, your might things,
That Time shall set at naught;
Grow warm with the song the sweet Lie sings,
And the false bow your tears have wrought.
For us, a truce to Gods, loves, and hopes,
And a pledge to fire and wave;
A swifter whirl to the dance of death,
And a loud huzza for the Grave!

Written-In-Red (to Our Living Dead In Mexico's Struggle )  -  Voltaraine de Cleyre    

     Written in red their protest stands,
For the gods of the World to see;
On the dooming wall their bodiless hands
have blazoned 'Upharsin,' and flaring brands
Illumine the message: 'Seize the lands!
Open the prisons and make men free!'
Flame out the living words of the dead

Gods of the World! Their mouths are dumb!
Your guns have spoken and they are dust.
But the shrouded Living, whose hearts were numb,
have felt the beat of a wakening drum
Within them sounding-the Dead men's tongue--
Calling: 'Smite off the ancient rust!'
Have beheld 'Resurrexit,' the word of the Dead,

Bear it aloft, O roaring, flame!
Skyward aloft, where all may see.
Slaves of the World! Our caose is the same;
One is the immemorial shame;
One is the struggle, and in One name--
Manhood--we battle to set men free.
'Uncurse us the Land!' burn the words of the

Life or Death -  Voltaraine de Cleyre

 A Soul, half through the Gate, said unto Life:
'What dos thou offer me?' And Life replied:
'Sorrow, unceasing struggle, disappointment;
after these
Darkness and silence.' The Soul said unto Death:
'What dos thou offer me?' And Death replied:
'In the beginning what Life gives at last.'
Turning to Life: 'And if I live and struggle?'
'Others shall live and struggle after thee
Counting it easier where thou hast passed.'
'And by their struggles?' 'Easier place shall be
For others, still to rise to keener pain
Of conquering Agony!' 'and what have I
To do with all these others? Who are they?'
'Yourself!' 'And all who went before?' 'Yourself.'
'The darkness and the silence, too, have end?'
'They end in light and sound; peace ends in pain,
Death ends in Me, and thou must glide from
To Self, as light to shade and shade to light again.
Choose!' The Soul, sighing, answered: 'I will live.'                                               

World Refugee Day 2017

Following yesterday's post highlighting refugee week, today is World Refugee Day which honors the strength and resilience of refugees ,as well as their contributions to societies that welcome them. World Refugee Day has been marked on 20 June, ever since the UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of  Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in over 100 countries, involving government officials, aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced themselves. Never before have the immediate needs of vulnerable children and their families been so great. Some 20 million refugees half of whom are children, have been forced to flee violence, poverty and persecution from places such as Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic taking perilous sea voyages over the Mediterranean. According to the International Organisation for Migration, over 20,000 migrants have died in their attempts to reach or stay in Europe since 2000, and according to the United Nations, only one per cent have been resettled. It is imperative that they should be given help, protection and long term solutions.
Together, we should be creating an outpouring of compassion and show individual refugees that they are welcome here. but the persecution of refugees continues, whipped up by forces of racism spreading fear and misinformation about security and terrorism. The EU Referendum campaign has recently sadly contributed to this, unleashing some of the most heinious manifestations of racism we have seen in generations. Those on the far right across Europe are eager to use the crisis to further scapegoat immigrants.
It is worth remembering that  there are 65.6 million displaced people around the world – that’s more than the population of the UK. As continuing tragedy unfolds, some of the countries most able to help are shutting their gates to people seeking asylum. Borders are closing, pushbacks are increasing, and hostility is rising. Avenues for legitimate escape are fading away. Since the beginnings of civilization, we have treated refugees as deserving of our protection. Whatever our differences, we have to recognise our fundamental human obligation to shelter those fleeing from war and persecution. It is time to stop hiding behind misleading words. Richer nations must acknowledge refugees for the victims they are, fleeing from wars they were unable to prevent or stop. History has shown that doing the right thing for victims of war and persecution engenders goodwill and prosperity for generations. And it fosters stability in the long run.
The world needs to renew its commitment now to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its principles that made us strong. To offer safe harbor, both in our own countries and in the epicentres of the crises, and to help refugees restore their lives. In a world where violence has forced hundreds of families to flee each day.
The the UN Refugee Agency believes now is the time to show world leaders that the global public stands with refugees, it has set up  the #WithRefugees petition, entreating world leaders to ensure every refugee child gets an education, every refugee family has somewhere safe to live and every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families. You can sign the petition here.
Several charities work to support the rehabilitation of refugees, including Oxfam,  and Refugee Action; all of which you can donate to. and it will launch its
Those who leave everything behind for the purpose of living in peace need our support and solidarity. Today and tomorrow we must continue to stand up for refugees. We must remember that arms trade helps exacerbate the crisis, plus  poverty and inequality, war and conflict, we need to build bridges not more obstacles and borders. Refugees have suffered unimaginable loss, and yet they are filled with the strength to triumph over adversity. The refugee crisis is a human crisis. Their story is our story. We are all human,and together, we can build a better world.We all have an important role in ensuring that refugees have the support they need. When we work together, we can help even more people feel safe from conflict, stay healthy and forge ahead to a better, stronger future.

Denounced - persecuted - exiled - dispersed - 

Refused - sectioned - detained - certified -

Wherever they seek shelter

They should be able to call home

Having escaped dark shadows

Having travelled through great adversity

Seeking safe harbour,

All should be given warm welcome

Asylum not barbed wire

Protection not bombs

Dignity not criminalisation

Breathe again, beyond pain and grief

No borders are necessary

Monday, 19 June 2017

Refugee Week 19-25 June 2017

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the  positive contribution of refugees and rich diversity that they bring to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.
Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers, to try and look  beyond the stereotypical ‘refugee’ label and work  to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.
Fearmongers talk up the threat of terrorism, but most of the people risking their lives to get to Europe are fleeing the horrors of war in Syria; the brutality of insurgent groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia; or the repression of the Eritrean or Iranian governments. Demagogues thunder that asylum seekers just want to steal jobs or bleed the welfare system dry, but almost everyone acknowledges that the EU needs labor migration, and study after study shows that immigration brings net benefits to societies over the long-term.
The aims of Refugee Week are:
1. To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility.
2.To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK.
To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector.
3.To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences
The ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution.
Refugees are a real, current and terrible problem that we have in our world and possibly one that will get worse as war continues to devastate and uproot people, for instance since the conflict in Syria began more than six years ago, over 4.8m Syrians have fled from their country because of violence, conflict, and a complete collapse of Syria’s economy and infrastructure. Then there are those who have to leaven low lying islands of the world as a consequence of climate change, and  people fleeing for their lives as a consequence of famine, violation of human rights, physical, political or religious persecution.
Many refugees and asylum seekers face severe difficulties once they arrive in the UK. Unable to work or support themselves, many struggle for basics such as food and shelter. Some of the key issues they encounter are the possibility of detention, living in destitution and contending with negative stereotypes.Most of those who are granted asylum are given leave to remain for only five years, making it difficult for them to make decisions about their future, including finding work and making definite plans for their life in the UK while it remains unsafe for them to return to the country they escaped from. As fellow humans we have a responsibility to respond to their specific needs in times of crisis. Many of these asylum seekers come to us as a last resort, having exhausted all alternatives, with nowhere else to turn. We should also remember  all those suffering abuse in detention centres and those facing repatriation despite the dangers that they face.
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, with events held by a wide range of arts, voluntary, faith and refugee community organisations, schools, student groups and more. Past events have included arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, concerts, football tournaments and public talks, as well as creative and educational activities in schools.
Through Refugee Week  the aim is  to provide an important opportunity for asylum seekers and refugees to be seen, listened to and valued. We must continue to offer our love , solidarity, tolerance, warm welcome and friendship  to refugees who daily have to struggle, many of whom left feeling traumatised and marginalised. Refugees are ordinary people to whom extraordinary and often very horrible things have happened. Refugee Week is an opportunity to celebrate that.

Find out more about Refugee Week here :-

Sunday, 18 June 2017

For Grenfell Tower: a poem

It is nearly summertime, but it's increasingly getting very bitter.
Theresa May not capable of shaping society for the better
Getting daily free food and accommodation and so much more,
Just adds insult to injury to  those already feeling  sour
Victims of Grenfell Tower fire, without food,  no roof over head
Feeling abandoned a community mourns for their dead. .

The Queen,  managed to walk the streets, for some this was noble
Had at least made the effort to leave her palace of gold,
After many poorer people had died in  raging inferno
Maybe she found time to witness the cracks of division,
The feelings of despair and rage as the Prime Minister hid
Streams of rage currently growing stronger until she is rid.

There are almost 20,000  Ghost homes sitting empty in London.
Many left on the streets feeling the heavy weight of burden,
And the Crown Jewels value means nothing at all to those lost
Nor the CEO's receiving  millions  as a reward  for cutting costs
While fire resistant cladding is 24 pounds per square metre
Money still keeps getting wasted on those that don't deserve it.

As a  people's need for justice grows bigger and bigger
And the scent  of anger keeps blowing through our streets,
We are connected by faultlines of separation and inequality
Certain lives are still considered more important than others,
As smoke drifts, lets not forget the crimes of greed and selfishness
remember the victims, harmed by the crime of recklessness.

The future will look back in anger and deep everlasting shame
Until there is justice and those responsible are apportioned blame,
This tragedy will not be forgotten and nothing  will ever be enough
For those that are daily caught up by the effects and anxiety of poverty,
Revealing the wealth disparity that crawls through our days
Let the healing begin, time now to abandon division.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Roy Bailey - Palace of Gold

In response to the Grenfell Tower fire, here is a song called "Palaces of Gold" written by Leon Rosselson,  which was actually written  about the Aberfan disaster of 1966, in which a school full of children and teachers was engulfed by the collapse of a spoil tip, killing 144 and devastating the village.
But the Grenfell Tower  disaster, like Aberfan  before it, will long live now  in the collective memory; let us hope that we can all continue to learn from these tragedies, so that something similar never happens again, and that the living conditions of all,  are improved in the future.
In both cases public anger was equally valid and necessary, after all Aberfan should not have happened, as neither should have Grenfell, especially  after years of negligence had been pointed out, equally representative of the failure and duty of care of those apparently in charge of us. Natural waves of anger always helps and  sustains  both  campaigners and victims as they are forced to wade through  layers of bureaucracy and  red tape that are discovered in the aftermath of tragic events  like these mentioned. This is what makes us human in the wake of so much darkness. Lets continue to mourn the dead, but fight like hell for the living.

Amnestea 2017: With the Great Get Together Inspired by Joe Cox MP



Cardigan and North Pembrokeshire Amnesty International Group are asking people to drink tea and eat cake for human rights at our annual AMNESTEA event on Sunday, 18th June from 2.00 to 5.00pm at Merlin's Lair, Capel Iwan SA38 9LS.
This year it is on the weekend of the GREAT GET TOGETHER, when tens of thousands of get-togethers will be held in memory of Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered last year outside her constituency office. Her widower, Brendan, wants the event to reflect her “dynamism and joy at life and to highlight the issues she cared about so deeply – from the plight of innocent civilians in Syria to the despair caused by loneliness and social isolation in the UK.
Come along and relax to live music by L'Attitude, enjoy the garden, look for plants on the plant stall, peruse the bookstall and jewellery stall, see the outdoor model railway and hit some balls on the (very) mini golf range. Indoors if wet, outdoors if dry, everyone welcome, parking next door at Beacon Stoves. Always a wonderful time, the weather is supposed to be good this year.
Everyone welcome - Croeso i pawb!

All proceeds to Amnesty International's work for human rights

Friday, 16 June 2017

Akala blames Grenfell Tower Fire on Neo-Liberal Capitalism

Akala interview on the Grenfell Tower Fire. A disaster because of Capitalism. Austerity is a matter of  life and death that leads to tragic events like this.
At least 30 people have died police  have revealed. At least 70 people , including children and entire families have been reported missing following the devastating fire. An investigation led by a senior detective from Scotland Yard's homicide and major crime command is under way with calls for "corporate manslaughter" arrests to be made.
The political dimension to the Grenfell Tower catastrophe became apparent on Wednesday as the government came under scrutiny over a failure to commission a review of fire safety regulations following a past inquest, which had raised questions about existing rules, spending cuts and mismanagement may also have contributed to the deadly fire, it has been claimed while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn questioned whether cuts to local funding contributed to the tragedy.
“If you deny local authorities the funding they need then there is a price paid by a lack of safety facilities across the country. I think there needs to be some very searching questions as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the fire,” he told LBC Radio on Wednesday. 
Residents who witnessed the blaze as it began spoke of how cladding, added to the building in a recent ‘refurbishment’, appeared to be highly flammable, “catching up like a matchstick” according to one. Another observer referred to the “shoddy plastic things” on the exterior of the tower that “set up alight”. Reports suggest this cladding was added to appease luxury property developers.
.*The tale of Grenfell Tower is a tale of two Kensingtons. It is the story of how scores of people were left to perish in what is being described as a block riddled with fire and safety problems and disrepair, just meters away from some of the wealthiest streets in the country. ” * [HuffPost]
We cannot reasonably give in to pleas not to ‘politicise’ what occurred, for it was nothing if not fundamentally ‘political’. For example, residents of the property had repeatedly told the local council, controlled by Tories , that living conditions inside the building were ‘dangerous’ and that it was not up to standard as far as fire safety was concerned, but of course being poor people and people of colour their suspicions were simply not listened to. It has led to massive public anger at the landlords, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), who were warned repeatedly by tenants that Grenfell Tower was an accident waiting to happen. The Grenfell Action Group raised concerns about the fact that there was only one entrance and exit to the building complex, and in the event of a fire the fire brigade “could only gain access to the entrance to the building by climbing four flights of narrow stairs.” More than this, they also complained that “the fire escape exit on the walkway level” had been sealed. Grenfell will be seen to represent the inequality that is sweeping through our country at this moment in time. There is growing anger, people are demanding answers. Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for not showing enough humanity or compassion.
Theresa May's decision to carry out a public inquiry into the Grenfell tragedy ensures that the government has control over any uncomfortable revelations about the negligence and poor planning of the Grenfell estate by the Tory-run Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
By choosing a PUBLIC INQUIRY the government protects itself as well as those who should be held accountable. It also blocks any possibility of an INQUEST from taking place: the necessary process that would unearth the true causes of the fire for the public interest.
Prevent the government from whitewashing the truth and from keeping the UK's planning and regulation laws in the dark ages any longer. Stand with the residents of Grenfell as well as the residents of the UK's 4,000 other tower blocks and make sure this does not happen again.

My thoughts are with the victims this awful disaster. Donate to the crowdfunder to help the  families of the Grenfell tower tragedy. Justice now, rehouse the survivors, prosecute those responsible.

Donate now to the London Fire Relief Fund

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Send the Sun a message.

The Sun newspaper, which by the way is an insult  to journalism are offering to post free copies of their scum tabloid though your letterbox. All under the guise of free listings of games for the European Football Championship. Most considerate  post workers will refuse to send it as a mark of respect for all the damage and pain it has already unleashed. It is and always has been a disgraceful paper, releasing  daily a tissue of lies. Divisive daily torrents of hate. There commentary on the recent Grenfell tower fire  disaster has been pretty dodgy, fulfilling their role for the establishment with  innappropriate reportage of a tragedy which many people are viewing as a serious crime, who never ask questions about the disgusting disregard for the lives and safety of ordinary people.And lets not forget what they wrote about  Hillsborough. “The Truth.Some fans picked pockets of victims,Some fans urinated on the brave cops
Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.” 
just four days after their loved ones had died, four days after they had narrowly escaped death themselves, Liverpool supporters were confronted with those headlines. People actually believed those headlines. Lets not forget when 96 people had their lives crushed out of them. 
They simply have a disgraceful  hidden agenda to every story. Daily releasing a pious debasing rhetoric that is simply offensive and unacceptable to the order of the Murdoch empire, that controls the flow of media to almost half the planet. Releasing abuse to benefit claimants, refugees, the disabled, transphobic, homophobic, islamophobic, that never shows any tolerance, decency or fairness, with a dirty right wing bias. It  truly is  gutter press of  the lowest common denominator which offers no value at all to society. The Scum for a long time for  me has been simply unforgiveable. There is no excuse for buying or reading The Sun. None whatsoever. The rag is like a swamp that needs draining. Fortunately I know enough people that do not want this paper, even for free. .

Let's send them a message.

If you receive a free copy of The Sun through your letter box please take the time wrap it in paper.
Masking tape the ends and to send it freepost to.....

Head Office Postal Address
News UK & Ireland Ltd...
1 London Bridge Street
London SE1 9GF
United Kingdom

Don't bother paying for the postage. They can take care of that shit at the other end.

Please share

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

There's a squatter in the house

There's a dangerous squatter in the house
With a lust for power, playing with our lives,
In league with dark forces, even dodgier friends
Hope will try to stop her, driving us round the bends,
Spreading insecurity, contradictory  policy
Getting into bed with DUP monstrosity,
She's like a bad joke wearing thin
Really irritating getting under skin,
Who  said the naughtiest thing she'd ever done
Through fields of wheat as a child she once run,
Would be endearing if she had not spread  misery
Pushed so  many  of us into grinding poverty,
This profiteer of capital and shares for personal gain
As she tears up her manifesto, she really has no shame,
Soon we'll feel a warm glow when she's gone
As time keeps the pressure on her to jog on,
Her policies of instability creating to much pessimism
At least we can  thank her for bringing back socialism.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Remembering Nelson Mandela jailed for life on this day and his long road to freedom..

On June 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela received a life sentence for committing sabotage against South Africa’s  racist apartheid government, avoiding a possible death sentence.
His political career had started in 1944 when he joined the African National Congress (ANC), an organization dedicated to protesting the South African government's policy of apartheid, and racist segregation. and he participated in the resistance against the then government¹s apartheid policy.. Apartheid cruelly and forcibly separated people, and had a fearsome state apparatus to punish those who fought against it. Racist laws were created to enforce a racially separate and unequal social order. The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, for instance, imposed segregation on all public facilities, including post offices, beaches, stadiums, parks, toilets, and cemeteries, and buses and trains as well.
The Defiance Campaign in 1952 was the first large-scale, multi-racial political mobilization against apartheid laws under a common leadership – by the African National Congress, South African Indian Congress, and the Coloured People’s Congress. More than 8,000 trained volunteers went to jail for 'defying unjust laws.’ Volunteers were jailed for failing to carry passes, violating curfew, and entering locations and public facilities designated for one race only.
In early 1953, the Government imposed stiff penalties for protesting against discriminatory laws, including heavy fines and prison sentences of up to five years. It then enacted the Public Safety Act, allowing for the declaration of a State of Emergency to override existing laws and oversight by courts. Although the Defiance Campaign did not achieve its goals, it demonstrated large-scale and growing opposition to apartheid. Furthermore, the use of non-violent civil disobedience was part of an important international tradition, from the passive resistance campaigns started by Gandhi in South Africa continuing to the independence movement in India two decades before, to sit-ins and other non-violent protests in the United States civil rights movement .Mandela was arrested in 1956 on treason charges, but was acquitted.

The ANC was banned by the government in 1960, following the Sharpeville massacre. In 1961, the ANC executive approved Mandela's idea of using violent tactics and encouraged members who wished to involve themselves in Mandela's campaign. Shortly after this,Nelson Mandela founded with others Umkhonto we Sizwe , the armed wing of the ANC, ( abbreviated as MK,  meaning "Spear of the Nation" ) believing that non-violent measures would not be successful, and was named its leader. Beginning on Dec. 16, 1961,  with Mandela as its commander in chief, they launched bombing attacks on government targets and made plans for guerilla warfare.
Mandela was forced underground “adopting a number of disguises—sometimes a labourer, other times as a chauffeur. The press dubbed him ‘the Black Pimpernel’ because of his ability to evade police.”
Mandela was subsequently arrested on Aug. 5, 1962, and sentenced to five years in prison for inciting a workers’ strike in 1961. A year later, in July 1963, the government launched a raid on the Lilliesleaf farm in Rivonia, which had been used as an ANC hideout. It arrested 19 ANC leaders and discovered documents describing MK’s plans for attacks and guerilla warfare.
The government charged 11 ANC leaders, including Mandela, with crimes under the 1962 Sabotage Act. At the Rivonia Trial, Mandela chose not to take the witness stand, instead making a long statement from the dock on April 20, 1964. In it, he explained the history and motives on the ANC and MK, admitting to many of the charges against him and defending his use of violence.
He concluded, “ "I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites. During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Mandela was found guilty on four charges of sabotage on June 11.His co-accused included: Walter Sisulu, Dennis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Mosoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni - all ANC officials and Ahmed Kathrada, the former leader of the South African Indian Congress. Lawyer for the defendants, Harold Hansen QC said: "These accused represent the struggle of their people for equal rights. Their views represent the struggle of the African people for the attainment of equal rights for all races in this country."
The following day, he and seven of his co-defendents were sentenced to life imprisonment avoiding the death sentence. Mandela and the other six non-white defendants were sent to the prison on Robben Island, a former leper colony located off the coast of Cape Town. Nelson Mandela and his comrades  were effectively jailed for  leading the liberation movement against apartheid , a system of white rule which they considered evil.,and for their stance on the human right to live in freedom and  end oppression to black South Africans..
On the notorious Robben Island, Mandela lived in a tiny cell, received meager rations and performed hard labor in a lime quarry.Mandela’s prisoner number was 46664, the prisoners were never referred to by their names, but rather by their numbers .In South Africa at the time It was forbidden to quote him or publish his photo, yet he and other jailed members of his banned African National Congress were able to smuggle out messages of guidance to the anti-apartheid movement.
Meanwhile  outside thousands died in the decades-long struggle against apartheid, which deprived the black majority of the vote, the right to choose where to live and other basic freedoms.
Yet Robben Island would became the crucible which transformed him,through his intelligence, charm and dignified defiance, Mandela eventually bent even the most brutal prison officials to his will, assumed leadership over his jailed comrades and became the master of his own prison. He would be come a symbol of hope and defiance not only in South Africa but across the world.
In the 1980s, exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo, Mandela’s former law partner, led an international movement to free Mandela. Many countries imposed sanctions on South Africa for its apartheid policies. Conservative Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who Mandela thankfully outlived, denounced Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organization”.
David Cameron a later Conservative leader and PM  himself accepted an all expenses paid trip to South Africa while Nelson Mandela was still in prison  while he was a researcher for the Conservative Research Department , which was funded by an firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions against the regime. I remember to when I was at college Conservative  party members, who would proudly flaunt there ' Hang Nelson Mandela' badges. When the Tory's were displaying which side of human rights they were on, the future labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn was at the time a prominent anti apartheid activist ,a  staunch opponent of the Apartheid regime and who was out on the streets marching and prepared to get arrested for the end of apartheid in South Africa and calling for the release of Nelson Mandela.
I along with many others at the time joined the anti apartheid movement, pressuring our Governments for his release, and for the end of apartheid, calling for sanctions against what for many of us saw at the time was a fascist state.The apartheid government, was denounced globally for its campaign of beatings, assassinations and other violent attacks on opponents and its oppressive treatment of its people. United Nations resolutions began to call for the release of "Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners." By the mid-1980s South Africa was becoming increasingly isolated, with the UN supporting sporting and cultural sanctions and many western companies spurred to withdraw from the country by the efforts of anti-apartheid campaigners.

In 1980 a new campaign for Mandela’s release was initiated inside South Africa by the Sunday Post newspaper. In the 1980s Mandela received an avalanche of honours from all over the world, especially in Britain. In 1981 Glasgow City Council was the first of nine British local authorities to make Mandela a freeman of their city. Streets, gardens and buildings were named in Mandela’s honour. Over 20,000 mayors from cities on every continent signed a declaration calling for his release. And how can I forget the seminal song "Free Nelson Mandela" which was released in 1984 by the Coventry band the Special AKA, which became a focal rallying call.

Free Nelson Mandela - Special AKA

In 1985, President PW Botha offered to release him, who had been moved to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, on the condition that he renounced violence. Mandela  defiantly refused, saying, “Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate.”
The Anti Apartheid Movement launched the ‘Nelson Mandela: Freedom at 70’ campaign at a concert in Wembley Stadium in 1988. Rock stars played to a capacity audience and the concert was broadcast by the BBC to over 60 countries.
Though not entirely without controversy.In Britain, members of the ruling Conservative Party proposed a motion in parliament criticising the BBC for carrying an event that “gave publicity to a movement that encourages the African National Congress in its terrorist activities”.  Next day 25 freedom marchers set off from Glasgow for London, where they arrived on the eve of Mandela’s birthday. A quarter of a million people gathered in Hyde Park to hear Bishop Desmond Tutu call for Mandela’s release. On 18 July a special service was held in St James’s Piccadilly and thousands of cards were delivered to South Africa House.
F.W. de Klerk became president in 1989 and began to dismantle the policies of apartheid and release the ANC prisoners. On Feb. 12, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison.
He was named president of the ANC. In April he came to London, where he was welcomed at a second Wembley concert. He thanked the people of Britain and said the support he had received from the Anti-Apartheid Movement was ‘a source of real inspiration’.
Mandela had become an icon of the freedom struggle. His release unleashed a wave of support for the ANC and heralded the beginning of the negotiations which led to a free and democratic South Africa.and in 1993  he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year, the ANC emerged victorious in South Africa’s first democratic elections with universal suffrage. Mandela was named the first President of post apartheid South Africa.
He used his position to stand with other oppressed people speaking out  on behalf of the Palestinian people  expressing his  support for a two state solution, while being adamant that Israel must leave the West Bank, Gaza and Syria’s Golan Heights.Speaking at the International Solidarity Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People event in Pretoria in 1997, Mandela declaimed: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.. Yes, all of us need to do more in supporting the struggle of the people of Palestine for self-determination.” In 1999, he toured the Middle East, visiting Palestine. In Gaza he closely identified the South African struggle for freedom and liberation with the Palestinian struggle: “The histories of our two peoples, Palestinian and South African, correspond in such painful and poignant ways, that I intensely feel myself being at home amongst compatriots … The long-standing fraternal bonds between our two liberation movements are now translating into the relations between two governments.”It is worth pointing out that during apartheid era South Africa, Israel regularly traded arms and security information with the regime.
He also criticised US President George W Bush over Iraq, saying the sole reason for a possible US-led attack would be to gain control of Iraqi oil. The US stance on Iraq is "arrogant" and would cause "a holocaust", he said at the time. He also said UK Prime Minister Tony Blair - who supported Washington over Iraq - was in fact the "US foreign minister",He accused both the US and UK governments of undermining the United Nations. "Why does the United States behave so arrogantly?" Mr Mandela asked. "Their friend Israel has got weapons of mass destruction but because it's their ally they won't ask the United Nations to get rid of them. He also said war "would be devastating not just to Iraq but also to the whole of the Middle East and to other countries of the world". . "They just want the oil," Mr Mandela went on. "We must expose this as much as possible."
Nelson Mandela not only used his voice to protest against injustices at home, but attacked injustices across the world too.
In  2002  Mandela reiterated his opposition to acts of terror, and reminded readers of how appalled he had been by the barbarism of the 9/11 attacks, but argued that those responsible for bringing down the Twin Towers must be “apprehended and brought to trial without inflicting suffering on innocent people”.
On December 5, 2013, the world was shocked and saddened by the transition of Tata Madiba Rohlihahla Mandela at the age of 95. Although Madiba had been ill for many months and his condition required round-the-clock medical attention, his passing was nonetheless a great loss to the people of South Africa, the African continent,  and indeed to the world.
Mandela was eulogized by people throughout the world. Inside South Africa an extended period of mourning was declared and the former African National Congress (ANC) leader and first president of a non-racial South African state was given a state funeral.
Memorial services were held throughout South Africa. Millions poured into streets and stadiums around the country to sing the praises of their leader who had spent twenty seven years in prison for his believe that the African people should be liberated from national oppression and economic exploitation. A  true revolutionary never dies, for anyone who risks his own life for the oppressed and the poor, will live as long as there are hopeless people in this world. A man who was willing to die for his cause, who spent 27 years in jail for his beliefs and refused to leave until better conditions for his country were met. He made his enemies respect him because of his bravery and loyalty, and didn’t prosecute the same people who abused him when he had the power to do so. Instead, he forgave them. Though his status was larger than life he lived humbly as a citizen in the country he loved. His example taught us the importance of forgiveness and the true meaning of representing the people with honor and loyalty. He showed us that one person’s actions can have an extraordinary effect on this world, and our world today surely needs more like Mandela!
Nelson Mandela's spirit could never die, and his light will never fade. His sacrifice, courage and philosophy will be an example for anyone who wants to impact the world in a positive way.Nelson Mandela Day which is marked every year on July 16th, the day of Mandela's birthday not only celebrates Nelson Mandela’s life, but it is also a global call to action for people to recognize their ability to have a positive effect on others around them. It marks Nelson Mandela’s contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts, promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation, and in addressing racial issues.