Tag Archives: Working Class

REVIEW: Dare Devil Rides to Jarama

Dare Devil Rides to Jarama dramatizes Clem “Daredevil” Beckett’s life and sacrifice during the Spanish Civil war, and celebrates the 80th anniversary of the creation of the International Brigades.

Clem Beckett lived briefly, but what he made of his 31 years on this earth is quite extraordinary. A proud working class lad born in Oldham in 1906, a blacksmith by trade turned speedway rider during the depression of the 1920s, he was quick to identify the damaging nature of capitalism, leading him to embrace solidarity, anti-fascism and revolutionary socialism. He never shunned fighting the good fight and when the biggest fight of all against fascism in Spain started, he joined the International Brigades and died in 1937 in the battle to stop Franco from reaching Madrid.

Daredevil Rides to Jarama is a wonderful piece of working class theatre, with a brilliant script and an incredibly clever way of using cheap props and lighting to convey time, place, situations and moods. A wooden panel at the back of the stage is a wall of death, a factory gate, a door to a lovenest, a cinema screen, a wall in Spain; some steps are a podium for a political speech and for an award ceremony, a writing table, and a workshop bench. There are no special effects. Musical instruments appear and are played to accompany the singing of fighting ballads. And you never realise how bare and simple the stage is because with just a few props, some poetry, some songs, lighting, and above all an extraordinarily well-crafted script and two seriously talented men create more magic and evoke more reality than you ever thought was possible with so little.

David Heywood brings back to life a brave, determined, compassionate, cheeky and sharp Clem Beckett and leaves everything he’s got on stage. He really empties the tank. Neil Gore, who wrote the play, is everybody else, from the greyhound stadium owner who exploits young riders’ inexperience on deliberately dangerous dirt tracks for sensational shows that cause injury and death, to the landowner who tries to keep ramblers off the land, and many other characters, including Christopher St John Sprigg (aka Cauldwell), the upper middle class writer and poet who became Clem’s unlikely partner and died with him on February 12, 1937 in the Jarama Valley.

Offering inspired, nuanced performances and a genuine connection with the audience, David and Neil are also the stage hands, as they operate the lights and reorganise the stage between the two acts. The play is an intellectual and emotional tour de force through a compassionate life of political commitment in the fight against capitalism and fascism. Clem’s is the story of one of the many heroic men and women who understood what was at stake in Spain and decided that the ultimate sacrifice was not too high a price to pay and joined the International Brigades to fight on the side of the Spanish resistance.

Catch it if you can from January.
http://www.townsendproductions.org.uk/home

For more information about Clem Beckett, go to http://spartacus-educational.com/SPbeckett.htm.

This is OUR Ireland: Apollo House Occupation

Apollo House on Tara Street in Dublin has been occupied by activists since last Thursday – with 35 people sheltering in the property on Sunday night.

The group – backed by a number of high profile Irish artists and musicians – have renamed the property “Home Sweet Home” and have said they are receiving “phenomenal” support from the public.

The Irish actor and director, Terry McMahon made a strong speech in support of the occupation and against the policies of austerity that have seen a rise in homelessness, poverty and suicide.

 

“A hundred years ago brave men and women fought a bloody war for our Ireland. The most idealistic among us, the bravest among us, the best among us, from every rung of society, put everything on the line for our Ireland. They are the forefathers of our revolution and we are the sons and daughters of their sacrifice. And we have failed them.

“In this one year, the centenary of 1916, more people have died by their own hand than were killed in the entire Easter Rising. In the last eight years of austerity more people have committed suicide than died in the thirty years of the northern Irish troubles. This is our Ireland and, a hundred years after 1916, austerity is not just a lie, austerity is murder.

“This is our Ireland, which is why we have no intentions of causing any hurt. Which is why we will operate within the law as much as possible. Which why as long as a quarter of a million properties lie empty and out government continues to do nothing , we will fight to ensure nobody else dies in a doorway.

“Our freedom was fought for a hundred years ago and today we ask ourselves, what are we prepared to do for the people who need us most? We ask ourselves, if not us, who? If now now, when? And finally, we ask ourselves, when exactly did we allow a tiny coterie of controlling class scum make us forget just what a f***ing sublime nation we are?

“This is OUR Ireland.”

Football mourns the loss Of Atlético Chapecoense

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Today the world of football is rallying around the small Brazilian club Atlético Chapecoense after most of its players and staff, as well as the sports journalists accompanying them, were killed when their chartered plane crashed in the Medellin region of Colombia. Chapecoense had, against all expectations, qualified for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent of UEFA’s Europa League competition.

chapecoenseblackribbonThe Brazilian FA have canceled tomorrow’s cup final and all matches this weekend as a mark of respect. Other clubs have called for solidarity with Chapecoense and requested that the club be exempt from relegation for a period of 3 years as it tries to recover from the tragedy. They have also pledged to loan players to Atlético should it elect to continue to fulfill its fixtures for the rest of this season. The Colombian side Atletico National that would have been their opponents in the 1st Leg of the final have requested that Chapecoense be declared Copa Sudamericana champions.

Some Celtic fans have also asked our club to stock the jersey of Atlético Chapecoense in the Celtic shops and to donate all profits from sales back to the Brazilian club. Every act of solidarity with the club and its fans should be embraced. In an era where greed has become the definition of football, there are still some acts of human solidarity that we as fans can participate in, with or without the consent of those at the top. Our humanity will always eclipse their greed.

Every incident that results in the loss of life is a tragedy, but some tragedies hurt more when those who died carried the hopes and dreams of the people, of thousands of fans, of whole families. The Atlético Chapecoense Football Club just a few days ago celebrated one of its greatest football achievements, and today it suffers the worst episode of its entire history.  TAL Fanzine extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims and to the fans of Atlético Chapecoense.

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‘SILENT WHITE’ – HOW THE LEFT RACIALISED THE POLITICAL DEBATE

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By Independent Working Class Association

On Sunday night, one of our IWCA facebook page admins was accused – while defending the newly published article ‘Trump: consequence not cause – of implying the word ‘white’ although not stating it when referring to the working class. The term ‘white working class’ is not one that was coined by the IWCA, but there appears to be an attempt to deliberately ‘bad jacket’ us with responsibility for it. The aim, we presume, of those pushing the politics of identity, is to politically bracket us with the racist right.

Such revisionism and deliberate falsification appears to be all pervasive on the left these days. This morning a trades union friend of the IWCA unwittingly shared what he thought was a progressive account of an interview given to Truthout by Noam Chomsky. The interview was also reported by the supposedly leftist website of Telesurtv under the title: ‘Trump Won Because Democrats Abandoned the Working Class.’

One paragraph in the Telesurtv report read:

“The exit polls and post-election data show that the majority of Trump voters are “the angry and disaffected” white working people who “are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation,” Chomsky said.”

The Chomsky quote above, broken in the middle, made us suspicious, so we decided to check the source, Truthout, to read what he actually said.

And lo and behold, Chomsky did not refer to the working class or working people with the prefix ‘white’. The ‘silent white’ was inserted into the middle of a quote from him by whoever edited the piece and whose motive appears to have been to attribute it to the professor in order to further the identitarian agenda of a lunatic section of the middle-class left. In fact, Chomsky did not use or imply the phrase ‘white working people’ at all, it is a complete falsehood.

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The actual comment of Noam Chomsky to Truthout was:

“[Many of] the angry and disaffected are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation…”

So where did this ‘silent white’ come from?

It was middle-class liberals who invented the term ‘white working class’ in order to separate out the core of the working class from everyone else. Moreover it is the ‘working class’ and the idea of working class unity – not the ‘white’ bit – that repels them. Which is why, having colour coded one part of the class, you never find any reference to the Black, Asian or Latino working classes. They employ the substitute ‘community’ instead. A classification deliberately devoid of distinct political identity, the ‘community’ can be used as a political pawn to be moved around the board at will.

One of Anti-Fascist Action’s street fighting legends of the 1980’s and 1990’s was an American called C.J. who had been a youth member of the Black Panther Party (BPP), in relation to this point about community and class, he stated:

“There is no more a homogeneous Black community or Asian community than there is a homogeneous White community. The idea is a construct to divide the working class.”

 

Imagine Your Worst Boss As President of the USA…

A personal view of the US Election from our Bosnian correspondent, originally published on the Sahtijan blog

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By Lilium

The election results in the United States are significant because of two things. One is that the defeat of Hillary Clinton means that another shot has been fired at the ‘moderate’ terrorists in Syria, which signifies the beginning of the end for them.

However, there is another issue exposed by the Trump win.

Victory for Trump is an indication of the powerlessness and stupidity of modern-day liberals and leftists. The main culprits responsible for Trump’s win are these same so-called liberals and leftists, who spent more time making fun of Trump and his supporters than they did in addressing the problems that are the root cause of discontent in the USA.

What lies at the basis of the vote? The problem is that left-wing liberals seem to be more concerned with rainbow colors, feminism and typing on their keyboards than with the real problems of ordinary people. They live in a bubble, totally cut off from reality, and when someone punctured this bubble they had no answer to it.

Why? Because they abandoned the working class. The moment that modern leftists turned their backs on the working class – they lost. They turned to the middle-class and addressed the concerns and problems of the middle and upper middle-class. And at that moment the working class became the target of the right wing. The right know that he who holds the working class, holds the power. Therefore, they peddled stories about immigrants, about how immigrants will steal jobs, how they will threaten the livelihoods of workers, etc. The image portrayed is that all who have come to the country to seek a new home in recent times did not come to work and therefore the narrative is that they live off the backs of the working class.

This liberal leftist movement is now harvesting the fruits of the seeds that they planted.

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Cable Street 1936 – ‘They shall not pass and they did not pass’

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By Independent Working Class Association (IWCA)

Today is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, where an attempted 3,000 strong march through the East End of London by the British Union of Fascists, under police protection, was forcibly prevented and broken up by thousands of fighting anti-fascists and upwards of one hundred thousand demonstrators. It remains the most significant single domestic episode in the history of British anti-fascism.

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Within the Communist Party itself, the leadership were hell bent on having a demonstration in support of the Spanish Republic at Trafalgar Square on the day, but rank and file pressure forced them to change plans at the eleventh hour to defend the East End.

Cable Street was not a spontaneous, apolitical revolt by salt-of-the-earth Londoners outraged at the presence of fascist provocateurs in their midst. The driving force was working class militants – largely, but by no means exclusively, within the Communist Party – armed with a class analysis, rooted in their own communities and often working against prevailing ‘left’ structures. Within the Communist Party itself, the leadership were hell bent on having a demonstration in support of the Spanish Republic at Trafalgar Square on the day, but rank and file pressure forced them to change plans at the eleventh hour to defend the East End. The Labour Party’s role in Cable Street is predictably shameful: its representatives at the time tried to persuade anti-fascists to stay away from the demo, and Herbert Morrison – then leader of London County Council, and Home Secretary four years later – afterwards condemned anti-fascists alongside fascists for causing the trouble, while praising the police for their actions.

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The Labour Party’s role in Cable Street is predictably shameful: its representatives at the time tried to persuade anti-fascists to stay away from the demo, and Herbert Morrison – then leader of London County Council, and Home Secretary four years later – afterwards condemned anti-fascists alongside fascists for causing the trouble, while praising the police for their actions.

Despite this, Labour are front and centre in today’s official Cable Street commemoration, along with their conservative ‘anti-fascist’ allies and non-political ethnic/religious grouplets: elements that oppose fascism not because it threatens the working class, but because it threatens the political status quo. One wonders what the activists of ’36 would make of this, or how the result might have turned out had the anti-fascist forces been so constituted back then.

L-R) Matteo Salvini – Italy’s Lega Nord; Harald Vilimsky, – Austria’s  Freedom Party (FPOe), Marine Le Pen – France’s National Front, Geert Wilders – Dutch Freedom Party (PVV); Gerolf Annemans – Belgium’s Flemish Vlaams Belang

Surveying the scene now, we see every possibility of Europe seeing the election of its first far-right head of state since 1945 in Austria in December, Marine Le Pen consistently leading the polling for the first round of the 2017 French Presidential election, UKIP eating into Labour’s core vote in England and Wales, the AfD as the biggest working class party in Berlin and the populist right climbing all over the furniture across northern, western and central Europe. The financial crash of 2008 and subsequent chronic economic crisis has stripped the political centre of its vestigial credibility, but it is the right who are filling the vacuum in working class political representation.

The antecedents of the IWCA – Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) – had as their mission statement ‘to oppose fascism physically and ideologically’. Cable Street was one of the inspirations for the physical struggle, a struggle that has been won – for now. If the current wave of populist nationalism is to be beaten back, the struggle now has to be political: no less than to reconstitute the working class as a political fighting force and the prime agent of radical political change, independent, democratic and beholden to no-one but itself. The challenge is considerable, but the risks of failing to meet it are clear.

Labour Leadership Election: Time To Fight The Tories

 

Local politics has in large part become another system of management. Councilors, Members of the Scottish Parliament and Assembly Members (in Wales & NI) manage the funds that they are allocated by central government and work within the guidelines laid down to them by the Tories. There is little possibility of ‘fighting’ municipalities providing a lead against the cuts as there was in the 1980’s. Local government has been largely stripped of any real powers and the psyche of those involved in politics appears to have switched entirely into a middle-management mode. Our contributor Klaus Stoertebeker provides a couple of examples of where Labour is in power which suggests that the ‘new dawn’ envisaged by many on the left after the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader might be short-lived.

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By Klaus Stoertebeker

Before anybody gets too excited by the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, consider these two examples of the Labour Party in power at a local level:

Political control in Greater Manchester and Bristol is wielded by the labour party. What else do those areas with a combined population of nearly 4 million have in common? The political masters in both are attempting to implement cuts in budgets and services and to reduce their workforce.

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In Greater Manchester this involves bullying, blackmailing and threatening Firefighters with the imposition of a new (inferior) contract of employment. You know, imposing contracts, just like the Tories are with the junior doctors.

In Bristol the Council and its shiny new Labour Mayor are about to cut around 1,000 jobs with the consequent impacts on services.
In both cases Labour politicians are invoking the hoary old alibi that they ‘have to do it’ because the government is making them. They often add that it’s better that they implement the cuts because they will be more ‘humane’ about it than other parties would be.  A more humane blow of the axe? Feck off!

Well, they have a choice; fight the government, or attack their workers and the people who rely on their services. Their choice is clear, it is the latter. Cowardly betrayal doesn’t even begin to describe their actions. They think we are the line of least resistance, but we have to show them that there will be a fight and that there will be a high price to pay for that betrayal.

So Labour Party, wherever and whenever and for as long as you attack the working class as you are in Bristol, Greater Manchester and elsewhere, I will continue to attack the political positions and practice of the Labour Party.

Until or unless this shit stops and you get the bottle of Poplar or Clay Cross in the local authorities you control and defy the government and the law, I don’t care who your leader is… don’t knock on my door for anything other than a fecking row.

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