Hands off our precious libraries

July 18, 2016

Hands off our precious libraries!
Hands off our treasured books!
Free computers boot up;
Any query we can look up.

Let’s defend our jobs and services
From all you neo-liberal crooks
So hands off our precious libraries
Hands off our treasured books!

Let stressed commuters rush about,
Inside we whisper, no need to shout.
Community space, for every race,
Sanctuary in the centre of our city.

We must save our precious libraries,
Books enrich our vocabularies;
Fire imaginations off to far-distant realms.
A world of words inspires, overwhelms.

Tories preach austerity, all we ask is parity:
A chance for all to share and have a look.
Keep our libraries open, a place where we can pop in
To savour the pleasure of a good book.

Keep our precious libraries,
Keep our treasured books.
Part of a collective history,
Not a puzzle or a mystery

If you take away our library
Society will much poorer be.
So let’s all strike back and organise
Shelves into Dewey decimals.

It may sound quite contrarian
But we need to keep our local librarian,
A guide to all the crannies and the nooks –
Hands off our precious libraries and books!

 

Sign the online petition to save Coventry’s libraries.

Thanks to Vicky Cowell, staunch defender of Coventry’s libraries and avid bookworm, for kicking this off with the first verse, and for much inspiration. For more information – see this report from the Coventry Telegraph and a recent Coventry Against The Cuts protest.

Libraries and council services are under threat across the country. We need to fight back. Get involved in a local anti-cuts group, or if there isn’t one where you live, set one up yourself!

45 minutes

July 9, 2016

45 minutes to sex up the dossier,
45 minutes to polish the lie.
45 minutes of cowardice and calumny,
45 minutes, pressed suit and red tie.

2 million marched through Trafalgar Square,
2 million sought refuge from ruined Iraq.
2 million ignored, corruption laid bare,
2 million hopes crushed, prepare for attack.

Zero the weapons of mass destruction,
Zero nuclear warheads, anthrax or napalm.
Zero reasons, zero justification,
Zero warnings of depleted uranium.

Thousands of campaign dollars from Exxon, persuasive
Thousands to white-wash the blackness of death.
Thousands of sound-bites, slick and evasive
Thousands of half-truths that lie on your breath.

One special relationship had to be kept,
One bond with George Bush that held you in thrall.
One soldier Tom Keys, whose family wept,
One aim for the war, to secure yet more oil.

City of Sanctuary

June 24, 2016

Welcoming hands, and cheerful smiles
Greet us along the Golden Mile
As we make our way to Leicester town
Vibrancy – white, black and brown.
In this peaceful city of sanctuary
We can share basmati and curry.
The people who gave you Jamie Vardy
Join as one, for a great big party
Spiralling out round Victoria Park
We’re underdogs, but we can bark!
Let’s celebrate, laugh, dance and sing
In our step we have a special spring
Flow through the city like the river, soar
Like a wyvern, over a place I adore.

Eeeww!

June 23, 2016

 

Leaders, we have twenty-eight
Tories all, who simply state
We must cut and privatise
It really isn’t very wise.

We can’t even vote them out
Under Lisbon, we have no clout.
Sorry to be leaving EU
Let’s have democracy!

Look what the Troika did to Greece
Millions of Euros it did fleece.
A pretty penny for Tsiprias
On EU rocks, Syriza smashed.

Mare Nostrum the right say
Over the sea we will have sway
Fleeing refuge, they pass away
Fortress Europe has had its day.

We need to leave so we can say
The working class is here to stay
Smash the Tories, let us fight
For jobs and pay and workers’ rights.

Party like it’s 1975

June 7, 2016

bosses

Whenever I turn on the telly, read a paper, or go on facebook;
I quickly press the off button, don’t give another look.
Nothing but the Euros: no, not the football, the referendum
Right-wingers educated in Eton,  go on and on neverendum.
Debating how many pounds the Troika might lend ’em
At extortionate rates, of course. And on what can we spend ’em?
Expense claims – how can we bend ’em?
PFI contracts – how can we extend ’em?
Immigration – where can we send ’em?

I want to party like its 1975,
When Tony Benn was still alive.
The last time the public had to decide;
He’d never take the bosses’ side.
He’d have told them where to sling their hooks.
We need fighters for ordinary people, not crooks:
Ditch politicians who just want to make a packet
And leave the EU, a privateering racket.

Stand up for the interest of the working class,
Unity with strikers in Brussels and Paris.
No to dictats imposed from above;
No to Farage, Johnson and Gove.
There is an alternative vision
Of Europe, which gets hardly a mention,
A truly socialist sentiment:
Workers’ solidarity across the continent.

little redlittle green

If you have enjoyed my poetry on this blog, my new collection, “Little Green Poetry” is now available from Lulu – – £4+P&P (paperback) or £2.50 (for e-book readers)

You can still order copies of my first collection, “Little Red Poetry” from http://www.leftbooks.co.uk or http://www.lulu.com – again for £4 (pb) or £2.50 (as a pdf for e-readers).

I hope you enjoy reading my poems, and, as always, all proceeds will go to help build the fightback against corporate political parties, to build a voice for the millions, not the millionaires.

To find out more about my politics, visit the website of the Committee For A Workers’ International, which is engaged in struggle in around 50 countries worldwide.

Opposing hatred and bigotry in Leicester

May 29, 2016

Leicester has been in the news a lot recently, because of the unprecedented success of its football team. However, we have seen the far-right attempt to jump on this bandwagon, oblivious to the multicultural nature of both Leicester and its footballing heroes. This was the scene last weekend:

leicesterbf

photo – Leicester Socialist Party – see more details

For two weekends in a row, the people of Leicester have successfully defended the city centre from Britain First, a far-right splinter-group which crawled out of the wreckage of Nick Griffin’s BNP. They claimed to be campaigning for the EU referendum, but their literature is full of lies and hatred, targeted at Muslims in particular. The Another Angry Voice blog has posted a useful guide to their brand of hatred.

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in Britain and has a proud record of standing up against racism. Dividing people in terms of their race is a convenient smokescreen for the ruling class. If working-class people are made to view each other as the enemy, then they are not blaming the real causes of their problems. These include attacks on services and jobs which the Conservatives are carrying through nationally, but unfortunately the local Labour council are passing these on to the people of Leicester and the shortage of council housing due to a lack of investment in public housing over decades.

People are at the mercy of private landlords, on zero-hour contracts, in insecure employment or are unable to get a job. It is not surprising if the ruling class try to divert their anger on to scapegoats, such as “terrorists” or “immigrants”, rather than admit that the situation we find ourselves in is because of the system of capitalism. This results in an increase in racial attacks and discrimination against minorities.

The Socialist Party in Leicester have a long tradition of holding street stalls in the city centre, every Saturday. When confronted with the bullying tactics of the far-right, we refused to go away. Instead, we called on the public to oppose and surround their stall. We reminded people of the nature of Britain First, and why they do not stand for modern Britain. We pointed out that we need to unite as a community in order to defeat the Tories’ attacks and it is still vitally important to oppose the far-right, just as the people of Leicester saw off the National Front in 1979 and opposed the EDL when they marched through the city in 2012.

leicesterbf2

A similar unwelcome reception for Britain First this weekend – picture Midlands Antifascist Network

If they are left unopposed, racist thugs can get away with attacks on Muslims. Britain First has invaded mosques, and its leader Paul Golding has been convicted of harassment. He was arrested again this weekend, after breaking bail conditions by failing to show up to a scheduled appointment in a probation office in Luton, as he was 50 miles north of that city, in Leicester.

leicesterbf3

Golding being escorted by members of the local constabulary – picture East Midlands Anti Fascist Network

The far-right have form in this city. In 2010, the EDL broke out of police lines and attacked Big Johns, a local fast-food restaurant, because it was selling Halal produce. In 2013, I wrote about a Leicester pub, “The Globe”, which was attacked on a neo-Nazi website for allegedly refusing to serve members of the armed forces, in case this offended Muslims. As a result, staff of the pub received threats, although the report was clearly completely fake. Britain First share the racist views of the EDL and BNP and have no place in a modern, democratic society.

The principle of freedom of speech extends only to those who will allow freedom of speech to others. In destroying a stall table and megaphone of socialist groups, Britain First showed themselves to be no respecters of the right of free speech. They brought a loud sound system, blaring out patriotic music, in an attempt to drown out the public’s opposition.

Fortunately, they were again sent packing, behind police lines and carrying armfuls of their racist publicity, which they were unable to give out due to being surrounded and outnumbered. The public of Leicester will need to be watchful and ready to mobilise to counter their threat.

The Socialist Party stands for unity of the working class and against any attempts to divide us. We stand against racism, bigotry and intolerance. We are a democratic party and are happy to debate with our political opponents, but we will organise against far-right bullies, who resort to abuse, threats and violence.

The Socialist Party campaigns for a LEAVE vote in the forthcoming EU referendum, but not on the basis of racism and xenophobia. We are for a united, socialist Europe, not the bosses’ undemocratic EU, whose treaties have imposed privatisation and austerity across the continent.

 

 

Orangutan’s Song

May 24, 2016

We still remember the joyous canopy
a verdant green blanket
smothering – sunlight struggled
down to the dank forest floor.

We still remember the tamarind’s hoot,
the faintest placement of the tiger’s paw,
the chattering of cicadas.
tree frogs flashed vivid; danger.

We had no such warning,
no scent or sound, until
it was too late.
few of us escaped.

A new sound came –
the rasping death rattle
of alien machinery;
great trees felled in moments.

We grew hungry, stressed, scared.
resorted to eating bark:
the rainforest clamour gone
amidst acrid stench of smoke.

We remember a time when
this fragile dream was shattered
into chaos and suffering.
hundreds of lifetimes gone.

For what? Palm oil: cheap bulking agent
from distant tropics, where labour costs are minimal
where the old people of the forest
do nothing for profit margins.

Goods line supermarket shelves:
capitalism captures, constricts, commodifies;
brainwashes humans. soothing adverts
mask the suffering.

If we could only communicate in your alien tongue:
“Find your inner ape.
play together, co-operate
discover life’s true value”.

 

Orangutans cannot speak.

They cannot voice their displeasure at supermarket chains raking in £billions, while destroying fragile ecosystems in distant rainforests, which may have held the cure to cancer, or are home to millions of undiscovered species, or are the last sacred home of an indigenous culture, who have had little contact with the outside world.

They cannot use keyboards to send indignant emails, explaining the injustice and suffering associated with palm oil.

They cannot point out that it is perfectly possible for supermarkets to use palm oil substitutes, or sustainably grown palm oil, neither of  which harm precious and irreplaceable habitats.

They cannot organise to overthrow this system of capitalism which sacrifices all in the name of profit.

But you can!

The worst offenders can be found here:
http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/shoppingethically/palmoilfreelist.aspx#supermarkets

For a political alternative, and a better livelihood for people in poor countries, so that they do not have to do backbreaking work, which is destructive to our environment:
http://www.socialistworld.net You can also buy my poetry pamphlet ‘Little Green Poetry’ – http://www.lulu.com/gb/en/shop/andrew-walton/little-green-poetry/ebook/product-21745906.html – all profits go to help build a movement to change this rotten system.

 

Standing up to hate in Leicester

May 21, 2016

Like much of the East Midlands, Leicester is well known for its multi-ethnic communities. Narborough Road, for instance, has recently been named as one of the most multicultural streets in the country. It is perhaps for this reason above all that the vile right wing organisation Britain First thought that their ideas might resonate here. […]

via Leicester Makes Short Shrift of Britain First — Leicester Socialist Students

Defend comprehensive education

May 21, 2016

DSCN0736

We don’t need no academisation,
We don’t need no mind control.
No funding cuts to education.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

We don’t need no academisation,
We don’t need no tuition fees.
We stand up for free education.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

We don’t need no standardised testing,
We don’t need no SATs at all.
We want kids to enjoy their childhood.
Hey Morgan, leave our schools alone.

All in all, you’re just another Tory clone.
Nicky Morgan, leave our kids alone.

Nicky Morgan – career advisor

May 8, 2016

“art holds you back”
constrained, caged, compartmentalised:
dead-end, zero-hour contract existence.

“study useful subjects”
science, technology, engineering:
pointless luxury: culture, humanities

how can you evaluate
happiness, transcendence, joy
in terms of asset management?

not quantified, boxed-in, trammelled
imagination soars – unconfined
by assembly lines; instructions do not apply.

how much poorer would we be
without ecstasy illimited?
put down, downcast, downbeat, dumbed-down, downtrodden

masses, who have courage to ignore advice
of  so-called betters; privately educated Tories
spreading bile and ignorance?

with our libraries closed,
sixth-forms shut
what can we do?

we dare to dream,
we dare to fight,
we dare to win
a fairer world.


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