"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." T S Eliot

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

I Can Almost Live (with the way I'm leavin' you)

Will you forgive me
If I look at your game, girl
And thru a lucid glimpse
Find nothing we could learn.

Tangled in caprice, these
Poems promise no return
- Are you surprised that now
I don’t believe the words

Don’t give me na├»ve,
Come on tell me, why so sad?
We both knew this love
Could turn a good man bad.
If easy whispers
Left us feelin’ hard done by
Know you can’t call me back
To hang on vacant sighs.

Thought I could love you once
Til I got sad inside
Now this delicate blues
Is the way I’m leavin’ you.

I’ve walked all over
Harvesting discarded dreams
Yet I struggle to fit
These hand-me-down fears

As time you’ll while by
Know you can’t love this feeling
And you’ll return to lay
Here under my wing

Search the soul that fell,
Tumbled from grace and favour
Tender is the rain
Though dischented now, 'cause
While the echoes, they tease
-From your eyes the tears -
The laugh in your footfall
Doesn’t ring so clear.

Thought I could love you once
Til I learned my own mind
With these derelict blues
I can almost live without you


Tramps N' Thieves (Beg Borrow & Steal)

Hey you mister, I wouldn't ask,
but can you spare a thought;
'cause looks to me like you got prayers to spare.
Every day finds me down-at-heel
the novelty's wearing thin;
it's hard to bite your tongue with my fair share.

Back to back my brother
never cut these ties that bind.
As tramps an' thieves;
we'll beg borrow and steal

You know that I've learnt how to laugh
at those dangerous dreams;
whisperin' love an' leave to rags and riches.
Left behind for a song an' dance;
wishing on a wing and prayer
now I find myself caught between love and sin.

Back to back, my brother
never cut these ties that bind
as tramps an thieves;
we'll beg borrow an steal
wall to wall no other
could take your place in these eyes
just tramps an thieves
we beg borrow an steal

Say they never did have me down
as just another man;
pushing life along, all the best he can.
I'm too far gone for second thoughts,
forgive me my graceless ways;
seems lately my friend, there's too much time to hand

Back to back my brother
never cut these ties that bind
we'll beg borrow an steal
as tramps an thieves.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Heaven

This knife laid bare my veins to deceit and pride,
While my lips clamoured for the cocktail kiss
No-one held my reflection as a friend of mine.
After each retreat from the nerves and guilt,
Within my broken shell, let loose denial;
And I convinced myself good boys don't cry

When in heaven, it's cold after hours
Your noose solution ain't the answer -

As the cold seeps thru when you're goin' under,
A mystery beat tears you from the brink.
Your fingers still numb; regret the damage you done.
After a million wide-eyed moments,
You'd think the signs couldn't be much clearer
That's instinct beating; learn to trust it kid.

When in heaven, it's cold after hours
Your noose solution ain't the answer -

They wouldn't believe,
but with this laughter in my footfall
can't shake this belief
that in heaven, it's cold after hours
your noose solution ain't the answer
When in heaven, it's cold after hours.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Government drugs agenda busted wide open


Home Secretary Alan Johnson last week sacked the Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). Professor David Nutt was shown the door after giving a speech attacking the government’s decision to toughen up cannabis laws.

Alan Johnson told David Nutt that he no longer had confidence in him after Nutt accused ministers of “distorting and devaluing” evidence over cannabis when they overruled the ACMD’s advice and reclassified cannabis from class C to B.

This attack on the independence of the government’s scientific advisors demonstrates that the official drugs agenda will not be guided by reason or scientific advice. Instead the government is sending a firm message that its bodies of so-called ‘independent’ advisors are expected to facilitate government policy rather than providing critical scientific scrutiny.

The resignation of the two other members of the ACMD panel in the aftermath of Professor Nutt’s sacking reflects the horrified reaction of the scientific community, as well as the general public.

The drug policies of Labour and Tory governments have always been marked by irrational, knee-jerk reactions to the various moral panics which sweep the country every few months. The governments’ drug agendas have nearly always flown in the face of both common sense and scientific advice. This has resulted in a major drug industry which blights whole communities with murder, prostitution, and drug-related crimes.

The Tories are no better than Labour; Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling backed Alan Johnson, saying that it reflected the government’s lack of focus because they didn’t sack Dr Nutt earlier.

When the government couldn’t find any scientific evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, they simply got one of their advisors, Dr David Kelly, to make it up. When the lies were exposed, they used him as a scapegoat. The attacks on him by the same government ministers who had forced him to create the false dossier and the constant media hounding led to his committing suicide some time later.

Clearly the government burned its fingers with the David Kelly WMD affair, so now when someone contradicts their official line, they resort to the cowardly and bullying option of sacking them.

Unfortunately for Alan Johnson, this seems to have totally backfired. With the government unable to provide any reason for contradicting the ACMD’s advice, they have jeopardised the independence of scientific advice to the government.

Without this advice, everything from Nuclear weapons to Drugs policies would be free of scientific reasoning and instead directed by the government’s hypocritical agenda which is constantly reacting to the interests of its capitalist masters and their media.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A complete unmitigated clusterfuck

A week on from the disastrous anti-fascist mobilisation against the English Defence League  in Leeds, and it's  time to contribute my two pence (the first of many, no doubt) with a bit more objectivity than most of us could manage in the immediate aftermath of the demo.

Clearly it was a disaster - a lower turnout and even less militant UAF than in Manchester.

In the weeks prior to the demo, antifascists co-ordinated to build a militant contingent that aimed to no platform the EDL, and which would avoid repeating the Manchester debacle where several hundred EDL were allowed to demonstrate just metres away from the UAF rally.

However the leaders of the UAF including members of the Socialist Workers Party, called repeatedly on Leeds Council to ban the EDL demonstration. This action is not only cowardly but dangerous - by reinforcing illusions that the bourgeois state will smash fascism, it paves the way to the state banning assemblies by workers organisations. There would be no rallies in support of the postal workers, and Trade Unions would be crippled in times of spiralling unemployment and economic crisis.

Students at Leeds university held several meetings, and leafleted areas of Leeds with the aim of building a credible no platform contingent on the Hyde Park feeder march. The strategy of having 3 feeder marches from different areas was a good attempt to correct the failures of the Manchester demo, but all were very small.

Hyde Park was the biggest of the 3, but we did not have the numbers to prevent ourselves being penned in front of the art Gallery - despite the efforts of students and workers at the front to continue down the Headrow.

When all feeder marches and demonstrators had eventually gathered in front of the art gallery, there were pitfully few - much less than in Manchester and on previous anti-EDL marches. This in spite of the work that had been put into building for it by more militant sections of UAF and independent anti-fascists. Clearly this demonstrates that there is only a certain amount of people you can attract to a 'peaceful celebration of multiculturalism' passing off as a credible anti-fascism. People in Leeds looked at the lukewarm response of UAF in Manchester and thought -correctly- that it was fanciful to suppose that it had any intention of stopping the fascists assembling.

So while the anti-fascists milled around listening to pacifistic, delusional, and reactionary speeches from various shining lights of militant anti-fascism - including a Lib Dem councillor who is in the middle of leading a vicious attack on the refuse and Street Scene workers in Leeds who have been on indefinite strike for 6 weeks.When members of Revolution and other demonstrators started chanting 'support striking workers' while he spoke, a leading member of the SWP in Leeds rounded on us claiming 'you don't have to support the  strikes to be against fascism' - Perhaps you can have a real no platform anti-fascism by two groups locked in a bitter dispute; should class struggle cease for the purpose of opposing the fascists?

An antifascist movement cannot exist in an isolated bubble. Just as the fascist growth is not independent of the failings of capitalism, a working-class response cannot hope to smash fascism in collusion with the very bosses who are stating the importance of solidarity and unity within UAF while simultaneously trying to smash the CWU as well as attacking other workers across the country.

When it became clear that the UAF leadership was trying to wind up the rally in the early afternoon, Revolution started liaising with independant antifascists as well as younger members of the SWP from Leeds and Manchester with the intention of trying to lead part of the demo out of the pen to confront the EDL in city square.

At which point Weyman Bennett decided to let us know that we had demonstrated that the EDL weren't welcome on our streets by our mere presence several streets away. Laughable of course, but then he outrageously went on to claim that there were only '200' EDL in city square, and that only '400' had turned up in Manchester. These brazen lies are inexplicable even from a man well known for ensuring that the UAF does not commit itself to positively no platforming fascists.

Through updates coming through from observers down at the EDL demonstration, it seems nearer 900-1000 of them were demonstrating freely in city square and parading up and down the surrounding streets - with police passively observing or nowhere to be seen. In one incident EDL supporters were seen rocking cars with Asian families in as well as abusing Asians and gay people on the streets.

So clearly we didn't show the EDL that they were unwelcome in Leeds by any stretch of the imagination. Instead what happened is the EDL felt entirely comfortable bringing their racism to the city centre - so imagine how they will behave when they start appearing away from the cameras and police on the backstreets of our estates.

Despite the efforts of some to break sections of the crowd away to confront the EDL, the UAF stalled any progress and kept demonstrators formed up ready to march - all the while Weyman Bennett saying that we would be marching soon... Instead his filibustering gave the police enough time to bring up several rows of reinforcements so that there was no chance of breaking out on that side of the pen.

Efforts by members of Revolution to lead the demonstration out of a less well-guarded exit, met with some initial success but the refusal of the majority of the SWP to take party meant that the attempt failed. Indeed, Revolution members were accused of being 'ultraleft' by comrades in the SWP who had earlier worked with us to break away from the tame UAF rally.

We eventually left around 4pm as the demo had dwindled to around 100 people. We had not managed to even see the EDL scum all day. Quite how this was any kind of success is beyond me.

What Saturday demonstrated is that the crisis within UAF completely paralysed it on the day, and proves that UAF is not able to provide a working-class vehicle for driving the fascist scum off our streets wherever they appear.

Those within the SWP asking questions about the popular-frontist nature of the UAF tactic should be looking to form local antifascist formations that are prepared to organise to no platform any fascism emergence in their area.

We need the militant sections of the UAF to split along class lines and organise locally and nationally to combat the increasing threat of the BNP and EDL. We cannot afford to wait until the EDL are confident enough to start marching regularly, and wreaking havoc in black and Asian communities while creating a regime of fear in white working-class neighbourhoods.

The need for new anti-fascist formations is great. But it will only be achieved if the big socialist organisations and militant workers groups decide to commit to it in a sincere manner. Without this commitment we will have only the small, disparate groups of anti-fascists struggling to stem an increasingly militant and well-organised fascist revival.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

BBC Question Time Protest

Went down to Ldn a couple weeks ago with about a dozen SWP comrades from Leeds to demonstrate outside the BBC in west London.

The decision by the BBC to allow Nazi Nick to appear on Question Time elicited a reaction from everyone and his sister, and for most people the arguments were fairly simple: As a democratic and democratically elected party, the BNP must be allowed the same public platform as everyone else. The reasoning behind this being that every time the BNP turn up in public, they bring along more than enough rope to hang themselves with.

The second train of thought was that the BNP shouldn't be allowed any kind of platform, which oddly enough seemed to see Peter Hain in agreement with those on the left who engage in a consistent policy of no platform for fascists.

However there are two problems with the democracy argument.

Firstly, the BNP are not a legitimate political party (in the sense that any of the bosses parties have a claim to legitimacy). It exists to advocate and bring about an all-white Britain, dragging the country back to where we were before half a century of anti-racist activism.

Not only do they want to recreate some idyllic snowflake Albion, but we must be in no doubt that as a fascist organisation, they will smash workers' organisations without the least hesitation, and will attack all the rights that workers have won over the past decades.

Secondly, all the 'political commentators' seem to agree that Nick Griffin was a pasty-faced, shifty-eyed caricature on Question Time - an embarrassment to himself and his party. However, this perception has been true of every one of Nick's public appearances. Far from demolishing the BNP's credibility as the bourgeois media gleefully proposed in Friday's papers, Griffin's QT appearance merely reinforced the BNP's public position as the victimised, anti-establishment party standing up to a nefarious Lib/Lab/Con multicultural conspiracy to deport the ethnic British population to Magaluf.

The BBC's decision to rehabilitate the BNP into the national consciousness just a short time after they ran an undercover show exposing them as an amateur gang of Nazi hooligans, should not have come as a surprise. The appearance on the show will doubtless mean that the BNP will feature with some regularity on the public broadcaster - even though the homophobic, sexist and racist BNP disagrees with just about every one of the BBC's ethical guidelines.

The demonstration itself like most recent UAF stunts was something of a farce. Taking place in London you'd think that with an A-Z and a bit of forward planning, they would have found out all the entrances/exits to the complex and organised spotters to make sure that we could respond quickly and prevent Griffin from entering.

In a word: no.

Instead it was left to the initiative of a few activists to storm the vehicle entrance when it was loosely guarded, and run into the main lobby. Again the lack of preparation meant that we didn't have a clue where to go, and the rest of the demonstration hadn't followed us.

There were about 30 of us standing there for half an hour linking arms, chanting with dozens of staff looking on from the galleries. Eventually the pigs and BBC security dragged us away one by one kicking and screaming etc.

Happily they didn't arrest us, they merely chucked us back out into the crowd to join the several hundred demonstrators trying to force open the gate again.

We tried this for several hours, with a melee of police and protesters; eventually we forced out way to the front of the gate, forcing the remaining police to scramble over the sides. We tried to force the gate for several more hours, until they used CS gas on the first few rows of demonstrators, after which no-one was particularly keen to get upclose and personal.

Nothing of any particular interest happened to be honest, apart from Martin Smith of SWP fame managing to get himself arrested (again).

Griffin was smuggled in through a back entrance, and smuggled out of the front entrance after we went round the side to stop him coming out. Despite the lack of organisation, there were never enough protesters to make a serious attempt at stopping him from getting in.

We left around 8 or 9ish, and went to Chicken Cottage where I picked me up a fuckin lush burger and chips for £3.

Fuckin sweet.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Young again




So we're standing close together
'Cause I don't trust myself to whisper
Any louder



These words are fighting with my tongue
My mind is trying to forget me
Stalling for time, works like a charm
But I don't think these words can wait
Any longer



Always told myself, you know how it is
You see, I'm gonna wait
For better days



Don't ask me how, I don't know when
But someday, we'll be
Young Again
And someday we'll be
Young Again



You make up your face, you got to go
But we ain't growing younger,
So darling, go slow



As I follow in your footsteps
My heart is trying to forgive me
Dragging my heels through past regrets
'Cause your heart is pulling me places
That mine won't go



Now there's left no trace,
Of the promises I made
In better days



Don't ask me how, I don't know when
But someday, we'll be
Young Again

Friday, 16 October 2009

A Lesson for all of us


Last Saturday, the fascist English Defence League brought their message of hatred and xenophobia to Piccadilly Gardens in central Manchester. At their previous attempts to demonstrate in Birmingham and Harrow, they were humiliated and driven off the streets by militant mobilisations of white, black and asian youth.

Sadly the counter-demonstration called in Manchester by Unite Against Fascism completely failed to smash the fascist rally. Skirmishes at the beginning of the day in the side streets around Piccadilly Gardens were hampered by a lack of communication and co-ordination.

This meant that around 300 fascists were allowed to march into the gardens and hold a rally complete with ‘No More Mosques’ placards, sieg heils, and racist chants. For several hours around 1500 anti-fascists confronted them, separated by 20 yards and several hundred police with horses and dogs.

There were isolated attempts by small groups of youth, including Revolution and younger members of UAF and the Socialist Workers Party to breach the police lines, and motivate the crowd to a genuine no platform of the fascists – by physically confronting them and driving them off the streets. However these attempts did not reflect the attitude of the leadership of the demonstration who persisted in holding a ‘rally’ with speakers while several hundred fascists stood just yards away.

The UAF demonstration was noticeable for its almost complete lack throughout the day of significant sections of black and asian youth who played such a vital role in Birmingham and Harrow. While this is partly due to a police campaign in collusion with community leaders to scare people away from the demonstration, UAF must also bear some responsibility for the poor turnout.

The final nail in the coffin for anti-fascists on Saturday was when an EDL feeder march was allowed to join the fascists in Piccadilly Gardens, without any interference from the UAF demonstration – despite having to march just feet away from us.

When UAF leaders ignored the second EDL march in Birmingham, the SWP called a counter-demonstration which was well attended by militant youth from all communities who were the first to confront the fascists and send them fleeing in disarray.

It can safely be said that the UAF leadership on Saturday failed to rise to its responsibilities, instead hiding behind a half-hearted celebration of multiculturalism that completely ignored the real nature of fascism and the threat it poses to our communities.

The success of the EDL in Manchester – we cannot pretend it is anything else – will certainly give them a massive boost in terms of profile and confidence for their upcoming demonstration in Leeds on Halloween.

This means that it is vital that all genuine anti-fascists organise not just to protest against their demonstration, but to stand in the spirit of Birmingham and Harrow by smashing their demonstration and driving them out of our town – by any means necessary.