November 2007


This week Gordon Brown has been saying that nuclear power stations must be built, the 3rd runway at Heathrow must be built (‘Our prosperity depends on it. Britain as a world financial centre must be readily accessible to the world’ Guardian front page 26/11/07) 

The account below is a great reminder of the farce of the GNP.

“Today, in both the Hebrides and the Solomon islands, hardly any of the fish consumed has been self-caught. Most is purchased. Processing factories in Stornoway sometimes even import from the mainland! The fish from our waters are as likely to be landed in Vigo in Northern Spain as in Mallaig in the West Highlands. And yet, in terms of our Gross National Product (GNP), we are better off. In the days when people like me caught enough for the pot, we had a socially supported initiation ritual into adulthood. But we were classed as poor becaue nothing went through the cash economy. Now it is different. We buy fish, and it counts as economic activity. We buy fuel oil for the boats instead of using our muscles to row, and again, it measures as economic activity. Meanwhile, young people get drunk, inject drugs, fight, smash windows and otherwise create some sort of rite of passage, no matter how perverse. This too adds GNP. Repairs to vandalised shop fronts also count as ‘wealth’ in national accounting. So do the hospital casualty services, and the alcohol consumed, and the policing and court time.

The use of GNP to measure wellbeing is an astonishingly crude yardstick of national accounting. It reflects the triumph of the cash economy in the years following the end of the Second World War – the triumph of quantity over quality.”

from Soil and Soul: People versus corporate power – Alastair McIntosh

An amazing book which documents how the people of Eigg overthrew the power of the Landlord and a striking challenge against a multinational quarrying company.

“The basic structure is a banquet or a picnic. Each player must bring a
dish or bottle, of sufficient quantity that everyone at least gets a
serving. Dishes can be prepared or finished on the spot, but nothing
should be brought ready-made (except wine or beer thought these could
ideally be home made). The more elaborate the better. Attempt to be
memorable…The banquet could have a theme…Surrealism, Native
American, Black and Red (all food black or red in honor of anarchy)
etc…” – Hakim Bey

olive-morris.jpg

Olive Morris (1952-1979) was a Brixton activist, member of the Brixton Black Panther party, founder member of the Black women’s group, squatter, activist and much much more.  She died tragically young of leukaemia at the age of 26.  There is virtually no info about her out in the world or in the internet. Please visit this blog and spread the word so that people who might have memories of her and her work can help to create black history.

http://rememberolivemorris.wordpress.com/

a-davis-portrait.jpg

Angela Davis has been in London recently. Her insightful analysis of racism and its relationship to gender and class is brilliant.  She comes from Birmingham, Alabama, as does Condoleeza Rice and here’s a bit on how they are different …!

Condoleeza Rice comments that she did well in life because her parents were strategic, preparing her, amouring her so she could ‘confront white society on its own terms’. Angela Davis argues,

 “It was never about individuals. I never grew up thinking that the measure of my success was as an individual. There was always a sense that the measure of your success was to a large part one that was linked to community advancement. Most people weren’t going to make it as far as she (Rice) or I did. She (Rice) never would have had the opportunities she had without the benefit of the struggles that took place in the 60s. If you can, with conscience, talk about a post-civil rights era, we have to talk about the limitations of civil rights. It produced individual successes but it never produced group successes.

 The advancement of the likes of Powell and Rice within the Bush administration exemplified a flawed understanding of what it means to tackle modern-day racism.  The republican administration is the most diverse in history. But when the inclusion of black people into the machine of oppression is designed to make that machine workmore efficiently, then it does not represent progress at all. We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions. But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder. When people call for diversity and link it to justice and equality, that’s fine. But there’s a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.”

Singing again in the cathedrals of consumption. It was so good last year! 

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london/2006/12/359039.html?c=on#c163901

Here are some of the songs we’ll sing …. 

Consumer Wonderland (To the tune of Winter Wonderland, lyrics by Erica Avery) The TV’s on / are you watching?
Another product / that they’re hawking
one more thing you need
to make life complete
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

In the stores / you will hear it
“Pricey gifts / show holiday spirit”
That’s what they call it
to get to your wallet
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

At the mall we can go out shopping
and buy lots of stuff we can’t afford
we’ll have lots of fun with our new toys
until we realize that we’re still bored
When you shop / ain’t it thrilling
until / you get the billing
the money you still owe the stuff broke long ago
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

Uh Oh We’re In The Red, Dear

(To the tune of Rudolph the red-nose reindeer)

Uh oh we’re in the red, dear
On our credit card it shows
Christmas is almost over
But the debit line still grows
Shopping like Santa’s zombies
Sent our budget down in flames
But all our Christmas spirit
Helped the giant retail chains

I’m so foggy Christmas Eve
Wondering how we’ll pay
Christmas doesn’t seem so bright
When our finances are tight

So here’s a plan for next year
Let’s forget the shopping spree
Let’s give a gift of love, so
All our Christmas gifts are free

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Slow down ye frantic shoppers for there’s something we must say
If you would spare a moment all the stores would go away
Big business has been telling us what Christmas means today

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

To some folks Christmas means a time for gathering with friends
And enemies might take it as a time to make amends
But TV says it’s time for pricey gifts and selfish ends

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

Some people feel that Christmas is when Jesus makes a call
For others it’s a time to stress good will and peace to all
But advertisers tell us it means Santa’s at the mall

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

Jingle All The Way

Chorus:
Profits here, profits there,
profits everywhere
Christmas time is funny
we smell money in the air
Advertise, glamorize,
fool you with a flair.
Let’s make sure that Christmas
is a businesslike affair.

You’re eating up our lies and dashing to the stores
Then all our prices rise and how the money pours
If we don’t keep you drugged and watching your TV
You might see the hypocrisy
then where would business be?

Chorus

We’ll tell you how to think and tell you what to try
What to eat and drink and how to live and die
And if our plan succeeds, when Christmas-time is nigh
Instead of seeking love and peace you’ll hunt for gifts to buy

Chorus

Buy and Sell

To the tune, Silver Bells; by Erica Avery

City Sidewalks busy sidewalks
lined with advertising
It’s the big retail season of Christmas
Children begging for each new thing
toys for mile after mile
and the mood of the season is clear

Chorus:
Buy and sell (buy and sell)
Buy and sell (buy and sell)
It’s Christmas time for consumers
Ching-a-ching (ching-a-ching)
Cash tills ring (cash tills ring)
Must we spend Christmas this way?

Maxing credit, running debits
buying things we don’t need
with the money we don’t really have
Children crying, parents sighing
there’s no time for our friends
and the reason behind it is clear

Chorus

Carol of the Toys
To the tune Carol of the Bells; by Erica Avery

High voices: Barbie Dream House
Mi-ickey Mouse Beanie Babies Tamagotchis

Low Voices: Too Much stu- -uff

High voices: Cabbage Patch Dolls Ninja Turtles Super Nintendo Tickle-me-Elmo

Low voices: Too much Stu -uff

Repeat, changing key each time

http://www.buynothingchristmas.org/resources/carols.html

To the tune of Little Town of Bethlehem

Oh gentle folk of London Town

Think how they feed us lies

All through the streets the shops compete

Urging us to buy and buy

Whilst elsewhere explodeth

Another bomb tonight

As innocents fall

Were in the shopping mall

This doesn’t quite seem right.

Spend all our cash, we’re feeling flash

As the queues continue to grow

Buying luxury goods and loads of food

for folks we hardly know

Whilst in so many places

The people starve and die

As I carve my bird

It’s quite absurd

that we buy into this lie

Then at new year the sales appear

And everything’s reduced

In store we see new product lines

And know that we’ve been duped

We wish that we had waited

Until now to buy

The model’s been updated

It makes us want to cry.

To the tune of Once in Royal David’s City

Once in dirty London City

Stood a huge big fuck off shop

Where they sold their goods aplenty

And the shopping did not stop

Branded bags all overflowing

All their savings quickly going

Thus consumerism wild

Yule’s cheer message has defiled

Thus consumerism wild

Yule’s cheer message has defiled

To the tune of Silent Night

Silent night holy night

Bombs go boom,Soldiers fight

Round the stores the suckers trawl

Buying crap for one and all

Shop until you drop

Shop until you drop

To the tune of Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Oh come all ye shoppers

Burdened and despondent

Come all ye followers of ma-a-mon

Come and buy things

Sparkly and reduntant

Oh come let us ignore it

Oh come let us deplore it

Oh come let us abhore it

Money and greed.

Ring tills with profit

Ring in exploitation

Ring all ye registers of capitalism

Glory to profit

At it’s highest

Oh come let us ignore it

Oh come let us deplore it

Oh come let us abhore it

Money and greed.

To the tune of Away in a Manger

Away in a sweatshop

A pittance for pay

Work under age children

With no time to play

Making trainers and T-shirts

And luxury goods

Threatened with violence

And given no food

The stars in the media

Encourage our greed

Making us want things we don’t really need

Wasting resources

And coercing our brains

Using up carbon with little to gain.

RECLAIM THE NIGHT 2007
SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2007
Assemble 6pm Trafalgar Square


Women’s march to University of London Union for mixed rally for men and
women with speakers, stalls, bands and DJs til late Reclaim your right to party!

In Britain, there are an estimated 47,000 rapes every year. And each year, an estimated 300,000 women are sexually assaulted (British Crime Survey 2001). Yet Britain’s conviction rate is the lowest ever, at just 5.3 per cent.

To get involved or for more information, contact the London Feminist Network:
www.ldnfeministnetwork.ik.com or e-mail londonfeminist@yahoo.co.uk
 

 SLACKERs will be on the singing block with these songs – come and join us!

RECLAIM THE NIGHT 
(Peggy Seeger) 
 
Though Eve was made from Adam’s rib 
Nine months he lay within her crib 
How can a man of woman born 
Thereafter use her sex with scorn? 
For though we bear the human race 
To us is given but second place 
And some men place us lower still 
By using us against our will 
 
If we choose to walk alone 
For us there is no safety zone 
If we’re attacked we bear the blame 
They say that we began the game 
And though you prove your injury 
The judge may set the rapist free 
Therefore the victim is to blame 
Call it nature, but rape’s the name 
 
CHORUS: Reclaim the night and win the day 
We want the right that should be our own 
A freedom women have seldom known 
The right to live, the right to walk alone without fear 
 
A husband has his lawful rights 
Can take his wife whene’er he likes 
And courts uphold time after time 
That rape in marriage is no crime 
The choice is hers and hers alone 
Submit or lose your kids and home 
When love becomes a legal claim 
Call it duty, but rape’s the name 
 
And if a man should rape a child 
It’s not because his spirit’s wild 
Our system gives the prize to all 
Who trample on the weak and small 
When fathers rape, they surely know 
Their kids have nowhere else to go 
Try to forget, don’t ask us to 
Forgive them — they know what they do (CHORUS) 
 
When exploitation is the norm 
Rape is found in many forms 
Lower wages, meaner tasks 
Poorer schooling, second class 
We serve our own, and, like the men 
We serve employers — it follows then 
That bodies raped is nothing new 
But just a servant’s final due 
 
We’ve raised our voices in the past 
And this time will not be the last 
Our bodies’ gift is ours to give 
Not payment for the right to live 
Since we’ve outgrown the status quo 
We claim the right to answer “No!” 
If without consent he stake a claim 
Call it rape, for rape’s the name 

FIGHTBACK

Lyrics and Music by Holly Near

By day I live in terror,

By night I live in fright

For as long as I can remember,

A lady don’t go out alone at night

No, a lady don’t go out alone at night

CHORUS

And so we’ve got to fightback! In large numbers

Fightback! I can’t make it alone

Fightback! In large numbers

Together we can make a safe home

And so we’ve got to fightback! In large numbers

Fightback! I can’t make it alone

Fightback! In large numbers

Together we can make a safe home

But I don’t accept the verdict,

It’s an old one anyway

Cause nowadays a woman can’t go out

Even in the middle of the day

No, can’t even go out in the middle of the day

CHORUS

Women all around the world,

Every colour, religion and age

We have all one thing in common,

We can all be battered and raped

We can all be battered and raped

CHORUS

Some have an easy answer,

Buy a lock and live in a cage

But my fear is turning to anger

And my anger is turning to rage

And I won’t live my life in a cage — no!

CHORUS

Something Inside So Strong

The higher you build your barriers 
The taller I become 
The farther you take my rights away 
The faster I will run 
You can deny me 
You can decide to turn your face away 
No matter, cos there’s…. 
 
Something inside so strong 
I know that I can make it 
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong 
You thought that my pride was gone 
Oh no, something inside so strong 
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong 
 
The more you refuse to hear my voice 
The louder I will sing 
You hide behind walls of Jericho 
Your lies will come tumbling 
Deny my place in time 
You squander wealth that’s mine 
My light will shine so brightly 
It will blind you 
Cos there’s…… 
 
Something inside so strong 
I know that I can make it 
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong 
You thought that my pride was gone 
Oh no, something inside so strong 
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong 
 
Brothers and sisters 
When they insist we’re just not good enough 
When we know better 
Just look ‘em in the eyes and say 
I’m gonna do it anyway x 4 
 
Something inside so strong 
And I know that I can make it 
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong 
You thought that my pride was gone 
Oh no, something inside so strong 
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong 
 
Brothers and sisters 
When they insist we’re just not enough 
When we know better 
Just look ‘em in the eyes and say 
I’m gonna do it anyway x 4 
 
Because there’s something inside so strong 
And I know that I can make it 
Tho’ you’re doing me, so wrong 
Oh no, something inside so strong 
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

BREAD AND ROSES

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day, 
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray, 
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses, 
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men, 
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again. 
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; 
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead 
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread. 
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew. 
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days. 
The rising of the women means the rising of the race. 
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes, 
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

We Were There  
by Bev Grant

 We have ploughed and we have planted  
 We have gathered into barns.  
 Done the same work as the men  
 With babies in our arms.  
 But you won’t find our stories  
 In most history books you read.  
 We were there and we’re still here  
 Fighting for the things we need.

 Cho: We were there in the factories,  
  We were there in the mills,  
  We were there in the mines,  
  And came home to fix the meals.  
  We were there on the picket lines,  
  We raised our voices loud.  
  It makes me proud, just knowing  
  We were there.

 From the textile mills in Lawrence  
 To the sweat shops in New York,  
 From the fields in California  
 Where our children had to work,  
 We fought to make a living  
 Bread and roses was our cry.  
 Though they jailed and beat our bodies  
 Our spirit never died.

 We were Polish, We were Irish  
 We were African and Jew  
 Italian and Latina  
 Chinese and Russian, too  
 They tried to use our differences  
 To split us all apart  
 But the pain we felt together  
 Touched the bottom of our hearts.

 We are teachers, we are doctors,  
 We are cooks and engineers.  
 Letter carriers, truck drivers,  
 Conductors and cashiers.  
 We operate machinery,  
 We fly the big airplanes.  
 And we help to build our unions,  
 We got struggle in our veins.

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