English university militarised, protesting students threatened


This music video from the USA is called Bob DylanMasters of War – with lyrics.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Navy calls in the big guns to stop peaceful uni protests

Thursday 19th March 2014

STUDENTS who staged a spontaneous peace protest at an armed forces recruitment stand at their university were threatened with arrest yesterday.

The students say they were intimidated by military recruiters, university staff and security guards who called the police.

One protester was told: “Go back to Greece.”

The Royal Navy, navy reserves and Royal Air Force were running a recruitment stand at the University of Bradford’s annual spring careers fair.

Protester and biomedical science student Beth Davies said: “This was just a group of students. We saw what was going on and decided something should be done about it.

“The military called security and security threatened to call the police.

“Nobody was arrested because we left before the police arrived.”

The protesters said one foreign student’s identification card was confiscated by security guards, leaving him unable to attend lectures and facing possible exclusion from exams.

First-year integrated sciences student Mohammed Akhtar, 25, said: “I no longer feel safe and I have completely lost my sense of security in the university due to being lied to and intimidated. I feel threatened.”

The protesters said in a statement: “The University of Bradford’s actions against dissent and peaceful student demonstrations raise questions regarding its commitment to promoting social engagement, debate, and democratic participation.

“In a university with an internationally acclaimed peace studies department, which it heavily depends on for recruiting students, this is particularly alarming.”

Bradford University was unable to make an immediate comment.

British composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth


This video from Britain says about itself:

March of the Women by Ethel Mary Smyth -100 years ago TODAY! March 23, 2011

23 March 2011

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth was an English composer and leader of the women’s suffrage movement.

The March of the Women was written in 1911 and premiered by a chorus of Suffragettes at a fundraising rally at the Albert Hall in London on March 23, 1911, almost one hundred years ago to this day. The tune became the battle cry of the suffrage movement.

The most famous, though least public performance occurred in Holloway prison in London in 1912: over 100 suffragists, including Mrs. Pankhurst and Ethel Smyth, who had smashed windows of suffrage opponents’ homes in well-coordinated simultaneous incidents all over London, were arrested, tried, and sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.

One day, her conductor friend, Sir Thomas Beecham visited Smyth in the prison only to see the prisoners taking their outdoor exercise marching and singing, “The March of the Women.” Ethel Smyth could be seen at a window overlooking the prison yard conducting them vigorously waving her toothbrush.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

I[nternational] W[omen’s] D[ay]: Not just unseen in our political history but unheard too

Sunday 8th March 2015

Peter Frost remembers one of Britain’s greatest composers who, after nearly a century of being ignored by history, is beginning to get the recognition she deserves

This year Dame Ethel Smyth finally became Radio 3’s Composer of the Week in the run-up to the celebration of International Women’s Day. The recognition has been a long time coming.

But that is only to be expected if, like Smyth, you don’t just write six fine operas and an array of chamber, orchestral and vocal works but also upset the Establishment by throwing stones through the window of the colonial secretary.

It didn’t stop with breaking windows. She also stormed 10 Downing Street itself to hammer out the her Suffragette anthem the March of Women on prime minister Herbert Asquith’s piano while the Cabinet was still in session.

These militant activities saw her, with 200 sister Suffragettes sentenced to two months in Holloway Prison. Sir Thomas Beecham went to visit her in jail and afterwards told this story.

“I arrived in the main courtyard of the prison to find the noble company of martyrs marching round it and singing lustily their war-chant while the composer, beaming approbation from an overlooking upper window, beat time in almost Bacchic frenzy with a toothbrush.”

Smyth led a fascinating and unconventional life. She overcame opposition from her army father in order to enrol at the Leipzig Conservatorium in 1877 where she won respect from Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, Edvard Grieg and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky, rather sexist and patronising, said of her: “Miss Smyth is one of the few women composers whom one can seriously consider to be achieving something valuable in the field of musical creation.”

Back in England in the late 1880s, her music attracted much attention from influential figures including Thomas Beecham, Adrian Boult, Henry Wood and George Bernard Shaw praising her work.

Smyth became a leading and militant Suffragette in the early 1910s. She met, and became enchanted by, Emmeline Pankhurst, and they eventually became lovers.

Openly bisexual, usually dressed in men’s tweeds and deerstalker cap, Smyth flaunted convention by having affairs, not just with Pankhurst but with Virginia Woolf, her married opera librettist Henry B Brewster and a number of other notable men and women of the time.

She shared a Surrey cottage with three famous sisters Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Agnes Garrett.

She still remains the only female composer to have had an opera performed at the New York Met.

Her most famous opera, The Wreckers, has been compared with Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes but it is rarely performed. The last recording was made over 20 years ago.

Smyth wrote some of her best music for the Votes for Women cause. Her March of the Women came to be adopted as the Suffragette anthem. It still has the power to inspire today.

Later in life increasing deafness curtailed her composing and she turned to writing a series of revealing autobiographies.

In 1939, when war had shut down BBC music and concerts, Smyth was still showing her political sympathies.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph she suggested that a programme of free concerts broadcast from provinces “would lift up the hearts of many … and ease the situation of a class of unemployed the thought of whom gives one perpetual heartache.”

In 1937 she gave an interview to the BBC describing her Suffragette stone-throwing. You can still hear it online.

Punk music police censorship in English football


This music video from Britain is called Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK 1976.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker in England:

Anarchy in the UK – but censorship in Gillingham

Thursday 5th March 2015

Now my autobiography is finished the gigs are beginning to start again. Today my wife and I are off to Lerwick for my first ever appearances in Shetland – hooray! Looking forward to that, and to sampling the ale from the legendary Valhalla Brewery — an extended report of proceedings will be in my next column.

And I had a brilliant show last Sunday at the Winter of Discontent punk festival in north London with Sunderland heroes and old mates Angelic Upstarts, Welsh anti-fascist legends The Oppressed and Edinburgh’s hilarious Oi Polloi.

Now a bit more from the book.

To set the scene — it’s 1997 and the crisis at my beloved Brighton & Hove Albion is at its height. Our Goldstone Ground has been sold to property speculators, we’re playing our “home” games at Gillingham, a round trip of 140 miles, and we’re second from bottom of the entire Football League.

To try and liven things up a bit, I’ve persuaded club chairman Dick Knight to let me be PA announcer and DJ, playing punk, reggae and ska. It’s Boxing Day 1997, at home to Colchester. A noon kick-off.

We’d obviously had to set off really early to get to Gillingham in time for the game and everyone was a bit bleary-eyed. So, for the first time, I decided to play Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. It had been on for about a minute when a policeman burst into the box.

“Take that off! Take that off! Now!”

“Why?’”I asked. But I could see that he was really angry. So I did, and put the Clash on instead.

This music video from England is called The Clash – Janie Jones (live at the Belle Vue, Manchester, UK 15. November 1977).

“You can’t play that record at a football match. It’s banned. It’s on THE LIST!”

“What list?” I asked. “No-one has ever told me there was a list of records I couldn’t play!”

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it!’ he shouted. “It’s obvious!”

I stood there, the Clash playing in the background, perplexed. It evidently wasn’t “obvious” to me and the fact that he needed to explain further made him even more angry. “It incites violence in the crowd!” he exclaimed.

I thought for a few seconds. “Well, officer,” I said. “I bought two copies of Anarchy in the UK in the black sleeve on EMI Records on the day that it came out in 1976. I have played it and heard it many, many times since and not once has doing so given me violent thoughts of any kind whatsoever.

“I have also been to all 92 Football League grounds and every time I have heard In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins I have had to restrain myself from committing serious acts of criminal damage!”

He didn’t get the joke and, a couple of days later, Brighton & Hove Albion FC received a formal letter from Kent Police banning me from doing the PA at Gillingham any longer.

Dick Knight phoned me up. “I’m not having that, John!” He spoke to them and the ban was rescinded, on condition that I didn’t play Anarchy in the UK again. So I didn’t.

This music video is called The Damned – Smash it Up; Old Grey Whistle Test.

I did play Smash it Up by the Damned and I Fought the Law and White Riot by the Clash in the next couple of weeks though. No policeman appeared in the box. Obviously those three weren’t on THE LIST.

This music video is called The Clash – I Fought The Law (Live at The London Lyceum Theatre – 1979).

This music video is called The Clash – White Riot.

Bahrain opposition thanks singer John Legend


This music video from the USA is called Common, John Legend – Glory.

From the site of Al Wefaq in Bahrain:

Bahrain opposition thanks Legend for his support to freedom and justice

The National Democratic Opposition in Bahrain thanks and appreciates the international star John Legend for declaring support to the democratic and just demands of the people of Bahrain on March 2nd at the Arad Castle theater.

Legend had played an influential role in advocating the culture of freedom and tolerance through the art of music.

The words spoken by Legend before his audience in Bahrain reflected his civilized thoughts about humanitarian issues regardless of sex, race, color or belief. The opposition commends Legend’s call and prayer ”for the people of Bahrain. And for those who stand for justice, accountability, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom to organize without fear of retribution, please know that I stand with you”. The Bahraini opposition will continue its movement to achieve the humanitarian values it shares with Legend, wishing him more success in his support to rights and freedoms for all.

The opposition also takes the opportunity to urge the Bahraini Authorities to engage in the establishment of a culture of human rights and tolerance to prevent hate.

The National Democratic Opposition – Manama, 4 March 2015

This video is called Bahrain : Opposition demand to be truly represented through truly elected government.

Graphic novel on history of protests in English-speaking countries


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Public Enemy – Fight The Power (Full 7 Min. Version)

From 1990 Album: “Fear Of A Black Planet“. Song first appeared on the 1989 Soundtrack: “Do The Right Thing”.

By Michal Boncza in Britain:

Framed for posterity

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Fight The Power, a history of popular struggle globally, makes highly effective use of the graphic novel format, says MICHAL BONCZA

Fight The Power: A Visual History of Protest Among English-speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson, Benjamin Dickson, Hunt Emerson, John Spelling and Adam Pasion (New Internationalist, £9.99)

“FIRST they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then you win,” Mahatma Gandhi once remarked about political struggle.

His words come to mind when reading this inspiring book in the graphic novel format, particularly in a period when there’s a dearth of epoch-defining popular struggles in the Anglo-Saxon world. It’s a salutary reminder of what has been achieved so far but which is often and unwisely taken for granted.

Gandhi’s words about the protracted and open-ended nature of struggle are borne out in all the histories recorded here.

As early as 1776 the founding fathers of the US bestowed on its citizenry the largely nominal right to dissent. But it was exercised to spectacular political effect by Rosa Parks in 1955, when she stood up to bus segregation, kick-starting the historic civil rights protests.

In New Lanark in 1817, the socialist Robert Owen propagated a day divided into three eight-hour periods of work, recreation and rest — it would, however, take well over a century for this goal to be achieved.

Other histories include the Peterloo massacre, rebellions in Ireland, the Suffragette movement, the trial of Nelson Mandela and the 1990 poll tax riots.

The concise graphic novel narrative makes each story easy to grasp and as such the book is an ideal teaching aid for the history curriculum in schools or further education colleges.

Graphic novels resemble film shorts where frame management and composition is as important, if not more so, than the words in speech bubbles.

It is the harmonious balance of the two that impacts and Hunt Emerson is in a class of his own in his work on the Luddites, the Swing Riots and Fragging, the practice of enlisted men shooting superior officers which was so prevalent during the Vietnam war.

His attention to detail within the rigorous demands of the larger tableaux, the organisation of movement and a mesmerising ability to render emotions both individual and collective, along with the textures and vigour of line, are outstanding.

In The Battle of Toledo and The Trial of Nelson Mandela, John Spelling’s sparser composition records the action news-camera style, with sudden changes of angles, unexpected “freeze” frames and long-shots that are real page-turners. The sketchbook drawing style aptly mimics the dynamism of those pivotal events.

They’re typical of the stimulating work throughout the book, which is well worth snapping up.