|BARROW TOWN HALL, 1ST MAY|
Just like last year and the twentyfive years before it, there were no May Day celebrations of any kind
in Barrow or at any other location in Furness on the first of May or on Saturday 4th. The local labour movement (Labour Party, trade unions, and Barrow and Furness Trades Union Council) are not interested. It is worth noting that May Day events were soon abandoned following the collapse of Barrow and South Lakes Communist Party. The last time I made mention of what was once some local May Day activity many years ago was in the posting of 14 May 2011.
Although there is no sign of worker solidarity or class consciousness anywhere in Furness I am encouraged by the well-supported rallies in numerous towns and cities throughout Britain. Some unions are to assess the likely response to a call for a General Strike and the leader of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, has indicated his belief that civil disobedience may be necessary if working people are to defend the Welfare State and the National Health Service but this might be wishful thinking on his part.
In the absence of any celebration I will be content with reproducing a poem, a copy of which was published in the 1st May edition of the Morning Star.
When I woke in this city one fine May Day morning
I saw a small crowd, like a gathering stream,
And though they were only a few hundred strong,
They were singing old songs I'd not heard for so long
That it seemed I was still in a dream.
'O where are you going this fine May Day morning?
And what are these flags that you carry so bright?"
"We are marching," they said, "in the steps of the dead,
Of all those who have marched under banners of red,
So that we may continue their fight."
"But why are you angry this fine May Day morning,
When the Summer is wearing its holiday hat?"
"We are angry," they said, "that the people must pay
With their jobs and their homes for the world's disarray
While the rich and the powerful grow fat."
"But what can you do on this fine May Day morning?
When their lies are so many and you are so few?"
"Our strength," they replied, "is not measured in numbers,
For our songs have awoken the dead form their slumbers."
And I listened and knew it was true.
For I heard in the crowd this fine May Day morning
The voices of those who had marched here before:
In the fight for the Charter, for Land and for Bread,
For the Eight Hour Day, for the Haymarket dead,
For the victims of hunger and war;
They were marching from Sedgemoor, from Newport and Burford,
They came from Soweto and Moscow and Spain,
And they carried their flags from Hanoi and Havana
Till it seemed the city was one scarlet banner
And it shone like a glittering plain.
And I watched as they marched on this fine May Day morning,
Like a field full of folk by the banks of the Tyne,
As strong as a river that reaches the sea,
As old as the rings in a blossoming tree,
And I saw that their banners were mine.
Andy Croft, 2009
I find clever poetry such as this to be quite uplifting, especially when I become jaded following months of casting pearls before swine.
It is highly likely that I will be taken to task by some comrades for that last comment and it would never appear in an official Party document but this isn't a Communist Party blog, it is the personal blog of a communist local activist struggling up to his waist in crap, who has been doing so (in Furness) for the past 32 years, and who is still not prepared to lie down.
Whilst the working class remains apathetic in the face of devastating cuts, wage feezes, price rises, and job losses the boss class of millionaires will be encouraged to dish out more punishing measures until there won't be any need for the working class to 'rise up' because there won't be anything left worth defending or fighting for.