'One Hundred Years': Steve Bloom's poem on the centenary of the Russian Revolution

Published on: Sat, 07/10/2017 - 19:09


Today, Workers' Liberty joins with websites Steve Bloom Poetry, Old and New Project, Links (Australia), International Viewpoint, Ecosocialist Horizons, Lalit (Mauritius), Radical Socialist (India), Socialist Party (Sweden), Spirit Child, Jozi Book Fair (South Africa), Janine Booth, Marxist Study Group (Namibia) and Solidarity (USA) in simultaneously publishing Steve Bloom's epic poem in celebration of the centenary of the Russian Revolution. 'One Hundred Years'. The poem is attached here as a PDF.
Steve's poem walks us through revolutionary Russia, not with a dull chronology of facts but with

James Connolly's The Legacy

Published on: Mon, 19/08/2013 - 01:58

Come here my son, and for a time put up your childish play,
Draw nearer to your father’s bed, and lay your games away.
No sick man’s ’plaint is this of mine, ill-tempered at your noise,
Nor carping at your eagerness to romp with childish toys.
Thou’rt but a boy and I, a man outworn with care and strife,
Would not deprive you of one joy thou canst extract from life;
But o’er my soul comes creeping on death’s shadow, and my lips
Must give to you a message ere life meets that eclipse.
Slow runs my blood, my nether limbs I feel not, and my eyes
Can scarce discern, here in this room, that childish

Simple, but potent

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 10:43

Dan Rawnsley

I continue to enjoy Janine Booth’s poetry for its humanity. Her latest collection Fighting Tories: The Force Awakens (order online, £5, here) develops compelling political ideas out of personal experiences and observations.

Janine is good at moving from the specific to the abstract and can make a political point without losing her audience or becoming too didactic.

This Place is a great example. Drawing on Janine’s visits to one of her sons in hospital, it is both moving on a personal level and an understated but blistering attack on the lack of support over-stretched councils and the NHS are

Union to boycott high-stake school tests

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2019 - 12:16

Patrick Murphy (NEU national executive, personal capacity)

On 15 April, the first day of the National Education Union (NEU) conference, delegates voted to ballot primary members for a boycott of all high stakes summative testing, including Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and the phonics tests.

An (electronic) consultative ballot will run from 4 June to 12 July or later. Disaggregated “real” ballots will follow at the end of 2019, in areas and schools where there has been sufficient response to the consultative ballot, and will conclude in January 2020.

This was the fourth successive years that supporters of a boycott had put such a motion. They had responded

Haggling over the price of life

Published on: Wed, 06/12/2017 - 10:30

Janine Booth

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved two new medications which will help women with advanced breast cancer.

Ribociclib and palbociclib have been welcomed as “breakthrough”medicines which can prolong life and give women more time without chemotherapy. Both are suitable for post-menopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive (HR+/HER2-) breast cancer which is locally advanced or is spreading. Both are taken as a daily tablet, and are used in conjunction with an aromatase inhibitor such as Letrozole.

Currently, 85% of women with this type of cancer do not

Poet poisoned by Pinochet

Published on: Wed, 15/11/2017 - 12:20

John Cunningham

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda may have been murdered by the Pinochet dictatorship. Recent autopsies suggest that the death of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in 1973 was possibly caused by poisoning. This should surprise no one even moderately acquainted with the dictatorship of General Pinochet.

Neruda, arguably South America’s greatest poet and a staunch champion of the oppressed, was admitted to hospital at the time of Pinochet’s military coup which overthrew the left social-democratic government of Salvador Allende elected in 1971. Twelve days later Neruda died of a heart attack – at least


Published on: Mon, 03/07/2017 - 12:58

Janine Booth

Bring help
Bring fire engines
Bring water
Bring air
Bring stretchers
Bring ambulances
Bring us round from sleep and out to safety

Bring food
Bring clothes
Bring blankets
Bring camp beds
Bring phone chargers so we can find our friends and family
And tell them that we made it

Bring shoulders to cry on
Bring arms to embrace
Bring ears to listen
Bring hands to hold
Bring the strength to go on

Bring news
Bring hope
Bring solidarity
Bring community
Bring what you can
Bring yourself

Bring questions
Demand answers
Bring the letters written and the warnings given
And bring the inadequate replies


Take Back Control

Published on: Wed, 30/11/2016 - 12:45

Attila the Stockbroker

Janine Booth’s pick of news-related poetry is this by Attila the Stockbroker.

You tell me how you’ve suffered since the closure.
I see the pain and sadness in your eyes.
I feel your anger at our country’s leaders
Who offer only platitudes and lies.
At gigs I hear so many of these stories.
All different, but the message is the same.
You’re sick to death of scheming politicians.
No longer going to play their poxy game.

The referendum was your chance. You took it.
They told you we’d be taking back control.
Control of jobs and factories and borders:
A revolution wrapped up in a poll.
The EU is a

21 October 1966

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 11:34

Janine Booth

A villanelle about the Aberfan coal mining disaster, in which 144 people, including 116 school children, died when a coal mining waste tip collapsed.

There was a lot of anger at the National Coal Board for its neglect of safety, and at the inquest, one father insisted: "I want it recorded — ‘Buried alive by the National Coal Board’. That is what I want to see on the record. That is the feeling of those present. Those are the words we want to go on the certificate."

The miner insisted the coroner record
The Pantglas School building a homicide scene
They were buried alive by the National Coal


Published on: Tue, 04/10/2016 - 18:29

Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and
Shovel them under and let me work.
I am the grass. I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg,
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and people on
passenger trains ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now ?

I am the grass. Let me work.

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