imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Revolution in British: Billy Bragg

by Jon Henley Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 at 5:05 AM
mbatko@yahoo.com

Happy MLK Day! There is good in every person. Our ideas about strength and security must change to reflect reality and not jingoistic imperialist delusions. Normalizing war and militarizing foreign policy are perversions that only bring mistrust and cynicism.

REVOLUTION IN BRITISH: BILLY BRAGG

For over three decades, Billy Bragg has been singing and is still furious. A conversation about life in turbo-capitalism

By Jon Henley

[This article published in: Freitag, 1/4/2011 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.freitag.de.]

“Look out the window, Jon,” Billy Bragg says and leaps from his low chair in his noble hotel room. He is still excited. Last night he played before 3000 at the East London Commercial Road near the hallowed anti-fascist ground of Cable Street where a 3000-man march of British fascists was smashed by over 300,000 counter-demonstrators and not far from the birth house of his brother. This was the last concert of a triumphal tour through the United Kingdom in which his characteristic tender and fervent call to arms seemed more important than ever.

With love songs, folk hymns and unshakeable devotion to democratic socialism, Bragg and his guitar have preached for more than three decades on stages up and down the country, a moderate and very English form of revolution. He never had more hope that this could lead to something.

What does it look like from the window on the fifth floor over the frost-covered roofs of the London downtown? “Is it cold outside?” he asks. “Very cold? Are there clouds, heavy clouds? It seems to me it could snow. Naturally one can never say with certainty. But things happen that I never saw before. Life is in movement.”

THE BATTLE OVER BARKING

It is hard not to be moved by the power of his conviction. He is now 53 years old, a successful singer-songwriter who lives in a beautiful, large house with a view of the ocean in the English village of Dorset – and is still furious. Let us go back to the signs that Bragg sees.

The first sign was in May when the forces of justice won the battle over Barking. All 12 town councils of the rightwing British National Party elected in 2006 were sent home. Bragg was born in Barking and counted the victorious Labor politician Margaret Hodge as one of the forces of justice. New Labor was “unequivocally complicit” that the battle had to be waged. The Barkingers recognized the BNP for what it was and chased them from their city.

“That infused great energy in the battle around the city,” the “bard of Barking” says. Naming a city after him gives him courage. “We can trust our fellow-citizens.”

Bragg was always an optimist – after he left the army in 1981, experienced his politization through the anti-racist Festival Rock against Racism and a formative concert by The Clash, released his first album and convinced the radio DJ-legend John Peel to play his album in 1983.

“I must be an optimist,” he explains. “I am a socialist. I am a glass-is-half-full person. If we want to create something, we must believe this is possible. Nothing unnerves me more than a cynic. I don’t m3ean skeptics but people who have abandoned hope and want you to give up. The BNP are cynics. The greatest enemy of those of us who want to create a better society is cynicism, not capitalism or conservatism. We must arm ourselves against our own cynicism. Look at me: I once voted for Tony Blair.

MARKETS ARE LIKE A FIRE

There is good reason to be optimistic for the year 2011 of (possible) revolution. This revolution is underway on several fronts. The battle over Barking was only the beginning. Contrary to all expectation, the second decade of the 21st century looks politically exciting. “The capitalism of free markets is in crisis,” Bragg declares jubilantly.

Therefore people are beginning to understand we “must find a way to call the markets to responsibility, to bridle their worst excesses and ensure that those banks which attacked life are in the soup and not us. Self-regulation is a contradiction in itself. Turbo-capitalism drowns. The people are beginning to understand that unregulated markets are frauds, profit-making frauds.”

Sadly even if perhaps inevitably, London City under New Labor climbed to its present heights. “All growth is good” – that was the dogma shared by all parties. A Chancellor of the Exchequer (treasurer) says he could not do anything that wasn’t pleasing to the markets… A society governed by the markets is simply not a democracy. The markets are like a fire. Tame it, make it useful to you and it will give you warmth, light and heat for cooking… Give it free rein and it will destroy everything dear to you.”

With this theme, he speaks warmly, he the youth who could not endure the tests in elementary school that granted him access to higher education and after which no one expected he would ever do anything but work in the auto factory, he the young punk-rocker whose father died at 52, a dock worker and sales manager for a Barkinger haberdashery. Billy was 18. I am now older than my father ever was,” he said later. “That’s why this year is so special to me.”

People have had enough not only of the markets. “Many things come together: student fees, banker bonuses, tax evasion, dismantling the public sector and the resistance against globalization… What joins all this, Jon? A wishy-washy word named justice.”

This justice, he continues, has nothing to do with the big society depicted by David Cameron. Justice is a society for the well-being of everyone, where the markets serve people and not the other way around, a compassionate society. Society in 1968 was very different than today. In these days, we should “live in a post-ideological society.”

Those who protest today, Bragg says, are the first generation that could ever speak about socialism without having Karl Marx’ long shadows. “What is socialism other than organized compassion?”

WHERE IS THE MUSIC?

The young protestors of today “do not need the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) to tell them why they fight or the TUC (Trade Union Congress, the umbrella federation of British unions) to tell them where to march. They make the connections themselves. An absolute sense of justice underlies all their actions. That sense of justice politicizes them, not any kind of abstract interest in dialectical materialism.”

He does not agree with violence. One of the lessons of the failed anti-globalization protests is that the world is not changed by demolishing McDonalds’ franchises.”

Where is the music? Wasn’t there music at the time of the miners’ strike and the Falkland war? Where is it now? He admits meditating about this for a long time. In the 1960s young people thought they could change the world with music because their own lives had changed for ever through rock’ n’ roll. “But that wasn’t so simple. One can’t change the world by selling records. But selling records helped me and others in the 1980s. We tried to politicize young people with the Red Wedge, persons who were teenagers in 1968. That gave us a platform. Today, in contrast, it is not accepted when young bands are political. They need trust and must feel they have a base. This is not yet the case now but could change. No one wrote about Vietnam until they began to recruit college-age kids for the war.”

The musicians of his generation could help, he believes, “by showing the younger they aren’t the first to fight this battle. That is the real challenge of the musician. Look at me. I would not be sitting here if I had missed the Clash concert at that time. The Clash did not change my world but their public. In the office where I worked, there was much everyday racism, snide remarks and jokes. I didn’t like that but didn’t have the size to say anything. Then I knew I was not alone when I went to work the next day after I saw 100,000 kids in Victoria Park in Hackney who experienced life as I did. The world in which I lived had not changed but rather the way I saw it and thought about it. That is the challenge of the musician.”

LIBERAL-DEMOCRATIC SWERVE

Whether or not he changed his perception, Billy Bragg never had more to do. Besides the tour and the battle over Barking, he announced in 2010 he would not pay taxes as long as the government did not cancel the bonuses at the nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland, visited a dozen prisons in his Jail Guitar Doors-campaign to promote music-making in the penal system and cooperated with the Featured Artists Coalition that supported the interests of artists in the digital age. At the Glastenbury festival, he moderated the Leftfiled tent for pop and politics, appeared in the Speaker’s Corner, joined in the Theater-Music-Art-Project Pressure Drop, visited students at sit-ins to support them and travelled to the US midterm elections in the United States.

Since he voted for the liberal-democrats for tactical reasons since 2001, he now feels he committed a terrible betrayal or sell-out. “They had a few positive things in their manifesto. But now it seems they have thrown everything over board.” Nevertheless he still believes in the advantages of political pluralism and is active in the Take Back Parliament – campaign for a reform of the British voting system. While he hears some criticism, “if you hang your ass out the window, you never know whether people will kiss it, step on it or stick a flag in it.”

Last year was “stirring.” This will be true even more in 2011. “I am really excited. We should never underrate the energy of youth and their ability to renew the world. We must learn much from them – their capacity for connecting things, taking the initiative and not hanging around and repeating what Marx said. You know: seniors can sit around and shake their heads. Or they can follow the students to the barricades. I know where I will be.”

-_____________________________________________________________________________

RELATED LINKS:

VIDEO: “Austerity America,” Al Campbell

http://wearemany.org/v/austerity-america

Free Internet Book: “Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity,” Lawrence Lessig

www.free-culture.cc/freeculture.pdf

www.wearemany.o9rg

www.onthecommons.org

www.socialistproject.ca

www.storyofstuff.com

www.therealnews.com

www.grittv.org

www.informationclearinghouse.info

www.submedia.tv

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy