Dave Gibson

Jack London: Flawed revolutionist

Issue section: 
Author: 

American novelist, journalist and socialist Jack London died 100 years ago. Dave Gibson outlines his passionate activism for workers' rights and his political novels, as well as the contradictions in his work.

When Jack London died on 22 November 1916 he had been one of the best known American socialists. His fame was built on both the realism of his novels and his socialist journalism and public speaking.

Joe Hill ain't never died

Issue section: 
Author: 

On 19 November 1915 Joe Hill was executed by the State of Utah on trumped up charges. Dave Gibson reminds us of the power of Hill's organising and songwriting skills at a time of upheaval in US politics.

When Alfred Hayes wrote the words “Joe Hill Ain’t Never Died” in a poem about Joe Hill’s murder, he could never have imagined that this would still be true a century later.

Paul Robeson popularised Hayes’s poem, now set to music. So did Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. Other writers have celebrated Hill’s life and exposed the injustice of his judicial murder through historical accounts, novels, plays and film.

Barnsley pensioners behaving badly

Issue section: 
Author: 

The sight of militant pensioners and disabled people wearing Freedom Rider T-shirts while noisily protesting is now commonplace across South Yorkshire.

For the last nine months the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders have been fighting to get free train travel reinstated for older and disabled people.

The Labour-dominated South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) decision to axe free travel from 31 March 2014 because of Tory spending cuts, and to do so with extremely limited public consultation, provoked a storm of outrage.

A Terrible Unrest

Issue section: 
Author: 

There is a plaque on the wall of a house in Loutra, near Rethymnon in Crete, commemorating the birthplace of Louis Tikas, one of the leaders of the 11,000 Colorado miners on strike in 1913-14 against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

Tikas was murdered in cold blood by the Colorado National Guard on 20 April 1914 as part of what has become known as the Ludlow Massacre.

Exhibitions: Ai Weiwei in the Chapel

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Until 2 November

Some 25 years after the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is staging an exhibition by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. In his words, "Freedom of speech...is the very essence of human rights", and his work explores freedom and its restriction in capitalist societies.

The park is in the grounds of Bretton Hall, and this exhibition is showing in its newly restored 18th century chapel.

1914: War in the US Coalfields

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

This month marks the centenary of the Ludlow Massacre when US national guardsmen killed 20 striking miners and their families in Colorado. This is the story of one of the most violent episodes in American labour history.

On 20 April 1914 the US National Guard attacked a tent colony of striking miners at Ludlow in Southern Colorado. By the end of the day at least 20 strikers, their wives and children were dead. Thirteen had died in a pit dug underneath a tent where they were sheltering from the gunfire after the militiamen deliberately set fire to the tents.

Pete Seeger: A song for every struggle

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Pete Seeger died in January aged 94. His life was dedicated to making music for left wing progressive movements. He was a principled brave musician who always stood by his beliefs, whatever the cost.

Seeger composed famous protest songs like "If I Had a Hammer" and helped make "We Shall Overcome" an anthem of the civil rights movement. He sang at the 2012 Occupy Wall Street protest just like he had at anti Vietnam War and civil rights rallies.

Classic read: Alone in Berlin

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Hans Fallada

First published in 1947

Hans Fallada's 1947 novel Alone in Berlin is set in the German capital during the Second World War. It tells the intertwined stories of families living in an apartment block and trying to cope with the Nazis' terror regime. Fallada shows ordinary people both resisting the Nazis and working for them, in a myriad of different ways.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Dave Gibson