Watch… Le Havre a film by Aki Kaurismaki. Set in Le Havre in 2012, the film is about a man who shines shoes for a living and helps save a refugee African boy from the French police. It’s more than that, because it’s also a reflection on France’s past history of resistance to the Nazis. France did more to save Jewish children from the concentration camps than any other European country. Aki makes us think about the present and how in France (and across Europe, including Britain) refugees are routinely rounded up and deported, even though many of them are fleeing torture and possible death in their home countries.
Read…The Price of My Soul by Bernadette Devlin. My dad adored Bernadette and cheered her on as she took part in the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969. Her book explains why a civil rights movement started in Northen Ireland in the 1960s, and how she became an activist, and later a Member of Parliament. As she says, the title is not what she would pay to sell out, but “rather to the price we all must pay in life to preserve our own integrity”. Over the years she has been subject to censorship on the broadcast media, excluded from travelling and speaking abroad and nearly killed by loyalist death squads, but remains one of the most interesting commentators in terms of her analysis of the politics of Ireland.
Listen to …33 Revolutions Per Minute by Marxman.(1993) On this album they cite some of their influences as Marx, Engels, and Bobby Sands. A four piece band, they formed in 1989, and their music mixed hip hop with traditional Irish songs. “Sad Affair” and “Ship Ahoy” directly address issues about the colonisation of Ireland and the slave trade. Other songs such as “All About Eve” spoke about domestic violence but the overall theme was uniquely political, calling for economic and social justice. Sadly they broke up in 1995.
Attend…events to mark the bicentenary of the Luddites. They were workers who refused to accept that their craft could be replaced by machinery. They formed secret societies and took direct action against the factory owners. In Westhougton (Bolton) the Luddites burnt down a mill in protest against mechanisation and factory slavery. On Friday 13 April at 8pm at the Bolton Socialist Club there will be a reading of local playwright, Neil Duffield’s play Bolton Rising. You can just listen or take part in the reading. All welcome.