CONCHY

New poem -

CONCHY

He wore a black poppy and a white feather
Every single day with pride
He wore the black poppy and the white feather
Every day until he died
Nothing they did could make him change his mind
Wouldn’t do what they told him to
They locked him up and even beat him up
He still wouldn’t do as he was told
Kept his head high never let them see him cry
Wavered not even as he got old

Conchy was his name
Waging peace his game
Conchy was his name
Waging peace his game

Black poppies
For Conchies
Sixteen hundred
Long dead and gone

They set him to work on the ambulance train
Treating dying and wounded men
Sent him near the front for the whole of the war
Again and again and again
British and French and even German soldiers too
Patched up those he thought would survive
Collected creased photographs of loved ones on swings
From those who were no longer alive

Young girls on swings
From London or Berlin
Daughters, mums and wives
All now with ruined lives

White feathers
For Conchies
Sixteen hundred
Long dead and gone

Took Conchy for his name he was born to disobey
Never did what others told him to do
Refused to go and fight he would never kill a man
No matter whoever wanted him to
Envelopes were sent to him with white feathers in
For week after week after week
He kept them, every one, wore one in his lapel
Waited for somebody to speak

Conchy was his name
Waging peace his game
Conchy was his name
Waging peace his game

Wear a black poppy
For Conchy
Wear a white feather
For Conchy

Sixteen hundred like him
Long dead and gone
Remembered here
To live on and on

Harry Rogers, Aberbanc
November 11th 2014

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri
Drone manufacturers rub their hands with glee
Their pals the police chiefs and all the military
Wait with bated breath for each new insurgency

There at the lectern next to some flowering plant
Politicians stand and lie just like Charley’s Aunt
All those perfect promises move from shall to shan’t
Funny how Yes We Can turned into No You Can’t!

Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th August 2014

Radio Activist Weekly Almanac Special Mayday Edition.

This is a special Mayday edition of the Radio Activist Weekly Almanac with music from Blind Willie McTell, and Memphis Minnie, an interview with Red Poets of Wales founder member Mike Jenkins, a Tony Benn speech outside the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth in 2003, and part one and two of an historic radio show from the original Radio Activist himself, Studs Terkel, called Bound For Glory The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie.

Special almanac for Mayday 2014 with Mike Jenkins, Tony Benn, Studs Terkel and more by Harry Rogers on Mixcloud

The Legacy Of Tony Benn – People’s Parliament audio clip

The Legacy of Tony Benn - House of Commons by Harry Rogers on Mixcloud

On Wednesday 9th of April at 7.00pm I attended a packed out committee room 14 in the House of Commons for the People’s Parliament meeting on the legacy of Tony Benn and what an inspiring meeting it was. John McDonnel and the five speakers on the platform gave very poignant and interesting accounts of their recollections of working alongside Tony Benn inside the house of Commons and also in the many campaigns and struggles both within Britain and across the world. It was clear that Tony was a tireless campaigner on a wide range of socialist issues right up until the very end of his 88 years. It is difficult to name another left wing activist in the British labour movement that put in as many hours, or travelled as many miles as he did. It is clear that he not only spent a lot of time campaigning but also spent a lot of time researching issues and talking to people in the field and on the shop floor. His pursuit of democracy and belief in the people’s ability to take decisions for themselves is very far removed from the realm of the majority of mainstream politicians for whom the electorate are just a vehicle into the corridors of power rather than a resource to be listened to and consulted on the myriad of issues that affect their everyday lives. It is remarkable that he remained in the Labour Party throughout the years of New Labour and the inexorable march towards right wing corporatist government, privatisation and war mongering. Many activists, including myself, have long since torn up their party cards out of feelings of sheer frustration and, it has to be said, total disgust at the move towards being a right of centre party. And yet, despite the fact that he retained his loyalty to the labour party all his life, whenever he appeared on a platform at a demo, on a picket line or at a public meeting, the fondness and esteem within which has he was held by all sections of the movement was clearly palpable. Quite simply Tony Benn was not only a tireless and hard working socialist he was truly inspirational, unwavering in his belief that a better world where peace, equality and justice for all is the norm. As everyone has said his death is a great loss to the cause of socialism, however, whilst the great man may be gone his ideas live on. It is encumbant on those of us who agree with his ideas to pick them up and run with them and when we are asked why we do so the reply must surely be, as he would have wanted, Tony Benn Encouraged Us.

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL – A lyric for Bob and Tony

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL

ALL THE GOOD HEROES ARE DYING
ALL OF THEIR COMRADES CRYING
RANDIAN JOURNOS PROCLAIMING
THE END OF AN ERA OF FAILING

I DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY
JUST BECAUSE THEIR BODY HAS GONE
EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO SAY
ALL THEIR DREAMS AND IDEAS LIVE ON

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY

OUR STANDARDS ARE STILL FLYING
OUR TEARS ARE SLOWLY DRYING
WE’RE OUT THERE ON THE STREETS
WE LEARN FROM OLD DEFEATS

WE ALL WANT SOMETHING NEW
IT’S COMING IF WE ALL STAND TOGETHER
WE ALL KNOW WHAT TO DO
IT’S REALLY OURS WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
AIN’T GONNA GO AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I FIGHT ON EVERY DAY
FIGHT ON EVERY DAY

Harry Rogers
24/03/2014
Aberbanc