Friday, 1 May 2009

International Workers Day

It is resolved that: "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1st 1886 and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout this jurisdiction that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution by the time named".

And so it was that the Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions of the United States of America and Canada (FOTLU) having passed it's historic resolution in Chicago sparked a General Strike across America
There were an estimated 10,000 demonstrators in New York and 11,000 in Detroit In other cities throughout the United States, smaller gatherings were made unique by the unity of black and white workers marching side by side.

In Chicago the press made much mischief as to the intentions of the Strikers and warned readers that

"There are two dangerous ruffians at large in this city. One of them is named Parsons. The other is named Spies. Mark them for today. Keep them in view. Hold them personally responsible for any trouble that occurs. Make an example of them if trouble does occur." Trouble did occur but not through the actions of the Strikers On Monday May 3rd the police opened fire into an innocent crowd with gattling guns and rifles, six were killed. The next day at a protest at the killings, a bomb was thrown into the ranks of the assembled police officers, killing one immediately and wounding 65 others, seven of whom later died of their injuries. The remaining police officers drew their revolvers and fired into the crowd, wounding 200 and killing an unknown number.

Several witnesses identified Rudolph Schnaubelt as the man who threw the bomb. Schnaubelt was arrested, but was later released without being charged with any crime. There was, and still is, some question as to whether or not Schnaubelt was an agent provocateur hired by either the police department or the industrialists of Chicago.

Within days seven labor leaders were arrested for the murder of Mathias J Degan, the police officer who died at Haymarket Square. Those arrested were August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg andOscar Neebe. Albert Parsons, who was also indicted, avoided arrest until the first day of the trial, when he walked into the courtroom and announced 'I have come to stand trial, your Honor, with my innocent comrades.'

At the trial itself, the prosecutors made no attempt to prove that any of the defendants threw the bomb or conspired to throw the bomb. Instead, they set about trying to prove that the bomb was thrown by an unknown person motivated by the ideals held by the defendants. Prosecuting Attorney Julius Grinnel, in his closing remarks, stated that:

Law is upon trial. Anarchy is on trial. These men have been selected, picked out by the grand jury and indicted because they were leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousands that follow them. ... Convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and save our institutions, our society.

In his final comments to the court, August Spies said

If you think by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement... if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there and there, behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.
And now these are my ideas. They constitute a part of myself. I cannot divest myself of them, nor would I, if I could. And if you think you can crush out these ideas that are gaining ground more and more every day, if you think you can crush them out by sending us to the gallows... if you would once more have people suffer the penalty of death because they have dared to tell the truth... then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price! Call your hangman! Truth crucified in Socrates, in Christ, in Giordano Bruno, in Huss, in Galileo still lives - they and others whose number is legion have preceded us on this path. We are ready to follow!

All of the defendants were convicted. With the sole exception of Oscar Neebe, all of the defendants were sentenced to death. Neebe was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He asked that he also be condemned to death, because he was no more innocent than the other defendants.

Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab petitioned for clemency and had their sentences commuted to life in prison. Louis Lingg avoided hanging by committing suicide. Some reports say that he accomplished his own death by biting a percussion cap. Others say that he exploded a stick of dynamite in his mouth. On 11 November, 1887, the other defendants were hanged.

In the UK in 1884, Tom Mann had joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and published a pamphlet calling for the working day to be limited to eight hours. Mann formed an organization, the Eight Hour League, which successfully pressured the Trades Union Congress to adopt the eight-hour day as a key goal.

In 1889, at the Marxist International Socialist Congress in Paris, a resolution was passed calling for a 'great international demonstration' for the eight hour day to take place on 1 May, 1890. On that date, there were May Day demonstrations in the United States and many European countries, as well as in Chile, Peru and Cuba.

In 1891, May Day was celebrated in Russia, Brazil and Ireland. China first celebrated May Day in 1920. In 1927, the holiday had spread to India, where there were demonstrations in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay (Mumbai)

As May Day was becoming a worldwide holiday, with the date having been chosen to commemorate the union fight for the eight-hour work day in the United States, within the United States itself the mainstream labour movement, now represented by the American Federation of Labor, was becoming more conservative. That organisation chose to support the first Monday in September as Labor Day. In 1894, federal legislation designating the September Labor Day holiday was passed and signed into law by the then-United States President, Grover Cleveland.

America and the World were made to wait a while after that protest in 1886 for their * hour day, and many today will wonder if it has now been conceded again.

But in memory of the Haymarket Martyrs, and all good honest working men and women across the globe who fight against the injustices of those who seek to enslave them I wish you all well on this International Workers Day.

Perhaps also we should pay tribute on this year anniversary to our recently departed Comrade Jack Jones, Trade Union Giant, Spanish Civil War Hero, Workers friend, and an Internationalist of the highest order.

Sleep Well Comrade

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

"Hope not Hate" is the real winner

Last night my team Northampton Town (The Cobblers) went down 0-1 in a local derby against the franchised, Milton Keynes Dons. The defeat means we go into the final game of the season away at Leeds United on Saturday needing a point (or others to not succeed) in order to retain our League One status.

It was a miserable night, and the mood at the club this morning is dark, but we will pick ourselves up dust ourselves down etc and move on.

But last night also had a bright side. The Cobblers lent their support to the "Hope not Hate" campaign with write ups in the programme, and both sides wearing hope not hate t-shirts whilst they warmed up as substitutes in front of the main stand. Anjona Roy CEO of Northamptonshire Race Equality Council and Kathy Smith from the local Hope not Hate campaign attended the game to help spread the message. And the message was clear "Don't vote for the BNP"

As we approach the Euro and local elections on June the 4th we should all be concerned that for a whole host of reasons that the BNP expect to do well at the polls and that Britain will probably be shamed in having it's first fascist Euro MEP's elected to Brussells.

Our job between now and June 4th is to expose the BNP for what they really are, nasty right wing fascists filled with hatred, and in denial about the future of multi cultural Britain. So if you want to know the truth about Britain's Nasty Party then click on the link below.

For instance could anyone really vote for someone who said the following?

"I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the Earth was flat … I have reached the conclusion that the 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria"

If not then what is Party Leader Nick Griffin who uttered the above rubbish in a courtroom in 1998 doing on the ballot paper?

On Multi cultural Britain he offers us the following advice:

"Without the White race, nothing matters. [Other right-wing parties] believe that the answer to the race question is integration and a futile attempt to create 'Black Britons', while we affirm that non-Whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land"

The British National Party is becoming a household name. In the process it is trying to appear more moderate and respectable. But it is not. Scratch the surface and you find the same old racists lurking . It is run by hardline nazis who as you see above believe that the Holocaust did not happen. Its rule book remains firmly entrenched in the principles of racial superiority and the banning of racial integration.

The BNP may have got cleverer but its real politics remain the same.

So if Northampton Town last night did it's bit in support of it's opponents then perhaps is wasn't so bad a night after all?

Monday, 27 April 2009

"What a Jerk"

I promised myself I would avoid any more story's about Clyde Loake's activities, mostly because he gets more press on my blogspot, than he been able to achieve in total elsewhere in his so far lack lustre campaign for the Northampton South seat. But his latest antics are just too bizarre to be passed over without comment.

I am sure you may have read elsewhere that last week Clyde "went national" in the press to defend the stance of his council as they "raided" an Afro Caribbean restaurant, the "Bamboo Joint"in Leytonstone High Street.

7 Police officers in stab vests and 3 councils officials paid an early morning visit to this most dangerous of establishments and ordered it's owners to close within three days.

Their crime? well having reapplied for planning permission after a refit and despite having already traded for 3 years in the premises, they fell foul of the Councils new by law of selling "junk food" within 400 metres of a school or 200 metres of a park. The "junk food" they sell includes stewed cabbage, spinach, aki and salt fish, steamed fish, ox tail, soups, rice and peas, yam and bananas, curried goat and curried chicken and of course jerk chicken. Nothing is deep fried.

As part of the councils war on child obesity this "big brother" attitude towards local families means that the restaurant will now close , it's staff will be made redundant and it's owners business will go to the wall. . So whats Clyde's view? any chance of a change of heart or an acknowledgement that in a time of recession local jobs might be worth protecting? No chance, he just told the news crews that" 'This fast food outlet has not got planning permission and has absolutely no chance of getting it, because of its proximity to a park and a school, so we're closing it down." What a hero, I hope he is thoroughly proud of himself.

The restaurant has had problems in the past with it's Hygiene certificate, however the recent refit brought the standard up to the Councils requirements, So for them to sit back and allow the owners to invest in bringing the restuarant up to standard and then close it under this ridiculous bylaw is just cruel and unnecasary.

So will the children of Waltham Forest be any safer or healthier? No of course not. The primary school children Clyde is so keen to protect are not allowed out at Lunchtimes anyway, but can still buy full fat ice cream from the van outside the school gates at hometime, or crisps and chocalate bars from the local shops.

Like children all over Britain their obesity risk has more to do with the fats in processed foods eaten at home, and maybe a lack of exercise than it does in sourcing illicit rice and peas from the Bamboo Joint. And considering the closed down restaurant is surrounded by Pizza Parlours, Burger joints and Fish and Chip Shops the Council's policy is pointless.

Furthermore it is damaging the reputation of Local Government, which should be there to educate and provide for local communities, before turning to it's regulatory powers and authority to penalise.

But this story is growing and growing, and so is the resistance. The local Afro Caribbean community are, as you would expect, outraged at this attack on their culture and on a fellow member of the community. They have campaigned outside the store as well as recording "You Tube" protest videos against the Council such as the one below. They also believe their community has been victimised and have wondered if the Council would have acted in the same heavy handed way if the shop was owned by MacDonald's or one of the other multi national chains? They describe our Clyde as an opportunist, who is out of touch with the community, and who could argue?

So what next? Well I for one will be making sure that every restaurant owner in Northampton knows exactly where Mr Loake's stands in respect of supporting local business, just in case he trys to promote his Barmy scheme here. And considering that Northampton has more Parks and Open Spaces than any other District Council area and that most of the restaurants and take aways on the town's arterial routes are within 400m of a local school or park then he will be a busy man.

But one last thought on this whole sorry affair, who gave the permission for seven police officers to be involved in this over the top reactionary farce in the first place? and was it a good use of their time? It reminds me of the time I got stopped at Chigao airport and searched and cautioned by the USA national fruit police for carrying an unlicenced apple!

Watch out Northampton, Big Brother has his eye on you, and no Balti Hut is safe.



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Thank you for visiting "tonyclarkegreenparty" The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are made by me personally in my own capacity as free citizen and not as representative of any outside body or council that I may serve on or be employed by. However if anyone is offended by any of these comments or feels that they should be corrected then please contact me in the first instance at and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


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