[OPE-L:1727] the poetry of revolution

Subject: [OPE-L:1727] the poetry of revolution
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 23 1999 - 07:55:51 EST

Re Abelardo's [OPE-L:1718]:

> By the way, who is Christopher Logue? I really liked the poem you
> posted.

"Christopher Logue (b. 1926) English poet and translator;has issued many
of his poems as posters: 'I shall Vote Labour', 'Kiss, Kiss' & c. His
recent poems are in _New Numbers_ (Jonathan Cape, 1969). He writes the
'True Stories' column in _Private Eye_" Alan Bold ed. _The Penguin Book of
Socialist Verse_ (Penguin, 1970).

An excellent collection of radical poetry which is, alas, out-of-print.
btw, I think that poetry can be a useful device in the classroom. E.g.
sometimes when discussing *demand*, I cite the following short poem:

                            *Eat More*
                            Joe Corrie

               'Eat more fruit!' the slogans say,
                  'More fish, more beef, more bread!'
               But I', on Unemployment pay
                  My third year now, and wed.

               And so I wonder when I'll see
                  The slogan when I pass,
               The only one that would suit me, -
                  'Eat more Bloody Grass!'

Q: When (or is) it OK for Marxists to use "commodity fetishism"?

A: (or at least one possible answer) When one uses it as a literary
   metaphor. For example:

                    *Song of the paving stones*

                          Erich Weinert

               Full hundred thousand years we slept
               As granite, cold as ice,
               Then we were roused by dynamite
               And turned into merchandise.

               In the quarry, the labourer moaned aloud,
               His chisel spurted fire,
               The labourer's blood and sweat have we
               Drunk down into our core.

               We were pounded down in an avenue,
               the labourer pounded us down,
               His sweat dropped down. His sweat dried up,
               But the salt is in the stone.

               Then over us rolled all things that roll,
               Carts, trucks and limousines,
               And yet we felt in our breasts of stone
               The hear of the working man.

               One day a thousand tramping feet
               Roared up in demonstration -
               The workers sang, and oh, we clanged -
               Our stony foreheads kindled.

               Then shots banged into our pitted heads
               And dirt and fire rained -
               The blood and brains of the workingman -
               We drank down the blood that drained.

               They tore us up out of the road -
               Then we were barricades!
               We heard the worker load his gun
               And the clamour of his rage.

               And once again dirt rained and fire;
               We guarded our brothers - with back's
               And stony body's strength
               We beat down the attack.

               The blood of the workers pounds in stone,
               It flows in our hearts; aye, brave
               We'll stand, the trophy of victory
               Upon our comrade's graves!

Does anyone else have some poetry that either has a radical/revolutionary
message or make a point useful when teaching political economy?

In solidarity, Jerry

> > *Know thy enemy*
> >
> > by
> > Christopher Logue
> >
> > Know thy enemy:
> > he does not care what colour you are
> > provided you work for him
> > *and yet you do!*
> >
> > he does not care how much you earn
> > provided you earn more for him
> > *and yet you do!*
> >
> > he does not care who lives in the room at the top
> > provided he owns the building
> > *and yet you strive!*
> >
> > he will let you write against him
> > provided you do not act against him
> > *and yet you write!*
> >
> > he sings the praises of humanity
> > but knows machines cost more than men.
> > Bargain with him, he laughs, and beats you at it;
> > challenge him, and he kills.
> > Sooner than loose the things he owns
> > he will destroy the world.
> >
> > *But as you hasten to be free
> > And build your commonwealth
> > Do not forget the enemy
> > Who lies within yourself*.

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