angrysampoetry

the foundations of oppression can't be plucked up without the anger of a multitude

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Why a Corbyn-led Labour Government would be better for nearly everyone, even the radical left. Part 1: Race and Immigration

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This is Part 1 of a series of articles around the UK General Election. You can find the introduction to the series here.

If you are an actual bricks-through-windows racist, pro-marital rape misogynist or a castrate-the-gays homophobe, than Corbyn is not the one for you. But nor are any other of the parliamentary parties, so we can leave that little unpleasant band of brothers to their own nasty devices.  For the rest of the population, fed on a diet of slanted, and sometimes entirely fictitious media stories, there are a few who are concerned about immigrants destroying British values and traditions. One might wonder who really has time to mourn the decline of Morris dancing, Sunday school and suet pudding, but beneath this apparently empty debate about abstractions there are real concerns. Many link immigration with a loss of jobs and there is a reality that standards of living for much of the population has seen a real decline since the 1980s. This decline accelerated after the financial crash of 2007/08, meaning that “between 2007 and 2015 in the UK, real wages – income from work adjusted for inflation – fell by 10.4%.”[1] making Britain, Portugal and Greece the only three of twenty-nine countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to see a wage decrease. Coupling this with an erosion of welfare provision has produced increases in homelessness[2], temporary accommodation[3], foodbanks[4] and suicide[5].food bank Read the rest of this entry »

Written by angrysampoetry

May 29, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Why a Corbyn-led Labour Government would be better for nearly everyone, even the radical left. (INTRO)

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Finally we have found a topic about which it is as hard to have a sensible, reasoned debate as the issue of Israel-Palestine. Over Christmas, I spent two weeks with my good friends Becca and Joey in Cape Town. On most topics – artistic, emotional, political – we are in broad agreement and differences are amiable and argued out constructively. This remained true for my whole trip until, during an hour’s drive to their friends’ place for Christmas lunch, we started talking about Jeremy Corbyn. Voices were raised, conversation was heated and turn-taking went out of the window and into the blue of the Southern Atlantic.

Over lunch, our hosts, having been informed of my Corbyn sympathies, mocked me as a crazy radical. Corbyn seemed to them to be some madcap, far-left maverick. These were people who were kicked out of the ANC in the 1980s for being too communist. And it is not only they who see Corbyn as a symbol of crackpot leftism, witness also Barack Obama’sCorbyn on a bike message of support for Bernie Sanders in December last year:

“I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to … Corbyn or relative to some of the republicans.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

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May 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Some Books I read in 2016

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As 2016 draws to a close, I thought I’d mention some of the books I read this year. I tend to have three things on the go at once: prose, poetry and non-fiction – so the selections come from each of those sections, although two of the writers transcend those boundaries.

Prose:

Lux the Poet  – Martin Miller, 1998. (Thanks Jan.)martin-miller Read the rest of this entry »

“When will 2016 end?”

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Social media transmits news and fixes mass opinion at an unprecedented rate. Richard Dawkins’s memes[1] – self-replicating ideas – evolved into cat pictures with captions, and those pictures were spread around millions of people. The blogsphere/twitterati/instafam soon hits on a trend and runs with it until new ones emerge and the old ones are forgotten. Our ‘hive mind’ quickly selects phrases, jokes and attitudes; tags people with labels of hero and villain; and chooses trends, news and fashion which then pass into what might be termed ‘common sense’.

This year it became the fashion to bemoan the year itself. 2016’s favourite enemy was 2016. The calendar year became to modern people what the various devils, dibbuks, duppies, djinns, incubi, faeries and etc. had been to people of pre-Enlightenment civilisations. “Oh 2016, why have you taken from us yet another most precious member of our tribe?” wailed the tweeters and posters from their sackcloth toilet seats, virtually tearing their hair and beating their breasts in mourning.2016-deaths Read the rest of this entry »

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December 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Slam poetry is a genre. Or how to avoid slam clichés…

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I saw someone share Canadian poet Chris Gilpin’s blog from last year arguing that we need to avoid “adopting the term ‘slam poet’”. Slam poetry, he says, is not a ‘genre’. It’s a way of running an open mic and it’s an international movement, emerging historically with the aim of freeing poetry from the “elite cultural gatekeepers”. It is excellent critique and I hope it is read far and wide by young poets who engage in live performance. Gilpin complains:

“Aspiring slam participants (and apparently even those who have no interest in participating) … copy the most obvious elements of performance cliché—yelling, speed, tones of distress, waving their arms—believing that they are correctly recreating a cool, new poetic style. In this way, the idea of slam poetry has crushed a great deal of artistic self-expression, encouraging poets to conform to something they can’t even define.”

The fact that he can describe a set of conventions in writing and delivery which are followed by its producers and recognised by its consumers suggests that ‘slam poetry’ has become a genre. And that genre is a bit wack. Can we turn back the tide? I’ve been running slams for ten years now in the UK, so I thought I’d give some tips for fellow poets to consider.

Chris Gilpin

Chris Gilpin

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Written by angrysampoetry

March 13, 2016 at 11:42 am