Never Be Defeated
It is no secret that punk rock has been the main ingredient for the overall music that have gone through my ears through the past 30 years. It, as a genre, has helped shape my entire life. I haven’t eaten meat since Flux sang about it and the last time I knowingly took dairy was in the 1980’s.
At that stage the miners had been defeated but the struggle these people went through also had a profound effect on me. I remember vividly interviewing miners who SIPTU had brought to Dublin for my fanzine at the time. The stories of hardship and struggle were always interspersed with hope. They couldn’t countenance defeat and I most definitely decided what side I would be on for the rest of my life during that struggle. I watched Red Wedge grow from it, always had respect for any bands who sang the union tune.
Of course over the intervening period the real world has caught up with me and I am a proud union activist who has seen both sides of the angry comments about organised labour. I am also a proud punk rocker and have continued to try and spread the community at any given opportunity, hence this blog, numerous fanzines, a regular radio show and a book on the matter.
In the three decades that has passed since the defeat of the miners we are now at the juncture where the last coal mine shut down. The industry is gone in the U, decimated – communities have been devastated and neo liberal ideology is the order of the day. Of course there could be a case made that burning fossil fuels is not going to save the planet and maybe unions could have foreseen this earlier, however the smashing of the miners was about politics and not the longevity of the planet where it creeps towards ruin, just like the coal industry.
Another vivid memory I have is of hearing of Joe Strummer’s death. Ever since reading Glen E Friedman’s Fuck You Heroes I have been more of Threat By Example person. Sure, there are good people, but there’s no need to revere them. We all use the toilet on a daily basis. However there was something special about Joe Strummer, front man of the Clash. He spoke for my generation, I disagreed with many of his life choices but knew that he would always feature in my community. Ironic that 13 years after this death I receive a cd in the post. Never Be Defeated by my friend Joe Solo. Solo is also influenced by Strummer, his trajectory is by using his voice and guitar. One man railing against the world.
As the anniversary of strummer increases annually Joe’s output of albums seem to increase at the same pace. This year it is the commemoration of the miners strike that is the theme for all 13 songs. Joe’s Christmas is about Solidarity, standing by the workers and NEVER EVER pass a picket line. Never!!!
I am in a punk rock community and Joe is busy being active in our world. His sound is the folk music of Christy Moore or the agit prop of Thee Faction or Dick Gaughan still believing after all this time that there is a better way. Union people believe there is a better, fairer way. Joe believes that we will never be defeated, I am behind him all the way.
I hope you are too
Please support Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign by visiting otjc.org.uk