Peterloo Massacre Remembered #3

An interesting piece on tonight’s BBC Countryfile programme discussed the SNP’s plans to provide better access to the lands of Scotland for Scotland’s inhabitants. What was once common land was grabbed by the wealthy and shut off by fences and walls, and was turned into private property. Around 50% of land in Scotland lies in the hands of just 452 individuals (according to BBC sources).

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At the time of such change from common land to private property, much violence was used to subjugate Scotland’s people. My great-great-great grandfather, James ‘Elshender’ Alexander, lived at around this time and was subjected to terrible punishment for attempting to feed his family by living off the land. Living off the land becomes a difficult proposition when you cease to have access to the land. Good luck to the SNP, and good luck to the working class people of Scotland who may soon be free to use their land as they see fit.


Peterloo Massacre Remembered #2

A news item on tonight’s BBC’s 6 O’clock News featured New York and the new skyscrapers that are beginning to dominate Manhattan’s skyline. The buildings are some of the most expensive examples of real estate anywhere in the world, with one apartment reportedly selling for $100M. The interesting thing about the news item was the allegation that very few of these super-expensive properties are ever likely to be occupied by actual people. It is odd to think that in a city where 50% of working class people live on or below the poverty line (according to BBC sources) that buildings are being crammed into an already over developed site, only to be left to stand empty – all whilst feathering the nests of the very wealthy individuals and collectives buying said properties.

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New York’s poor and working classes were turfed off the land that eventually became the landscaped Central Park, and ever since, people have been forced to move farther out because of spiralling real estate prices. This latest example is only the most ridiculous manifestation of the gap that exists, and that continues to widen, between the rich and the working classes. Perhaps the Occupy Movement should extend its remit to include a form of squatting in buildings where people could be housed comfortably instead of being forced to live in poverty? What violence might today’s establishment mete out in the face of such peaceful protest?


Peterloo Massacre Remembered

This post, and the short ones that follow, are a way of paying respect to those who lost their lives at St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester on this day in 1819. Losing one’s life is a heavy price to pay for standing up and having one’s voice heard, but many of us must be thankful for the bravery shown in the face of violence meted out by the establishment almost two centuries ago. Working class rights were first established as a direct result of the intended peaceful protest of the 60,000 people attending St. Peter’s Fields, and so the following posts ponder some significant issues facing working class people at this very moment. It remains to be seen whether today’s generation is able to achieve similar levels of cultural change.

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For more information on the Peterloo Massacre visit The People’s Museum, Manchester.


Graffiti NSFW – Liverpool

Liverpool based graffiti:

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Graffiti NSFW – Manchester

Manchester based graffiti:

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Graffiti NSFW

The following posts provide two examples of graffiti photographed in a Manchester suburb, and a further two from Liverpool. Manchester and Liverpool are cities with a keen rivalry running between them, not least in terms of football (soccer), and so it is left to the reader/viewer to decide which city puts its creative talent to best use.

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The posts are marked Not Safe For Work primarily because of the Manchester based graffiti, which contains language likely to offend. The Liverpool based graffiti is not offensive as such, but may jab at one’s sensibilities, depending on your thoughts on all matters scatological. This being said, Manchester is up first because chronologically speaking its examples of graffiti were captured first, with the Liverpool examples following soon after. All of them made me chuckle a little, and smile, which cannot be a bad thing. Hats off to those artists who create just for the sake of it.


Indigenous Peoples: Who Cares? #OakFlat

The above question in the title, posed as it is, may appear callous but at times the plight of indigenous peoples around the globe seems so perilous that there seems little hope of reversing the systematic destruction of their populations and habitats. However, there are signs of resistance and hope. One example of this is the current battle to save Oak Flat, Arizona. San Carlos Apaches are protesting the dubious selling-off of lands in Arizona, land that is sacred to their tribe, and this combined with an online petition and growing media coverage of the situation may well strike a blow at the heart of Washington by forcing the bill to be overturned.

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Indigenous Americans, Native Americans, American Indians, whatever term we may wish to use, have been treated appallingly over the years and a good deal of misinformation exists around who these people are, and about how they came to be marginalised within U.S. society. The San Carlos Apaches are just one small community, but it seems that their efforts at halting a corrupt deal may well come to fruition. The reason that the words ‘dubious’ and ‘corrupt’ have been used here is to do with the fact that the bill that allowed such lands to be sold off for mining purposes was pushed through without due diligence, and was actually attached to an unrelated defense bill concerned with military spending. Further reasons for using such words has to do with the fact that the land being sold off is public land that is supposed to have special protections as enforced by Eisenhower and Nixon governments, respectively. However, such ‘protections’ do not always carry much weight where future profits are concerned and so the need to act is of the upmost importance. An online petition, currently with over 1,000,000 names added to it, will help demonstrate to policy makers in Washington that this deal should not and cannot go ahead. Please sign the petition here: AVAAZ.org/SaveOakFlat

For more information, please visit the following links where there are a number of news items covering the San Carlos Apaches’ plight: The New York Times, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera America.

For anyone interested in learning about past atrocities, betrayals, and the general maltreatment of indigenous peoples there are a number of easily accessed items of popular culture. Two such items that spring readily to mind are Johnny Cash’s 1964 recording of Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (recently revisited by artists such as Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and David Rawlings on the tribute album Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited), and Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the Indian West.

For those interested in a more in-depth discussion of the wider problem of the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples, refer to Benjamin Madley’s paper, “Patterns of frontier genocide 1803–1910: the Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero of Namibia,” in Journal of Genocide Research (2004), 6 (2), June, 167–192.

And for those sitting on the fence and not sure of whether there is a need to act or not, given that there are so many names added to the petition already, please take a look at the following letter released by Apache Stronghold concerning the treatment of Apache women who have tried speaking with Arizona congressman Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ, 4th Dist.) whilst in Washington as recently as July 23rd 2015:

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar Orders Apache Stronghold Visitors Removed by Capitol Police, Threatens Grandmothers With Arrest

July 23. 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday afternoon, following the successful completion of Apache Stronghold (www.Apache-Stronghold.com) “Caravan to D.C.” and their “Save the Oak Flat Act Rally” on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, some Apache Stronghold members – mostly grandmothers and young women – went to visit their Arizona representatives in Congress and talk with them about the Apaches national stand in defense of their sacred place known today as Oak Flat. Oak Flat was named earlier this year as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the United States by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Among those that the Apache Stronghold contingent visited was Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ, 4th Dist.). The purpose of their visit was to address a “Dear Colleague” letter that Rep. Paul Gosar recently sent out to fellow House members regarding the “Save Oak Flat Act” introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva, with 17 bi- partisan co-sponsors. In his letter, Rep. Gosar insulted the Apaches and called them “liars.”

Mrs. Vonda Cassadore of Bylas, Arizona, requested that Rep. Gosar come out of his back office briefly so that Mrs. Cassadore could ask him some questions about his “Dear Colleague” letter. Rather than speak with Mrs. Cassadore and the other ladies and Apache Stronghold members with her, Rep. Gosar responded by hiding behind a locked door and calling the Capitol Police, threatening to have Mrs.Cassadore and her friends immediately arrested. Rep.Gosar had the police escort Mrs.Cassadore and her Apache Stronghold associates and friends entirely out of the Cannon Office Building. Mrs. Cassadore stated that, “we’ll remember this when Election Day comes around. Sacred land means more than money.”

“Rep. Gosar has a record of intolerance and saying vicious things against Native Americans, but his behavior has now become stranger than ever,” said Apache Stronghold spokesperson Wendsler Nosie, Sr. “There is no excuse for his mistreatment of the Apache grandmothers and young ladies who came to his office. Cowering behind a locked door, refusing to come out, and then calling a squad of policemen to sweep those gentle ladies away is just terrible. Rep.Gosar should apologize for that, as well as for his strange and insulting ‘Dear Colleague’ letter.”

CONTACT:
Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Spokesperson, Apache Stronghold apache.stronghold@gmail.com

__________________________
“Grijalva’s Save Oak Flat Bill Boosted by Historic Preservation Listing” http://

indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/07/20/grijalvas-save-oak-flat-bill-boosted-historic- preservation-listing-161136

H.R. 2811 (“Save Oak Flat Act”) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2811

Earlier, Gosar had called American Indians “wards of the federal government” in a roundtable discussion about the controversial Arizona land deal. See “Congressman’s Native American remark causes outcry,” Associated Press (December 10, 2014) http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/ 2014/12/11/congressmans-native-american-remark-causes-outcry/20258071/


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