aka the First World War
When an officer was killed in World War One, the British Army told his next of kin by telegram. Lower-ranked men’s deaths were reported on Form B104-82. ‘Calamity’ is a poem by E.H. Visiak. Private Ted was my great uncle.
Visiak’s Calamity once said
From heart to heart grief’s wireless sped
No officer, this Hoxton lad
No telegram to mum and dad
Grief’s letters only slowly plod
Five weeks through Flanders’ shell-churned sod
’Til death’s cold-morning cockerel crowed
Outside a house on Edgware Road
Five weeks false hope for Private Ted
At last they learned their son was dead
'From the Youth of All Nations' reads to me as a bitter complaint against the ruling classes on all sides of the First World War playing out their arguments with the sufferings and lives of soldiers.
Published in Solidarity 337, 24 September 2014
The Workers’ Dreadnought published this poem on its front page, heading an article entitled “Soldiers ask what they are fighting for” on 20 October 1917.
Published in Solidarity 335, 10 September 2014
From The Workers’ Dreadnought, 29 June 1918
A poem was found on the dead body of a German soldier. The British authorities reproduced it in facsimile and threw it from aeroplanes into the German lines.
Written back in around 1993:
Constance Markievicz and the other women who fought in the Easter Rising struggled to be accepted on equal terms by the Irish labour movement and among nationalists. Their experience holds many lessons for today's socialists and feminists.
By Janine Booth.
Janine will give a talk and lead a discussion about Minnie Lansbury, with her new book - Minnie Lansbury: suffragette, socialist, rebel councillor - on sale.
Hosted by Labour Political Education Workshop.
After the Battle of Waterloo, the British ruling class got in a bit of a panic about unemployed ex-servicemen roaming the country, worried that these 'masterless men' would cause trouble. A similar fear haunted Lloyd George's Liberal-Tory coalition government after the end of the war a century ago.
The masterless men
strike cold fear in the soul
of the masters resolved
that they stay in control