Friday, 26 April 2013

The Proletariad Cantos 1

The Proletariad
(For Andy Willoughby my poetry brother)

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.                                                                             
                                                                                                                              -Adolf Hitler

There is a serious tendency toward capitalism among the well-to-do peasants.
                                                                                                                               -Mao Tse Tung


Remember the working class?
The ones who gave you your privilege?
with the sweat of our bodies on your coalface
filling your coffers
on your factory floors
filling your coffers
in your shipyards and building sites
filling your coffers
we had community and you took it from us
we had our own language and you wiped it out
you have made us a caricature, a whipped body
as you rolled out your reforms of privatization,
of cctv, of asbos of the myth of an underclass
tagging our ankles with chav and ned labels
with your patronizing reality shows where you take
the tragic and turn it into more money to fill your coffers
and we had family before it was hijacked
for the lifestyle- bullshit- propaganda you push
pimping out your garden centre, barbecue, consumer
garden centre, barbecue, consumer,
and your millionaires who push in print the drugs and
the scandal of the oppressed and call a society broken
after they have broken it!  like a petulant child
scared of imagined revolutions, imagined fears
imagined freedom, scared of imagination.

But I will tell you now life is not a tabloid
Life is not your banal mediocrity
You create a world that is opium for the masses
And then stand back in horror as your children
Die in ghettoes by any other name from the
seeds of a nurtured poppy.
You dumb down the dumbfounded
You trounce in the name of the greater good
The very people who gave you that greater good
Who died in wars and who still do ,
who died not for illusory man made
Concepts like country and flag
But for the  right to live in peace.
Do you remember peace?

Do you remember what peace is?
Yes I know you will dismiss this as polemic
Whilst forgetting conveniently that polemic
is the art of dispute, that’s right, the art, not the boot
which grinds your own polemic into our faces
not the boot but the word, the painting, the beauty
the human right of dignity and free speech even if that
speech contradicts your own.

And this is not even propaganda
I gave up the axes of left and right years ago
Gave up the pretence that barricades mean anything
Other than a green light for oppressive knee jerk reactions.

I am working class and I know
what it means to be working class
Before it was made the butt of jokes
and locked in the stocks
And the short sharp shocks led us to this utter crock

I am old enough to remember all the lies, the u turns
The back stabbings, the criminal activity of your insidious
Class war, waged for centuries by you, not by us.

We never had the power . we never had anything but
The slop you dished out and maybe we never will.

On another reality television programme
You reinforce the stereotypes you have created
When you were bored or looking for a way
To assuage guilt by mocking those
you decree to be inferior
as if leading authentic lives
is somehow funny or perhaps enables
you to justify inequality, as if poverty
is a choice and not a condition imposed.

In third world countries children starve
But you don’t assign blame.
You don’t do anything meaningful with your power
You encourage charitable benevolence
Money thrown at an injustice but never
Enough money. There can never be enough money.

Our semi detached semi elected leaders
return from holidays
To deal with rioters on the streets of major cities
Oh poor you , Boo bloody hoo, 
having to return from holidays
You can easily afford, to deal with what you call rabble
And what I call the discontented.
Oh poor you! how inconvenient.
Maybe you should have thought of the consequences
Of economic cuts on the poorest of your citizens,
You remember them? The ones who you call
Scroungers and benefit cheats to justify
Your treatment of them as you all cheated and
Scrounged your expenses left and right.

With your moral high ground delusions
And your politico-babble,
The rhetoric of warped Machiavellians.

Politics have no relation to morals.

Dark triads moving mountains
By wrecking molehills.

governments are far more dangerous
than other elements within society.

Guess who said that.

But then you only read,
A prince never lacks legitimate
reasons to break his promise.

And you think we don’t see you for what you are?
You think we don’t see your charade?
You think we don’t recognise your duplicity?
The hourglass becomes clearer as time sifts through.
I don’t hate you, hate would require passion.

That’s the trouble with us working class
Hopeless, naïve idealists
That’s the trouble with us working classes
We’d scratch your shiny car
Piss in your garden, put your windows in.
That’s the trouble with us working classes
We’d burgle your home, beat you up at night
If you dare to walk our streets.
That’s the trouble with us working classes
We have no ambition, no work ethic,
No bank accounts, no jobs.
That’s the trouble with us working classes
We are illiterate, barely more than animals,
Loud and drunk, we’d sell our own grannies
For some methadone or some crack.
That’s the trouble with us working classes
In menial underpaid jobs, in our squalid
Violent lives. No respect for our betters,
No respect for anything. No respect for the law.

Except that none of that is true.
Oh it is an old lie , an old prejudice..

Do you think of us as less than human?
The enemy within, the fearful and hostile?

Well here I am a working class man
Writing poetry like a good middle class boy
With my university degrees and pretensions
With my badges proclaiming defunct allegiances

I used to read newspapers once,
Worked my way up from Page 3
To literary obituaries, to the column inches
Of those who offered opinion as fact
To the narcissists who gazed in mirrors
And saw a rich future for themselves.

We are the working class
remember us?
The ones who gave you your privilege
with the sweat of our bodies on your coalface
filling your coffers
on your factory floors
filling your coffers
in your shipyards and building sites
filling your coffers
in your call centres
we had community and you took it from us
we had our own language and you wiped it out

and yes my tongue has been cut
but it is not severed
and yes my heart has been broken
but it still beats
and yes you will see this as hysterical rhetoric.

I don’t believe in god
I don’t believe in politicians
I don’t think this will make a difference
I don’t think I make a difference
I don’t believe in your compassion
I don’t believe in your society
I don’t want to aspire
I don’t want to be
anything you want me to be.

Go on, make another infallible law 
something patronising and inane
go on put up another billboard
and tut when we deface it.
Go on give us a cheap tag line.

Go on, you know you want to.

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