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Gleision Pit Dilemma

'Why do we still send humans down mines?' Because of a marketable product and mass unemployment. And no red tape.
In English 'gleision' means 'whey' - as in curds and. This will probably describe the manner in which the local spring seeps out of the earth, or possibly the taste or colour of the water. And 'gleisiad' are young salmon. But whatever the poetry, it is all about water. The entire area and culture is shaped by water. But even now, after everything it has done, it is still profitable to ignore it.
The newsfeeds and politicians are very quick to invoke the 'community spirit' of the coalfieds, though none has yet gone as far as mentioning Senghenydd or Aberfan. This is to glorify these dirty, unnecessary deaths and excuse the causes. This hardy, stoical, almost primordial Welsh identity is what the media plug into for want of any other, especially in the industrial south. 

In truth, the Welsh identity is as elusive to the Welsh themselves as to the rest of the world. Economic collapse and the failure of regeneration has almost guaranteed this insecurity. The danger therefore exists of cultural feedback, whereby Wales defines itself by its stereotype, which could lead more young men return underground in order to retain some sense of group identity, and with it their personal dignity - the original class dilemma rearing its head in another direction.
Those tempted should remember the fatalistic old collier's folk ditty, in the traditional Wenglish of the valleys.

'I am a little collier and I gweithi* underground
The raff * will never torri* when I go up and down
It's bara* when I'm hungry
And cwrw* when I'm dry
It's gweili* when I'm tired
And Nefoedd* when I die'
The tragedy of the four dead men was, inevitably, less real to me than the issues it raises. The immediate lapse into How green was My bloody Valley and Huw Edwards invoking Senghenhydd with bloody Calon Lan playing in the background made me seethe with anger and embarrassment. The heroic, pious, oaken colliers firing the turbines of the Royal Navy. Acknowledged now as the pit-props and ponies of Empire. And their precious, quaint, black-shawled, slow black, coal black, minor chord community choruses of unintelligible pain.. Very telegenic. Community my arse. It makes me want to puke. The reality is that many small towns in post-industrial south wales are no better than people traps. Which is why when there is a chance for their young men, especially, to earn some cash, and play some sort of role, the danger is immaterial. The ability to claim a clear identity is worth as much as the pay. As is the undoubted and vital communal bond between miners. Fellowship.
But Britannia doesn't rule the waves any more, even if the price of anthracite is nice and high at the moment. And so the collier today, especially in the kind of casual drift mine I used to play in as a little boy, is little more than a paid member of a historical re-enactment society. He is not the hero of anyone's fantasies. The Welsh working class, which it took the British army to quell - more than once; and which went on to create the National Health Service, is brought this ridiculous parody of itself, only to the death, like the sacrifice in the Rite of Spring.

*gweithi - work. *raff - rope. *torri - break. * bara - bread. *cwrw - beer. *gweili - bed.  *Nefoedd - Heaven.

TRAPPED August 2011. Oil on board.


Wootton Bassett Shame. George Medal for Libya

Wootton Basset represents one of the most shameful, vainglorious, death-worshipping hypocritical displays of menial subservience to the worst excesses of gutter jingoism since 1914.
The glorification of the ridiculous Afghan war, and the futile deaths of young people to preserve the face of politicians, is tantamount to corporate manslaughter. Callow, impressionable CHILDREN lured by the lie of Glorious Heroism to their deaths in the dirt. And for what? No single British life was ever saved by our presence in Afghanistan (or Iraq). The only beneficiaries have been the bloodthirsty media with their endless morbid wallowing in the fake emotion paraded by the gullible yokels of Wootton Bassett, whose histrionics and desire for civic attention overcame their better judgement (although I'm sure the local Chamber of Commerce would disagree). They should have considered a twinning arrangement with Benghazi or Misratah if they really wanted to find out about human suffering. The daily blanket coverage given the town over the last month by the BBC is the worst use of License Payers money this year. And that includes an entire season of Strictly Come Dancing.
If the British People want to lavish their emotions on a worthy community, one which has displayed just about every joyous and positive human quality in the last 6 months, they should think about awarding the people of Libya the George Medal, as they did to Malta.


The Chaotic Death of the Gadaffi Myth

Who is the owner of al-OuroubaGadaffi's new backyard propaganda ministry again? Mishan al-Jibouri, Yet another wanted criminal and bloated capitalist. So much for Gadaffi's 'revolutionary' credibility. Add to that the support from the likes of CIA wonk Michael Scheuer -   the real voice of western imperialism, and the Blair-Hugging Lockerbie Agreement, and the myth of Ghadaffi the valiant defier of imperialism is exploded. Likewise, his status is confirmed as just another poodle in the pack bred and kennelled and trained to quash every sign of democracy - albeit one who caught rabies and had to be put down. The Libyan revolution is only as beautiful as politics gets, but make the most of it because you are privileged to be around when it's happening.
US foreign policy is falling apart, and it seems like NATO is helping. That may be hard to believe, but only to those who think that the world operates like clockwork, or that history runs on rails. The truth is that we no longer live in a Newtonian universe but one ruled by Chaos. And as we now know, Chaos creates all the Beauty we see. The Libyan revolution confirms this. 
All the Experts predicted that anything that could go wrong would go wrong, and that this rabble could never organise itself in its own defence. They were all wrong, at every stage. They were still calculating using Newtonian clockwork politics, and had forgotten the new world we are now in. The old Newtonian politics were easily controlled by a tiny elite. And radical, theories like progressive anarchism and socialism were therefore always an impractical dream, impossible while information and communication were as monopolised as they once were. 
The explosion of free information, and the ability to process and exchange it has allowed the flow of natural, organic forces into politics. Giving those outside the credit loop as much power as those fixing the interest rates.


I Don't Care if Libya Does Make Cameron Look Like a Bigshot

I said it before and I'll say it again. I don't care if Cameron gets a boost in the polls because of Libya. No more than, as a descendant of Welsh miners and railway workers, I care that history will remember Winston Churchill for his war record - or that in 1945 he was rejected by a British people unified by their struggle and collectively dedicated to their own version of the future. Just like Libya now.
So there won't be any tribal blood-bath or civil war. Libya will emerge as a functional state, as independent as any state can be, and possibly more than most. In the last 6 months, Libya has forged a unique solidarity which will allow them to progress in their own way - whatever NATO, China, Russia or even Walmart wants for it.
Libya has possibly the best chance of any new country in history, and is therefore in a unique position, and bears a new responsibility, but not to any existing ideology or creed. The only thing it can do is progress. It is a blank slate, and the much-sneered at absence of a 'Leader' is therefore perfect. There is no law that the states of the future should have the same kinds of 'leadership' we have been accustomed to since the great age of steam.
The age of mass instant digital communication liberates Libya from the administrative and political shackles of the past. In an age when a Masai tribe can radically benefit from mobile phone technology, surely Libya can also find an imaginative use for this new power. It played a key role in the creation of Free Libya, it should do the same in its future - if only to create the instant involvement of all the Libyan tribes, for a start.
Those who think that NATO can control the future of Libya sound more and more like a morbid bunch of spolit teenagers sulking because their parents stopped them painting their bedrooms black. Miserable, slinking, self-pitying creatures, unable to take pleasure from the most basic human virtues.

Revolutions never happen by the book. So the nerds will always object that it can't be working in practise because it's not supposed to work in theory. In other words, they're not politicians but theologians.
There are many theories about why there was so little resistance to the liberation of Tripoli. Sending the Tripoli Brigade in first seems to have been crucial. Libya proved the point again, people won't shoot their own. The sons of the city came home, and brought freedom with them. Human values triumph again.

Of course, the Denialists are in more than one pickle after this reversal. If everything they claim about the FF is true, then they should now be seeking protection for Libyan civilians under UN1973, as enforced by the hated NATO. IF anything they have been saying is true. Bit of course they know it's not, and so can still go on railing against NATO even though logically and legally it is now on their side.

And here we come to another Denialist Nightmare. Assad. Syria. Gadaffi Junior. If Gadaffi was the bee's knees, then Junior must be worth a punt, even if his eyes are too close together for dry land. But Assad is killing as many innocent civilians as Gadaffi. So are ALL the protests a criminal conspiracy, funded by the CIA and ALQaida? Looks like it. If you're crazy enough it does. 

Possibly the most irritating twerpery of all comes from the Lady Bracknells: who are worried about who these rebels are. All they know is that amongst them are pro-West, neoliberal, Islamist and even monarchist elements.. Do we even know these .. people? You mean that they don't all believe the same thing!!!!?? Isn't there a law against that or something? Oh no, hang on, that was when Gadaffi ran the joint. People are allowed to be different now. It's called freedom. It's what they fought and died for together. Ex Al-Qaida Iraq veteran alongside software engineers. 
Condemning the revolution because of the Iraq war is sheer perversity. They might just as well condemn the entire Freedom Force because it contained ex- Gadaffi fanatics. Or the entire US infantry because it contains fascists, paedophiles, psychotics and drug-addicts. There is a classic reactionary blind-spot for humanity, which fails to understand how actions and co-operation forge new identities for people, and new bonds between them, more meaningful and productive than any superficial tribe or creed. That's what Activism means. 

'China respects the choice of the people'.
 I'd rather be Homer Simpson's brain than that of a Chinese apparatchik. Like being a tightrope-walking juggling dog. In a hat.


Mermaid Dawn. The Day The Sneering Had to Stop

Demonstration outside Libyan Embassy. May 2011

The snake Mousa Ibrahim is on TV pleading for his skin. Asking for a truce, again. There is no sign of any of the Gadaffi clan. The freedom fighters are at the western gates of Tripoli, and have organised cells inside the city waiting for the green light. The massive balance of reports indicates that the people are with them, and against the Little Green Men, as they have been in every other liberated centre so far. There is no sign of the civil war, tribal disintegration, Jihadii feeding-frenzy, or the tide of bloodthirsty vengeance predicted by every outlet of the corporate media and by the weak-kneed pasty-faced pacifists hiding within the progressive left. Whichever way they now try to turn, they have to finally admit that the 'rag-tag rabble' have won, and that Gadaffi's retirement choices are withering away.

Sneering is such an ugly facial expression. And according to my grandmother, the Sneerer's face could get stuck like that for life. Here's hoping that those who've made a living from it in the last 6 months can stop in time.
There is still time for them to discover their own humanity and celebrate the historic heroism of the Libyan people. But maybe that was their problem all along. No humanity to discover. If they don't discover it in this momentous year, when there are massive realigments across the spectrum, with old reactionaries coming to their senses, and old 'anti-imperialists' losing theirs, they never will.



A moment of pure Twitter history is happening now. Apparently. It hasn't reached the BBC yet, or any other TV station I know of, but real people are telling the story as they see it.
According to them, Tripoli is rising up against Gadaffi. The stage named 'Mermaid Dawn' has started, and if true, even the BBC might be convinced that Gadaffi's days are numbered, and the world might like to start acknowledging the incredible achievement of the Libyan people in forging one of the fiercest expressions of the human spirit ever seen in history.

Results for #MermaidDawn

 Marilyn Rust 
 Asmaa Bint Libya 
 Libya Outreach 
 Libya 7orra 
 Steve Lussier 
 Asmaa Bint Libya 
 sharon lynch 
 Alex Brown 
 Jeel Ghathub 
 moi a table 
 The Dictator 
 Libya 7orra 
 Dicey Lee ✔ 
 Jeel Ghathub 
 moi a table 

 Oya libya 
 Libya Outreach 
 Fadwa El-Gallal 
 أمل ~~~ aml 
 Omar Mukhtar 
 moi a table 
 Hiba El-Gamaty 
 Libya 7orra 
 Me, just me 
 Libya Outreach 
 Oya libya 
 Omar Mukhtar 
 Haris Alisic 
 Dicey Lee ✔ 
 Hedaya Aburwein 
 Jazia Bint Benghazi 
 Libyan Realist 
 Libya 7orra 
 Kevin Grussing