17 Launched at the Bluecoat
4th December 2010
As the year of our lord 2010 (whoever said Lord is) comes to an end,
the only thing inevitable is change, as someone once said. That and taxes.
And who knows what else if we just stand there watching?
But on a lighter note - and we'll need lots of those lighter notes soon
the way it's going! - revolution both past, present and future was celebrated
by our own Nerve magazine this Saturday evening, with the launch of the
1911 transport strike calendar celebrating one hundred years of revolution
in Liverpool. There were speakers with inspiring or instructive messages,
songs from a variety of performers and a taste of one hundred years ago,
with a serving of bread and gruel that had many hungry people queuing
for more (luckily, we could actually have more). Times have changed considerably
in many ways, yet in some ways they are the same.
In 1911, strikes tore the very fabric of everyday life apart and - in
a pivotal message to the probable grandchildren or great grandchildren
of the people who set out for what they considered rightfully theirs -
had victory as the eventual result. One hundred years later, it's the
students who have so far shown the biggest move against government plans
to make further education a luxury, with their noteworthy mass protest
in London and other areas. Other groups of workers affected directly by
and disturbed by the sweeping cuts in almost every department and region
are doing so too.
It's not yet 2011, but the resistance bar has been set high by the people
who should be concerned the most about the future - the younger generations.
Of course, we all play a part in keeping the world a good place for those
who come after us, be it environmentally, physically or politically, which
seeps into every aspect of our lives like rain from the skies. There's
the future, as people are rightly concerned about, but everybody knows
that the present can shape the future more effectively than any veiled
political manoeuvre or gesture. To many people, it's all too much and
more of these people should be out there fighting against that which they
Life in 1911 was very different to life on the cusp of 2011, and we should
all pay our respects to the people who fought tirelessly for what we now
consider to be normal. Shorter working weeks, rates of pay that can change
for the benefit of the worker as opposed to cost cutting for the employer,
numerous social freedoms that we take for granted, and much more. Strikes
and unions inevitably played a part in this movement and still do now.
Next time you get a raise, think about that fact. Protecting the workers
of the country is important, and even if you've never used the union of
your particular industry yet, you never know when the need will arise.
Be it via strikes, consultation or the application of protective clauses
and representation, you are entitled to help. In 1911, when these actions
took place all through the year in various industries, this was not the
through the calendar should reveal many facts about the times then that
are still relevant in the now. Above all, life is never perfect, but there
are ways to make it better not just for ourselves but for the common good.
In the event, it was an illuminating and successful launch for a never
more socially relevant publication. The crowd of people at the launch
were attentive and appreciative. If everybody took home the important
message that change is possible then the desperately needed revolution
to get the country back on track - as every politician claims they want
to do - will be closer to real success. Change doesn't always start at
the top and if we all let our voices be heard through the vacuum our present
leader seems to live in, we can all help to get the country back to what
it should be. The students in London put their message across effectively,
and in their masses let everybody know what they wanted. If we all put
our voices out there, we'd be heard too. We all know perfection isn't
possible, but if the lessons of the 1911 transport strike and so many
other successful strikes documented in the calendar are to be applied
to our present day living, we need to be doing exactly that right now.
Many thanks to those who came to the launch, our speakers Tracey, Tayo,
Tony, John, Kathleen, Sue and Jamie, the many people of Nerve who helped
organise things for the launch, our comperes Tracey Dunne and Ritchie
Hunter, the Socialist Choir for their rousing anthems of freedom, Vinny
for his performance, and to Bryan Biggs and the Bluecoat for letting us
fill your halls with the seeds of revolution and singing. Let it spread
further and soon!