2 comments on “Four Songs for May Day

  1. I was referring to this Malalayam songs. Oh, we do have proper May Day parades here with speeches for Worker’s rights etc.. Socialist Workers Party is in govt and all that.
    I think they do okay, and at least are less selfish in some of their policies.

  2. I guess I should remind any readers of these comments that Bawa lives in Spain.

    Spain has a very interesting workers’ movement history, being the only country in the world to have had a revolution by people waving the red-and-black flag of anarchism. It should be a big May Day center, since May Day as a holiday was started by anarchists (in the U.S., in the 1880s).

    Of course, the anarchists lost Spain in the ’30s and Spain was ruled by fascists for several decades, but still…

    Back in the ’90s, I felt very inspired by George Orwell’s book Homage to Catalonia and by Ken Loach’s movie Land and Freedom, which was mostly based on that book. For a little while, I was happy to march under the anarchist banner myself, and I and some friends looked to the political history of Spain with great fondness; a friend and I even talked about a possible visit to Spain.

    I became interested in that particular history a couple of years before the explosion of interest in anarchism that happened (or that was finally manifested) in Seattle in 1999. But I was happy to sustain that allegiance to the “anarchist movement” for a few years, partly inspired by the great momentum that the anarchists gave to this period of protest – the only time in my adult life when, here in the U.S., there was a visible questioning of the whole capitalist system. (I was a small child in the ’60s – and even then, generally speaking, there wasn’t such a focused critique of capitalism as there was among a very vocal and visible – albeit small – group in our “anti-globalization” movement during the ’90s and early ’00s.)

    I think that the ’90s was a good time for anarchists, and for people to rediscover historic Spain (and the historic Spanish red-and-black flag), because the Soviet Union had just fallen apart… A lot of people wanted to show that they sought a kind of socialism – or movement toward socialism (or communism) – that was different from what the world had seen develop in Russian, China, etc.

    The mid-late ’90s was also the time when I became interested in the history of the communists in Kerala, who have been a subject of much positive discussion among a number of people who’ve called themselves anarchists.

    These days, there are many reasons why I wouldn’t use the “a” word (no way :) , and it’s been that way for years. It really would be more accurate to say that all along I’ve been a socialist and somewhat of a Marxist (I like reading Marx a lot – especially the early “humanist” writings, but I also find it very interesting to read and try to analyze the different volumes of Capital). Though I would approach any socialist or communist party with enough healthy skepticisim – I would never say that any political party is the true road to Utopia, and I don’t believe in having blind faith any particular leaders. (Even Marx himself said that we should “question everything.” Whatever our political desires might be, we shouldn’t expect any leader to deliver us hope and change on a platter – it’s up to the people to pressure the leaders, theoretically – though the people in the U.S. don’t seem to do a whole lot along those lines these days.)

    In a number of countries that I can think of that have (relatively) free elections and competing parties, etc…yes, the socialists or communists do seem to do relatively okay and be less selfish (or worse) in some of their policies than others. (From what little I know of politics in India, yeah, I’d still support the left parties/coalition and oppose parties on the right like the BJP. Though I can certainly understand the frustration of people who boycott the elections altogether…)

    Anyway, I believe I have gone off on a tangent – and just revealed a little of my secret political history. :)

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