Here are four pieces of political commentary from Deptford and Rochester in London. “BoJo must go” – hounded by the Metropolitan Police over violating Covid lockdown, “Fuck Boris”, “We are all Daniel Blake – Conservatives kill disabled people” (by jellyjartist), and “Brexit is childish” graffiti on top of a portrait of artist Billy Childish.
More than 35,000 from more than 80 countries people – see the jigsaw pieces on the left of this mural – joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, including 2,300 from Britain and Ireland (Guardian). The slogan “¡No pasarán!” [They shall not pass] comes from a speech by Dolores Ibárruri (“La Pasionaria”) in July 1936: “The Communist Party calls you to arms. We especially call upon you, workers, farmers, intellectuals to assume your positions in the fight to finally smash the enemies of the Republic and of the popular liberties. Long live the Popular Front! Long live the union of all anti-fascists! Long live the Republic of the people! The Fascists shall not pass! They shall not pass!” (WP)
It would also be used in October that year at the Battle Of Cable Street in London’s East End, when approximately 100,000 anti-fascists clashed with police protecting a British Union Of Fascists (“blackshirts”) march (WP).
Yuri Andropov, Michael Heseltine, Margaret Thatcher, and a sari-wrapped Ronald Regan are the four riders of the nuclear apocalypse, riding on rockets fueled by rubles, pounds, and dollars, facing off for the fate of the planet against the dove and CND/anti-nuclear symbol as harbingers of peace.
Eight-time hunger-striker Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation Of The Suffragettes [ELFS] provided a cost-price restaurant to provide meals to the poor in the “Women’s Hall” at the back of the house at 400 Old Ford Road in response to the inflation in food prices at the onset of WWI (Inspiring City | East End Women’s Museum).
In the top left, with the “Votes For Women” sign, is Christabel Pankhurst, one of Sylvia’s sisters, a co-founder of the Women’s Social And Political Union – motto “Deeds, not words” – and editor of The Suffragette. (Charlotte Despard – featured previously – was also a member of the WSPU.)
(The third sister, Adela, was founder of the WSPU’s yet more radical sub-group the ‘Young Hot Bloods’ (WP). Their mother was Emmeline Pankhurst, who had founded the WSPU in 1903 (WP); she is featured in a mural on Belfast’s Donegall Road bridge – see Those Days Are Over.)
In the top right (shown in close-up in the third image), Sylvia speaks in 1912 from a small platform outside the WPSU office in Bow Road, before the WSPU and ELFS split in 1914.
The mural is by Ketones6000 (ig) in 2018 on the side of the Lord Morpeth pub which was frequented by Pankhurst and the east London suffragettes (web). The pub is at 402 Old Ford Road and the mural thus overlooks the site of the women’s hall.
Today’s images come from London but there is an Irish and a Belfast connection. Charlotte Despard was a novelist, suffragist, socialist, pacifist, vegetarian, and Sinn Féin advocate in the years around the Lock Out, the Rising, and the War Of Independence. She moved from London – where she worked to alleviate poverty among the children of the Battersea area – to Dublin after WWI and was classed as a “dangerous subversive” by the Irish Free State. The image above (which is a panel from a mural celebrating political radicals of Battersea, below) reproduces a photograph of Despard addressing the crowd at an anti-fascist/Communist rally in Trafalgar Square on June 11th, 1933 – four days before her 89th birthday. At the end of a very long of activism, she moved to Whitehead, County Antrim, where she died in 1939, and was buried in Glasnevin (WP).
A Battersea street is named after her – Charlotte Despard Avenue; the plaque is at 177 Lavender Hill – the offices of the Labour Party in Battersea.
This is the pro-NHS mural in Newbuildings, south of London-/Derry. The “S” of NHS has been turned into the “S” of superman (see also Prepared For Work, Ready For Coronavirus). The rainbow (7-stripe rather than the gay pride 6-stripe) has become a symbol of positivity in the time of the coronavirus pandemic (see e.g. NHS Forever | Thank You, Postmen).
In November, 1940, approximately 400,000 Polish Jews were confined to an area of 1.3 square miles in northern Warsaw – the Jewish Ghetto – encircled by a wall topped with barbed wire begun in April. From there, they were transported to the concentration camps, as many as 250,000 in the summer of 1942. The uprising of April and May 1943 was met with a German campaign to raze the ghetto, which they succeeded in doing. The wall between two houses on the southern border stands to this day within sight of the skyscrapers of modern Warsaw as a memorial to the dead.
“The hunger in the ghetto is terrible. Nothing can be bought. … Because of hunger and suffering people go to the Umschlagplatz by themselves. The Judenrat hang posters saying that “volunteers” will be given 3 kg of bread and 1 kg of marmalade. There are some who think it better to die by the bullet than from starvation. So they go to meet the death.”
These crumpled paper figures show Jews being rounded up and the cards bear descriptions of conditions in the ghetto. “What has happened to us, people[?] I watch a policeman dragging a young man as if he were an ox led to slaughter. For a butcher this is a way of making money … But this one fights against his own destruction and you, a Jewish policeman fight to subdue him and drag him toward death – you are a common murderer!”
Bogusław Lustyk (web) is a Polish artist specialising in paintings of horses. This “crush art” piece about the Judenrat and Jewish Police in the Warsaw Ghetto is something of a departure in both theme and medium. Crush art “is a language of expression whose essence is destruction”. Nowy Swiat, Warsaw. (Previously from Warsaw: The People’s Guard | Solidarity?)
Polish trade union Solidarity was formed in August 1981 and the youth section (Solidarność Młodych) in December. June 4th, After years of protests and strikes, 1989 saw elections in which Solidarity was allowed to stand in 35% (= 161) of the seats in the Sejm (lower house) and in all 100 seats of the recreated Senate. It won every seat – except for a single Senate seat, which was won by an independent – leading to the collapse of the Communist government (WP). “Wybraliśmy wolność” – “We chose freedom” – is a celebration this year (2018) including an exhibition of photos from 1989 by Krzysztof Miller. In the years that followed, Solidarity lost its role as a political party and became a standard trade union. At Warsaw Centrum (metro station), ticket kiosks block the historical mural.