The Global Workhouse

My name is Mustapha. I fled from Syria, from the war. I came to Europe to find a safe future. 
Instead I found the work zones. International Work Zones. Areas where National Law was suspended. Not belonging to any country. Ghettoes of alleged safety. Part of the TTIP agreement. A solution to migration. To survive, and live in the safety of Europe, I must work 14 hours a day, every day. For this I get food, shelter and clothing. No wages. No union rights. No support if I get sick. No days off. 
I see now why they bombed us. Those like me, who want to live in peace, will flee. We will be easy to control and resettle, easy to lie to and deceive. With nowhere to go, and no country to return to, we are the first residents of the new global workhouses. 
Soon, I think, others will arrive. The poor, and sick from European countries, the old who have had their pensions stolen. The unemployed. Anyone who opposes the marching advance of capitalism. Anyone from the wrong side of the wealth divide. 
Sometimes, my work involves recycling newspapers and magazines. The guards don’t know I can read and speak English. I used to see, sometimes, articles about us, our lives in here. The New Slavery, they called it, rather than the new safety we were promised. Journalists argued for our freedom, for human rights. There were protests and petitions. Then all that stopped. The names of the journalists changed, as if they had disappeared. As if they had never been. 
I wonder what ghetto they are in now. I wonder f they still think that protests and petitions are useful weapons, against brutal men with no morals, and guns. 


Bomb Making

I bought some fertiliser

Modelling clay

And the secret ingredients.  
Mixed together 

In the right amounts 

I got my hands dirty

I’d got angry

With the forces of death

The forces of control 

Things need to change. 
When the bombs were ready

I filled my rucksack

Took a stroll

To a busy place

A soulless place

Where people slept

As they walked through greyness

Devoid of life. 
I threw a bomb. 

Earth, water, and the fire of life

Curving through the still air of the city. 
There was no bang

No flash of light

No death

No destruction
Just silence 

Waiting for the rain to come

And free the seeds of secret fire

Bring life to lifelessness 

Colour to greyness

Hope to the hopeless. 

The Mortal Vampire

I’m at outside with friends. We have a large box of Kellogg’s cornflakes. On the next table, pigeon fanciers chat. We begin to discuss pigeons. Could they deliver a box of cornflakes? My friend uses the phrase ‘mortal vampire’ to describe them. I like that phrase. 
My friends spot a pretty woman over my shoulder. I look round, and realise I know her, as I pluck two very long hairs from my moustache. 
She says hello, and we kiss. I make introductions. She walks off into a school building. We follow. I cut through a corridor into a balcony, and down some stairs. We hide in a toilet to avoid a crazy drug taker. He comes in anyway. My friends flee. I shake his hand. He thanks me for saying that his voice sounds like the Dalai Lama’s. I walk with him a bit. He sees my friends running away, and sprints off to catch up with them. I don’t fear him, I realise. 
I pass a kid lay on the floor wearing a Mario hat. Another kid stops, mimes inserting money into an arcade machine, makes a game noise, and Mario springs up. 
I walk into an airship, waiting for take off. I’m wearing my Dakar Audio Club stage gear. The business men inside are afraid of me. They are terrified the crazy drug guy will get on board. The pilot plans to leave early. I ask him to wait, my girlfriend will be dead on time. He takes off. 
I’m now in a taxi. The violent driver offers to take us to several unsuitable, violent, places to stay, until the cancelled flight takes off tomorrow. He’s a racist. I grab his knife and threaten him. He doesn’t listen. I slash across his right eye. I have his attention. He nervously pulls a blank firing pistol. He stops the car, and I grab the pistol, shoot by his head, and throw him out. My friend takes the wheel. 
We continue. I think I should learn to drive. We stop at a house. I sit outside with friends, making hideous collages of politicians faces. 


I waited in my empty flat this morning, for long, cold hours, waiting for the man from Dulux to deliver my paint. He came about 11. He had only three of the right things. He left them for me to take up, and promised to return.

And return he did. With many right things. I was frozen by this time, and popped into Sid’s Cafe for a coffee. It was quiet. No job club today. Mostly old ladies with baked potatoes. I had a black coffee. Alone on a small table. Scanning the walls of community notices.

I walked into town, to choose and order some carpets. An expensive action. This completed, I headed to the Boston Tea Party for more coffee, and soup. Here it is busy. Students. Workers. Old ladies with dogs. A different kind of community. In Sid’s, you see disabled people. In Bostons, the stairs limit accessibility. There’s another difference of accessibility. Price. Most could afford the Β£1 I paid for my coffee at Sid’s. Many would balk at paying Β£4.50 for soup. Money gives you choices. Not to eat where the poor and excluded eat. To sip your coffee in a make believe world where everyone has a mac, an iPhone, or an iPad. Where no one is poor, and no one hungry.


Change in the Rain

I’ve done a few political things in my time. Knocking on doors, protesting, leafleting. Last night I was a steward for Green Party leader Natalie Bennet’s talk at Exeter University. The last political meeting this big I went to was with the SWP in the 80s. I didn’t share their politics, but Aswad were playing, so it was a free coach trip and gig, away from my grim homeless existence in Manchester.

It was raining, and, stood outside, with Tom, a green student, I helped direct people to the talk. I remarked to Tom, how popular Natalie must be, if we didn’t even need to put bands on as a way to tempt young people in.

When I joined the Green Party, I don’t know what I expected. Leafleting, that kind of thing.
Actions that change the world are not thrilling, or glamorous, most of the time, despite what the media would have you think.

Political action is not exciting. It’s mostly, for me at least, standing around in the cold and wet, talking to people.

The revolution is in the rain, in the words, in the smiles. That’s where change happens, in thoughts, in feelings, in deeds.

I walked home. Soaking wet, and changed into my tartan pyjamas and slippers, like the old man I’m on the cusp of becoming. I looked to my phone, and to Twitter. There at least, I can be comfortable and dry, while pushing for change.


So, I am one of the many who’ve bee using the Twitter hashtag #cameronmustgo. It is now obvious to me, and many others, that Twitter is censoring this hashtag, I suspect at the request of the government. Censorship is able to cause outrage, when applied in other countries, and in the UK we defend freedom of speech, and call those who impose such censorship tyrants.

Well today, David Cameron and his government are the tyrants. Censorship of public opinion indicates that he does not understand how the Internet works, that it is a conversation, not a top down dissemination of information.

I ask all of you who have blogs or websites or social media outside of Twitter to share this post, or write your own, condemning this censorious, out of touch, government.