Monday, 1 May 2017


The so-called Haymarket Affair, that occurred on 1st May 1886, kickstarted a growing resistance aganst the elite and the fight for workers' rights in America. In the ensuing 130 years, Mayday has become an international day of protest against the rich and powerful.

It is worth noting the hysteria over migrant workers that surrounded the Haymarket Affair seems to mirror that perpetuated by today's media and politicians. Has anything really changed? Sadly, it seems not. It doesnt matter who you vote for, the government will always get in. As the UK gets ready to go to the polls in Theresa May's folly election next month, we'd do well to remember that as we place our X on our ballot papers.

To mark this day of uprising, here are a few protest songs I've dug up. To start with, Manchester's Cabbage, rising stars on the indie circuit. One of only a few young bands who are using their voices to ACTUALLY SAY SOMETHING!

The marvellous Barrington Levy released 'Robin Hood' in 1980. The title track compares one of England's most notorious characters - who stole from the rich to give to the poor - with modern day society, which works on a completely opposite philosophy. When Friday Come, from the same album, is a plea from a downtrodden construction worker to his "Mr Boss Man" to let him go home on Friday to see his family.

The much-missed Sharon Jones, meanwhile, poses an interesting question: at a time when schools and other vital public services are deprived of funding, why are our taxes being spent on weapons no one wants? What if we decided not to pay our taxes? Who would fund mass destruction then?

To finish, an undisputed classic. Grandmaster Flash's timeless rap about inner city life sums up what was wrong about politics and society in 1980, and to an extent, what continues to this day.

Does protest work? Without it, it's easy to just succumb to the inevitable and make it easy for "them" to exert their control. After 130 years you could argue little has changed, but that doesn't mean we should keep quiet. Silence just makes things worse.


  1. Wise words Robster and much better than mine to May Day. Agree to your analysis and your final words. If we don't speak about what's going wrong things can't change.

  2. Really will miss you being around this coming weekend - I've a feeling the conversation may well drift onto politics at some point. Very fine piece of writing and selection of songs, although Cabbage is still the worst name taken by any band in many a year.