media and culture

1789-1989: Revolutionary song in France

French Revolution

A history of song, music and revolutionary working class politics in France from the 1789 Revolution up to the 1980s and punk.

Like other political groups, anarchists have seen music as an excellent means of agitation and of popular education, and have made it one of their key activities of propaganda in many countries.

1600-today: Radical puppetry

Anti-WTO demonstrator, 1999

A short history of puppets, puppeteers and working class politics from the English Civil War to the streets of Seattle in 1999.

The ‘carnivalesgue’ has often been a feature of popular rebellion. Recently we saw its self-conscious re-emergence in the US and the UK (notably on Reclaim the Streets actions). Masks, fancy dress and puppets perform a dual role, providing both a pleasurable escape from the routines of everyday life and means of disguise.

1972: The Quebec general strike

Demonstrators clash with police during the la Presse strike, 1971

The story of one of the largest working class rebellions in American history. 300,000 workers participated in North America's largest general strike to that date, radio stations were seized, factories were occupied, and entire towns were brought under workers' control, and it won important gains

"Not since the days of the Industrial Workers of the World, since the days of Joe Hill and the battle for the eight-hour day, has a North American union movement been so dedicated to the tradition of revolutionary syndicalism."

Shusui, Kotoko, 1871-1911

A short biography of journalist Kotoku Shusui, who helped introduce anarchism to Japan and was executed for treason.

Kotoku Shusui
Born 4 November or 23 September 1871 - Japan, died 24 January 1911 - Japan

Unionisation drive at a UK local newspaper

A short account by one worker in a local UK newspaper of a successful NUJ unionisation drive he was involved in in 2006

US: Shattuck Cinema workers are going union

Landmark Shattuck Cinema workers are fed up. Years of bad hours, poor pay, a hostile work environment and the demoralsing treatment from theatre management has led the Cinema workers of Berkeley, CA, to push for a union; for the One Big Union of the Industrial Workers of the World.

At 4pm on May 12, 2006, approximately 80 Wobblies and supporters gathered in what some hailed as one of the largest IWW gatherings in recent Bay Area history, next to the May Day contingent earlier this month.

Billy Connolly - shipyard striker

Before the purple beard...

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly was involved in the strikes of apprentices in the Clyde shipyards in the 1960s.

He walked out with thousands of others, including future Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson, also an apprentice in Glasgow.

According to one poster on BBC Scotland, he was also involved in supporting the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders' yard occupation of 1971.

Terry Wogan - "sympathetic" to strikers, and scab

Wogan scab

Terry Wogan, one of the BBC's highest paid presenters scabbed on the strike of BBC workers against cuts in 2005.

The Guardian reported that he said he supported the strike but felt he was not in a position to join the 24-hour walkout.

"Of course I have sympathy for them [the strikers] but I have a job to do. I am on a contract," he said.

Wogan had earlier refused to take a leaflet on the strike action from a representative from broadcasting union Bectu.

Interview with an eyewitness from Rennes

libcom.org interviews 'vanou' a student from Rennes who has been photographing the protests against the CPE up close, including from her apartment balcony.

For a different view of the struggle in Rennes, see our report "Five Days in Rennes" from 1st April.

Over the past couple of weeks libcom.org/blog has been sourcing photos of the events from various French indymedias and directly from people on the ground in France to accompany our news coverage of the event.

What the French press are saying about the protests

A review of the French press on the CPE prepared for libcom.org by our Marseille correspondent.

The Heavyweights weigh in.