Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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Kicking back in austerity Britain

When the Coalition came to power in 2010, the knee-jerk reaction for me was to oppose them with everything I had. So I did what I normally do in times of crisis: pick up a guitar and criss-cross the country trying to raise merry hell playing at both gigs and protests. This is documented in the Picket Line Party project I released earlier this year.

Looking back, I was riding a wave of strikes, demonstrations, and protests that in some ways crashed and burned. I did too. Now, in 2012, the day-to-day indignities of the cuts continue, but the media-grabbing events of the likes of Occupy have turned into localised struggles to save jobs and services. This is a good thing, but the fight back is proceeding at a much slower pace than is necessary for any reversal of our collective fortunes, let alone a radical re-wiring of our society.

The question for me earlier this year was: what to do about this all now? My response has been to come up with the "Kicking Back In Austerity Britain tour"; a night of hard-hitting, socially engaged acoustic music in collaboration with Gail Something-Else.

As the UK reels from the relentless onslaught of government cuts and institutional corruption, protests have mushroomed nationally. Globally, revolutions and uprisings have swept the board. We want to share our tales about these, as well as hear from you!

What we've put together is a show with songs, story-telling and visuals, as well as discussion and literature about the various campaigns we've been involved in recently. We had songs about the same issues done from different perspectives and musical styles, and stories from our year of traveling around as activists and musicians. The idea of combining these with visuals and audience interaction came about because we wanted to do something different, presenting what we were saying in an original way so as to involve and empower people.

Activist musicians have a number of roles to play. Tuneful presentations of slogans can rally people around as well as having propaganda value.

Songs can also be polemics on tactical ethics. I was frustrated after years of campaigning to see lazy arguments trotted out once again on the subject of violence at demonstrations after the TUC March for the Alternative in March 2011. This came out in the song No Gods No Masters which sought to pull apart a lot of this lazy thinking, as well as deglamorise the effect violence has on individuals as well.

Part of the songwriting tradition of the left is to keep alive previous struggles or collective memories of past injustice. I was interested in the Music Hall War strike of 1907 as the big names of the day came out in support of music hall workers on strike due to pay and conditions. Many of the stars were of working class backgrounds themselves. Would Cheryl Cole do the same nowadays in a similar situation?

The blame for Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy where 23 cocklers from China died has been placed on the gangmasters. I wanted to examine how Tory legislation played a massive part in it, and how racism can destroy working-class solidarity.

Or just thoughts at the pressures and pains of confronting the state.

Growing up under Thatcher definitely helped make me an anarchist. As a resident of Wales for over ten years, the radical history of this country has always fascinated and inspired me. However, these days it seems bizarre that widespread grassroots action has been replaced by the credit card as a social leveller. Perhaps mounting austerity will help change this here, and the UK more generally. But it is action that will ultimately shift things. That's the message we're attempting to get out with this show.

I like the idea of "kicking back" - it means relaxing as well as retaliation! we are taking the show around Wales and England this autumn We are still looking for dates on the tour, especially in Wales, so if you want to book us, get in touch.