Showing posts with label fife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fife. Show all posts

Friday, August 30, 2013

Desperate to work

 Morrisons, the supermarket chain, advertised 250 vacancies at a new store in Kirkcaldy. Jobseekers were charged 21p a supermarket jobs hotline with more than 10,000 calls in an hour - an incredible rate of almost three calls every second. Jobseekers were charged 21p every time they left a message on the hotline. One applicant ended up with a £40 telephone bill.

The desperate job seeking has mirrored the opening of Asda in Glenrothes when nearly 7000 people were said to have expressed interest in positions and 400 people secured part and full-time jobs at the store.

Fife has the third-highest unemployment rate in Scotland, 7.8% of residents are unable to find work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Fife poverty

MORE THAN one in eight families in West Fife are still living in poverty, according to new statistics. 

A report by Audit Scotland revealed that 13.9 per cent of the Dunfermline and West Fife health partnership area are living below the breadline.

 Life expectancies in Dunfermline and West Fife saw a slight increase to 75.5 years for men and 79.5 years for women but these are still well below the UK average of 78.1 and 82.1.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Joe Corrie - Rebel Poems

Joe Corrie (1894-1968), poet and playwright, was a Fife miner, and his early poems were published in the left-wing paper, the 'Forward'. He has been described as "a class-consious poet." T. S. Eliot described him as "the greatest Scots poet since Burns". Many of his poems have now been set to music by such as the Battlefield Band. The Corrie Centre in Cardenden was named after him as belated recognition of his talents.

Corrie's first plays, The Shillin' a Week-Man and The Poacher, were performed by his group of fellow miners, the Bowhill Village Players, during the 1926 General Strike. In Time o' Strife Corrie dramatised the subsequent lockout. He wrote the play about the strike (which was heading to a bitter, protracted defeat) because he was on strike. Had he not been on strike, he couldn’t have written a full length play of any kind. The play itself is a family argument about how to make the best out of defeat. The last line will resonate with the defeated miners of the 84-85 strike. “Sing tho they hae ye crushed in the mire…you’ll win through yet, for there’s nae power on earth can crush the men who can sing on a day like this.”

Some of his poetry

I AM THE COMMON MAN


I am the Common Man
I am the brute and the slave
I am the fool, the despised
From the cradle to the grave

I am the hewer of coal
I am the tiller of soil
I am serf of the seas
Born to bear and to toil

I am the builder of halls
I am the dweller of slums
I am the filfth and the scourge
When winter's depression comes

I am the fighter of wars
I am the killer of men
Not for a day or an age
But again and again and again

I am the Common Man
But Masters of mine take heed
For you have put into my head
Oh! many a wicked deed


For other poems click read more


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fife Anarchism

Socialist Courier continues its occasional account of Scotland's radical past. We do not lay claim to its working class history, or claim that it represented the views of the Socialist Party but feel that in many cases, our political history has been hidden away and needs to once again come into the open to spur debate and discussion.

Lawrence Storione
(1867–1922) was a Fife miner. He is best known for founding the Anarchist Communist League in Cowdenbeath.

Lawrence Storione was the son of the Italian stonemason, born in Italy in 1867. Storione later lived in Liege and participated in several miners' strikes in Belgium. It appears he was given pamphlets on anarchism in this period by the noted French anarchist Elisee Reclus, who was lecturing at the University of Brussels and Storione now began to identify as an anarchist. He ended up in Scotland in 1897 arriving in Muirhead, Ayrshire. He moved on to Hamilton in Lanarkshire where he was to marry Annie Cowan in 1900 and stayed until 1906 when he travelled to Canada. He returned to Scotland in 1908, where he lived in Lumphinnans, Fife.

His coming to the pit village of Lumphinnans and his employment at No1 pit there introduced revolutionary ideas among the miners in that area. He soon set up an Anarchist Communist League which, according to Stuart MacIntyre in his" Little Moscows" preached a" heady mixture of De Leonist Marxism and the anarchist teachings of Kropotkin and Stirner, a libertarian communism which was fiercely critical of the union”. Among those who appeared to have joined the League were the miners Abe and Jim Moffat and Robert (Bob) Selkirk. All three were to join the Communist Party in 1922, Abe Moffat having an important position within it and Selkirk serving as a CP town councillor in Cowdenbeath for 24 years. In his anarchist years, Selkirk had been a member of a Scottish branch of the IWW, and publicly polemicised against Guy Aldred’s rejection of work-shop organisation, as well as denouncing Kropotkin for his pro- First World War position.

Storione’s children were given good revolutionary names: Armonie, Anarchie, Autonomie, Germinal and Libertie! The sole exception to this was his daughter Annie and she was a leading light in a Proletarian Sunday School in Cowdenbeath, which used the Industrial Workers of the World's Little Red Songbook, far more radical than the Sunday School set up in the area by the Independent Labour Party.

 Bob Selkirk wrote that the League sold copies of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid, Stirner’s The Ego and His Own, and De Leon’s Two Pages From Roman History. The main slogan of the League was, again according to Selkirk, “Trade Unions are bulwarks of capitalism and all Trade Union leaders are fakirs”.  On the League’s critique of the trade unions Selkirk remarks that: “We thus sowed defeatism and pessimism instead of strengthening the organisations of the workers. Actually most of the members of this Branch became successful businessmen, accountants, dance band leaders, insurance agents, etc. They had lost faith in the workers” (Bob Selkirk, The Life of a Worker, 1967).

Both Abe Moffat and Selkirk mention Storione as an inspiration. However as members of a Party that was virulently anti-anarchist they had to re-write history. So for Moffat, Storione, (remembered as Storian in his book) was no longer an anarchist but “an ardent Communist,” who had convinced he and his brother Jim to a militant anti-capitalist position (My Life With The Miners, 1967).

Stevenson in his biography of Davie Proudfoot, Communist and then Labour activist, says that he was influenced by the League, although carrying on the CP tradition conveniently drops the "Anarchist" from the League's title

The League set up a bookshop in nearby Cowdenbeath in 1916, as the result of the subscriptions of twelve workers subscribing £24 each. It sold Capital, Ancient Society and other Charles Kerr publications. “We sold anything considered progressive, even “The Strike of A sex”. We sold the anti-war literature of the time and became familiar with police warrants and police searching of our houses”

Lawrence Storione died in 1922 after a pit accident invalided him during 1917. At a compensation hearing that year the Sheriff gave a decision in Storione's favour. However, police were to challenge this, saying that he was fit to work. They said that, along with Jack Leckie and Willie Gallagher, he headed a demonstrations in Kelty when 5,000 workers struck during the Three Weeks Strike. He was eventually to lose his fight for compensation.

Mary Docherty - A Miner's Lass.

'They always talk about how red Clydeside was, but Fife was just as radical,' she says. 'It seemed revolution here was just round the corner. Middle-class people were terrified. You had to lie to your employer about attending marches and hope they did not see you. The London headquarters of the Communist Party even got in touch with Fife to say slow down. We were so far ahead.' Her father became a member of the Fife Communist Anarchist Group and later a founding member of the Communist Party in Britain. 'Before he became political, like many miners, he was searching for reasons for poverty. He became a member of the temperance movement, but soon realised drink was not the cause.'

Song of Sixpence:

'Sing a song of labour
Boys and girls do try
For the master's children
Have got all the pie . . .'

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...