the great hall

60

the great hall
in memory of Graeme Stuart 1932-2017

in the great hall the souls of militants gather
they relax with sandwiches wrapped in agendas
they draw lessons from old strikes and stopworks
and debate the relevance of direct action these days

they remember defeats more glorious than victory
the surge of hope that came with solidarity
raise once again their hands to vote for action
and hesitatingly vow it was all worth it

look at us now says Stewie well fed well off
agreeably housed in this magnificent great hall
ah what a space for a stopwork meeting
but who are the enemies and who the leaders

in 1891 the shearers had the squatters
in our heyday we had the government
but now that everything’s supposed to be private
where are the bosses to march against

those things we fought for are gone
there’s no such thing as job security
in the old days you just lost a bit of pay
these days they sack you at the drop of a leaflet

we have our houses our books and our Mozart
we sing requiems for the great days of struggle
we thought we could pass the baton to the young ones
but they idle by the track and keep out of trouble

they were beautiful days those days of action
now they’re just sidings on the back track of memory
so it’s goodbye to stopworks goodbye to action
hail and farewell to all that

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