Three poems on peace and war

Poems by Adrian Mitchell

July 30, 2008
2 min read


Adrian Mitchell was Red Pepper's 'shadow poet laureate'.

To all in the so-called defence industry

Arms trade workers, here’s an early warning

You might wake up tomorrow morning

And find that this is the glorious day

When all your jobs will just melt away

Because the people of the world are going to make sure

There’ll be no more, no more, no more war

So now’s the time to switch your occupation

From dealing in death and desolation

Don’t hang around now you’ve been told

The international murder trade’s about to fold

You won’t have to maim, you won’t have to kill,

You can use your brain and use your skill.

Peace needs workers of all kinds-

Make artificial limbs instead of landmines.

Tricycles instead of tridents,

Violins instead of violence,

Lifeboats, hospitals, medicine, drains,

Food and toys and buses and trains-

Come on, there’s plenty of work to be done

If we’re going to make peace for everyone.

_

_

Peacetime Haiku

Try one hundred years

Without any wars at all –

Let’s see if it works!

_

_

Slavery and War

The planet earth in 1787 AD

More than three-quarters of its people

Were in bondage of some kind,

Including serfdom and slavery,

80.000 Africans were chain and fettered

and taken to the new world every year.

There was no anti-slavery campaign.

On May 22nd 1787

Twelve men met in London printing shop.

The campaign against slavery began.

There were slaves and free activists,

Quakers, atheists,

And men, women and children

Who loved freedom.

They were mocked as wild, impractical dreamers.

They had no e-mails or TV,

No radio or telephones,

But they found ways of showing the world

The obscenity of slavery.

So they abolished

First the international slave trade

And then slavery itself.

It was hard work.

It took them about fifty years.

Only fifty years.

Today we can use e-mail and TV, Radio and telephones.

We can abolish

First the international arms trade

And then war itself.

It’ll be hard work.

Might take as long as twenty years.

Adrian Mitchell, September 2005

(Written after reading Bury the Chains – The British struggle to abolish slavery by Adam Hochschild. Macmillan: £20)


Adrian Mitchell was Red Pepper's 'shadow poet laureate'.


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’

Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue

A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank

News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions

Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release

Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts

‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette

The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.

How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op

Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU

Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson

Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release

University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.

Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.

Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History


2