18 May

'Whether I am or not a communist is irrelevant. The question is whether American citizens, regardless of their political beliefs or sympathies, may enjoy their constitutional rights.' Paul Robeson to the House Un-American Activities Committee

May 18, 2009 · 1 min read

American singer, athlete, writer, civil rights activist, socialist and oh so much more Paul Robeson today in 1952 stood on the back of a flat bed truck on the US side of the US-Canadian border and sang of solidarity to an estimated 40,000 Canadians. His act was in defiance of a passport ban prohibiting him from leaving the US because of his left-wing political views and civil rights activities.

In his book, Here I Stand, Robeson ends with the poem Rail-Splitter Awake by Pablo Neruda, saying this ‘speaks for me’

Let us think of the entire earth

and pound the table with love.

I don’t want blood again

to saturate bread, beans, music:

I wish they would come with me:

the miner, the little girl,

the lawyer, the seaman,

the doll-maker,

to go into a movie and come out

to drink the reddest wine . . .

I came here to sing

And for you to sing with me


From the US to the UK: shared legacies of black struggle

Far too often, we think of police brutality in the US as exceptional. Families on both sides of the Atlantic tell stories that prove otherwise. Black Britain must be heard, writes Wail Qasim

Immigration detention and the politics of Covid-19

 The response to the pandemic has allowed us to imagine a world without immigration detention centres, writes Rachel Harger

The Gold Vaults of the Bank of England [Credit: Bank of England]

Fighting the inequality pandemic: the case for a super-tax

Keval Bharadia argues for a super-tax on financial markets to curb extreme inequality in the wake of Covid-19


Breaking the Big Pharma stranglehold

Affordable healthcare means breaking the stranglehold that Big Pharma has on our medicines system, writes Dana Brown

Gender, class and cliché in Normal People

The BBC hit drama shows the complexities of class mobility, but can’t avoid class and gender stereotypes, says Frances Hatherley

Momentum

Forward Momentum: democracy isn’t a distraction

Democracy isn’t a distraction, says Deborah Hermanns - it’s the only way to transform Momentum and the Labour Party and effectively build power in our communities.