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.
Try one hundred years
Without any wars at all –
Let’s see if it works!
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,
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)
#229 No Return to ‘Normal’ ● Sir David King blasts the government ● State power, policing and civil rights under Covid-19 ● Hope and determination in grassroots resistance ● Black liberation and Palestine ● The future of ‘live’ ● Pubs, patriotism and precarity ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
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