After Vladimir Mayakovsky.

This poem has been presented as a series of images in order to preserve its structure on all devices. Alt-text has been provided for each image.

I’d tear 	through bureaucracy like a wolf 					or maybe just a rabid dog. I have no respect 		for any kind of thing that worsens 						the daily slog. Nothing good  has ever come 				from systems working top-down And any leader, 		whatever the label, 				wears authority like a crown. But a worker 		has to deal with what there is, 							however hard.
So I have many 		contradictory thoughts 					when looking at my membership card. That piece of plastic; 			orange, purple, red 						(or is that vermillion?) Is nothing special on the surface, 				just one card 						of six million. Yet it represents a force 			that can stop an industry 						in its tracks That shows what happens, 				when it withdraws, 							when labour decides to lapse.
That is: capital’s collapse. At least that’s what they say  in songs
and it’d be nice to leave it there But a song 		does not a future make,  						and solidarity’s much more rare than they say. We’re no longer 		those horny handed sons of toil, 						no flatcaps here, we’re all precarious. But try to tell the movement that 				they’ll treat you like 							you’re plain delirious.
As if there was ever 		 	some kind of bar 					   to being one of the proletariat. Trade Unions 		are one of the few 					narrowing public avenues for workers 		to try and create, 					to realise a common wealth. Yet Unions Gen Secs 			can’t help but baulk 						when workers organise themselves.
For Union bosses 			like to talk 					in terms of slow reform and increments. But in doing so 		they forget about 				the most important part: the human element. For workers and small unions, 				in recognition deals,  there’s not much room at all. Is this really the peak 			of the labour movement? 							To be recognised by Capital? The bigger unions
despite their numbers 						seem Useless Seven Days A Week. Too busy with radio talks 			and shitting on comrades 						to understand why they’re going under. The TUC, 	whatever the heat, 			 will do nothing and then duly wait. To take their paychecks, 			and manage defeat, 					letting workers be crushed by the carceral state. Not the types 		for grounding conversations, let alone a ‘most radical rupture’
The labour bosses 		are just trying 				to clamber up the nation’s social structure. Listen, 	if you’re incredulous, 				and find it hard to believe me, Just take a look at the 			last gen sec, 					and her brand new barony. I have to say 		it’s a literal interpretation 					of ‘labour aristocracy’.
The congress, 		with its salaried suits, 					so obsessed with being rational Has forgotten 		that once upon a time, 					workers at least tried to be international. Solidarity, 	when we let it loose, 				is a power that reaches across oceans. What’s the state
of that power today? 				Tweets and posts and conference motions. Now don’t get me wrong, 			I’m not trying to say 						solidarity is a competition. But workers in the past, 			probably more racist than we, 							still fought for slavery abolition. Those lads and men, 			in Lanc and Manc, 					backed the embargo of slave picked cotton A sterling example, 			yet 160 years on, 					the movement still hasn’t caught on.
And yet, 	despite all the glaring flaws 				it’s hard to reject in full. I’ve seen 	joy fill the eyes of a picketing worker, 						as they break out of their lull I’ve seen  the fire on a picket line, 			putting into action their iron will. I’ve heard them sing 			stanzas of past workers and martyrs, 								and felt history stand still.
Not to be a shill, 		but I live for each time 					workers put forth their demands. And yes, 	the movement is diminished, 					but an ebbing fire can still burn a hand. 2 centuries now of bitter struggle, and still the movement persists because it’s not
for nothing trade unionists find their way onto pig blacklists.				 There’s a standout reason 			 why the state apparatus 						wants to break us into tiny shards. It’s because in my hands, 			gripped tightly, 					I hold a coloured acrylic card. I’d tear 	through bureaucracy like a wolf 					or maybe just a rabid dog.
I have no respect 		for any kind of thing that worsens 						the daily slog. But I pull out this card 			to show the world I’m a proud member 							of this collective. Orange, red, purple, vermillion 			one of six million other perspectives,
I say 	to the bosses, 			the police, 				the union barons: the time  to reckon with you all  comes soon, then. But for now: 		read it and weep, you fuckers! 						I’m a member of a workers union.

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