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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

let us rally - A Poem that might be a a song by Bill Hannan

Bill Hannan was my English and French teacher at Moreland High School in the early sixties, He has remained an engaged and engaging figure with active interests across local and Australian history, literature, politics and the arts. He recently sent me this verse and I'm reproducing it with his permission.

in the wonderland of free markets
the best stuff is the cheapest
if our steel costs too much
we should sack a few steelworkers
if they’re still not the world’s best
we should throw the lot of them out
into the jobs and growth economy
where the shifters beat the shirkers

let us rally to deplore 
the rise of global capital
and gather for a party 
to celebrate its fall
stand a while beside the grave
of our ancestral radicals
and muse a while on what is
to become of us all

Thomas Picketty points out 
that the inbuilt inequality
of capitalism was restrained 
by depression and two wars
that the trickledown ideas 
of global peace and prosperity
would in the end enrich the rich
and impoverish the poor

let us rally to deplore 
the rise of global capital
and gather for a party 
to celebrate its fall
stand a while beside the grave
of our ancestral  radicals
and muse a while on wha is
 to become of us all

jobs and growth the PM mantraed
in his campaign for re-election
he didn’t bother to explain 
whether there was a connection
the voters thought like me
that there was no explanation
they gave it the big raspberry 
so he had a limp election

let us rally to deplore 
the rise of global capital
and gather for a party 
to celebrate its fall
stand a while beside the grave
of our ancestral  radicals
and muse a while on what is 
to become of us all

we had a golden age 
called post-war reconstruction
new schools free health and benefits
way better than the dole
but then we settled down
forgot about protection
and watched as the free markets 
tipped our jobs down the plughole

let us rally to deplore 
the rise of global capital
and gather for a party 
to celebrate its fall
stand a while beside the grave
of our ancestral  radicals
and muse a while on what is 
to become of us all

the least we can do for steelworkers
is buy some of their steel
it wouldn’t have cost much to save
the workshops at Ford and Holden 
what’s the problem with forcing crooks
to give milk farmers a fair price 
why not give the drover a scrap
of meat from the squatter’s table

let us rally to deplore 
the rise of global capital
and gather for a party 
to celebrate its fall
stand a while beside the grave
of our ancestral  radicals
and muse a while on what is 
to become of us all.


Bill Hannan


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