PACIFIC STREET first met Federico Arcos during the production of the 1980 film, ANARCHISM IN AMERICA. It soon became clear that his vision of an Anarchist future was, if anything, relentless. Despite decades of privation and isolation he held fast to the notion of universal freedom, unbridled by the twin constraints of government and religion. It was in Canada that Emma Goldman was to live out the rest of her life. Indeed, her dusty old suitcase, representing her years of travel and activism, eventually found its way to Federico, who had also found a new home in Canada. The basement of his nondescript suburban house had now become an enormous archive of Spanish anarchist materials collected from sources around the world. For many years, through the terrible trauma of the Spanish dictatorship, Federico was one of several refugees who helped keep alive the bright light of the Spanish anarchist experience. Certainly, his relentless passion to save the anarchist legacy in Spain – despite Franco’s heated attempts to destroy any trace of the movement – has preserved a period of history that would have long been forgotten.
See FILMS for contemporary newsreel footage of the 1963 anti-Polaris demonstration from Glasgow to Dunoon by paddle steamer and from there to Ardnadam pier. Note the Special Branch man striding across the beach in his blue mac while another photographs the Glasgow Anarchist Federation banner (and the anarchists around it!).
Ding Dong Dollar (1962) In 196l when American gun-boats and nuclear submarines came sailing up the Clyde people from all over Britain descended on the Holy Loch to confront them, singing songs such as the following. The musicians on this record (and the protestors) adopted the name ‘The Glasgow Eskimos’, an ironic reference to a dismissive remark by Captain Lanning, the commander of the US Proteus when his vessels were boarded by protestors using canoes and kayaks. The singers on this recording include Morris Blythman (in whose cellar in Springburn the recording was made), Josh MacRae, Nigel Denver, Jackie O’Connor, Jim McLean — and a few others who happened to be around that night…
Ding Dong Dollar; I Shall Not be Moved; We Dinnae Want Polaris; Chase The Yankees Oot The Clyde; The Polis of Argyll; Ye’ll no sit here; Anti-Polaris; Misguided Missile and the Misguided Miss; Coronation Coronach; NAB for Royalty; They say we’ve never Had it sae Guid; Camp in the Country; The Glesca Eskimos; The Freedom Come All Ye; Ban Polaris—Hallelujah
JOHN BARKER reads from his prison memoir Bending the Bars at Brighton’s Cowley Club in 2010 (see Films page above). Born in Kilburn, London, in 1948, John was arrested in August 1971 in the so-called “Angry Brigade” case and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. It was the longest trial in English legal history. Released in 1978, John wrote his memoir of those seven years in the English penal system. His novel, Futures, has been published in French by Grasset, and in German by Dumont but has so far not appeared in English.
FREEDOM, COME ALL YE. The Exiles. A London-based trio of Scottish singers who played an important part, individually and collectively, in the Folk revival and radical protest movement of the early- to mid-1960s. The Exiles, who recorded for the Topic label, consisted of vocalist Enoch Kent, Bobby Campbell and Gordon McCulloch. (In memory of comrade Bobby Campbell 1942-1997)
01 The Ballad of Accounting – Enoch Kent with mandola & guitar
02 The Moving on song – Enoch Kent with harmonica & guitar
03 We’re only over here for exploration – Paul Lenihan with banjo & guitar
04 Thank Christ for Christmas– Enoch Kent with mandola & guitar
05 The Pigeon – Enoch Kent with banjo & guitar
06 The Pound-a-week rise – Gordon McCulloch with mandola
07 Freedom come all ye – Gordon McCulloch with fiddle
08 For A’ That and A’ That – Enoch Kent, Gordon McCulloch, Bobby Campbell with mandoline and guitar
09 Arthur MacBride – Gordon McCulloch with fiddle
10 Willie Brennan – Enoch Kent with fiddle & chromatic harmonica
11 Wae’s me for Prince Charlie – Gordon McCulloch with fiddle, whistle and guitar
12 La Pique – Bobby Campbell with Enoch Kent and Gordon McCulloch
13 Van Diemen’s Land – Enoch Kent
14 Two Recruiting Sergeants – Enoch Kent, Gordon McCulloch with fiddle and guitar
JOSH MACRAE, one of the ‘Glasgow Eskimos’ (along with Morris Blythman [aka-Thurso Berwick], Nigel Denver, Jackie O’Connor and Jim McLean) of the anti-Polaris, Republican Socialist and radical folk-song movement of the 1950s and 1960s, was one of the great voices of Scottish folk-song of the time. Josh took his own life in 1977.
T For Texas—I learned this first from Rambling Jack Elliott and I’ve sung it just about everywhere I go.
Talking Union Blues—A classic and one of the many things for which we are indebted to Pete Seeger.
The Whisky Seller—This one I just learned from Tom Paley of the New Lost City Ramblers and it’s a bit of hypocrisy on my part because I like whisky.
The Klan—I learned this from Maurice Frankel who wrote the melody. It is now a folk club standard in any programme that relates to protest.
I Loved A Lass—A traditional Scottish ballad which I learned from Archie Fisher.
The Ballad Of Lee Oswald—It expresses the doubt all the people have about who actually killed Kennedy. I think this doubt should be expressed.
Dobie Bill—Some years ago I had the great privilege of meeting and singing with Cisco Houston from whom I learned this song which he made as a memento of his days in cowboy films.
The Castlereagh—Written I believe by Banjo Patterson. At least Hamish Imlach tells me this, so if I am wrong get in touch with him. He’s bigger than me anyway.
Wild Flying Dove—One of the most beautiful songs by Tom Paxton.
One Day Old—This was just a lyric in a book by John Greenway until Archie Fisher put the melody to it. The whole thing is now self explanatory.
Girl From The North Country—This, to my mind, is one of the best Bob Dylan songs I’ve heard. It’s simple and true.
Talking Atomic Blues—Is also known as “Old Man Atom”. This is a song I’ve known and sung for several years, having originally learned it from the record by Guy Carawan.