Monday, August 18, 2008

Paul Robeson, a little more.

Paul Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) rose from being the son of a slave, to become an actor, an opera singer and a campaigner for the equality between all races.
He was much loved here in Wales, visited often during his life, until the American government forbade him to travel , due to the links he had begun to create with trade unionists and other political thinkers.
Unsuprisingly, his visits to Moscow, and the singing of Russian songs wasn`t going in his favour with the right-wing ideologists that controlled the american government of that time.
In the thirties, during the civil war in Spain, he went there to encourage the americans who fought on the side of the anti-Franco brigades.

Paul Robeson and his links with the coal miners of Wales.

C,click below to an article, and also an excellent blog, that socialist thinkers may find to be of interest:

Socialist Unity... The Blog.


Respectable Citizen said...

Other interesting figures who visited Wales include the legendary subversive anarchist, Emma Goldmann who apparently spent some time in West Wales

an average patriot said...

Man it is only getting worse in this country and will get a lot worse pretty soon. How green was my valley is one of my favorite movies. Paul Robeson I can't say I ever heard of so thanks!

Respectable Citizen said...

For a less romanticised rosy view of Wales, check out Wales' answer to John Steinbeck, Lewis Jones and his defiant novel Cwmardy

landsker said...

Hi "Mr Respectable C".
The redoubtable Ms Goldman did indeed spend time here, around Ammanford and Swansea, hanging out with the coal miners and iron workers of that time.
Apparently she gave many an inspiring speech in the bars and clubs of the working class.
Having been "expelled" from the US, she had returned to Europe.
Eventually she married a Scots miner and political activist living in Wales,... James Colton, which thus gave her a British passport, and the right of abode in Canada.
The University of Wales keeps and occasionally exhibits artefacts and letters pertaining to both Emma Goldman and Paul Robeson.

"We will remember them", Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.."
(Anarchic Plagiarism...)

I`d not known of Lewis Jones, must check that...

Hi Jim,
It definitely seems like the U.S. is facing up to the "end of empire".
I haven`t actually seen completely, neither "Proud Valley", nor "How green was my valley",(have seen many a clip and excerpt.)
As you might have guessed, Wales is a land of hills, mountains and valleys, under which,a few centuries back, in the South, was found an immense deposit of coal, which naturally became another page in the history of the conflict between capital and labour .
Perhaps, it is that same struggle, the gap between classes, which is dragging the U.S. into both a fiscal and a social mire.

Mariamariacuchita said...

What an original thinker he was. I was on Wales once many many years ago and always wanted to go back. What a beautiful place.

a very public sociologist said...

Cheers for the plug for Socialist Unity.

In return I've added you to my individual blog :)

Renegade Eye said...

Paul Robson was great in Showboat, as well.

Too bad the left's artists gravitated to Stalinism.

landsker said...

Hi Maria,
Robeson certainly pushed the boundaries of life! Good to hear you enjoyed your visit to this part of the globe.
Public sociologist,
No problems, I enjoy "lurking" there! Thanks for the link, reciprocation follows.
R. Eye.
Haven`t seen Showboat, not really into the corporate stuff.
Robeson certainly did have one foot with the establishment, which paid his rent, but for much of his time, he was running with the workers.
As for artists and Stalinism, I don`t think most of them would define themselves as such.
Hendrix did "Hey Joe", all about a bloke "shooting his old lady down", maybe it was a sly dig at Russian politics?

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