[ID: A photo of a worker's protest at night. In the foreground are the backs of a several rows of ex-Debenham's workers and their supporters in Limerick seated in the middle of the street in a tight group. In the background, a line of police stand facing them. Behind the police is large truck the police are attempting to escort down the road blocked by the protest. End ID]
The ex-Debenham's workers have been fighting for over 400 days to have their fought-for redundancy packages honored after Debenhams went into liquidation last year. Workers are at the bottom of the list when it comes to creditors a liquidated company needs to honor. The stock inside the shop is the only leverage that the workers have to fight with, and they, and a massive support from the Limerick community fought together for it in the early hours of 18/5/21.
First, workers and supporters who were sat with linked arms at the main service entrance of the shop were dragged off by gardai one by one away from the group - three cops to a person - and set down across the street. Then, the group of ~100 workers and supporters sat down in the street facing down a line of police to block the removal truck from gaining access to the shop. The entire night was a disgraceful show of public funds used against the people to protect private property.
In the end, due to the heroic solidarity of workers and working-class people standing together, the police had to pack up their barricades, send the trucks back, and retreat.
Tonight there may be another attempt, but the message is clear:
The workers united will never be defeated ✊
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Note on Coronavirus epidemic
The world has been going through a serious epidemy of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and as guided by World Health Organization, the best way to minimize the effects of the epidemy is the social isolation and quarantine. Like all crises, the poorest workers are the most affected. Many companies do not want to stop working and, consequently, prohibit the worker's right of quarantine. Many workers are being laid off, self-employed workers, street vendors and others workers categories are without income. There is also the case of immigrants in refugee camps and homeless people who has no access to minimum sanitary conditions to prevent the virus. Faced with this scenario of several attacks on the working class, the Global May Day Coordination could not fail to position itself on this new conjuncture and calls on the syndicats to carry out a worldwide campaign on the following axes:
1) For the right to quarantine to all workers who are not in essential services.
2) Decent sanitary working conditions for all workers in essential services.
3) For the right of a global basic income to all workers affected by the epidemy.
4) For the immediate suspension of water, electricity, cooking gas, telephone and internet bills.
5) For the immediate suspension of Rents.
May the rich pay for the crisis!
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The way Orpheus’ song to Hades, “Epic III”, much like Orpheus himself at first feels alien in a place like Hadestown, or at least Hadestown as it is today, a Love Song full of sheer innocence, openess, vulnerability, utmost purity amidst a neon necropolis of mechanical steels and endless walls of iron and concrete and dreary work chants, a soft, “muted” lyre song amidst a score otherwise loud and full of pounding drums
The way Orpheus sings in a blunt, sincere, almost childish way because that’s how he usually speaks and that’s the way he is, a lovestruck innocence which cannot be bound to words, and how it deeply contrasts to the formal, royal and rethorical way Hades usually speaks
Yet Hades’ reaction to hearing the song at first - “Oh it’s about me?” - is also blunt and sincere in that moment, having none of the formalities that usually color Hades’ manner of speech, driving home he’s really surprised about the song being about him, because he genuinely didn’t expect that. Knowing Hades he probably expected Orpheus’ song being just a long, long lament, a request to allow taking that girl out of Hadestown, or maybe just him decrying the state of the world and Hadestown and Hades himself, in which case Hades couldn’t wait faster for the boy to finish so he can finally throw him in the furnace for his insolence - yet it was none of that. Just a song about Hades, then about Hades and Persephone, then about Orpheus and Eurydice, in which Orpheus sings from his heart his inexpressive Love for Eurydice which turns out to be the exact same kind of intense Love Hades felt for Persephone, a long time ago - and you can feel Hades being caught off-guard by all of that, so surprised he cannot hide himself behind royal formalities, in that moment
The sheer intensity of the lalalalalalala section, how each wordless phrase goes up and down like the seasons, and the way the Chorus picks Orpheus’ melody and keeps singing without him, embodying cycles, death and rebirth, but also how each echo of the Chorus is weaved around Orpheus’ voice like petals weavering from a flower, and the way the entire section feels like witnessing something blooming, or should I say like witnessing the whole universe cracking from a cosmic seed again - this is Love in its purest form, blooming song-glory which is boundless and transcends language and thus cannot be trapped into simple, mortal words, the kind of Love so pure and intense it can scorch Hatred to pieces and out of it create Life. And now the song doesn’t feel any alien anymore in Hadestown, because for the first time in how long, Hadestown is blooming and flowing with sheer, pure life again
And how after all of that, during the outro, how Orpheus’ verses (”And what has became of the heart of that man [...]”) are worded and written very differently because he’s now talking about Hades and Hadestown in their current, present form, and now he’s talking to Hades in Hades’ own language, the formal, royal and rethorical way the King speaks - yet Orpheus is still asking himself those questions, because after all he and Hades are one and the same. His deep love for Eurydice is the same deep love Hades had for Persephone, and so is the deep, crushing doubt both feel towards losing their wives forever, how they both feel so undeserving of their love, and undeserving of everything they’ve owned and accomplished - and how they’re both so afraid of losing everything despite it all. The way Orpheus is essentially talking about his experience with Eurydice leaving him for Hadestown because he was too busy trying to finish his song while she was alone and starving, sure he was trying to finish the song to heal a broken word, for Eurydice, but doesn’t change the fact she was left behind when she needed the most and thus in turn left him behind herself, and Orpheus is now very aware of that and it hurts him so much, because if a world-healing song couldn’t shelter her, harbor her when she needed the most then what does Orpheus himself can do, if a song is all he ever had? And despite all of that it’s the same thoughts and feelings Hades has - if an artificial summer is not enough for his wife to stay, then what Hades himself can do, if a neon necropolis is all he ever had?
How the last two lines of the outro verse slide back to the open vulnerability (“Where’s the man with his arms/oustretched to the woman he loves with nothing to lose”), sticking out of the outro verse by breaking out from the Underworld’s formalities and going back to the blunt and sincere, no-word-tricks way of the first half of the song, and it’s both a direct answer to an Hades line from “Chant (Reprise)” (“But it takes more than singing songs/to keep a woman in your arms”) but also a question to not only Hades but Orpheus himself, where’s the wide-eyed, lovestruck innocent boy in love with a woman from the first act of the show/from when the world was still young, vulnerable enough to only offer himself up to her, no grand songs or neon necropoles, not afraid to outstretch (not hold, outstretch) his arms waiting for her to come instead of trying to forcefully hold her not letting her go?
And you really feel Hades being made young again. The way his voice gasps before he sings the Love melody, like he’s breathing again, almost like he died and was reborn in that moment, and that was his first breath. His occasional slips on formality - like the “Oh it’s about me?” moment - don’t feel jarring anymore, and it’s the formal façade Hades has put on himself until now that feels strange in that moment - as unnatural as the twisting steel and iron and concrete that over time have grown in Hadestown bigger and wider, suffocating what was left of whatever semblance of life it ever had before - because Hades in his natural state is also a lovestruck innocence that cannot be bound to words. But the weight of the massive cinder rivers he himself raised crashed down and drowned him, and all he could do was wall up himself behind layers and layers of steel and chromium and hold whatever air was left, because he knew how fragile all those structures are and he knew it was only a matter of time before the world utterly collapsed and Persephone left him for good. And now Orpheus is allowing him to be vulnerable again, allowing himself to shed all those walls away and breathe again for the first time how long, and when the three of them - Orpheus, Hades, Persephone - sing together the final melodic phrase, it’s a sign of recognition, and it really feels like the world is brought back into tune again, at least for a moment, no rivers of stone to deafen him, no rivers of wine to blind her, because both of them, the King and Queen of the Underworld, are now open and vulnerable and ready to try with each other again
And it’s just so heartbreaking, knowing Orpheus fails afterwards, because while Hades could shed his rivers away, Orpheus only could suffocate himself in his own rivers of doubt even more. If he could not provide for Eurydice, why would she ever follow him to the upperworld, to the cold and dark, again? Why would he ever trust Hades in his deal if trusting him is what created Hadestown as it is today, why wouldn’t Hades trick him, because wouldn’t have Orpheus done the same if he was in his shoes in his immortal skin? And the same crippling doubt that plagued Hades for millenia to no end is now consuming Orpheus to oblivion and it almost feels like that same recognition - the same empathy that made the healing of Hades possible - is the very thing that caused Orpheus’ downfall. In that very moment Orpheus mimicks Hades’ own language - rethorical questions, circular reasoning, the way he straight up avoids calling either Eurydice or Hades or anyone else by their name just like Hades would - and the reason he looked back, in the end, is the same reason Hades had build that wall. Doubt that she’ll never come back. He’s grown so afraid that he’ll lose what he owns. He does not trust himself to outstretch his arms, waiting for her to come on her own anymore, because why would she? He doesn’t deserve her. Yet he needs her. He misses her love - his love for her - so much. So he looks back, he builds a wall trying to keep her in, trying to hold her desperately one last time, but in trying to forcibly hold her against her will is what makes her go for good. And in that action he walls up himself to the world, as he desperately tries to not drown in cinder and keep himself free - Orpheus looks back at Eurydice right at the threshould to the outside, not so much turning around as turning his back to the world, letting behind the pure idealism he help up until that moment, because he could not picture a world in which he and Eurydice could wander around and build a life again, who was he to think there would be a world better than the one she left behind out of hunger, or better than Hadestown itself? Who is he to think she won’t leave him again? Who is he to think she would ever try with him again?
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