One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses. -James Baldwin to Angela Davis.*
Last week, I wrote about apocalyptic themes and imagery in contemporary music. In closing out that discussion (at least for now), I use PJ Harvey's February LP, Let England Shake*, as a jumping off point to think about about war as apocalypse. In the album, we encounter a crumbling empire beset by militarism.
Here is the music video for "This Glorious Land" (lyrics here). It's about declining British empire:
May Day is Saturday, the international worker's day. It's a holiday remembering the murder of protesters in Chicago in 1886 who were on strike for the 8 hour work day, but has grown to be a day for calling out against systems of oppression, and particularly war and capitalism.
It's celebrated almost everywhere around the world, although notably not here in the United States where the murders took place.
May Day is also an important pagan holiday (more widely known as Beltane).