Friends old and new met at The Casa Dockers’ pub on Hope Street in Liverpool on Saturday night, 2 November, in solidarity with Chelsea Manning. The evening included films, performance poetry and live music.
Screening of ‘Seeds of Hope’ Ploughshares Film
After decorating the venue with banners (also old and new), the event kicked off with an introduction by Ciaron O’Reilly to a film about the Seeds of Hope Ploughshares Women who in 1996 disarmed a Hawk fighter jet bound for Indonesia at Warton in Lancashire. The subsequent trial was held in Liverpool six months later where the jury went on to acquit the women of all charges – the first Ploughshares acquittal in 55 trials – accepting their defence that they “were acting to prevent British Aerospace and the British Government from aiding and abetting genocide” in East Timor.
Clips of solidarity events for Manning that have taken place over the past three years of detention were also screened.
Poetry and Music
The evening continued with poetry and music from Razz, accompanied on drums by Paul, solo sets by Martin Cruse, Joe Black and RoJ Whelan and various combinations of these five for the rest of the evening.
Chelsea Manning needs your Help!
On Thursday, Razz had performed the Beatle’s song Help! as part of a promotional video were were making for Chelsea Manning outside the Wrexham Racecourse Ground where Wales were to play USA in the Rugby League World Cup on 3 November. We’ve had a request to produce a version of the whole thing so here it is…
Music from Dublin
Two musicians from Dublin, birthplace of Manning’s maternal grandfather, had come over specially for this event.
Joe Black’s set included ‘The Welcome’, a song about the racism experienced by Irish immigrants
and another about Giuseppe Conlon. Giuseppe came over from Ireland to help his son Gerry who had been arrested (and framed) over the Guildford pub bombings in 1974, only to find himself along with his hosts and family also framed and convicted. Although all the convictions were eventually quashed, Giuseppe didn’t live to see this, dying in prison in 1980.
RoJ Whelan’s offerings included Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’
and his own song about Manning, written earlier this year.
Later on, everyone was back on stage together for a rousing session to conclude the evening.
Supporting Manning’s Family
Ciaron, a former anti-war prisoner of the United States Government, spoke to those gathered about Manning’s actions, detention, torture, trial and conviction, and our current fundraising effort to support Chelsea Manning’s Welsh family members with the cost of prison visits to the US, the next of which will be in February.
Disruption of the event
The event was disrupted several times during the evening by a group of Liverpool activists who object to anyone who speaks out in support of Julian Assange, and who also had personal grievances against a couple of those present, which they expressed in several acts of violence. They had also taken down many of the posters that had been put up around Liverpool in the weeks leading up to the event, had called for a boycott and threatened a picket. This inevitably had an effect on the numbers attending, which was unfortunate since these same activists claimed to support Chelsea Manning.
More photos here.