Memories Of Near Revolution - Or Was It Near Coup?

The lines are drawn.
Eminent generals, air marshals, judges,
pillars of the establishment,
line up to pontificate
in Sunday newspapers,
bemoan failure of democracy,
urge need for strong hand, tough measures.
Ex-ministers now Lords
emerge as figureheads.
The smell of coup, of takeover in the air

As economy declines,
unions assert their power,
negotiate direct with prime minister,
strike for more,
strike to prevent closures.
Power cuts.
Short-time working.
Three-day week.
Garbage piles in streets.

Students protest, sit in, smoke pot, play rock,
inspired by anti-war protest
in US universities,
join mass marches, demonstrations,
bring London to a halt,
threaten US embassy,
take message of protest, of revolution
to communities in newspapers, magazines, leaflets, street plays.
It's exciting, fun, as well as being serious, important.
Establishment fears losing next generation of bosses, administrators,
as their children play revolution, alienated from tradition.

Far left mouths revolution,
trains acolytes with rifles grenades
for armed uprisings,
for resistance to expected coup,
on distant country estates,
plants members in car factories, in docks, print works
to arouse workers.
Call for General Strike,
inspired by May Events
in Paris,
where students and left take over streets
and battle police.
Black power, flower power,
disruption of Democratic Convention in USA,
Weathermen plant bombs,
as B52s obliterate Hanoi,
day after day.
Civil rights protests, riots in Northern Ireland.
On telly, would-be leaders debate revolution.

Angry Brigade plant puny bombs.
Outrage.
Rounded up.
Tried.
Imprisoned.
Generals mutter in clubs,
empathise with Soviet ruthlessness in Prague
with US bombing of Vietnam.
Left argues among itself.

Students graduate, get jobs, become yuppies,
join the establishment,
take the political route.
Economy revives.
Rule of law and order,
the old ways survive.
Life goes on,
as people get richer,
until the next recession.
But revolution?
Sorry, no.
Not just yet,
as establishment backs
iron lady
with iron hands.
No need for coup now, they purr.

by Roger Hudson

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