WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Oct 2018. A raised fist and a helping hand.


WSO HITS ONE THOUSAND EVENTS

original wso roundel logo

*****MASSIVE NEWS ALERT*****
 
We Shall Overcome just hit the magic 1000 events mark!!!
 
Together, hundreds of people up and down this land and beyond have organised ONE THOUSAND gigs since October 2015. Each was run in solidarity with those in their communities suffering most at the hand of government policy, and each targeted support right to the front line of need.
 
Those ONE THOUSAND events have taken place in more than 150 different towns and cities from Brighton to Belfast and beyond, and by the end of #WSO2019 we estimate they will have raised a staggering £500,000 worth of food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture, electrical goods, tents and sleeping bags for food banks, homeless outreach, crisis centres and soup kitchens; all at the grassroots and all in urgent need of help.
 
Of course we shouldn’t have to do this. The sixth largest economy on the planet should be able to care for its citizens, but we all know it doesn’t, and we all know it has no intention of doing so because it is ideologically opposed to the notion of lifting a finger. But we are a compassionate people, and we will not pass by on the other side when there are those in need. We never have and we never will.
 
We watch how it is done daily. Through targeted poverty-hatred in the media; through Universal Credit; through poverty wages; through zero hours contracts; through statistically-driven benefit sanctions; through a government able to stand up in parliament and declare a ‘jobs miracle’ when it is possible to have three or four of these jobs and still never get an hour’s work.
 
It is done through discrimination, recrimination and blame; but we do not buy into it and we will fight til they lose.
 
It is fitting that it should be Pauline Town who confirms the gig which takes us to ONE THOUSAND events. Working from the heart of our movement The Station Hotel, Ashton Under Lyne, Pauline’s Christmas WSO events helped more than a 1000 people and made sure SIXTEEN men, women and children are able to start 2019 in new accomodation, safe from the threat of homelessness. No-one has given more to our movement, and no-one deserves to clock up the phenomenal ONE THOUSAND than she.
 
#WSO2019 has only just begun, but it has started with an incredible achievement for all involved and I hope that it becomes the springboard for more record-breaking over the coming 12 months, because there is no doubt about it, the need is greater than ever.
 
A massive THANK YOU from all at WSO Central to EVERYONE who has contributed in any way, large or small, to We Shall Overcome. It all matters. This was just an idea until the first person rocked up with a tin of beans and now look at it. This is what can be achieved through ordinary people working together on something way bigger than the sum of its parts. YOU did this, ALL of you.
 
This is solidarity put into practice.
 
WE are many. THEY are few.
 
We can do this.
Advertisements


#WSO2018: We SMASHED IT!

Logo 2018 2
Just been totting up the totals for We Shall Overcome in #WSO2018.
 
Together, thousands of people up and down this land ran a total of 207 gigs where they collected food, cash, warm clothing, sanitary towels, bedding and blankets and just about everything else needed by those hardest hit by Tory policy.
 
TWO HUNDRED AND SEVEN.
 
In total we have run 921 such events since October 2015, and we fight til they lose. Simple as.
 
Next year we will smash 1000 gigs and we estimate the value of our collective efforts to be somewhere in the region of half a million quid. All raised locally, all going direct to the front line of need in the grassroots struggle against austerity.
 
From all at WSO Central, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ran an event, played an event, supported an event or just sat at home and shared the posts around.
 
Every single one of you matters.
 
That’s what makes WSO so vitally important.
 
We fight on.

Logo 3


#WSO2018: Now More Than Ever

WSOBlack

I was asked the other day if I wasn’t banging a broken drum over austerity, it was put to me that we should stand down as people had moved on.
Well if anything, times now are harder than ever; and as far as I can see the only people who have ‘moved on’ are people who choose to look the other way.
#ToryNeglect is causing widespread suffering in #FoodBankBritain and it isn’t enough to stand idly by.
I read Billy Bragg saying times are far worse now than under Thatcher, and I completely agree. Back then there was unemployment and deprivation for sure, but there was a safety net of welfare and the cost of existing, and I use that word over ‘living’ deliberately, was far lower as a proportion of our income.
In short, what work there was paid a wage which didn’t put you straight back into poverty the day after your pay packet.
A Working Class job then would pay what would be viewed as a Middle Class wage now.
And there was Hope. We believed it was temporary, that we could take down Thatcher and make the country better. That gave us the will to fight. I don’t mean as a pocket of energetic activists, we still have that now; I mean as a NATION.
New Labour killed that.
They showed us the alternative was no better.
They caused widespread alienation and apathy that drove millions away from politics, and their abadonment of their traditional core vote drove thousands into the arms of the Far Right. It was a betrayal of the Working Class which history will judge, because we are yet to see its endgame, and if the rise of fascist and Nazi attacks on our streets is anything to go by, it will get far worse before it gets better.
Today I repaired a young man’s washing machine. He had a toddler running around on a bare concrete floor. His partner was out at work and when she gets home he goes out on nights. Two jobs and he practically wept telling me there still wasn’t enough money left to buy rugs, and their landlord refused to carpet the floor saying: “Take it or leave it. I can soon find another tenant.”
In the words of the great Jack Monroe, when told people were struggling to make ends meet on the new ‘Living Wage’:
“Well it’s not a f***ing Living Wage then is it.”
As Billy pointed out, people are now using food banks and soup kitchens as a daily necessity effectively living like striking miners and their families did in 1984-85.
And this summer holiday, hundreds of thousands of children denied  only got a decent meal because of voluntary organisations and charities.
So no, I don’t think it’s time to move on.
I think We Shall Overcome is needed more than ever.
I think the fall-out over Brexit, and the current US-led Far Right agenda poisoning our streets, is being fuelled by the anger, deprivation and squalor caused by austerity and poverty wages; and I think it’s high time people woke up and fought these problems at their source instead of being led up blind alleys by the daily news cycle.
This needs to be stopped.
And people need our help.
Two fights, one cause.
The future needs us now.
This is the fight of our lives.
Joe Solo
21/8/18


The Raised Fist & The Helping Hand

WSO 2018 Banner

We call it ‘A RAISED FIST, AND A HELPING HAND’ because that’s what it is.
 
On one level it is a grassroots movement against Austerity; and on the other, a series of benefit gigs helping to alleviate the suffering #ToryNeglect is causing in #FoodBankBritain
 
We Shall Overcome belongs to everyone who chooses to march under its banner; and in marching with us, you give your event a national voice in the struggle for change; you help make the cries for an end to Austerity a little louder; because the Establishment doesn’t fear random, disconnected events; it fears one thing and one thing only.
 
Consensus.
 
We shout loud enough first so they can hear, and then so they are forced to listen.
 
For that we need numbers, and for numbers we need you.
 
And that’s the easy part.
 
The other bit.
 
The ‘Helping Hand’.
 
Just slap our logo on your poster somewhere, and make a collection for a local cause. What cause is your choice. All we ask is that it helps people who are struggling out there thanks to the policies of this government. It could be a collection of groceries for your local food bank or soup kitchen; warm clothing for Homeless outreach; cash for a crisis centre; you know your town best, so you decide where the help goes.
 
Oh, and let us know. That way we can add your event to the others.
 
All 846 of them so far.
 
In 142 towns and cities.
 
In 9 countries.
 
Across 3 continents.
 
We Shall Overcome gigs have raised somewhere in the region of £360,000 worth of food, cash, clothing, sleeping bags and bedding, toiletries, sanitary towels; furniture, small electrical appliances and, well, anything people needed and we had the collective power to provide.
 
Quite something that.
 
Join us.
 
Fighting back never felt better.
 
#WSO2018


#WSO2018 OFFICIAL T-SHIRT OUT NOW!!

2018 T-Shirt

It’s here! The We Shall Overcome t-shirt for #WSO2018 is now available via the good people at Philosophy Football and we could not be happier with the design. From the amazing ‘loudhaler’ logo by Marcus Henfrey, it looks cracking on a classic black tee and we can’t wait to see you out there wearing it.

There are three ways to get your hands on one.

First up you need this link:

https://www.philosophyfootball.com/we-shall-overcome-2018.html

From there you have three options.

  1. STANDARD PRICE You pay the Philosophy Football standard price of £22.99 plus postage and 10% goes to fighting austerity through WSO causes.
  2. SOLIDARITY PRICE You choose the ‘Solidarity’ option and your shirt costs £29.99 but £10 then goes to our causes.
  3. ARTISTS AND ORGANISERS DISCOUNT If you are an artist, an organiser, or are helping in any way, large or small, to run a WSO event then there is a discount code on all orders of two or more shirts which reduces the price to 50% making it effectively a 2 for 1. To get the code just email me at joesolomusic@hotmail.co.uk and I’ll message you back asap.

We hope that somewhere in there is an option which will help you wear our 2018 shirt with pride.

We can’t wait to see the selfies landing.

GO GET EM!!!


We Shall Overcome: Your Country Needs You!

Bradford

We Shall Overcome is a grassroots movement fighting the impact of austerity on our communities and pointing the finger of blame for this suffering where it lies.
 
Anyone can join us. Absolutely anyone. We have all kinds of events from your traditional three-band bills, all the way to bake-offs and history walks. Whatever talents you can bring to the party are more than welcome here. All you need is the will and we’ll help you find the way.
Wakefield
 
We Shall Overcome events raise everything from food and cash, to clothing, bedding, furniture, small electrical appliances, toiletries, sanitary products, tents and sleeping bags. Where there is a need we try and tailor events to fill it.
 
And here’s the beauty of it. You know your own towns, your own streets, better than we do. So you choose where your help goes. The help you raise stays in your town and goes direct to the front line of need. So if your food bank is struggling, then collect food and cash for them; if your friends run a soup kitchen, then do it for that; if your town has a crisis centre or a homeless outreach project in desperate need of help, then go for that. We don’t dictate. We want you to take control of it and see it home.
Scarborough
 
We are effectively a banner to march under. We unite a series of otherwise separate events in order to give them a national voice and highlight just how much work is having to be done at the grassroots to keep people alive. You may run similar events locally, and we applaud that from the bottom of our hearts, but why not stick the logo on your posters and let us know what you’re up to? That way you have a national voice for your local gig and you join together with thousands of other people saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to austerity.
 
You can message me on here, or email me at joesolomusic@hotmail.co.uk if you want to get involved.
Stourbridge 1
 
#WSO2018 is 108 gigs strong, and since October 2015 we have collectively run 822 such events and the actions of our artists and organisers together with the amazing people who supported them with voices and applause and donations, have genuinely helped save lives out there.
 
This is not charity.
 
This is solidarity.
 
Please spread the word.
Hull Adelphi


#WSO2018 is coming!

cropped-wso-2018-banner1.jpg

Great to see #WSO2018 underway already, and the help getting out there to people who need it.
 
Our weekend is set for October 5th, 6th and 7th and any gigs you can add over that weekend (or as close as you can) will be very VERY welcome. New t-shirts and merch will be along over the next couple of months, and, as ever, if you see a We Shall Overcome post on social media please share it. Let’s make Facebook and Twitter work for us. The more we use the hashtag #WSO2018 and the more we use the We Shall Overcome 2018 group to report where we are with our various activities, the more the algorithms work in our favour, so please remember that and click ‘Share’.
 
One of our primary objectives when we set off with this three years ago, was for it to eventually take on a life of its own. We understand that people are used to festivals, charity events and the like being rigid and laid out for you; and that WSO being none of that made it a big leap of imagination for some; but this was designed as a genuine People’s Movement of street-level, grassroots initiatives put together by good folk who realised their own power to change things. It is YOURS to run with and WSO is only limited by the extent of our collected imaginations. In short, take that logo and use it. Make the world a better place whenever and wherever you can.
 
I say it often, but EVERY gig counts. If you only raise 50p, that 50p matters. No gesture is insignificant. The fact that you put on that gig, put your town on the map, and stood in solidarity with the 775 other WSO events that have taken place since October 2015, MATTERS. You were there. You have our admiration and our respect, because when it mattered you didn’t stay silent, you stood up and you tried.
 
No gesture is insignificant because when you add them all together they become something very significant indeed; something built by thousands of us, together, because we gave a damn.
 
That is We Shall Overcome.
 
Let’s do it again.
-Joe Solo (26th April 2018)