In dedication to his mate George Despard who was recently in hospital, Dave has selected one of George’s poems of resilient spirit and camaraderie to share. Below are Dave’s words about George, and George’s poem ‘The Union Woman and Union Man’
George Despard was a Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) militant and fighter in the defence of his fellow workers, and the union’s spokespeople on the job.
He is also a poet.
Those union spokespeople, then in the BLF as today with CFMEU delegates and activists, faced hired thugs and violent junior management on construction sites. If the union could not defend its own then simply, there would have been no spokespeople.
Georgie Despard was one of those who defended his fellow workers.
George just turned 74 a few weeks ago, and he’s in hospital. Always a big supporter of Earthworker Cooperative and our constant efforts in getting back up every time we were knocked down.
We’d like to send all our love and solidarity out to George.
Good on you George, you are one of the best mate,
Union Woman and Union man
You see the boss start to shudder
And cease to be a skite.
He’ll cringe and hide in a corner
When the union walks on site.
And hearts of the workers all lift,
There’s someone to represent them in their fight.
Whether for wages, safety or conditions
The union’s a beacon of light.
Through the past two hundred years
Since unions first began,
The fire of battle has burnt
In the hearts of every union woman and man.
Yes, they’ve had them shot, hanged and jailed
In every country and every land,
But they’ve never broke the spirit
Of that union woman and man.
They’ve rallied their comrades around them
And won when everything seemed damned,
For courage is abundant
In the union woman and man.
The cynics say it’s a thankless job,
But be cynical is all they can.
No fire or fight burns in their hearts
Like the union woman and man.
So next time you go into battle
With the class enemy of the land,
Stand and fight to the finish
Beside that union woman and man.