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Red is the Colour

August 1, 2005

Last night I walked into a working class pub at the gates of McEwan’s brewery in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, and ordered a pint. I was wearing my red star beanie hat. An old man sitting at the bar turned to me and asked, in a thick Glaswegian accent, “what kind of a communist are you?”

I told him the libertarian kind, and he said “good for you, laddie”. Turns out he was a street fighter in the Young Communist League in his youth. When he heard I was South African, he told me about the work they had done with ANC exiles during the anti-apartheid struggle.

He spoke about “having a crack at the Polis” during the anti-G8 protests, and that a mate of his had been arrested by riot cops until a group of hefty German anarchists has unarrested him.

We spoke about the prospects for communism, and he remained unbowed: “Red is the colour”, he told me, “of every working man’s heart, and always will be”.

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