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Pete Stevenson, otherwise known as Pete the Poet, an anti-war activist for over 40 years, has embarked upon a national tour in support of the Stop the War Coalition to raise awareness of the dangers of the British bombing campaigns in the Middle East, the need for peace in Palestine and the policy of British companies selling arms to Saudi Arabia to use on the innocent peoples of Yemen.
His aim is to visit 10 venues in 12 months and so far he has appeared in Watchet in Somerset, London, Bristol and he is now planning an event at the Bolton Socialist Club.
His high octane performance poetry is always well received but he likes to reach out to others within a locality to put on an inclusive show full of variety and energy.
“It’s great to travel round the country connecting with like-minded poets and musicians,” Pete said surrounded by flags in support of CND, Momentum and Stop the War Coalition. “It’s so uplifting to discover local talent – ordinary people who have extraordinary ability.”
Pete feels that bringing people together in a spirit of friendship, often with bring-and-share food is a great way to promote the values of peace, disarmament, feminism and socialism.
Last year’s event at The Victoria pub in St Werbergs in Bristol was particularly impressive. The landlord was known locally as a strong Labour supporter and had covered the pub sign of Queen Victoria with a poster of Jeremy Corbyn.
The evening, which featured sparkling performances from anti-war protest singer Kat Black, rap poet Pete the Temp and the Red Notes Choir, raised over £200. “It was a brilliant evening which involved a large number of young people,” said Pete.
Another part of the tour was held at The Cock Tavern pub in Euston London in partnership with Football Against Apartheid entitled An Irish Night for Peace in Palestine.
Pete has found that linking with sympathetic organisations has its benefits. Members of the Bolton Socialist Club have rallied to support him by providing a super venue free of charge with singers and poets from the north-west keen to perform. Performance poetry group Bard Company, featuring Jeff Dawson will appear on the bill with published poet Dave Puller, feminist singer songwriter Claire Mooney and The Clarion Choir from Manchester.
Another event will be held in partnership with a local LGBT group where Pete will argue that there is a moral and political link between the values of Stop the War Coalition and the rights of the LGBT community.
“We’ve handed round copies of the Morning Star at all of the venues and engaged people in political discussions which has been particularly satisfying when an event is held in local pub with a passing trade,” explained Pete.
Pete first emerged as a socialist poet with the performance cabaret group The Bloody Poets in the 1980s campaigning against the poll tax and cruise missiles on Greenham Common in Berkshire. He performed at various events in support of the Greenhan Women’s Peace Camp and in 2001 took a stand against the bombing of Afghanistan as a headteacher in Exmouth, Devon, engaging pupils in a debate on the emerging war in the Middle East.
If any person or organisation would like to host an event they should contact Pete on firstname.lastname@example.org. Future events are as follows: Bolton Socialist Club (today); Quaker Meeting House Exeter with LGBT No. 3 Group Tiverton, Devon (April 20); Whipton and Pinhoe Labour Party in partnership with Exeter Labour Party (July 27).
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