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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Tony Greenstein's 60th Birthday Party

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60 Years of Fighting Oppression

Together with my longstanding comrade from the Trades Council and Socialist Party, Bill North, I celebrated my 60th Birthday Party at the end of last year and Bill  his 61st.

Below are the lyrics to a birthday song written by Deborah Maccoby and arranged and performed at the party by Deborah Fink:










THE BALLAD OF TONY GREENSTEIN
1ST VERSE
Tony Greenstein is a leftie
And one of Marx's lads;
He's fought the fascists all his life,
Those counter-revolutionary cads.
CHORUS
Those counter-revolutionary cads,
Those counter-revolutionary cads,
He's fought the fascists all his life,
Those counter-revolutionary cads.
2ND VERSE
His father was a rabbi
Who wanted him to be
A pillar of the Liverpool
Jewish community.
CHORUS
Jewish community,
Jewish community,
A pillar of the Liverpool
Jewish community.
3RD VERSE
But little Tony said:
"This plan I will resist;,
I'm an atheist, a Marxist
And an anti-Zionist."
CHORUS
An anti-Zionist,
An anti-Zionist.
He's an atheist, a Marxist
And an anti-Zionist.
4TH VERSE
With the fervour of his father
Towards the Jewish law,
Young Tony went to demonstrate
Against the Springboks' tour.
CHORUS
Against the Springboks' tour,
Against the Springboks' tour,
Young Tony went to demonstrate
Against the Springboks' tour.
5TH VERSE
But it wasn't only fascists
And fans of apartheid;
The British left found Tony
A thorn within their side.
CHORUS
A thorn within their side,
A thorn within their side;
The British left found Tony
A thorn within their side.
6TH VERSE
The exiled Palestinians
The left did not discern,
So Tony helped to edit
The magazine "Return".
CHORUS
The magazine "Return",
The magazine "Return",
So Tony helped to edit
The magazine "Return".
7TH VERSE
When the left regarded Israel
As a socialist country,
Young Tony with a few comrades
Co-founded PSC.
CHORUS
Co-founded PSC,
Co-founded PSC.
Young Tony and a few comrades
Co-founded PSC.
8TH VERSE
When PSC supported
The process called Oslo,
Then Tony and a few comrades
Said it was time to go.
CHORUS
Yes, it was time to go,
Yes, it was time to go,
Then Tony and a few comrades
Said it was time to go.
9TH VERSE
But later he rejoined it,
When he had been proved right;
Against the anti-Semites
He set himself to fight.
CHORUS
He set himself to fight,
He set himself to fight,
Against the anti-Semites
He set himself to fight.
10TH VERSE
Against those anti-Semites
He spoke out clear and strong;
They crawled back in the woodwork
Where all of them belong.
CHORUS
Where all of them belong,
Where all of them belong,
They crawled back in the woodwork
Where all of them belong.
11TH VERSE
For JfJfP
He didn't care a fig;
He called for total BDS
And signed up to J-BIG
CHORUS
And signed up to J-BIG,
And signed up to J-BIG;
He called for total BDS
And signed up to J-BIG
12TH VERSE
So - three cheers for Tony Greenstein!
He's sixty on this day;
May he win all his battles,
The first among the fray!
CHORUS
The first among the fray,
The first among the fray,
May he win all his battles,
The first among the fray!
-----------------
The song is to the tune of Harry Pollitt by The Limeliters.




As comrades will know I'm seriously ill, so there may not be many more birthdays to celebrate.  But we are all living in specks of time and the question is how we have campaigned to make the world a better place.  Apart from close personal friends, there were comrades from the Jewish non-Zionist and anti-Zionist left, Brighton  & Hove Trades Council, assorted socialists and anti-fascists and members Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  As well as my beloved 4 children - Daniel, Ellie, Tom and James and my wife, Fiona.

There was even a comrade, Helen, who I hadn't seen for over 25 years, who was one of the founders  of the Palestine society at Sussex.



I've always believed in giving your children a choice and not trying to dominate their ideas, unlike my own Orthodox Rabbi Father.  I think it has proved successful as, despite some of my wife's views they are firmly of the left. 


Tony Greenstein

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