Mary Brooksbank (1897- 1978) poetessa-musicista e attivista politico, nata a Aberdeen da povera gente iniziò a lavorare al filatoio di Dundee all’età di 12-13 anni come “doffer” e ci lavorò fino ai vent’anni. Nel 1920 Maria aderì al partito comunista e partecipò alle manifestazioni e agli scontri per i diritti dei lavoratori e fu più volte imprigionata. Dopo la morte prematura del marito riprese a lavorare nei filatoi fino al 1947 quando, per occuparsi della madre malata, all’età di 50 anni riprende la sua attività di violinista e cantante mettendosi a scrivere canzoni e poesie sulla vita dei lavoratori nelle fabbriche tessili, sulla vita delle donne e le ingiustizie sociali, gli eventi politici e la letteratura; alla fine degli anni 60 Mary viene invitata alle trasmissioni televisive e radiofoniche in Scozia e nei folk club di Dundee; viene descritta da Hamish Henderson come “a heroine of the working class movement in Dundee, and a free-spoken, free-thinking old rebel who got thrown out of the CP for denouncing Stalin in the early thirties.”.
Così riporta Ythanside nel thread di Mudcat.org (vedi)
“Mary Brooksbank, one of the most decent human beings you could ever be fortunate enough to meet, paid dearly for the ideals she embraced.
A life-long communist and humanist, she was expelled from the Communist Party in 1936 or ’37 for daring to suggest that ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin was a brutal fascist dictator who enslaved millions of his fellow-countrymen and women and worked them to death. Black-listed by mill owners for her efforts to organise unions, and and therefore unable to obtain legitimate employment, she took to street-singing to keep herself and her family alive, and kept this up into her 60s. She continued to address public meetings, and was arrested on one occasion and jailed for sedition. It is no coincidence that the local politicians waited until she was safely dead before granting her the ‘recognition’ of placing her name on any building. In the days before Consumer Protection, Legal Aid or Citizens Advice Bureaux she campaigned tirelessly on behalf of those unfortunates, less articulate than herself, who found themselves embroiled in battles with the Police or unscrupulous landlords, employers or moneylenders. The path to her front door was well-worn. How she found time to write and collect songs and poems I do not know. In the early 1970s, while she sat at home in Mid Craigie, unwell and suffering the after-effects of a stroke, Luke Kelly, on stage with the Dubliners at the Caird Hall, berated the audience for allowing such a gem as Mary Brooksbank to languish in obscurity.”
Dalla raccolta di Mary Brooksbank (1897-1978) “Sidlaw Breezes” (1966) una serie di poesie e canzoni sulla dura vita delle lavoratrici nei filatoi di Dundee, Scozia.