Racist T-shirts

Morrissey’s merchandise is created by Sandbag Limited, a global merchandising company.

https://www.sandbagheadquarters.com/

Morrissey isn’t involved in the design.

But that didn’t stop the press yet again attacking him for racism – and yet again bringing up the fact that he, a “poofy bastard”, touched a Union Jack – after an image of James Baldwin was paired with a Smiths lyric ‘I wear black on the outside cause black is how I feel on the inside‘.

The Manchester-born singer has found himself at the centre of a number of rows since the early 90s, after an incident when he wrapped himself in the Union Jack at a concert in Finsbury Park. (Danuta Keen, the Guardian, March 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/20/bigmouth-strikes-again-row-morrissey-james-baldwin-t-shirt-the-smiths

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

Baldwin would probably have understood the pairing though since both of them struggled with the gap between their self-perception and the way society perceived them esp in relation to their sexuality, ethnicity, and desire to be writers. And both have been denounced as inflammatory and excluded by supposed progressives – Baldwin was sidelined by the Civil Rights movement because he was gay, Morrissey has been excluded from his own work.

In America, the color of my skin stood between myself and me; in Europe, that barrier was down. Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch. It turned out that the question of who I was was not solved because I had removed myself from the social forces which menaced me – anyway, these forces had become interior, and I had dragged them across the ocean with me… (James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son, 1961)

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/02/24/james-baldwin-the-last-interviews/

A fan, Angie Cooke, defended the t-shirt: “Many thanks to the very kind and generous Priyank Patel for sending me this frankly fantastic tee, which I love and adore! Just to make a point here now, James Baldwin wasn’t merely the hue of his skin and neither am I! We’re not a colour, we’re PEOPLE! Heed the message y’all!”

And on Twitter, two music journalists, decided the font and layout of a t-shirt was a homage to neo-Nazi band Skrewdriver.

Skrewdriver’s roadie, Nicky Crane, came out as gay a month before the Finsbury Park gig where Morrissey was attacked by far right homophobes and the NME accused him of inciting it because he was attracted to skinheads.

Nicky Crane had left the National Front because it was violently homophobic and Skrewdriver disowned him.

The far right were also violently opposed to Irish Catholics and Irish Republicans. Morrissey is an Irish Catholic and an Irish Republican.

It seems to me that most of the people that want to destroy the Royal family are either Irish or commies. (Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver)

Smash The IRA – Skrewdriver:

On the streets of Ulster, the battle rages on
British people fighting for their land
Fought in two world wars for us, fought and died for Britain
Gotta help them, support the Red Hand

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

Gotta change our policies and hang the IRA
Let the Army deal with them their way
Corrupt politicians and sniveling left-wing scum
Are quite content to let them get away
Come on Ulster!

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs


Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

IRA supporters are marching on our streets
Are we gonna let them spread their lies?
Are we gonna let them march or are we gonna smash them?
Laughing while the British people die
Come on Ulster!

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

Irish Republican

In the Melody Maker, November 1984, Morrissey said:

The sorrow of the Brighton Bomb is that she (the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher) escaped unscathed. The sorrow is that she’s still alive. But I feel relatively happy about it. I think that for once the IRA were accurate in selecting their targets… They want us to believe that such attacks can only work in the government’s favour but I believe that’s utter nonsense. Immediately after the event Maggie was on television attacking the use of bombs – the very person who absolutely believes in the power of bombs. She’s the one who insists that they’re the only method of communication in world politics. All the grand dame gestures about these awful terrorist bombs is absolute theatre.

He’s mostly annoyed that Thatcher was on television denouncing her own methods and the implication is that the IRA usually pick their targets badly, but the first sentence (usually the only one quoted) was enough to have him denounced as a terrorist sympathiser. The Smiths received death threats from Loyalist paramilitaries, the Irish Government insisted they play a scheduled Irish tour, and the IRA, not fussed about the ‘for once’, took it as a compliment.

https://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/the-smiths-were-ordered-to-play-the-north-by-irish-govt-26719453.html

https://lostinbelfast.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/13-barbarism-begins-at-home/

In May 2011 he was in trouble with conservatives in Ireland and the UK for saying the Queen should give the six counties back.

https://www.hotpress.com/opinion/the-existence-of-the-queen-is-against-any-notion-of-democracy-7901992

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/morrissey-tells-queen-to-hand-over-six-counties-1.573354

https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/921

Even the UK left-wing press was sniffy – choosing to highlight his comparison of a constitutional Monarch with a dictator.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/may/18/morrissey-compares-queen-muammar-gaddafi

In April 2013 he got flack for mocking Thatcher’s death and for using a crass picture of the Queen.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/morrissey-belfast-singer-under-fire-after-show-mocked-margaret-thatcher-and-the-queen-31094269.html

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/apr/10/morrissey-statement-margaret-thatcher

In a statement on True To You, 9th April 2013, he said:

The difficulty with giving a comment on Margaret Thatcher’s death to the British tabloids is that, no matter how calmly and measuredly you speak, the comment must be reported as an “outburst” or an “explosive attack” if your view is not pro-establishment. If you reference “the Malvinas”, it will be switched to “the Falklands”, and your “Thatcher” will be softened to a “Maggie.” This is generally how things are structured in a non-democratic society. Thatcher’s name must be protected not because of all the wrong that she had done, but because the people around her allowed her to do it, and therefore any criticism of Thatcher throws a dangerously absurd light on the entire machinery of British politics. Thatcher was not a strong or formidable leader. She simply did not give a shit about people, and this coarseness has been neatly transformed into bravery by the British press who are attempting to re-write history in order to protect patriotism. As a result, any opposing view is stifled or ridiculed, whereas we must all endure the obligatory praise for Thatcher from David Cameron without any suggestion from the BBC that his praise just might be an outburst of pro-Thatcher extremism from someone whose praise might possibly protect his own current interests. The fact that Thatcher ignited the British public into street-riots, violent demonstrations and a social disorder previously unseen in British history is completely ignored by David Cameron in 2013. In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday will be heavily policed for fear that the British tax-payer will want to finally express their view of Thatcher. They are certain to be tear-gassed out of sight by the police. United Kingdom? Syria? China? What’s the difference?

No one in the UK press has tried to explain why they believe he was an IRA supporter AND a supporter of their enemies, the UK far right.

Anecdotal evidence from Twitter
UK far right magazine, founded 1999
UK far right leader, has tried to win over Irish Catholics, but finds it hard to hide his anti-Irish sectarian racism.

On a side note – The Guardian had to apologise for employing an IRA supporter who used his platform to smear a rape survivor.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56292056

And on an even sider side note – in a weird quirk of fate – Scottish comedian Limmy, whose brother was jailed for anti-Irish Catholic sectarian racism, could drag Irish Catholic Morrissey for British Nationalism. It’s funnier if you’re Glaswegian.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tv-comic-limmys-brother-jailed-3006790