Friday, 13 December 2013
The difficulty of activism
For myself activism is a challenge constantly. I am not part of any political party or organisation of any sort but this shouldn’t exclude me and doesn’t but getting into activism is not easy. Ever since I’ve left the socialist party due to bullying and other such nastiness I’ve found myself re-examining my politics and where I go next. I have not changed my political ideas on the whole I still am a socialist and want to see a fairer society based on needs not profits. But I have not been on a protest or a picket line for a good while now for many reasons. Political parties are not for everyone and I have found myself moving more away from a formal top down leadership which many left parties use with a small group of leading figures making and calling the shots while the rest follow orders and the party line. I am someone who likes to think for myself and always have done and this I found became increasingly incompatible with a political party but I would still love a place to discussant develop my ideas. I have not found anything to replace this yet, if I ever will. Confidence for one. Since leaving a political party I have felt a little isolated and links to networks of activists is limited. Also due to being visually impaired there is a natural difficulty of reaching places and groups of people unless I had a really good friend. So as a result I am limited to online things including this very blog and my social media activity. I follow Novara fm every week which is an excellent radio show discussing radical politics and the world we live in today. I do however still challenge racism and other such discriminations wherein an and do still speak up for others who are suffering from the cuts and the austerity package raining down on many today. I see many people struggling around me and even in my town a Tory town in Hertfordshire called Ware has its own food bank which serves 200 odd people every week which is substantial even for there. There is much that I can still do don’t get me wrong but mainstream activism of attending meeting after meeting and going on every protest is just not easy for me and to be honest I do not feel that many of these events are made accessible for those with disabilities and other such difficulties. I think as a labour movement it is still very much a hallmark of the white male and I still do not see equality and a wide range of different people. This needs to change and I believe will change. For many the labourmovemnt is irrelevant and just does not speak for them and I can fully understand this this must change as I say. Likewise our language and our behaviour of becoming an open, welcoming and fair place for all to enter and participate in. My difficulties are one thing but others who are more capable to protest, stand up and fight back gains the cuts are amazing in my view and I have a lot of respect for them. I do what I can and others have criticised me for just sitting on facebook and discussing stuff but this is one way of getting the message out there and if others put themselves in my position they too would find things a challenge to make any real impact with their activism. I do think we need to be more understanding about others who have a passion to help out and get involved but feel unable to for a multitude of reasons. It is not good enough to just say oh well you can do what you can we need to be saying how can we involve more people from more backgrounds to get involved and support them in what they wish to do to help. Activism at the end of the day is not everything there are lotsof ways to be involved and contribute to a better society be that helping at your local food bank or offering support and ideas to a movement and a campaign. I do think we see activism in a very one dimensional way and we do need to broaden out our understanding to involve more of us to boost our own ideas. Lots of people’s talents and skills are being missed out on due to a movement largely white and male who marginalise others who are not like them and this is a toxic mix of disenfranchisement and apathy of totally giving up on any form of political thought or activism of any variety. We can do better, I can do better don’t get me wrong but we also must help each other out to embrace our differences and challenges and involve more of us all. Organising is not easy at all and is a lot of bloody hard work. There can be no shortcuts to changing society to benefit all but including all who wish to change is something we must start to do now not after the revolution .