look in the mirror and make a change

The day after Obama was elected in the US, I joined Amnesty. I had always kept up to date with their work through their mailing lists and when I was a child, my parents were both members. I remember the yellow envelopes arriving regularly and all of us typing or writing out the template letters to send off in protest of human rights violations, my parents explaining carefully to us what the situation was so that we might make our own decisions and opinions only sending letters if we wanted to.

Political activism was encouraged in my childhood home, along with self-education.

My older brother and sister both went to regular protests both local and national. I naturally followed in their footsteps and protested a number of issues including supporting  nuclear disarmament and protesting against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

In fact the very first proper gig I ever went to was an anti-racism march run by the Anti-Nazi League; I was 11. This annual event later turned into the Rise Festival which has now been abolished by the Conservative Mayor of London (nb: who is also now claiming to support the diversity of the capital – eh?! – he is an idiot).

Following the empowering change earlier this year for the world and progressive movement forward for the whole of the United States, I felt pushed into doing something, anything to help make a difference. Obama will make positive changes not just for the States but for the whole world, he is an international citizen, as are we all.

It is not all positive “over the pond” though. California, (the state I would live in if I ever lived anywhere but London and home to San Francisco, gay/hippy capital of the world) made a ruling to pass Proposition 8, outlawing gay marriage. This did really come as a shock, a country moving positively away from racial discrimination but negatively towards sexual discrimination. Particularly there of all places; first they stupidly elected Arnie and now this.

A few weeks ago, I watched on i-player an interview Jonathan Ross (@wossy) did with Martin Sheen (Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez). Martin Sheen is a very active political campaigner and has been his whole life. It was a hugely inspirational (if too short) interview and his humble and honest accounts of his strong political views and actions despite over 60 arrests spurred me on to find out more. As Ross said has “inspired me to be a better person”.

Finally, last night Britain took a turn for the worst. Yes, today is a very sad day for all British people. We have until now been ahead of the rest of the world in our politics and social diversity. Our country has generally been a step towards socialism than the rest of the world and our political parties tend to be further left-wing of their foreign counterparts. But, with yesterday’s vote there are now two members of a fascist, neo-nazi party sitting on the european parliament and it looks as if the next general and local elections will follow this shift to the right. Today I joined the Green Party.

The impact of the right-wing and racist influence on government has yet to be seen. I live in a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-disability, multi-orientation, multi-gender society and I fear for all of our freedom. I cannot begin to show in text how the result of this vote makes me feel.

So, what are the next steps? To move home, but where? No. To become socially and politically active as a society, all of us, together. To take a stand. To look in the mirror and make a change, however small, to help move our piece of the world forward again.

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3 Responses to “look in the mirror and make a change”

  1. I agree. I voted Green last Thursday, and I might follow your lead and join them.

  2. @pholloway says:

    I did the same today, for much the same reasons. I’d been thinking about it for a little while in the run up to these elections, but whilst walking to work this morning I figured it has to start now. We are all collectively responsible whether we like it or not, and I’m giving a lot of thought to what I can do.

  3. Just wanted to add to this post, quite soon after joining the Green Party and attending some campaigning events, I have now formally cancelled my membership.

    I no longer wish to aline myself with one particular political party. I will still vote Green and I still think they are our best chance of keeping right-wing fundamentalists out of power.

    One of my issues was that of diversity; the party itself is not diverse and is not representative of the community I live in. It talks about being a socially conscious party and I believe that to be true but without champions within the party being vocal and coming up with ideas to change the membership and to reach other voting groups I believe that it is not the place for me.

    I still believe in activism, feel fired up by the world changes over the last decade and believe in trying to change the world a little bit at a time.
    I am now thinking of other ways of being politically active (without just joining in with another group of people or without just following someone else’s lead).

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