Sunday, February 19, 2006

'That's terrible' said Arthur, for he was a Guardian reader

We moved from London to New Zealand when I was 5. My parents were looking to escape the economic policies and Nuclear threat of Thatcher's Britain, and, I think, family situations (2 out of 3 ain't bad).

One of the things this meant is that we subscribed to the Guardian Weekly, where you could get Steve Bell cartoons on crinkly airmail paper. I used to read the Guardian Weekly long before I could understand what was going on. When my parents lived overseas and got the Guardian Weekly and the Listener I teased them that you could tell everything you needed to know about their class, politics and geographical history (although in their defence this was when Findlay McDonald was editing the Listener not the current Pamela Stirling beauty advice central Gordon Campbell firing piece of shit).

When I got old enough I'd always read the column on the right hand side of the second page (which unfortunately got cut in a revamp) it seemed to specialise in bad news from countries I couldn't necessarily find on a map: "1,000 people died in a long running civil war", "200 died in a mine disaster". You needed to have 100s of people dead to make those columns. At the same time I'd read Notes and Queries, where people asked for silly questions and waited for silly replies, usually with enjoyable results. If you look at the online version someone asked what's the least bad ciagertte company, as if the revolution was just an ethical hair-cut away.

Which brings me to the point of this post, which is why the Guardian Weekly is not enough, in times like these. It's not just that it's liberal and lets Polly Toynbee tell her readers to vote Labour with a peg on their nose. It's that it never has much space for actual hope.

I'm very wishy-washy about how we could build a new world, I'm happy to argue with most people about why I'm not sure they're right. I do know that if we're going to do it, we're going to do it by being organised, by using the strength and power that we have together.

I realised that I don't talk about that much on my blog, I just say 'that's terrible'. I don't talk enough about protests and resistance. So I'm going to institute a new feature (we'll see how long it'll last): Sunday Protest Blogging. I'll try and skew towards successful protests, although since there were two anniversaries of important, but ultimately unsuccessful protests this week, I'm going to start with them.

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