the new levellers

much meejah air is being exhaled on those camping by st paul’s.

the mighty andrew ranwsley has written about them.

that tory mp who makes her living writing books that might one day aspire to a career as toilet paper tried (without much success) to get a laugh on ‘have i got news for you’ by rubbishing the protesters because some of them may have visited starbucks (says plenty about their taste in coffee but little about the validity of their agenda).

someone somewhere (yes, my usual level of detailed research has gone into this post) felt that as some of the campers may go home at night  (dognose if this is correct) they are hypocrites.

there is a degree of cynicism about all this.

i am reminded of greenham common, of molesworth and indeed of the chartists.

i have dropped in very briefly 3 times. if they are still there i will drop in again. on one occasion i was with the clp and the kids. every time the atmosphere struck me as friendly, thoughtful and unthreatening. as an unreformed old stalinist i like a situation that may turn nasty – i myself am cynical enough to believe that governments rarely start to listen until people turn nasty. but this wasn’t. this weekend people were doing shoutouts – brief spots at the central microphone giving their take on what the protest was all about, why they personally were there and what this moment in history might remedy about the sad, broken system that has impoverished us all even more morally than financially (and the financial bit has been bad enough). they weren’t ranting; the ones i heard spoke with composure and calm – goodness, they even made sense. they spoke with respect for the views of others there while accepting they may not agree with them. they seemed to be saying that this was just their way, it didn’t have to be that of the whole world, the whole camp, or even of a single camper other than themselves. this is perhaps unusual. the fact that people around actually listened and apparently thought about what was said was bloody unique. at a time when the level of debate in parliament has risen to the lofty heights of cameron calling milliband a complete mug, the sound of people listening to what someone else thinks and seeing how it works for them rang out like truth in a stock exchange.

as it stands, the camp has a lot of people debating, thinking and listening. of course it isn’t the answer to the crisis of capitalism, but nobody is sorting that lot any time soon. and the people who are at the heart of that crisis and profiting from it are the ones shouting loudest that it’s hopeless even to address the issue. funny that…

the chartists are often cited as an example of the inevitable failure of all rainbow alliances. but chartism’s legacy is best seen not in what they achieved directly but in what others achieved precisely because chartism had been there first. standing on the shoulders of giants – or even ordinary people; the little people – bless ’em. bless us.

it’s the new putney debates. just hope it doesn’t throw up a new cromwell.


4 responses to “the new levellers

  1. Dear Simply,

    I’ve been on the receiving end of tear gas and smoke grenades and flash weapons, I’ve been battered by the batons, I’ve been arrested for being a good citizen.

    I was always released quickly for being the rich white kid of a senior Naval Officer. So no points there. To paraphrase General Phillip H. Sheridan, if I owned Wall Street and Hell, I’d rent out Wall Street and live in Hell. I know what we’re fighting for here and I’m working on it from the inside.

    But may I be “off topic” here for a moment?

    You are host to one of the planet’s greatest adventurers — Danny MacAskill.

    I have three living heroes, and Danny is one of them. If I was given the opportunity to wake up tomorrow with one other person’s skills, I would choose Danny MacAskill.

    Go here (National Geographic). Vote.

  2. Molesworth? Nigel?

    Not really sure about the camp, but I shall be striking on wednesday.

  3. You have a huge heart (does that render properly as a huge compliment in the King’s English?) and I remember when you were happy. There was a vast lawn in late summer with a banquet and a boat house and a library and beer and the golden light of a sun softly falling. Girls in sweet dresses and guys in tuxedos drifted in dance under the emerging stars.

    The world is not horrible or wonderful. It’s both.

    The world is depressing but we can choose not to be. And maybe I’m not writing this to you but to me.

    When I was a kid there were three billion of us, now it’s more like seven. We’re dark and competitive and horrible but we’re successful. We’re only two meters tall, spindly legged, almost bald, and we’ve changed the atmosphere and the ground and the ocean. We walk on the bottom of the sea, the dark side of the moon, know the speed of light to a thousand decimal places, the value of pi to a trillion.

    We’re going to put 80,000 ton machines in space to mine the asteroids. Because we can and because we need to. We will build laser cannon that can cut moons in half and place them in near orbit around the sun. You come into this solar system without an invitation and you’re going to get melted. You get within twelve light seconds of this planet and you are ended. That’s who we are.

    I’m the liberal black sheep of my family, so I’ve been an outsider my whole life. My dad always hoped it was a phase I would outgrow. I still don’t like guns or explosives and I think we would be well served by being a touch less aggressive. Plus I have a bit of Asperger’s which makes math easy but social skills hard. I sometimes think I’m being ironic when I’m just being a fool. Apologies for same.

    Our time here is short. I would wish for someone like you to know deep bliss even in the mist of chaos. We will sort this out because we always do. Life finds a way. And at this point in my life I really don’t think getting tear gassed and arrested twice helped end the Vietnam War. But I’m glad I was there.

    Oh, the part of me that is “me” was born on a bike. The family story is that I whined and complained and bitched and moaned until they got me one (I was preschool), and then I learned to ride it in an afternoon and wouldn’t get off, even to eat. In my best dreams, there’s just a bike and a border collie and we’re in the woods chasing the golden light of a summer trail by a silver stream.

    I love you and that you are here and thank you for who you are and what you do. Indeed, the universe would be impoverished without your voice. Something would fall, and something behind that, and then more, and it would all unwind. The stars themselves would go dark.

    Carry on.

  4. poll and e – 2 great friends i have never met in person. maybe one day… when you come to visit it makes me glad i started this hugely busy and successful blog. (only the second bit of that statement is tongue in cheek btw)

    poll – i hope you have a good strike. you may be unsurprised to hear you have my support and best wishes, as does everyone who is going to lose a day’s money to try and protect their future – and ours. even if it was just your own future, i’d be supporting you. but you knew that. hope things are good for you – i’m happy to hear you currently have a job from which to strike! and it’s great to have you back here.

    e – if you’re just being a fool, we need more fools. thanks. it’s all i can say when you write like that.
    and thanks.
    did i say thanks?

    i will host another ‘do’ in the garden around the boathouse soon when i have the time. when you invoked that image i went straight back to the warmth of an infinitely long summer evening, hearing the river as i sat on the grass feeling its softness. fortunately as the grass is the stuff of fantasy it doesn’t need mowing. unless i feel like it and just so the air can be heavy with its scent.
    must start writing that guestlist. family are expected of course.

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