Combating hopelessness

Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by friendofdorothy, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    I wasn't sure where to post this.

    I realised recently that I'd been on more demos, marches and written more letters/signed petitions in the last 2 years or so than in the previous two decades. (I used to do a lot of activist stuff back in the reign of Thatcher.)

    So here we are again - the Torys, more austerity, more attacks on the NHS, the unemployed, the poor, the ill and the disabled. They are creating a deeply divisive society with ever increasing inequality between the 'haves and have nots' which sets everyone againgst each other. Its like being back in the gloom of 1980s - but much worse, with even less hope of any reprieve or change of govt policy.

    I keep hearing people say what the point of protest, it won't change anything - how do we combat that defeatism?

    Is anyone hopeful that this country can actually turn the tide and change for the better? What can we actually do? what orgasations, protests, stategies or philosophies offer any hope of a fightback?

    I realise that back the 80s I coped because:
    • I thought there was every chance the Tory govt would fall, or be voted out next time
    • There was a lot of organised opposition to Thatcherism - from trade unions, political parties, terrorist groups and lots of single issue groups.
    • There was some idealised idea of rainbow coalition - that united the minorities could be the majority and win through to change things
    • I was young - I had the energy to fight and hadn't had all the hope worn out of me.
    • I beleived that you could win people over to your way of thinking by educating them one at a time.
    None of those things apply now except the last one - which would suggest a long slog indeed.
    I need ideas on how to face the struggle against the Torys and avoid depression and burnout.
    MochaSoul, bimble, mojo pixy and 21 others like this.
  2. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    I really have to be elsewhere at least an hour ago, but I'll say this much for now:

    I'd rather go down fighting than go down without having even tried to stop what's happening.
    Badgers, Jay Park, TopCat and 23 others like this.
  3. ChrisD

    ChrisD .

    Back in the 1980's when the Tories got back in I organised a "bike away the blues" cycle ride. This time on May 8th I just sat gloomily on my allotment. I'd welcome ideas to cheer me up for the next 4 years 9 months...
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  4. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    When Major got in I rearranged the furniture and fell out with my (ex) girlfriend. Don't want to do that again.
    Chemical needs and friedaweed like this.
  5. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Mmm, you and me both, although for me it's the last 10 or so years after a relative break from the mid-90s-onward.

    I use the same argument now as then - if you don't try, you certainly won't change anything.

    I'm well aware of the "burn out" that activism brings, too, so we see comrades falling by the wayside, as well as Joe & Josephine Public despairing, but what else can we do but keep fighting until we can't fight anymore?

    I cope through looking to history. there are many examples of fightback against authoritarianism, everything from physical direct action to peaceful (but highly-embarrassing for the powers-that-be) protest. I believe that the "trick" is to use whatever format works, and sometimes that might mean going outside of the accepted "lets walk from point A to point B" beloved of the Socialist Workers' Party and their affiliates, and actually inconveniencing the lives of those directly responsible for our plight. I'm fairly sure I remember some of the peace-camp women doing some excellent work in the '80s, fetching up outside the residences of ministers - journos in tow, and giving the pols a dose of public humiliation. IIRC some of the animal rights crews ended up borrowing the idea.
    I don't expect the world to change overnight (that'd be daft with 35+ years of adult life telling me otherwise!), but just making things shift by modest increments is acceptable to me in lieu of a spontaneous revolution. Making your community aware, and helping your community(s) resist and keep on keeping on is as important as manning the barricades. :)
    Patteran, Maharani, Libertad and 6 others like this.
  6. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    When you say "re-arranged the furniture", are we talking "I calmly put each piece in a new location, resulting in a stunning new lifestyle setting in the living room/bedroom/dining room", or "I re-arranged the furniture into firewood"? :p
  7. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    I moved it about like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. It didn't help our lifestyle at all.
    Grace Johnson, boohoo and Greebo like this.
  8. Dogsauce

    Dogsauce Lord of the Dance Settee

    The harder thing I find now is that in the 80s it felt like everyone hated the Tories, and they were just these old blue rinse ignoramuses and golf club bigots that would die out before long, that their way of thinking was in decline. To some extent, surrounded by other young people from normal schools and occasionally working in unionised workplaces, I was in my own bubble. Now with social media, newspaper comment sections etc. I'm far more aware that the abhorrent shit they believe in is widely accepted and proselytised and it can feel demoralising (despite suspecting a lot of it is organised campaigning by party members). Maybe it was always this way and I just didn't see it.
  9. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Talk to people, and keep the networks going as far as possible - it's not humanly possible for every single one of you/us to have a bad day at the same time.

    Keep track of the small victories and celebrate them; think how few people actually made "home runs" on the Great Escape compared with the huge amount of time, trouble, embarrassment, and expense they caused to their captors.
  10. Ming

    Ming Massive prawns

    You're on the side of the angels mate. History is always a fight between right and wrong. Kindness against petty self interest. Tolerance against mindless prejudice. The rightwing don't play fair because they can't. They'd lose if they displayed their real hand.
  11. oryx

    oryx Sitting on the bock of the day

    To me, this is the most important thread since Urban's been going.

    There are two huge obstacles to overcome - one is the media peddling lies (e.g. about benefit claimants) and the other is the lack of a unified left wing party to get behind. The latter was a problem in the 80s when I was more active than I am now.

    With the first, we can challenge lies.

    The second is more of an issue. I know, and I really hope I will be challenged on this as it will encourage more debate, but where is our Syriza or even our SNP?!

    The really important question for me in contemporary British (sic) politics is - did the SNP win so many seats in Scotland because they had a more radical, anti-austerity agenda, or was it a nationalist thing? The vote against breaking away was No, quite recently, so one is tempted to assume the former. Someone on here suggested the Labour Party would do better if they veered sharply leftwards, and were a bit sneered at.

    Some on here suggest the Labour Party are history.

    Many that they have been history or ineffective since, well, history began. ;) Obviously it's not all about Labour, in any way.

    Many that so-called parliamentary democracy is a farce, etc. etc.

    There is hope, so let's talk about how to go about challenging this conformist claimant-demonising social cleansing marketised state we're in.
  12. yield

    yield zero

    Good post oryx. The lack of a unified left wing party is not an obstacle.

    They'd be forced by the establishment to moderate by carrot or stick.

    Don't valorise Podemos, Syriza or SNP they're sure to disappoint.

    Fight for sure. Never give an inch. Ultimately it's the people who decide; never the party.

    The party only rides on the back of the people.

    "The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy'' - Alex Carey
  13. David Clapson

    David Clapson Infamous Knob

    I honestly don't think there's any hope. Under the stewardship of Thatcher and Blair the bulk of the country has shifted to the right. It can't be pushed the other way because socialism is dead, the unions have no power and a huge chunk of the population are now homeowners, fretting about their equity, watching all those silly property porn shows, mired in self interest, dazzled by the wealth in the rich parts of London. Hardly anyone gives a damn about the issues described in this thread. The anti-austerity protests are just a pinprick on an elephant.
    panpete and friendofdorothy like this.
  14. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    avoid absinthe
  15. Chick Webb

    Chick Webb Countryfile and a can

    Be really wary of taking the comments sections on articles as official polls on public opinion. Nasty types tend to shout loudly in those forums and on some issues I'm pretty sure there are organised gangs of rightwingers attempting to take over the debate. That's what I tell myself anyway. I try not to read the comments a lot of the time. Even seeing that there are 1,000 plus comments under certain articles depresses me.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  16. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Bollocks to that.
  17. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom


    Ground Elder likes this.
  18. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    So why are you here? Why are you posting on the political, local news, current affairs threads of urban at all if you think there's no point and the cause(s) is/are FUBAR?
  19. 19sixtysix

    19sixtysix Life as viewed from a Gay Gorbals Garret

    Glad I've found this thread. I was thinking last night how absolutely depressing it looked outside at the moment. Tory government, the EU technocrats destroying greece, disabled friends finding it hard to eat. I personally am OK. I have the trappings of a good life. Job, flat, food on my plate etc but I know these are of no use when society is being tormented. I think I'm more up for a fight than ever before. I just don't know who to punch.

    I have registered as union supporter to vote for Jeremy Corbin.
    And watch the greek story unfold the speeches of EU commission president are making me think about of voting no at the referendum because I think I've seen enough of the EU as a capitalist club to know it will never be fixed. I like the idea of our common european home but it can not be one set up to allow the rich to abuse us all with their corporations.
  20. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Pickman's model the pictures you chose clearly show glasses which haven't yet been consumed, therefore the absinthe isn't to blame for any despondancy. You're somebody whose job requires attention to detail, so I'm surprised you didn't notice that.

    Right, back to the chores...
    tufty79 and Miss-Shelf like this.
  21. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    it's their second glass
    Libertad, innit, tufty79 and 2 others like this.
  22. ibilly99

    ibilly99 Banned Banned

    Since Larkin gets a mention on another thread here is his middle class bourgeois take on the ennui of existence. Porn mags and spanking his secretaries gave him some milestones to aim for.

    By Philip Larkin
    I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
    Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
    In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
    Till then I see what’s really always there:
    Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
    Making all thought impossible but how
    And where and when I shall myself die.
    Arid interrogation: yet the dread
    Of dying, and being dead,
    Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

    The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
    —The good not done, the love not given, time
    Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
    An only life can take so long to climb
    Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
    But at the total emptiness for ever,
    The sure extinction that we travel to
    And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
    Not to be anywhere,
    And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

    This is a special way of being afraid
    No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
    That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
    Created to pretend we never die,
    And specious stuff that says No rational being
    Can fear a thing it will not feel,
    not seeing
    That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
    No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
    Nothing to love or link with,
    The anaesthetic from which none come round.

    And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
    A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
    That slows each impulse down to indecision.
    Most things may never happen: this one will,
    And realisation of it rages out
    In furnace-fear when we are caught without
    People or drink. Courage is no good:
    It means not scaring others. Being brave
    Lets no one off the grave.
    Death is no different whined at than withstood.

    Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
    It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
    Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
    Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
    Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
    In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
    Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
    The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
    Work has to be done.
    Postmen like doctors go from house to house.
  23. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    "After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I mean disassociated. Take a top hat. You think you see it as it really is. But you don’t because you associate it with other things and ideas.If you had never heard of one before, and suddenly saw it alone, you’d be frightened, or you’d laugh." Oscar Wilde
    ibilly99, crossthebreeze and tufty79 like this.
  24. Yuwipi Woman

    Yuwipi Woman Whack-A-Mole Queen

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    -- Ghandi
    friendofdorothy, Bingo and mwgdrwg like this.
  25. 8ball

    8ball Bar Bore Silver Medallist

    It's just that the wrong side won.
  26. Yuwipi Woman

    Yuwipi Woman Whack-A-Mole Queen

    We're supposed to be cheering friendofdorothy up, remember? :p
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  27. 8ball

    8ball Bar Bore Silver Medallist

    D'Oh!! :facepalm:
    Greebo and Yuwipi Woman like this.
  28. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    "I'd like for young people not to think of the people who were in the civil rights movement and [other] movements as special or somehow have something they don't have. Because we all started out with great innocence.

    We were ordinary teenagers, and we were interested in changing something. And [we believed] that we can and that we must."

    Minnijean Brown Trickney, one of The Little Rock Nine
  29. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

    Muhammad Ali
  30. Poot

    Poot Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk

    Well, if it's any help, some of us are too out of the loop/lazy/out in the sticks to join in your fight, but we're full of admiration and behind you 100%. Yes, I know it's a cop out but it's true.

    I really should get more politically involved and nuts to what everyone else thinks but it's hard and in the meantime I'm grateful to you for doing so.
    xenon, extra dry and Greebo like this.

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