Archive for big society

Reflections from the occupied mind #2

Posted in Comment with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2012 by theroguetrooper

The irony of it is not lost on me.  I was sat on a hotel balcony in Mellehia in Malta on a cool cloudy January morning.  Giving generous consideration to positives and negatives of the Occupy movement and in particular Occupy Liverpool

From well before the first tent was pitched at Wellington’s monument on St George’s plateau, those traditional rivalries of hard left/far right had already chosen it to be their latest battle ground. Provoked into action by the right the left responded accordingly and in fairness appropriately, although not without complication.  Rightly or wrongly Occupy has given them something else to snarl about in Liverpool as in other cities and of course it seems old adversaries are rubbing their hands with glee, why shouldn’t they be?  They have a new battleground after all!!!

As I understood it the appeal of  occupy is/was/should be beyond traditional politics, after all where did they get us?  Occupiers found and still find themselves doing battle with themselves and each other as to where it should be heading.  Commentators who weren’t even involved were offering their two-penneth from the comfort of their own “Weltanshauung” but then they always do, it is what they are best at, nuff said, we move on.

Occupy as a result occupies ever decreasing space and dialogue because the old adversaries push their particular solutions into particular faces pushing particular buttons knowing all too well the pickings are easy.  I to have fallen into this trap hence this reflection is as much about my weaknesses as anyone else’s.  Meanwhile the so-called 1% carries on amassing obscene amounts of wealth, despite the odd token gesture from a man called Hester and the symbolic shaming of a rogue banker or two.  If it remains true to its inception Occupy necessarily occupies a different as yet undefinable space which is neither the middle England floating voter bullshit nor the space between left nor right but somewhere else where there is no authority but yourself, where self-determination meets with real direct democratic decision making.

It is my belief and you may well wish to question/disagree/ridicule/agree as you so wish that both left and right miss the point here. Despite their differences both follow similar tendencies which tend to rigidity and isolation of individuals rather than the cultivation of real grass roots movements which embrace people and celebrate diversity and difference.  Maybe it is just to fuckin difficult or maybe their ideas are trapped in dogmas from an age already gone?  Maybe there is fear within traditional movements/pressure groups/political affiliations which prevent real change?

From where I am standing the right wing set out to intimidate, bully discredit and bash us.  They have a history of using moral panic propaganda in a vain attempt to garner support for ideas that are beyond vile.  Read their scare story moral outrage posts on any facebook page and you will see over-elaborate horror stories of rape, hard drug abuse, theft and that old nugget of anti-British behaviour. None of which ever happened on the Occupy Liverpool camp.  The left on the other hand set out to protect, influence and recruit.  I was asked if I wanted to be on a mailing list even before the tent went up.  Seriously it happened.  Some bought into it, some stayed, some went home but whatever they did the path of the occupation took a path I and possible others simply failed to envisage.   It is all too easy to point out and remind ourselves the world has many problems.  Organised resistance in the form of organisations with their own hierarchies and cliques has failed us time and time again but where does the solution lie?  If we change this world by changing ourselves then it follows we change each other by open and honest dialogue. Exclusion, isolation and ridicule serve only those masters we seek to eliminate.

Of course I ask these questions of myself as much as anyone else and it brings to mind this….

“We must learn to live with our own weaknesses, hatred, prejudice, and to reject theirs”.

“We must learn to live with our own fears, doubts, inadequacies, and to reject theirs”.

“We must learn to live with our own love, passion, desire, and to reject theirs”.

“We must learn to live with our own conscience, awareness, certainty, and to reject theirs”.

“We must learn to live with our own moralities, values, standards, and to reject theirs”

“We must learn to live with our own principles, ethics, philosophies, and to reject theirs”.

(Penny Rimbaud – Last Of The hippies)

If feeble connections and dubious trust are the norm, then knowing glances and coded words reinforce division. Why is it those brave enough to speak their minds are still being sent to the naughty corner?  What does this achieve?  Dissenters dissent for a reason; answers come from asking questions.  In a world full of judges we are always on trial.

No questions, no answers, stagnation?

The positives are not lost either.  People from all walks of life initially coming together to make a collective statement about the world we live in.  The debates as I recall them went way beyond a simplified critique of capitalism and way beyond the standards of popular discourse.  There was also the humour, because after all we are humans and we like a laugh.  Most notably for me were the times a group would get together to rebuild make-shift cooking areas in extreme winter weather, often with people I had just met and hardly knew at the time.  The food sharing, well-wishers and donations, people from all walks of life and faiths coming together, November 30 the day of the big action, the camp was full to brimming, supporting the strike, the sacked LMH workers, Ryanair don’t care campaign and the visit of six nationalists who tried and failed miserably to intimidate and/or take the moral high ground. Not forgetting anonymous Liverpool who made a presence and inspired in their own way.   There remains plenty to be positive about but we have to address our own prejudices, our own fears and our own assumptions about the the whole thing and those we share the space with.  Whatever your own personal view it clearly remains a hearts and minds issue and being open, transparent and inclusive is possibly the biggest challenge to take in a fucked up state.

At the time of writing this I learnt of someone who is preparing to go over to Palestine this summer to take part in human shield type actions and quite frankly I am humbled by that.

Emma Goldman

Posted in Comment with tags , , , , on October 20, 2011 by theroguetrooper

I will be honest I just stumbled on this piece.   It is worth sharing

“But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism?

Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed?

John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?

Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.

Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.

This is not a wild fancy or an aberration of the mind. It is the conclusion arrived at by hosts of intellectual men and women the world over; a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society: individual liberty and economic equality, the twin forces for the birth of what is fine and true in man.”
― Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays


Posted in photography with tags , , , , on October 16, 2011 by theroguetrooper

Is This England?

Posted in Comment, Pictures, Speakers Corner with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2010 by theroguetrooper

St George on the breeze courtesy of Doris Cakes.


Keep Out !!!!!


There is a cat in there somewhere….

Take a seat, make yourself comfy !!!!!!

No electricity Monseiur !!

The boot on the Boot.

Little brother watching big brother …..

So is this England?  With all this talk of,  in the first instance, broken society and then the big society I thought rather than write yet another polemic (lol) I would try and catch it in pictures.  They are saying don’t ask what your country can do for you but rather what can you do for your country.  Fair enough but we don’t need to told this, not by some over-priveliged gang of boys who went to school together!  Is this England?  This is England indeed warts and all….the big bad broken society where you will find love, beauty, hope and a sense of humour in the unlikeliest of places

It is enough to drive you up the wall…

But even McDonalds in the background cannot detract from this unexpected oasis

Even the swan likes it..!

Progressive communication systems required, urgently !!

A ride, now that’s a good idea.  Let’s go.

We were talkin’ about scooters the other week, these two rolled up when we were having a pint.

Round and round and round and round we go.

Lookin’ a bit pasty there Elvis lad.

I couldn’t believe it either!

Southport in summertime.

Indeed !!!

So is this England?  Yes it is England.  A snapshot over twenty-four hours.  I am still asking myself the same question as when I started.  Is there a big society waiting to emerge?  Over a relatively small section of England I noted all manner of contradictions.  Travel a few yards and travel across real extremes.  So this is England and that big society, that is nothing more than the dream of little Englanders.

Update…I note Mr Cameron will be launching his Big Society right here in Liverpool on Monday 19th July 2010.  Let us see just how this big idea pans out.  I will be watching with interest Mr Cameron, after all I have always been community minded.