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Postcard From Nottingham

Luke Shore | 28.06.2011 15:17 | J30 Strike | Iraq | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles

We must throw off the shackles of despondency, fear and hopelessness and see that our government’s mandate stems only from the will of the people. Should we demonstrate that they do not represent us, that they do not act in the people’s interest then they lose all legitimacy.

J30 Strike
J30 Strike

It’s the end of May in Nottingham and rising from the haze of the warm spring sunshine voices of indignation can be heard: “Education is a right, they say cut back, we say fight!” This is Nottingham Students against Fees and Cuts latest demonstration at Nottingham University. We’re debating strategies for direct action but I’m tired. I was awake until 3am the morning before planning, organising and coordinating the UK assembly movement for Real Democracy Now, inspired by the Spanish 15M movement. I may look like any other 14 year old but unlike my friends I’m a political animal.

My passion for politics and direct action began in 2003, when I was six, with a letter concerning the Iraq War that I sent to Tony Blair. The letter spoke of my frantic anguish with the proposed illegal invasion. Then it came, I remember, the gunshots, the bombs and the screams echoing through my conscience. There was slaughter on those dusty streets. Howls and sobs, bodies and blood. Liberation they called it, all I saw was murder.

Even at such a young age this atrocity taught me that my liberty is useless should I not use it. I learnt that if I disagreed with authority I should not be subdued but instead quite the opposite. I should stand up and make myself heard, scream, shout and protest until I could yell no more. Jean Jacques Rousseau was right when he said that “citizens are only free when they take a direct and continuous role in shaping the lives of their communities”.

Today our society is not one of the people, our electoral system is hugely skewed in the favour of two parties such that only 1.6% of the population effectively decided the last election, that is not democracy. The political class take advantage of the mandate we have given them to further their own interests and those of corporations over those of the people, that is not democracy. This is evident in the fact that our politicians and their ties to the private health industry are trying to tear apart our national health service, how they tripled tuition fees, how they let the richest get away with avoiding billions in tax while they cripple the worst-off and most vulnerable with huge public service cuts, how they do nothing to help the 20% of young people unemployed, how they disregard our rights, freedoms and civil liberties and how they squander billions on war and destruction! There are a huge amount of people in Britain opposed to this yet they sit back, shrug and do nothing

We live by the constraints and the obligations dictated by others however we must see they are see not imposed on us, it is we who impose them on ourselves. We must not be tamed, subjugated or subordinated for the reality is that no man may rule us. That our lives are ours alone! Over ourselves, over our own body, mind and heart it is we and we alone who are sovereign.

We must throw off the shackles of despondency, fear and hopelessness and see that our government’s mandate stems only from the will of the people. Should we demonstrate that they do not represent us, that they do not act in the people’s interest then they lose all legitimacy.

On June 30th I will join more than 750,000 workers in calling for an end to the government’s relentless, vicious, ideological attacks on our public services and its employees. They claim that these massive cuts are the only way to curb the budget deficit, that there is no alternative and that the spike in the deficit was the result of the previous government’s economic incompetence. However both of these statements are completely false, the increase in the budget deficit was mainly the inevitable result of the worldwide recession and there are real alternatives and ones that do not punish the poorest who did nothing to cause the crisis. I invite you to join me and nearly a million others on June 30th to say “enough!”

For me to be free is to act, to be heard and make a difference in the world whatever the peril or the price. I would much rather live freely in danger that enslaved but secure. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi: “Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?”

We must not choose to acquiesce, we must not be suppressed by the waves of oppression. Yes, waves may not relent, they may keep roaring over the violet horizon but we must find the courage and the strength not to let ourselves be submerged under the deluge. We cannot let them win, we must stand and fight for justice in our society, for the sake of fairness, for our future.

On the soft green grass back in Nottingham , amongst talk of indignation, occupation and oppression, with the warm soft winds rustling the trees, the flowing verdant hills fade as I slowly drift into a blissful dream. I dream of a land not too dissimilar from our own but one where we respected our planet and our fellow beings, a land of progress, culture, sustainability, development, welfare and people’s happiness, community, fraternity, equality, peace, democracy and freedom.

You may call me a dreamer for that is what I am but no matter where you where or what the circumstances in which you find yourself please remember, never stop hoping, dreaming, striving and struggling for a better community, a better society, a better country and a better world. As John Lennon said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality”

Luke Shore
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28.06.2011 15:54

Apologies for the word 'planning', it sounds hierachical and authoritarian. I did not plan RDN, no one but the assemblies did.

Luke Shore
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