I’m re-starting this blog after a hiatus of six years – a hiatus significantly longer than the roughly one year that I actually blogged for, so honestly I’m surprised it’s still here. But here it is, good old wordpress I suppose.
When I ran this blog before I was a 23-year-old PhD student in Toronto; now I’m a 29-year-old Postdoc in Canberra. Looking back, I sadly have to admit that my engagement in politics was fairly low even then, and subsequently declined. I’m re-starting the blog because I want to reverse that decline. I feel like recent developments in world politics demand it.
Part of the reason for that decline was a longstanding sense of directionlessness. My formative political experience was the Iraq war, and that was in many ways a demoralising experience: firstly in that the movement didn’t achieve anything, and secondly in that it was the supposedly left-wing party that was launching the war. It made it easy to feel that all parties and politicians were basically the same, that ‘the system’ was insulated from popular influence, that things had settled permanently into a soft-Neoliberal centrist equilibrium.
I suppose that means I should be grateful that the opposite seems true now. Parties are being captured by insurgencies from both left and right, ‘the system’ reels from one unanticipated upheaval or intrusion to another, and I, like many people, feel like I genuinely have no idea what the world will look like, politically, in a few years. There’s no longer any difficulty in identifying the right direction: it is, in the first instance, against Trump, Bannon, Farage, Wilders, Le Pen, and their ilk.
Another part of the reason I lapsed out of political engagement was my situation as an immigrant. Should I mainly follow the politics of the UK (where I’m from), of Canada (where I lived, and where my partner still lives), of Australia (where I live now), or of the USA (which is what everyone talks about endlessly)? To some extent the events of the last few months have helped here, in showing more clearly that it’s the same issues, the same ideas, the same movements, all over the world. But also to some extent I’ve just realised that, well, it’s important and I had better start paying more attention to all of them.
So I’m hereby trying to re-radicalise myself: attending protests, lobbying MPs, donating money, and of course, most fun though most uncertain in usefulness, blogging.