Political Movements: Why Demonstrating Individualism Within Collectivism Is The Best Method Of Achieving Progress

 

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Political movements have often fallen victim to criticism – some of it fair and some unfounded – whether it be due to the actions and attitudes of some activists or ignorance/lack of understanding on the onlooker’s part. Because of this, a lot of people feel uncomfortable getting involved in movements that they might otherwise support for fear of a negative stigma rubbing off on them.

It is unfortunate that this is the case when so many of the movements in question are inherently good and deserve to be supported by as many people as possible, whether it be causes regarding gender and race politics or an affiliation to a political party. Debate and discussion is a vital part of any group or organisation – without it, very little progress would be made.

Labels

Over this last year, I have experienced a metamorphosis on both personal and political levels. I have always been a leftie, but for a long time I was reluctant to associate myself with certain leftist movements that I did not completely agree with – I was too individualistic for that and feared being tarred with the same brush as those I criticized. With my fickle nature, conforming to labels is something I was never comfortable with, even when it came to trivial things such as style and subcultures since my tastes and interests were likely to alter within a week. It is not such a problem when it comes to self-identity since labels can be restrictive and stunt personal growth, but in terms of politics they play a vital role in aiding progression. It is impossible to do everything on an individual basis when there are so many voices fighting to be heard. It is very rare – if not impossible – to find something or someone that you agree with or feel defines you 100%.

After a long period of growth and self-analysis on my part, dissecting my morals and opinions to their very bones, I came to feel comfortable enough in myself and my own beliefs to be able to adopt labels without feeling as though they defined me on an individual basis. It feels perfectly natural calling myself a feminist even though there have been times in the past where I have fiercely disagreed with certain advocates of the movement. I feel perfectly at home as an active member of the Labour Party even though I might not share the same views as every single member/supporter. It is all about the bigger picture and using these labels as vessels to achieve progression.

Vessels 

The vessels metaphor is by far my favourite at the moment and is one that makes a lot of sense to me personally. I see movements as vehicles or ‘vessels’ which house a wealth of different beliefs and opinions that are all ultimately heading for the same destination. It’s like a colossal carpool – why waste energy fueling your own transport when you could chip in and have a greater impact in the process?

As long as you retain your strong sense of individualism within a movement and do not succumb to sheep syndrome, you can use your voice to help steer your vessel into a direction you wish to take. A difference in opinions is a great thing – without it, movements would come to a stand-still. As previously stated, there can be no progression without debate, even within a group you largely agree with.

Final Thoughts

Individuality is something that should be cherished and used to change our own worlds and those of the people around us, but there is strength in unity that can be made all the more powerful through debate and discussion. Do not be afraid to contribute to a movement you believe in. Challenge ideas you don’t agree with and learn to compromise on certain issues – a unified voice is much louder than a solitary one fighting to be heard above the din.

Do you agree that individualism within collectivism is a good idea, or would you rather go it alone/blindly conform?

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Fighting Fascism: Discussion not Censorship 

Post by Tyler Turner. 

The BBC’s decision to air a pre-recorded interview with Marine Le Pen – the leader of the French National Front – on the Andrew Marr Show this morning has unsurprising proved to be a controversial one. 

Given that it is Remembrance Sunday – a day dedicated to the mourning of the lives lost in the fight against fascism – many have taken offence and consider the interview to be granting fascists an undeserved platform. 

Perhaps the timing was a little off – in many ways the discontent of the left is perfectly justified – but given the current political climate in the wake of Brexit and the Trump victory, we have to face the prospects of people with political stances like that of Marine Le Pen being successful elsewhere.  

Personally, I do not think the interview legitimises fascism – it faces it head on. We as people have a right to know what we are up against and censorship will not benefit anyone except the very people it aims to silence. Discussion is an imperative weapon in this battle since it is a lack of communication that has enable such nightmarish scenarios to become realities. 

If anything, these circumstances are good in that they give us a clear common enemy. Now, instead of succumbing to despair and exasperating internal conflicts, the left needs to stand in solidarity and push back against the fascist threat.  

From Glamping to Trench Warfare: A Brief Summer Summary

It’s back to normality for me today after a summer of exploration, character-building experiences and very limited internet access (AKA my very valid excuse for a feeble lack of posts).

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Since its beginning in a family-friendly campsite in the Derbyshire Dales to its demise in the war-torn fields of Leeds Festival, this summer has consisted of flitting between the East Anglian coast, Mancunian record stores and a good mate’s house in Staveley. There have been weddings attended, new tattoos/piercings acquired and large doses of literature consumed.

 

Books of my summer:

  • Owen Jones, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It.  
  • George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia. 
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher In The Rye.
  • Stephen Fry, The Liar.
  • Pat Barker, Noonday.
  • Jon E. Lewis, The War Behind The Wire: The Life, Death and Glory of British Prisoners of War 1914-18.
  • Gerald Giddon, VCs of the First World War: Somme 1916.  
  • Greg King and Sue Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World. 
  • Anton Rippon, How Britain Kept Calm and Carried On: On the Home Front. 
  • James Dashner, The Death Cure.

boots

Despite having narrowly dodged being peed and thrown up on, barely surviving the weather and leaving with a lovely little cold – I feel like I have left Leeds with some very valuable experience.

Five festival life lessons:

  • Wellies ARE essential and should be worn at all times – even when festival season is over.
  • Indiscreetly pointing at someone wins you a new friend.
  • Puddles are not suitable pillow substitutes.
  • You are not above bumbags.
  • Small tents test friendships.

 

Overall, the last six weeks have been brilliant, educational and physically and mentally exhausting, yet I feel oddly recharged. Now I’m ready to write, work and campaign furiously throughout this next year before returning to university in 2017.

Some highlights:

  • Interacting with Iain Stirling (the reason my mates and I continued watching CBBC well into our early teens) at Leeds, directly followed by:
  • Listening to Owen Jones chat with Andy Parsons and having him inspire me even further.
  • Eating Kimchi in Manchester and Turkish food in Lowestoft.
  • Spontaneous Tramlines outing.
  • (Cheesy as hell, I know, but) spending time with my family and friends, which is a big deal for an introvert y’know.
  • Getting in the bath after Leeds Fest.
  • Oh, and getting new hamsters.

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