I’m sitting watching the Tamesis from a public house. A hangman’s noose dangles outside to celebrate the bloodbath of the the rulers against the poor in an earlier century. The view is otherwise good, but the music has a kind of vacuous desperation that recognises the end of the world is coming while refusing to talk about it. Today I was on the Ancient Heath, in the wealthiest part of Londres. It is scattered with trees that remember a time before Londres reached so far. Their presence reminds us how fleeting human civilisations can be. They may well be standing when this is all over.
I left the Heath chatting with another participant about the spread of diseases there is no will to stop. From there to the Docklands, the poorer part of it, and one of the poorest parts of Londres. It was a strange transition. The Heath had been beautiful and here was not, but the change in surroundings was a relief. It’s hard to feel comfortable around the people who are destroying the world. Or maybe that’s just me.
So now I’m sitting here waiting for the Rebel Teacher to show up. We’ve both been in search of a new project recently. She has been more aggressive in her thinking than I have, wanting to find some source of power to counterbalance our rulers, and eager for confrontation. I suspect this is partly a reaction to becoming a property owner – perhaps it made her feel she was losing herself. But I sympathise in one way: so many projects I see intended to change the world are very small scale. It’s even possible to build the smallness of scale into a philosophy, to claim that it is from such small projects that a viable future will grow. But if that is true, it would take a very long time, more time than we have. We need larger scale projects, larger scale ideas. This does require thinking about building large power blocks, in order to throw weight behind large scale solutions. But we are locked into a system where the only apparent way to do this is by utilising institutions the rottenness of which is almost total.
I’m not in as aggressive a mood as the Rebel Teacher, but I suppose I would love it if she walked in here tonight and put on the table a plan to disrupt our rulers. It would probably strike me as worth doing even if the outcome was uncertain.
It is in public houses like this that the men met who first demanded votes for all (men). Their claim became louder and louder over decades. Did they finally get their way because their arguments had been heard, or because so many of them had learned to use guns? What’s also worth remembering about those years of campaigning is that many of those who would have benefitted from universal suffrage considered the idea to be crazily radical. At the beginning, the radicals were fought on the street by Church and King mobs, ordinary poor people who objected to their treason. It took a great deal of high-handed and destructive behaviour by the rulers before they lost most of their un-enfranchised support. Perhaps it’s just a matter of waiting, but again, we are short of time.
The Rebel Teacher did not have big plans herself, but she did suggest I could get involved in a Power Project starting up in Londres. I am going to look into it. We also discussed our parents, and it got me thinking about the effects of insufficient affection and attention. Affection scarcity is possibly what causes the most tension within me, though it isn’t always visible, battling as it does with a desire for independence.