“Smile like you mean it and it will be returned.”
– Nahko & Medicine for the People, Father Mountain
I live in a society that is suffering from a sickness – a society where we are fearful and distrusting of our fellow human beings; a society where any sense of community has vanished and where we don’t have a clue who our neighbours are; a capitalist society where we are conditioned to be individualistic and competitive in order to be the best, as opposed to selfless and giving; a society where we have been brought up to think that it’s okay to bomb and massacre other people because we’re somehow more right and just; a society where our obsession for smart phones and social media feeds our egos and fuels narcissism; a society in which many of us are suffering from epic rates of mental health problems. Continue reading “Smile like you mean it and it will be returned!”
Having referred to myself as an anarchist in various blog posts, I thought I would write about what anarchism means to me. Anarchism means something slightly different to each anarchist, so this is a very personal post.
“Anarchism means a condition or society where all men and women are free, and where all enjoy equally the benefits of an ordered and sensible life.”
– Alexander Berkman: ABC of Anarchism (1929)
Anarchy, and anarchism, doesn’t mean chaos, despite what the media and politicians will tell you. Anarchists believe that no-one should be ruled over or managed and that no-one should hold more power than another. We believe that we can organise together and that people should directly run society, as opposed to governments enforcing their laws on us and imprisoning us if we don’t obey. We demand a world without oppression and without governments, judges, the police, the military, landlords and land owners, and we demand a world without borders. We believe that all people should have a right to land and a right to move wherever they want to, no matter how ‘poor’ they are, or what colour skin they have, or what passport they have (if they are privileged enough to have one at all). Continue reading “to be an anarchist…”
“WHORE!” a man yells out of his car window at Nicol, as she stands at the side of the road with a sign for the next town. She screams something back at him in Italian. “Welcome to Italy,” I think to myself. Chris has joined us on our roadtrip. Unfortunately for him, both Nicol and … Continue reading friendliness versus hostility: a visit to Italy
I loathe London. I lived there for a decade. I did my time there, I lived on both sides of the river, I knew the city. So now I feel that it is my right to loathe it!
Why do I dislike London so much? Maybe my views are tainted by the past – by memories of the old me. But mostly I dislike London because it is the epitome of the capitalist system.
Continue reading “London: a rant.”
I leave England once again and have one intention – to visit Norway. I get as far as Sara’s in Malmo, Sweden, and we spontaneously agree, “let’s go to Finland!” And so my Norway plans are put on hold and I board a ferry in Stockholm with Sara, her sister Lea and Lea’s daughter, Aviaja. Nothing can ruin my excitement about visiting Finland, not even the hideous ferry crossing where most people’s intention is to get paraletic, and where the security man threatens to confiscate our food. Apparently we are not allowed to bring food on a sixteen hour ferry crossing which doesn’t cater for vegans!
We arrive in Helsinki. I have wanted to visit this city for about ten years, but all I see of it is a ten minute tram ride to a hitchhiking spot. I vow to come back to Helsinki in a week or two, but fate has other ideas, and I never make it back there. I also never make it to Norway. I hitch alone northwards, whilst Sara and family take the train. We are heading to the Finland Rainbow Gathering (a hippie meet-up) in the countryside in Paukarlahti. I repeatedly mutter to myself, “I have never seen so many trees!” There is forest absolutely everywhere.
Continue reading “Finland – The land of a thousand lakes, a million trees and ten million mosquitoes”
Since moving to Brighton, my second home has become the Cowley Club, a collectively-owned non-profit base for activists to meet each other, hold meetings, stage events and eat vegan cake! I have become involved with Smash EDO, an anti-arms campaign against the local weapons factory, EDO MBM. Admirably, Smash EDO has been campaigning constantly since 2004, holding weekly demonstrations outside the factory, as well as organising many mass direct actions, rooftop occupations, peace camps, critical mass bike rides, blockades of the company’s phone lines…the list goes on. And in January 2009, when more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Massacre, a group of activists broke into the factory and caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage. In court, the activists were found not guilty, as they were trying to prevent a greater crime. Despite all this, EDO remains in Brighton, protected by police at every demonstration.
Continue reading “Fighting to shut down Brighton’s arms factory”
The anti-capitalist journalist, John Pilger, says that politics in Britain has one meaning:
“The replacement of democracy with a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born.”
And Chris McCandless quoted in the film, Into The Wild, that “careers are a twentieth century invention and I don’t want one!” With these two quotes in mind, I will carry on experiencing life without conforming to people ‘s expectations. It has amused me (and irritated me, too) that in Germany and in England the first question that people ask me is “so, what do you do?” I have come up with all sorts of amusing answers to that question since I gave up my “career”. To me, it is ridiculous that a career (probably producing consumerist-tat that no-one needs, or working in a brain cell-killing office job) is seen as the benchmark in monitoring human worthiness.
Because I live without much money, two things are essential to me: hitchhiking and dumpster diving (or skipping).
Continue reading “hitchhiking and dumpster diving into 2011…”