why set up a blog now?
These are extreme times: economic and political mayhem and corruption; together with widespread social and personal upheaval and damage; environmental uncertainty, drama and chaos. Democracy in turmoil.
In 2013 national politics and business practices, marked by 30+ years of neoliberal deregulation for business, coupled with intensified regulation, surveillance and loss of civil liberties for the general population,[i]can be likened to a cross between élite men’s organised crime, the arrogance of inbred entitlement, laissez-faire irresponsibility and vandalism. It is hard to feel confident and optimistic; too easy to fall prey to bewilderment, anger, despair and/or inertia.
For the last 30+ years of neoliberal ‘economics’, we have been subject to an intensified version of an economic system that plunders, exploits, injures and damages nature (animals, humans, the ecosystem) as its default mode.[ii]It has consumed, regardless of cost or consequence, andmay therefore fairly be described as intrinsically brutal, unethical and unsustainable.
We urgently need to create other ways of co-habiting this planet,[iii]our world, our society, our communities, our (diverse) families, replacing sharpinequality and competition (the dominance and subordination binary), which has produced so many losers and victims, so much suffering.
With little media support, the Left has to find a way to uphold the values of the ambitious 1945 Labour government now,while also building on, rather than ignoring, the achievementsand unfinished business of the human rights, social justice, trade union, peace, environmental and liberatory movements since the 1960s. These are the social and political movements that have distinguished our society from an authoritarian state or totalitarian regime. These are the movements that have kept fascism at bay in our society.
How do those of us who are not Tory-compliant get our voices heard and manage to talk to each other beyond immediate family and friends, in ways that will sustain and nourish us personally and politically, and as a force to be reckoned with? This is a huge challenge, not least for women, given that “the sites of effective decision remain a playground for a certain kind of middle-aged male”.[iv] This must change.[v] Women and men must make this change together.[vi]
togetherfornow.wordpress.com will combine statements, short articles and longer essays, as well as poems and photos, that are triggered by and engage with current social / political / cultural and environmental issues, events, crises and achievements, together with links to related reports, articles, research, campaigns and networks, including, from December 2013, www.womensnet.uk.com.
The blog title has a number of connotations, which should not be seen as mutually excluding:
- a temporary arrangement, perhaps unexpected, unintended, fragile, tenuous
- an intense bond or commitment, ‘securing’ now, taking care of the present
- with the purpose of improving the personal, social, political and environmental ‘now’ / status quo
- now: in the moment, no more delay, denial, procrastination.
val walsh / 07 09 2013
[i]SeeSimon Jenkins (21 08 2013) The press must not yield to this state intimidation. TheGuardian; NSA revelations (22 08 2013)How whistleblower exposed secrets of a surveillance state. The Guardian; Richard Norton-Taylor (22 08 2013)Surveillance secrecy. Deep denials: the legacy of GCHQ’s years under cover. The Guardian; Charles Falconer (22 08 2013) The misuse of schedule 7. The Guardian.
[ii]See, for example, George Monbiot (2000 reprint 2013)The Captive State. The Corporate Take-over of Britain. London, Macmillan. Also Ha-Joon Chang (2010) 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. London, Penguin.
[iv]Dan Hind (2010)The Return of the Public. London, Verso: 207.
[v] See Charlotte Higgins (21 08 2013) Writers call for quotas for women in parliament. The Guardian. Also Josh Halliday (21 08 2013) Where are the women on TV, asks Toksvig. The Guardian; Rowena Mason (19 08 2013) Tory call to increase women in government. The Guardian; Simon Goodley (20 082013)Male bosses’ bonuses double those of female colleagues. The Guardian. And Kipper Williams’ tiny cartoon (21 08 2013) of two dark-suited women bank staff in conversation. Speech bubble: “What have we done to deserve lower undeserved bonuses than men?” The Guardian.
[vi]See bell hooks (2004)The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love. Washington Square Press.