Thursday, 28 October 2010

She closed herself off to him

Moving closer to her he who had filled her thoughts for years without being seen nor heard nor felt
Only aged photos
A smile across his face, arms outstretched
Not the first to be held, nor the last (of a heirarchy of attention)
The smile not lost, getting wider and the panic reaching her skin
Ignore him
Ignore him all night long
Thoughts of the future, forget the present, can't make sense of the present, can only control the future, only the future can be open
Ignore him all night long, even to the point of condescension
It's better that way

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dialectical Images and UK Governmental Cuts; What do I do?

When I walk with my cameras I often use the idea of the dialectical image spoken of by Walter Benjamin to guide me.

To me dialectics, though I understand it as being interpreted differently by others, suggests the potential for considering my situation in a different - or differing - light. The basis for this lays with the idea that a uni-quivical interpretation of my situation is a fabrication, disconnected from the antagonisms of my thoughts and memory. How can there I lock myself into ideological maxims based on my past when memories and history remain in the future?

As such my idea of politics is one based on the potential for thinking antagonistically (though, I hope, not being an awkward bugger). The difficulty I have, and the reason why I am writing this, is the problem I felt about an hour or so ago. I came home from work and my parents mentioned the government cuts that are everywhere right now.

My mum said to me that the Conservative government has said that people living in social housing "should not expect to live in it forever". That means us. At first my blood boils. My parents have lived in this place for 27 years this month, five months after I was born. It was originally given to them when my Dad worked at a factory that included rented housing. Now that my parents are retired they live here with financial support that renders this place "social housing".

I walk around with my cameras, I do my writing, "I think politically" and I read Benjamin, Adorno and Marcuse. I remember reading a quote from Benjamin that revolution is like putting the breaks on the train of history. But when people such as those wish to attack our lives I feel impotent.

These people in government - it doesn't matter who they are, Labour or ConDem, have power over that which I have power, and I have no means of arguing against it. I am powerless. Unlike France the majority of this country believe that these cuts are right. The government can do what they like with me, and I never even voted for them. My voice was cancelled out because of all places I live in the constitutency of the prime minister. My vote and voice is forgotten through first past the post. Of the 30 odd percent of the country that voted, 80 percent are like mine, wasted votes. Of those votes that do count, 30 odd percent constitutes the government. But that's almost irrelevant.

The descendents of those in government have always had power of my descendents and the reason they have power over me now is contributed to by this. But this is surely also irrelevant.

The powerlessness I feel is a component of the situation, an aspect of my memory that I need to politicise - to argue with. I said that this is unlike France, that nothing will ever happen, but to hold that as a truth is to render pessimistic ideal.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Tough choices

On BBC Radio 1 today the newsbeats on the half hours often headlined "young people are ready to make tough choices”, after the show conducted a poll that came up with the following results; ‘… three-quarters (76%) of 18-24-year-olds thought unemployment payments should be cut and 68% said housing benefit needs to be reduced‘. The broadcasts communicated opionions of 18-24 year olds on the streets, with varying severity. The broadcast, in keeping with the BBC’s commodity of "balance", presented comments by a single mother, recently unemployed, that was struggling with the benefits she currently receives.

I wonder if the comments of these people are referred to as “tough choices” due to the following framework; British 18-24 years olds can be understood as liberal, moral types who do not like to impose their will on others (-liberal), but in return do not want others to impose their will on them by forcing them to pay taxes. If this is the case then there exists a philosophy among those that resent paying taxes for the benefit of others that the benefits they receive have been earned by themselves alone and that they have needed to rely on no one in their lives. The “tough choices” are just a verbal projection that accompanies the need to cover up pretensions to moral, vindictive comments.

I find myself descending into vengeance, how can they possibly not recognize the hypocrisy of their accusations – do they not know the benefit they receive from the pain of others in the form of their electronics and fashions produced by others and the debt they enjoy that has been loaned by states (such as China) due to the pittance earned by those same workers?

But whenever my temper flares up I feel like I’m falling. My seeking moral superiority is absolutely no different to the vindictive attitudes towards those on benefits that seem so prevalent.

I need to disconnect from the finality of moral superiority. I don’t want to live in that environment. However, does that mean I shouldn’t campaign on behalf of others? On the contrary, I don’t see why campaigning for others should be qualified through morals. Are there memories at risk that I myself cherish - not just from the broad emphasis on moral superiority - but also the implementation of them on specific memories themselves? However, if I try to seek out moral superiority in all my works of life I also fear I will descend into a paranoid witch-hunt. In contrast I think I just have to remember what is important to me.