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.