by Christopher Horner
If you want to deserve Hell, you need only stay in bed. The world is iniquity; if you accept it, you are an accomplice, if you change it you are an executioner. —Jean-Paul Sartre
We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for it by condemning and abusing each other. —Mark Fisher
Hell is other people —Jean Paul Sartre
Politics is difficult. Doing politics, that is. The boring meetings, the leafleting, the marching in the wind and rain (if you can leave your house), the arguments, the confrontations and the blank incomprehension, the ad hominem attacks and much more. But the largest problem by far is other people. Some are the unconvinced, some are the apathetic and then there are the hostile, those you are opposing. More problematic, though, can be those who are supposed to be on your side. They can be difficult to endure. How many of them would you want to meet if you had the choice? Too often, in my experience, it is only a few, as the sheer hard work of trying to arrive at something like a collective will wears everyone out and tries everyone’s patience. Not all politics is like that of course: there can be the sense of comradeship from working with others one wouldn’t otherwise get to know. The experience of making a difference and working for a meaningful goal can be a wonderful thing.
This is hard to sustain though, when we experience defeat and frustration. The bitter moment in which one realises that for now (for how long?) the other side has the day. This has been a recent and bitter experience for the UK Labour Party supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, and of the many in the USA who marched and canvassed for Bernie Sanders in 2020, only to see him him stopped in the primaries. And quite apart from one’s official enemies, there have been real battles within those parties. With failure comes the temptation to have done, to walk away, either into inaction or in order find another, and inevitably smaller, group of like-minded activists. This latter has been a reliable feature of left politics for as long as anyone can remember: an addiction to splitting. After all, if the others aren’t part of the solution, they must be part of the problem, right? Read more »