Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I never studied English Literature beyond first year at uni, the reason being I was unwilling to drop either of my other two subjects: Classical Civilisations, which I loved, and politics.

At that time I was madly into party politics. I was the chairperson of my local branch of the Scottish Socialist Party and spent most weekends demonstating or raising support for the various causes the Party stood for. Of course, this was all long before the infamous Tommy Sheridan scandal which well and truly binned the Party. Those were the heady days of comradeship, purpose and a sense of power.

So tonight's the big night for the Americans. I haven't particularly been following the election campaign, it's so long and drawn out. But now that we're on the eve of the probable election of Barack Obama to presidency there's a definite vibe in the air. The excitment and anticipation in the coverage of the results over here is reminicent of the night before Blair was elected after 18 years of Tory rule. Though I've long since lost my passion and belief in party politics the political animal asleep inside of me is definitely stirring tonight.

19 comments:

Roxana said...

the political animal :-) reading your poetry one cannot even imagine that there is such a creature, asleep or not, in you :-)

Jim Murdoch said...

My father taught me, "Jimmy, no one ever votes governments in - only out." At the time I didn't really get it but after watching various changes over the years I can see the truth of that statement. People forget or weren't old enough to remember. And so we rock back and forth every few years.

I remember how bad things were under Labour when I was a kid - that's why the Tories got in - and I was there when they were voted out and I pretty much expect New Labour to get replaced next time round. And that's the way it goes - back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.

Rachel Fox said...

When I was a student the term people used was 'having politics'...some people 'had politics' and some people 'had none'. Exciting to hear you were SSP! I was independent women's officer myself...well, it was 20 years ago...It's so refreshing to have some politics in the news that you can get excited about...

x

James Owens said...

Reporting from my secret, and usually apolitical, bunker a few miles outside president-elect Obama's Chicago stronghold....

Among the sane, a big part of the excitement here is not so much welcoming Obama -- though he seems a nice enough guy -- as it is relief at having avoided the war-mongering, crypto-fascist alternative (which, come to think on it, wasn't even all that crypto- ). You Scots should be relieved, too. With McCain and Caribou Barbie in charge, we might have invaded Edinburgh before it was over -- or Australia, or Mozambique, or anywhere.

I tend to agree with Jim Murdoch about any given election. Or with The Who: "Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss." This time, though, I must own up to being a few degrees less pessimistic than usual....

Sorlil said...

lol, yes the political side is still there, just not active.

I largely agree with what your father said, jim, but I think once in a blue moon there comes along a charasmatic candidate that really does inspire the people and I think Obama is of that kind.

hi rachel, ahh a fellow activist! Yes I used wear my red star badge proudly! I'm much more of a cynic these days, but it'll be intersting to see what changes will come.

Sorlil said...

hi james, good to have an inside perspective! of course it's easy to speculate on this side of the atlantic but I'm glad you're feeling less pessimistic with the appointment of Obama!

shug said...

I used to be a member of Workers Revolutionary Party myself. Wasn't everyone? I thought it was part of growing up.

I still get a bit excited about politics. I can't wait to see an independent Scotland for instance. What a party that would be.

Colin Will said...

I was a member of the Labour Party for 37 years, until Iraq. In fact I was on Robin Cook's exec committee for many years, so he was a friend. One curious link to your post, Sorlil, is that I was told of his death by Tommy Sheridan, who was at a Hiroshima Day poetry reading in Glasgow.

These days I'm not involved with party politics at all.

McGuire said...

Well, Obama won, let's see where he takes us all know. An improvement? A disaster? Both, I imagine. We live in dangerous times and I don't think one man can do much about that.

Cheers for the comment on my moth poem sorlil. Unexpected and more than welcome.

I'll be reading you.

Sorlil said...

yes, an independent Scotland would certainly make life more interesting and I'm really banking on the SNP scrapping my humongous debt of tuition fees!

that must have been very interesting colin, and exciting to have been involved in the early years of new labour. When I was younger I always assumed I would vote Labour but by the time I came of age Labour had scrapped clause IV, and that, to me, was unforgivable.

hi mcguire, I've enjoyed reading through your earlier posts, lost of very interesting stuff there.

Dave King said...

Sorlil

I think you speak for many - you certainly speak for me.

Colin Will said...

I was way before 'new' labour, Sorlil, and I never bought into it. Unreconstructed, me.

Sorlil said...

hi dave, thanks!

hi colin, yes I guessed you were old school. I admire that you stuck it out though new labour, we recruited a lot of disallusioned labour supporters. In fact most of my local branch was made up of former labour party members.

sv said...

..for such a time as this...

It's amazing to see this (now victory for the presidency)in light of the struggles and legacy stemming from the Civil Rights movements and even before (with many of the same issues continuing for many people today), with
those who planted hope for the future, which is today, with their
own blood and tears and lives.
Highly recommend this - Obama speaking at Dr. Martin Luther King's Church....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf0x_TpDris
Particularly resounding and encouraging for a woman of God and a woman of colour as myself, and hope that this new page in politics will be rooted in character and truth and integrity, which this speech seems to suggest,
while there is still time, and will impact and encourage people to renew their perspectives 'before'..as Obama says in his speech, 'the hour grows too late'.
This is something massive for all those who have suffered because of 'difference', something that once was so Impossible that for those who know what it is for King's 'dream' and vision to be fulfilled (and hope for what may come from this for all regardless of colour or perceived difference), touches the soul -and goes far beyond party politics.

James Owens said...

Well, I'm hopeful that an Obama presidency will be an improvement on the past eight years (but then, what wouldn't be?), and he certainly received my vote -- but it is not at all clear that his election is a fulfillment of MLK's "dream."

In fact, many old-guard civil rights battlers -- fierce, aging men and women assiciated with the SCLC and who actually knew and fought alongside King -- seem to feel just the opposite. Most of them supported Hilary Clinton during the primaries.

After all, Obama's mother is white and his father Kenyan. He is black, of course, and the fact that any black person could be elected to the presidency is an advance over the past -- but in what sense is he "African American"? In what sense did Obama and his forebears share in the Civil Rights struggle, or participate in the long, complcated history of the African diaspora in America?

I don't know, personally, how significant these questions are. However, many people who stand closer to the core of the issues are not all that impressed with Obama. Jesse Jackson despises him. Even the election-night praise from Congressman John Lewis, who still carries a metal plate in his skull from a police beating he received in Alabama in 1961 as a Freedom Rider, seemed a bit forced and provisional. And late.

Obama seems an obvious fulfillment of Civil Rights destiny to the young, and especially to the young and white. But many of those who were actually engaged in the fight at its most passionate and dangerous seem to feel that this attitude is a deflection from the real issues that remain unresolved, that the mere election of a nominally African American person to the White House is not exactly what King had in mind. It is a good thing, but we shouldn't let our temporary excitment overstate the terms of the victory.

Sorlil said...

I know what you mean sv, it is massive for a black man to become the US president and certainly appears to be the fulfillment of all those years of struggle. Yet a part of me in thinking along James' lines, I'm wondering what he sold out on in order to get where he is. Call me a cynic but I think it's impossible to attain that level of power and remain rooted in truth and integrity.

That's interesting what you say about the old-guard, James, I didn't know that, yet it doesn't really surprise me.

An Honest Man said...

I can hope - I think. From an old cynical curmudgeon.

But I'm not at all sure he'll be able to bear the expectations loaded on his shoulders.

the broken down barman said...

i recently wrote in my blog on this subject, obama and king and i still don't get it???
one of kings most famous speeches i have a dream....they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

so why does it matter what color anyone is??? its about the qualities that the person posses. i dont care if someone is blue or purple or black or yellow or pink with a green paisly pattern on top, (although that might be a bit mingin) so lets all just get over it eh

Sorlil said...

the green paisley pattern is just too far!