- by Liam Renouf, https://twitter.com/LiamRenouf
It was a hot and sticky day that brought thousands out to protest against the newly appointed PM Boris Johnson. Fck Gov’t Fck Boris was organised by BLMUK, Women’s Strike Assembly, Grime 4 Corbyn, LGSM and a few other organisations making waves in the British contemporary left. The crowd were young, diverse, informed and angry. They were the post 2010 Millbank politicised generation, fed up with 10 years of Tory rule.
We met in Russell Square, 1000s of people wore their newly acquired fck boris tshirts, opened a can, rolled up, and set to dancing. The feeling was hopeful, lively and energetic. As we moved towards parliament I thought that something seismic had changed in the British left. Much of my experience of left wing politics was one of laborious union meetings, motions, reading groups, email lists and contacting journalists. Stormzy’s amazing and culturally significant Glastonbury set a matter of weeks before made it clear that the British left has its home in popular culture. We are living in exciting times.
Politics has certainly come a long way since the student protests of 2010. Many of those on the protest, myself included, were at school seeing the anger of the increase in tuition fees feeling powerless to act. We were directionless, disaffected and angry. We felt no one was on our side.
Another thing has dramatically changed the face of the British left since 2010; Corbynism. This was something that felt important on the march, there was a direction. A shared sense of hope that, although we were protesting the most right wing government in 30 years there was an alternative, and a very realistic one.
News slowly started trickling in of Bojo’s cabinet. First Sajid Javid as chancellor, Priti Patel as Home Secretary and Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary. The man who left the 19 year old stateless, the woman who called to bring back the death penalty and the man who called feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’, fantastic. If we add a little sprinkle of Jacob Rees-Mogg in there we are sorted, and oh look, they did.
What was interesting though, and what seemed to bring hope to so many was that the left were winning the cultural fight. The fear of climate breakdown, racism, sexism, homophobia, the rise of nationalism only spurred people on to be more vocal, more angry and more organised. Oh fuck, are we going to need it.
This particular historical moment, marks the end of neoliberalism. It is coughing its last breath in the form of a Bojo government. His claim to be a ‘one nation conservative’ is thinly veiled lies and his cabinet appointments show that. The end of the ‘end of history’ is upon us. The British left are young, they are angry and they are historical. Something Johnson and his allies cannot undermine. Victory is imminent and it’s going to be sweet.
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