Första Mai

It’s hardly fun being a socialist in Britain just now. The popular press is demonizing us, and the country as a whole is creeping – seemingly – towards a situation that can only be described, without much exaggeration, as proto-fascist. Democratic opposition is cast as ‘sabotage’, and its leaders as ‘traitors’. The prime minister vaunts ‘strong and stable leadership’ as her main political desideratum: ‘strength’ apparently consisting in being as hostile and insulting as possible towards those she is going to have to negotiate with, in Britain’s interests, soon. In other words: the Führerprinzip, in an English skirt.

On top of all this I found out today that we are being subject to a censorship more characteristic of authoritarian regimes than of genuine democracies. That concerns a brilliant satirical ‘documentary’ film, called What Was Done, made by a Scottish film maker and based on the pleasant hypothesis that Labour has won the next election; which lasted on the web for a few hours – during which I managed to see it; it really is superb – but then was mysteriously taken down. Here’s the latest account of what appears on the surface to be quite an appalling example of political censorship on behalf of the present government: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2017/05/01/what-was-done-3/. If this isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. I wonder whether the mainstream media will mention it?*

Tomorrow I return to the UK after a month in Sweden, where socialism is simply one entirely acceptable political credo among others. Today I attended a couple of the political demonstrations they hold on Första Mai, the main one being the Vänster, or Left, Party’s; Left that is of the Social Democrats, but presently forming a governing coalition with them. It was also very internationalist, with banners from Syria, Poland and half a dozen other ‘oppressed’ countries leading sections of the march. I looked for a ‘Corbynista’ banner from my own oppressed country, but couldn’t find it. (I can imagine what the Daily Mail would have made of British Labourites marching alongside ex-Communists.)

It was huge; and also highly enjoyable, with a super band playing, dancing, exotic food – cooked by refugees to show off their national cuisines – and lots of good humour. It showed me how one could actually enjoy being a socialist even in Britain, if the conditions were right.

During the doubtless depressing elections we have coming up in Britain, memories of the vital, joyful and optimistic crowds I moved amongst today in Stockholm may ease the pain. Until, that is, I move here permanently myself, as a kind of refugee, albeit without the cuisine. Lancashire Hotpot, anyone?

*PS (Monday evening): It’s back! And worth seeing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dUrEZiHIbE.

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One Response to Första Mai

  1. Phil says:

    I’ve just been out canvassing for a party with a socialist leader and (some) socialist policies, and I’m feeling pretty chipper. Admittedly, one of the people I spoke to on the doorstep said that Corbyn’s leadership would stop them voting Labour, but many more said that they would be voting Labour; one or two even said they specifically supported Corbyn.

    Yes, the prospects are pretty grim at the moment, but an awful lot will depend on how the UKIP vote breaks on the day. I suspect a lot of it will go back to Labour when push comes to shove; what with that and the Lib Dem revival, I think May could be in for a nasty surprise. Here’s hoping.

    Liked by 1 person

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