Sunday 23 September 2007

We have acheived preambulation. Bring me a sweetie-bag of amphetamines and the head of Margaret Thatcher.

Politics, like alcohol, makes me feel horrible and sexy. So, with a ready deadline and in the abscence of gin, let me share a moment with you.

Roaring down the Holloway Road one night not so long ago, hanging from the shoulders of a bemuscled friend and hollering misplaced intentions into the traffic, I had what addicts call a moment of clarity.

In that instant, I realised how much we have let slide: we, us, nous, wir, my generation of young people and every person touched by us. Put simply, we have inherited from our parents a world so caught up with the business of breaking the old order that it neglected comprehensively to establish a new one in its place. How bewildering; how terrifying. So terrifying, in fact, that we’ve allowed ourselves to become laced into new bonds. So terrifying that we’ve run into the anaesthetic embrace of any organising paradigm that comes along. So terrifying that, heck, we let the Eighties happen. (Permit me my pop anthropology, I was born in 1986.)

This was briefed as an introductory post; but how to possibly explain where we find ourselves, the iWant generation, the voter-apathy kids? How to explain what we’ve been given to work with? A whole bundle of slyly unfinished fights, a pinch of residual panic, a bewildering array of standardised tests and the vague, unshakeable feeling that, however many times we’re informed that we’ve been given the whole world on a cocktail stick, we’re still being worked over, every day. This is because we are still being worked over, every day.

We are worked over by our gender; by our sexuality; by our class, our age, our race and nationaity, our prospects; by our money or lack of money; by whatever metal or plastic gods we’ve chosen to chase. If you’ve ever felt like control of your life is slipping through the cracks in your fists, this means you. If you’ve wanted something you could not name, this means you. This means us. Old and young, we are being worked over, every day.

My name is Penny Red and we do not have to take this.

This is a blog about the young left, dispersed and disenfranchised though we may be, and the resources we have available to us. It’s about politics, feminism, alternative culture. Politics because without it we are armourless, powerless children. Feminism because it breaks in wherever the lines have been drawn between the weak and the strong. And alternative culture because it shows us, quite simply, that there are more ways of living than we may have imagined, and that - just sometimes - to make breakthroughs as individuals and as collectives, we have to become the people our parents always warned us about.

What the young left needs is not endless shock stories; it’s not dour repetition of our responsibilities, and it’s not guilt-trips. What the young left needs is energy, inspiration, a sense not only of the consequences of inertia but of the viscerally thrilling possibilities for change. What we need, most of all, is a comprehensive sense of fun.

Fortunately this is eminently doable. It’s bound into how and what we read, how and whom we love. It’s etched into action and enjoyment and taking ourselves just seriously enough to innoculate against cynicism. It’s about playing joyfully with gender, sexuality, identity and expectations. It’s wrapped up in music, art, books, magic, hedonism, sex.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started.

And *that*, my dears, is the closest to a manifestory preamble you’re going to get; besides, someone has just come in with the Gin, and I feel a powerful urge to medicate my vestigial sixth-form poet-anarchist with a healthy drag thereof. Until the next time, be joyous.