I’ve been out of the country for a week at a great workshop in Berlin “How to Write and Conceptualize the History of Youth Cultures” organised by Felix Fuhg, Doctoral Student, with the Centre for Metropolitan studies. I was travelling with the histrrry girls and The Subcultures Network, so there were Harringtons. There are always Harringtons. We spent one day working and talking in the Archiv der Jugendkulturen. Its an incredible community archive and library that has brought together all the different traces of resistance in youth culture and subcultures. From magazines made by school pupils to the Love Parades’ backdrops and giant cut outs of Nena – the transational and hyper local are boxed up together and are being carefully catalogued by local participant experts in each scene.
It was striking, to say the least, to be talking about how to develop our European network further, when, to be honest, none of us have a clue what is going to happen next. Apart from some random young men shouting ‘Brexiiiiiit’ at us, and the occasional joke from our hosts, people were gentle with us. In the way that you are when a friend has just had a really really bad shock, or lost someone close to them.
Before I left for Berlin, I gave a quick speech at Stand Together one of the most spontaneously, and quickly, organised protests I’ve been to in Brighton. It went from nothing to standing in the rain just 24 hours.
Here’s what I said:
(Thanks to Daisy Asquith for the pic, and cleverly disguising the green hair dye running down my neck xx)
“I’m the Minister for Nagging from the People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove. (It’s a feminist role). The People’s Republic began as a joke as a response to the last general election. It’s a joke that has got a bit out of hand. We still want to embrace the carnival, to use our laughter to deflate the lies that hold the system up. But right now things don’t feel so funny. I don’t want to rest in a smug little Brighton bubble,
There’s been a lot of talk about polls, about how to measure percentages of who voted for what where, about demographic divisions, regional division, class divisions. We are all trying to make sense of how we got to this position. What were all these other people thinking?
But right now feels like a time where we need to work out what we think and what are we going to do about it. How can we move beyond these divisions?
How do we make our community safe for everyone but more importantly our global community? I’m not going to tell any body how they should feel, whether they should respond with Love or with Anger, or a mixture of both. There’s a place for solidarity and love, but righteous anger needs to be acknowledged too.
I’m not going to tell you what your tactics should be. Each other’s tactics are not the problem
But I do believe that we can do more than shout ‘not in my name’.
We can organize on whatever levels, in our everyday lives, on the streets AND in mainstream politics. We can refuse the divisions that have been imposed upon us. We can insist that we all get the world and community we deserve.
We can refuse to be sacrificed for some Eton boys game. We can refuse to stay broken.”