Here we are, at least here I am – a week to go and I will be back in Florence. Count down . . .
How long until sunrise? How long is a piece of string?
About this long . . . Look here’s one end and here (somewhere here, where’s it gone) is (was a few minutes ago) the other.
Really, it’s not very far at all.
Equaliberty (l’egaliberté in the French) combines, brings closer in intimate embrace, equality and liberty. An apparently simple and with no necessary conflict arising from this engagement, one can see it (them) as basic tenets of ‘our’ democracy. Equal in being; equal in law – after all those who came before us struggled heroically for the right to have rights. But then we have these last forty years in which social advances have been turned back on themselves all in the name of the rich becoming richer and of necessity the poor becoming poorer. Liberty is for the few and inequality for the many. Equaliberty on the other hand should be a marriage that must never be dissolved; its divorce must never be countenanced.
Where is the ground I can stand on? Will I still be able to see the sun summiting the headland? We can grant rights to each other, but can see necessarily make use of them? Each day I must claim my life and my rights. Has this life been willed to me? Claim my body back from my dreams or should that be ‘the’ dreams, after all it is unclear who they belong to; they hardly ‘belong’ to me. They riot through me through the night.
It seems to me that rights and citizenship belong together – as in the right to vote. One could add (witha twinkle in one’s eye) the right to pay taxes. Payment of taxes and voting; the twin fundamentals of citizenship. In the recent Scottish referendum 80% of those eligible to vote voted – claimed their citizenship.
As power shifts, say to global corporations who make use of a professional clique of politicians to order a passive population to their will and convenience, so ‘the people’ withdraw their confidence in the democratic process (except in certain situations such as the above mentioned referendum) but at the same time refrain from extra-parliamentary struggle. Perhaps there are enough of the population who are transfixed by the upward value of their property to ignore the less agreeable facts of what goes on – climate change, social exclusion of the poor, numerals wars, the degrading of public services – so we lurch on claiming ignorance to be a virtue.
I watch the sun summiting the headland, claiming its right to the lighten the darkness of the night.
(Some words taken from Kathleen Jamie and some thoughts arising from the current issue of Radical Philosophy)