Defending Democracy

 

Watching the British parliamentary debate last night was a painful experience. The political class has proven to be a group asking and answering its own questions, loyal to its own ideology, pushing the societal divide even further. The televised mockery, wave of insults and well-rehearsed propaganda made parents sent their children to bed early. Many would like to forget what has just happened and, maybe, if possible, to erase the whole chapter from history books. Politicians says ‘they are tired’, referring to the general public watching the live broadcast.

There has been much discussion about the fact that ‘people’ are tired of this Brexit issue, and want it resolved. We are led into believing that we are all tired, and that the public irascibility is caused by the unresolved crisis launched by the Brexit referendum. It is worth remembering that the ‘people’ have not, in fact, created this crisis. In 2016, most people minding their own lives and jobs have been made aware of the referendum by politics. This ‘need’ was man-made, the present democratic crisis was politically manufactured.

For this reason, I am not tired to go back to history books and to dig out examples when freedom of speech and social institutions have been silenced by unelected leaders. Yesterday’s proroguing of Parliament has a great significance, as it creates a historic precedent by limiting the actions of an institution created to question the governmental decisions. In this context, I wonder who is governing the Government now?

I become increasingly more aware that our legacy is defined by the fact that we have taken the democratic values and institutions for granted. Democracy does not defend itself. Democracy can be safeguarded by people keeping a close eye on those governing, and by being involved in all the decisional processes. Democracy can be defended when people’s values and principles are clear and functioning. When people are willing to easily give up these values and principles, we face political tragedy.

© Maria Stadnicka, September 2019.

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Politics of Engagement / tearsinthefence poetry festival / 15th – 17th September 2017

Just under four weeks left. Politics of Engagement promises to enchant and to challenge you. This year’s Festival weekend will be from Friday, 15th September 2017 to Sunday, 17th September at The White Horse and Village Hall, Stourpaine.

The Festival’s theme is the politics of engagement. We shall be recalling and discussing the impact of Barry MacSweeney and Irina Ratushinskaya, both of whom read twice at our Festivals in the 1990s. At this time of extreme global political upheaval, our Festival aims to explore the lived experience of repression, austerity measures, migration, censorship and radical poetry.

Amongst the confirmed participants, so far, are Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Sophie Herxheimer, Ric Hool, Norman Jope, Zibahoo Karbassi, Camilla Nelson, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Steve Spence, Maria Stadnicka.

Open Readings featuring Valerie Bridge, Lesley Burt, Stephen Daniels, Richard Foreman, Gerald Killingworth, Peter King, Aidan Semmens, Charles Wilkinson.

For further information and tickets please access the link https://tearsinthefence.com/festival/.

I hope to see you there.

Thank you!

Movement

Photograph ©John Stadnicki 2017

 

If we want the world to move forward,

we must hold hands. Documenting the pain and the joy,

on the same page,

with water, with fire, with ashes

not with ink.

 

Freedom means nothing when the healthy and the sick

eat at separate tables.

Even the trees sit together. They know that life is actually simple.

But once people renounced their entitlement,

it will take more than a revolution

to reclaim such a right.

 

For too long we took the wrong turn.

 

What kind of world is this if

the madman tells us that

we should be ashamed of ourselves?

©Maria Stadnicka, 2017

 

Published today in International Times with illustration produced by Nick Victor.

Stand out

Someone has to. It is easy to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom.‘ (Snyder T. ‘On Tyranny, 2017 )

Photograph ©Harry Oliver / Instagram @harryowns