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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

New Year New Us

24 February 2017
Stefanie Cooper supports recent protests but argues that we need a more radical approach for social movements to reach their revolutionary potential.

Let’s be real – 2016 was depressing as hell. Brexit, Trump – it felt like anything bad that could happen, happened. It’s no wonder so many people feel disillusioned right now, as though every action they’ve taken so far was futile, and no matter how much they try and make the world a better place the crap just keeps on coming.

There is an answer. In 2017, we can take that anger, that disappointment and channel it into something revolutionary.

We’ve already found out what doesn’t work for us – conceding responsibility for our lives into the hands of bureaucrats and politicians. The change that we so desperately need in this hell-pit of a world won’t be brought about by acts of Parliament. They give us nothing but scraps and piecemeal measures, and we deserve more.

By working together as equal agents, we can improve our own lives as well as the lives of people around us. We can find common cause and act together to make ourselves powerful. It might seem as though small actions won’t change the apocalyptic bigger picture, but change begins this way. Your life already relies on the network of interconnected labour of other human beings and you can acknowledge this by actively supporting those around you. We all consider others to be equal to ourselves, we all know what is right, and we all have the potential to translate this inherent sense of justice into real action.

The time has come to take courage. Sitting down and ruminating on the complexities of political theory and the failures of industrial capitalism will do nothing but depress us. Protest is more than standing around in the cold holding a placard or signing an online petition, and it is inherent in mutual aid. In a society that pushes us to crush everyone else underneath our heels in a relentless scramble to the top, working in solidarity with your community is resistance. The police are arresting activists for handing out food on the street; landlords are violently evicting squatters for reclaiming property and providing shelter for those most in need; it’s clear that the establishment knows that these actions threaten its order, its selfishness and exploitation.

From ‘Sisters Uncut’ to ‘Food Not Bombs,’ from ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants’ to ‘London Latinxs’ to ‘Feminist Fightback’ to’ Anti-Raids Network to Action for Trans Health’ there are organisations for your area of interest, and they need your involvement. There is always something you can do no matter your level of ability. Humans are at their strongest when they come together to support one another mutually. Through working together, we can create the kind of society which we would all want to live in.