Wednesday, 11 May 2011

a living utopia

At Saturday's Beyond the crisis: global justice, equality, social movements workshop, one of the facilitators commented that the session represented elements of "a living utopia": a very diverse group of people involved in very different movements, but giving each other time and space to speak about things that concerned them, listening seriously and taking each other on board.

Another speaker saw this as "living with contradictions": fully taking on board each other's difference and appreciating that rather than trying to bury it or arrive at a quick and easy fudge. Maybe this is how we, collectively, come to embody a larger and more powerful alternative than any one of us can do individually.

I had a similar feeling at the wrap-up events for this year's MA classes, which was a very enjoyable event but also a sad one for everyone, given the links we've made with each other during the year. Despite the huge differences in where we've come from and what we're struggling around, we have come to engage very strongly with each other. Love, respect and solidarity are possible across and between movements, and a shared sense of possibility. If we can do this among ourselves in a small space under the right circumstances, it can't be impossible on the larger scale that is needed to really change things. Arundhati Roy puts this well:

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

Yesterday was a quiet day.