The Norwich Radical Editorial Team
By now you’ve seen the headlines. There’s no easy way to say this: in the coming months and years, many in this country and elsewhere will suffer under a Tory government led by a racist liar. Social services will be dismembered. Workers’ rights will be eroded. Vulnerable people will face violence at the hands of increasingly aggressive immigration authorities and police. All of which will be sanctioned, incited, and protected by the country’s highest authorities and institutions.
All this is true. It has also been true at every moment of the past decade. This particular racist liar, sure, is more openly horrendous and the parliamentary lines, yes, are more clearly drawn this time, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. 10 years of Tory rule; 10 years of continuous resistance. Many younger activists, students, artists, and workers have never known anything else. The coming days will, out of necessity, be a time of shock, of despair, and of real grief. And then? Then we go back to doing what we’ve been doing for a decade: resisting. Fighting the small battles against anti-immigrant racism, against misogynist and transphobic violence, against economic exploitation, against acts of oppression that arise in our day-to-day. Looking after ourselves and those close to us, our chosen families and communities. What else can we do?
When you’ve moved past this result, when the fire returns, you will not be alone. There are still many working to make this country a better place every day, just look at your own ‘echo chamber’ on social media. They’re still there, at least. You know many people who have not voted for this, and actively fought against it. When you are ready to join them, there are a few things you can do:
Join a union
As we leave the EU on Johnson’s terms, we can expect to be relinquished from many of the workers’ rights protections that membership affords us. It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of pay cuts, oppressive workloads and attacks on pensions, but there is still power in a union. All kinds of workers, from university staff to catering workers to the new employees of the gig economy, have been getting on with getting organised under these many years of Tory cruelty – and they’ve been winning many of their fights for better pay and conditions. Unionisation has also expanded beyond the workplace in recent years, with community unions such as ACORN (which recently launched a Norwich branch) bringing people together to fight back against landlord malpractice and local public service cuts.
Volunteer at a foodbank
Food poverty is already widespread across our supposedly affluent nations. Price uncertainty resulting from Brexit and a post-EU trade deal that will likely compromise on standards to benefit US exports will likely compound this crisis. Helping people get a free meal when they need it is one of the most straightforward ways you can contribute to the wellbeing of those in your community. Find your closest foodbank, soup kitchen, or surplus movement and offer them any time you can spare – even if it’s just a one-off.
Fight for your NHS
The threats that our National Health Service now faces are perhaps the most frightening consequence of this result. The incoming government will have a national plan for the NHS that may well live up to our worst fears, but much of the implementation of that plan will have to take place on the ground – hospital by hospital, GP clinic by GP clinic. Local campaigning that brings together the doctors and nurses and patients who see these changes as they happen will be crucial for raising the alarm and drawing public attention to what the Tories are really doing with the country’s most prized institution. The battle for the future of the NHS is a big one, but it is made up of many small fights, and organised local communities will be able to win some of them.
Look out for those around you
Those of your friends and family who are EU nationals will have had a lot of frightening administration to do over the past couple years, and that isn’t likely to stop any time soon. Get yourself educated on what you can do to help them avoid being swept into the Channel by the brutal and uncaring immigration system, even before the 31st January. Keep in touch with elderly, trans, disabled, or ill relatives and neighbours who may find it more difficult to get access to medicine, welfare payments, or treatment over the coming years. Be there for the people you care about, and reach out to them when you need caring for.
Look after yourself
This shit, all of it, sucks. The simple choice to do the decent human thing, to stand up for yourself and stand beside those in similarly or differently difficult circumstances, is gonna take a lot out of you, out of all of us. Do what you have to do to keep going – go out dancing, talk to your parents, your partners, and your kids, play games physical and virtual, watch dumb shit on the internet, and get help with your mental health. It’s okay to not be okay. Hell, if this government keeps its promises, we’ll all need the practice. As far as you can, be honest with yourself about what you need, what you can and can’t do, and how long it’s going to be after this result before you find the energy to act.
10 years of Tory rule, with now more to come. It makes us sick to write it. But good shit goes on getting done by good people. Stay angry, but don’t burn out. Stay strong, but be ready to accept help. Stay informed, and find happiness where it is to be found, and do what you can.
We are still many.
Featured image by unknown
The Norwich Radical is non-profit and run by volunteers. All funds raised help cover the maintenance costs of our website, as well as contributing towards future projects and events. Please consider making a small contribution to fund a better media future.