A quick note to anyone who stumbles across this blog

Hi there,

A short note.

Thank you for visiting. This blog is still inactive, but I know that people stumble across it from time to time. It’s five years since I first started it, and I have changed a lot since then. I have been unsure about the best way to approach the fact that many of the thoughts and opinions posted here throughout the years of writing are now outdated; some are naive and patronising; I can only hope that they are not harmful – and I commit to spending time early this year to revisiting the blog to ensure that’s not the case. Some  posts very much belie my whiteness and Western worldview and, I believe, play into the very narratives that I felt at the time I was trying to dismantle. I am embarrassed by these examples, sure, but I feel that it’s important, responsible and in integrity not to hide them, but hopefully leave them as an example of how my thinking and seeing has developed since they were written (and again I will do the work to make this clear where I see it evident). I am certainly not claiming that I am now perfect or beyond my conditioning, but I will continue to challenge myself wherever possible to grow beyond it and to do and be better.

I am willing to be called out on this and to answer any questions or concerns.

Thank you so much for your attention.

Elsie

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Facing facts – An official hiatus

Hello all,

Remember me? This blog and interactions with the people who have engaged with me over the past few years about what I’ve been exploring has changed by life and my perspective immeasurably. I am still deeply committed to the conversations I attempted to have (and was successful in having) by starting this blog, and still maintain a burning desire to write and learn more and more.

However, in reality and honesty, I feel so incredibly overwhelmed at the moment, with world and personal events and feeling pulled in multiple directions with how I might best contribute to dismantling oppressive global systems of neoliberalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and neocolonialism and allowing beautiful, life-giving alternatives to flourish. I am working as part of /The Rules collective (www.therules.org – new website needed and on its way soon!), am feeling guilty about how much work there is to do on British Empire State of Mind (http://www.britishempirestateofmind.co.uk/), writing poetry (my first 🙂 and more to come I hope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IW4c9VNRYM), taking direct action, and supporting others on a number of other projects related to publishing, the arms trade, racism, domestic violence etc etc…AND subject the tyranny of technology, which has become somewhat of an unwanted addiction 😦 And I realise that I need to start being honest (to honour both myself and those I have committed myself to and to preserve my health which has suffered) about my capacity and how much I am able to do. I so want to do everything, but obviously that’s impossible – so I want to be more intentional, present and clear about what I can and want to spend my time doing.

Essentially, that has led me to take the decision to put this blog on hiatus for the foreseeable future, until the day when perhaps I will return to it and give myself the time to do it justice, instead of having it hanging over me – which it is – I still take copious notes about articles I’d like to write, but don’t give myself time to complete them. I’d also love someone else to continue to write if the idea speaks to them and they’d like to continue with the conversation (get in touch). I will continue to address the issues discussed here through my work with /The Rules, through my poetry and with British Empire State of Mind and, of course, in daily life.

For now, I just want to thank everyone who has visited the page, read and shared posts, got in touch and supported me in any way in this endeavour – I’m more grateful for the ability to explore the way the world has been ‘working’ with you than you can ever know. Please continue to get in touch with me as I’ll still be receiving messages from the page and I do hope to return to this in future (or that the death of neoliberalism will come quickly and I won’t have to!).

Here’s to continued questioning, listening and learning.

All my love and gratitude, and until soon,

Elsie

Video

The propaganda of ‘British Values’ is a distortion of history – video from Akala

 

I stumbled today across this new video on The Guardian website from Akala.

It gives me shivers.

“The propaganda of ‘British Values’ is a distortion of history.

What does it mean to be British? Many things have apparently come to define British values  Winston Churchill, the monarchy, Empire, received pronunciation, aristocracy, whiteness.

But some of the people of this island have a much more interesting, subversive, countercultural set of traditions buried beneath the surface. These traditions don’t fit the elites message that they alone are responsible for everything that’s good in society. Therefore it’s no surprise that most of us learn more at school about Henry VIII’s marital dramas that we do about the Peterloo Massacre. These are the traditions embodied by striking miners, peasants revolting against private tyranny and by the suffragettes. Also embodied by William Cuffay (Kofi) the disabled black man from Kent who lead the 19th Century Chartist movement for free speech.

A tradition embodied by the John Brown Women’s society from Sheffield, who refused to make manacles for factories that supported slavery, but because they were poor and women to boot, their names have vanished into history.

A tradition whose legacies include Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival, which was born out of multicultural, anti-racist activism in what was, 50 years ago, one of London’s poorest areas.

Today these traditions are embodied by activists, youth workers, school teachers and nurses that go that extra mile for the people they are trying to serve.

These traditions have often been persecuted and even labelled anti-British or anti-state until they bear fruit that the state then wants to claim for itself, such as poor people getting the right to vote or the abolition of child labour. These gains are then presented as the result of inherent British values rather than as the results of serious political struggle that they in fact were.

Whilst I’m not a nationalist, how national peoples and cultures see themselves undoubtedly has real world implications.

The question in these tumultuous times, is which of the traditions of the people of this island will you be drawing on and identifying with? The one that promotes and reinforces race and class oppression and explains away the genocide of Empire as a civilising mission? Or, the one of relentless activism that secured for us the very fragile freedoms that we have today.

I know my answer.”

The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources

I have been wanting to write this report and make this map for AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. Thank god someone’s done it.

Colonialism never ended. Independence was an illusion.

http://www.waronwant.org/resources/new-colonialism-britains-scramble-africas-energy-and-mineral-resources#overlay-context=media/new-report-british-companies-leading-new-%E2%80%98scramble-africa%E2%80%99-worth-1-trillion

#BritishEmpireStateOfMind

Thoughts?

Decolonisation Watch: The African Union is introducing a single passport to make travel on the continent easier for Africans

While the UK loudly decries… debates and decides to divide Europe.

Quietly, on another continent…countries unfurl into unity.

Decolonisation continues…

When heads of state from across Africa arrive in Kigali, Rwanda next month for the African Union (AU) Summit, they will be among the first Africans issued the new electronic African Union passport. The passport is meant to make travel on the continent much easier for Africans.

“The scene seems to be set to realize the dream of visa-free travel for African citizens within their own continent by 2020,” the AU said in a statement announcing the launch.

Travel in Africa is difficult for most Africans. They are required to have visas for over half of the countries on the continent. Only 13 African countries (pdf) allow other Africans to enter without a visa or give visas on arrival. In contrast, Americans can travel to 20 African countrieswithout visas or with visas on arrival.

African travelers say they feel the same suspicion at immigration counters within the continent as they do outside of it. Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman and Africa’s wealthiest man, was himself onceturned away by South African immigration officials as he struggled to locate his passport. Meanwhile his American staff sailed through border control.

Reposted from this Quartz article. Read the full thing here.

Aside

Two years on…and thanks

Dear all,

Last week marked two years since I first started this blog – which seems almost unbelievable to me.

I never really had any particular plans for Development Truths (ugh what a name) and I certainly didn’t anticipate it developing into something like this. But along the way I had grand plans to be more consistent (anyone with a blog will tell you that consistency is key to a successful blog ;)) and to be more thorough and to talk about this and that and investigate more and to do incredible amounts of in-depth research and to build a proper website and to stop ranting and to host regular guest posts and many other things besides.

I think it’s quite clear that the vision has yet to become reality, and perhaps it never will- and I think that’s ok. Starting work with The Rules (which feels like an equally valuable use of my time) and life and health and travelling and ‘busyness’ and British oppressive concepts of time got in the way. I’ve been beating myself up about it for months. You have no idea how many times I wanted to write a post or to research or write about this and that: my hard drive is bursting with half-written posts and folders of articles and research. Today however, I feel peaceful. Today I’ve realised that it’s ok. It’s ok to not be where I’d told myself I should be. It’s really ok that this doesn’t look like what ‘success’ looks like – it was never meant to be about ‘success’, or targets, or numbers of visitors, or me. Sure it’s great when people visit and read and engage, but two years ago I began this blog with the intention of having a conversation I couldn’t, at the time, see the ‘mainstream’ having, asking questions and de-learning/learning . Happily, on those terms, i’d say its been a success.

So I’m not going to promise anything today, or revisit articles or posts or moments from the past year. I’m not going to talk about the things I’ve learnt or reconsidered – there have been many. Today I’m simply incredible grateful for my faith in putting one foot in front of the other always and trusting that those little actions move you on. I’m grateful for patience and unfolding. I’m grateful for the ability we humans have to un-teach ourselves many of the things we have been taught and for all the many wise and inspiring seekers, rebels, writers, artists, activists, co-conspirators and inquisitors around the world who I have met along the way who have shared their knowledge and questions and critiques and beautiful alternatives with me. And finally I’m deeply, deeply grateful to you and everyone who has followed or visited the blog and humoured me, even just for a minute – the support, challenges and knowledge that there are many of us with shared feelings and perspectives on the world have been lifesaving.

Much love and appreciation always,

Elsie