Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Vive la Revolution!

I do not cope terribly well with being busy. For the past year I have been working, and living, a part time lifestyle. I would like to say I spent my time productively, like re-reading interesting books from my undergraduate days or learning a new skill. Unfortunately I spent most of my time hitting refresh on Facebook and Twitter. Rock on, sister.

This weekend I volunteered to help out at Document 9, a human rights film festival. I can honestly say I had such a blast and a few instances of serendipity. The highlight came on Sunday evening when I was given a free ticket to watch How To Start A Revolution. After watching the film, I realised I had been waiting for this for years.

The documentary is about Doctor Gene Sharp, author of a little book called From Dictatorship to Democracy. Originally written to help the Burmese in the 1980s, this book has spread across the world as a vital tool in overthrowing dictatorships. Sharp's work has been credited with aiding non-violent revolutions including Serbia, Georgia and, more recently, Egypt. It contains 198 tools for non-violent protests against figures of power. It sounds so simple, so beautiful, so logical. Sharp's work doesn't claim to fix all wrongs in a society shaped by dictatorship. But his work is a delightful alternative to people that want to show their discontentment with the society they live in. I was reading parts of the book on my morning commute and kept muttering "That's brilliant" to myself. Unsurprisingly no-one sat next to me on a busy bus. I like Gene Sharp's method of revolution much better than the blood that has been shed recently in Libya.

His words are spreading. Already they're being adopting by the Occupy Glasgow moment (and putting their own stamp on it) and I'm sure his name has already cropped up in other Occupy movements across the world.

This has been a week of revolution on an international and personal level. For the first time in years I actually feel like there's a real sense of change in the air. When I hear the phrase "We are the 99%" I feel like I belong to a political group that represents me. In the last election I spoiled my ballot paper. There, I've admitted it. I had to vote, it's simply something I have to do to honour all the women (and men) who fought for my right to do so. But, when faced with a ballot paper, I thought "I can't imagine a single member of these shower of shites representing my best interests." So I drew a big cross across the paper.

Democracy - it seems such a hollow word. Growing up I knew it was important and something to be respected. The Occupy movement is a fine example of non-violent democratic protest. I feel excited, almost like a paradigm is shifting under my feet. The masses are getting pissed off about their power being chipped away. It's time to reclaim it from the 1%. I'll be standing there, with my copy of From Dictatorship to Democracy tucked under my arm.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Occupy Glasgow: A Week On

The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind. Since my post on Monday, the Occupy Glasgow movement has been gaining attention from the local population to sister movements across the world. There has been some negative coverage in the Daily Fail based upon a mis-leading press release issued by Glasgow City Council. One point I would like to touch upon is Armistice Day. Some people have been extremely upset by the incorrect information issued by the Council. All the occupiers have the upmost respect for Armistice Day and the history behind that day. Already they have had discussions at their meetings about to accomodate the upcoming events that also includes the Christmas lights switch on. I know the truth because I have been attending Occupy Glasgow's daily meetings held each evening at 6.30pm in George Square.

It has been an inspiring week for me. I've met some fantastic people including this young man who is only 14 and is taking such an active role in the movement. People participating in the occupation come from a range of backgrounds and political ideologies. They're all united by one thing: the need for change in the way society is run. The current system is running very close to empty and that needs to be addressed.

Today Occupy Glasgow are holding a rally in George Square at 15.00. They hope to have 1, 000 people there this afternoon: families, greens, Socialists, feminists, anti-war demonstrators, trade union groups, students, young people, teachers, artists. What do all these groups have in common? They're human beings that are concerned about the way that the world is run by the 1% at the top of the pile.

Sadly I can't make the rally today because I have to work to pay for my winter heating bill. But I'll be watching via the George Square web cam.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be....

This is happening in George Square, one of the most well know areas in Glasgow. In 1919 tanks rolled across its ground against the mass demonstration taking place. In 2011 Glasgow City Council are welcoming the protesters - for now.

It took Occupy Wall Street almost a month to be reported in the main stream media. Will the same happen in Glasgow: home to the 'Red Clydeside'; home to the famous 'nae hooligans...nae vandalism...nae bevying...' ethos adopted by the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in the 1970s?

Get down and show your support to them. They're based on George Square. Look out for the tents and the gazebos. They need bin bags, warm clothes but most of all they need your support. 

This revolution will not be televised. Instead it will be broadcast via the web. Find out more at:

Occupy Glasgow Twitter

Occupy Glasgow website

Occupy Glasgow Facebook

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Check In October 2011

This blog has been rather neglected of late. My life has changed quite a bit since my last update in July. I’m a fan of the old bullet point update so let’s bring things up to speed:

• I started working on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It really is an excellent resource and it got me writing something every day via the morning pages method. Granted some of it was utter rubbish like ‘Had a weird dream last night involving bricks, peanut butter and Shaun the Sheep’ but I enjoyed the routine of setting aside time to write. Even if it was utter bollocks. I’ve taken a wee break from the program due to things becoming utterly mental. All shall be revealed further down.

• At the beginning of September I performed my work to an audience for the first time at Three Cord Theatre run by acquaintances at Sonic Boom Theatre. It was a fun experience and my work seemed to go down rather well. Unfortunately it reminded me that I haven’t written or edited work of performance quality for quite some time. Fortunately I made a good enough impressed at TCH that I can return any time I wish. Top stuff. One of the stories I read out was Wedding in the Botanics which you can read here.

• Went to Prague in September and fell in love with the city. Here’s a lovely photo of me looking hot and sweaty with Kafka’s statue in the Jewish Quarter:

(c) Colin Brown 2011

• I’m still plugging away at Write in for Writing’s Sake but that has been a little neglected in the past couple of months. As mod I should really be contributing to each topic so I plan to do this until the end of the year. If contributions don’t pick up then I’ll need to decide whether or not to continue with the venture.

• Since starting Weight Watchers in February, I have lost 1.8 stone(s). I’m chuffed to bits and trying to avoid rewarding myself with lots of cake. Still have a bit to go before I’m back in a happy weight range (and out of the BMI scale charmingly labelled ‘Obese’). Sadly some of my clothes no longer fit me so I’ll need to have a clear out of the old wardrobe soon.

• Recently I changed from being a vegetarian to becoming a vegan. I met Gillian and she helped to remind me why I become a vegetarian in the first place. I read Fast Food Nation about five years ago and thought the practices surrounding the milk industry (and, in turn, how that feeds into the veal and leather industry) were horrendous. So what did I decide to do? Give up eating beef, pork and chicken but continued to consume dairy products. Erm, well done love. After doing some reading, I decided to finish what I’ve started and go vegan. It’s going well so far; Glasgow is quite a good city to go vegan in. The only difficulty has been buying new shoes. I have a dodgy ankle and it’s easier to try on shoes in shops than go through the mail order process. Still, it’s not that much of a pain and is manageable.

• The biggest change is that I have a new job as a Proper Archivist. I’m not entirely sure what the organisation’s policy is on personal blogging so I won’t name them. I have spent September getting an induction into the archive and the various duties that go with managing the collections. The staff is lovely and it’s probably one of the best places I have ever worked. Due to the meaty induction, I have spent September either working, eating, sleeping and, possibly, shouting at Him Indoors for leaving mouldy bread in the kitchen.

So there you have it. And, dear readers, how have you been?