Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year's resolutions and the Orwell Prize

At around this time, it is customary for people to make resolutions on how the coming year will progress. These can be mundane, such as dieting or quitting smoking, or world-changing, like vowing to get a new job, or join the peace corps. I will do none of these things.

Laurie Penny has a rather interesting post on her New Statesman blog about how "making and breaking New Year's resolutions is wearisomely counter-revolutionary." It makes interesting reading. But there is no such reasoning behind my not making a resolution. It is simply that there are, always, a thousand things I want to take up, do more of, or do better. That we are in a new calendar year doesn't change that, or the likelihood of living up to those ideas.

One thing that I have done, inspired by Phil at A Very Public Sociologist, was put myself forward for the Orwell Prize for Blogging. If you blog and want to do the same, apply here. The ten blogs I put forward for consideration are as follows.

Why the right to die goes hand in hand with the right to live - an argument in favour of assisted suicide.

Dangerous dogs are made, not born - why dog owners, not the dogs themselves, are responsible when people die at the jaws of their pet.

Seeing Mohammed in a bear suit harms nobody - a defence of South Park's most controversial episode in 2010.

Autonomous nationalism and why anti-fascism needs a working class perspective - an examination of the phenomenon of "autonomous nationalism," based partly on their own writings and partly on personal experience of the movement. Also looks at how its rise was connected to the failure of liberal anti-fascism.

Toronto, the EDO decommissioners, and the case for direct action - a look at the effects of the G8/G20 protests in Toronto, the vandalism of the EDO arms factory in Brighton, and why direct action is the most effective way to fight for a cause and force change.
More suffering for the people of Fallujah - coverage of increasing birth defects in the Iraqi city and the United States' war crime in 2004 which sparked them.

Urban fox hunting, class, and a militant response to animal cruelty - some thoughts on the media hysteria over foxes and how class colours our response to animal cruelty.

A digression on what it means to be an anarchist - written in the wake of the siege of Millbank Tower, a response to media hyperbole and misinformation.

Jody McIntyre - a personification of the state's contempt for the disabled - the wheelchair bound activist was pulled from his seat by cops during the student demonstrations and subsequently demonised. The media response to him is a reflection of its response to disabled people more generally, especially in the wake of government attacks.

What is anarcho-syndicalism: building the new world in the shell of the old - from my Property is Theft blog, the final part of my series on what anarcho-syndicalism means and an explanation of the revolutionary intent summed up by the slogan in the title.

I have no illusions that I'll win, or that I'm going to become the next hot-shit blogger on the block. I'm not. And that's not why I blog anyway. I do it because it gives me a platform to share my views with the world, and because it is another medium for presenting an anarchist perspective on current events. It is informed by my politics and activism, rather than any desire for individual recognition.

Returning to resolutions, or lack thereof, I imagine that in 2011 what I do will most likely be the same as what I did in 2010. I will continue to blog at irregular hours, to be active within my union, to fight fascism, and to agitate for a better world. I may even continue vowing to join a gym and not doing so.

What will change, as it always does, is the circumstances in which I do these things. And, given the pace at which things have been moving of late, it isn't easy to tell in what ways.

That is why I will make no resolute (and almost inescapably breakable) vows on the basis that we have entered a new year. A continuing commitment to the causes I am involved in, and more importantly doing right by those I love as best I can, is far more worthwhile.