The problem with the left

And I say that somewhat ironically. There is not a problem with the left but a problem with humanity. A problem, which with further thought, you discover is not so much a problem but a reality. The left – like any group – is not homogeneous. What binds us is wanting a “fairer world”.  Yet we come with varying spectrum of politics, opinions on priorities, names that we call ourselves (the -ists) ideas on how to organise, beliefs on what the perfect world should be.

So I find the whole question of “the problem with the left” as being problematic in itself.

What inspired me to write this post in the first place are two things:

  1. Owen Jone’s dissertation length piece on Jeremy Corbyn
  2. Some direct actions or social media actions I have noticed recently

So first onto Owen Jones. He made several interesting points and highlight many issues that needs to be dealt with. But he offered no solutions. And this is the thing, he spent a large chunk of his piece reaffirming his expertise and credentials. Then surely he should be offering solutions – if not the likes of him then who?

And onto the direct actions – I am referring to London Black Rev organising a direct action to chuck bugs into Byron as part of the resistance against them. The following sums up my thoughts on it:

While I appreciate the symbolism of the cockroach thing at the ‪#‎boycottbyron‬ protest yesterday, gotta be honest and say I don’t back it.

London Black Revs – which is an individual masquerading as an organisation tbh – acted without consulting those who called the action.

Those who participated in the insect action didn’t think about the affect it’d have on workers; by this I don’t just mean the clean up but how those with precarious immigration status might feel about police being called inside the restaurant itself.

This isn’t the first time London Black Revs has acted irresponsibly. Last week, LBR put out a call-out about UKBA vans in N London. Myself and two friends responded and went to the location to provide support. It became clear that not only was LBR not even there, but was actively sourcing information from racists on Twitter to pass on to us. This was thoughtless in the extreme, and could have put us in very real danger.

I don’t trust someone who tips off journalists about an action and not their fellow activists. I don’t trust someone who acts recklessly in situations where it’s not their neck on the line. I urge you all to think carefully about whether London Black Revs is an individual you trust in a political or a personal capacity. If not, there are other (better!) groups to invest your time and your effort in. Stay safe friends xxx – Ash Sarkar

And this brings me onto the thing that links these two: unity within the left. I have a lot of people saying that people are traitors for speaking out, that they are doing the jobs of the right-wing media.

“Unity” is used as a silencing tool. A shut up and take it. No – when something does not sit right we should speak out. That is the only way we can make sure we remain progressive, and not stuck in a bubble waiting for the next burst (think Conservatives getting in at the last two General Elections, Brexit, and the very likely election of Trump).

My worry however is how to ensure we are united enough so that the efforts we put in mean we are making significant steps forward in the right direction. This is why I never fell for #Lexit – I knew the left are not organised enough to be able to take over the narrative sufficiently to be useful.

And it is disheartening. We are consistently under-resourced, unorganised, dealing with internalised racism, sexism and abuse – I just don’t see a way out. We need leadership – and it will not come from middle-class white straight men.

The solution is accepting this. Look at the #BlackLivesMatter movement – started by three queer Black women. And it grew from Twitter and Facebook. We should be taking lessons from these rather than using them to push forward our own political agendas once again (side-eye to London Black Revs).

The revolution will be led by Black, queer, disabled, Muslim women. And until these groups are respected enough to be given space it will only lead to the downfall of the whole movement.

Ramadan diary: day 22-23

Only a few days left! I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by. And what a difference a month can make!

Despite the gloom that is my last post, and the continual increase of attacks I am hearing about, I have been feeling a little more hopeful today. I guess I have accepted the inevitable changes that are to come and have decided to instead focus my energies of two things – being happy with myself (and this is on both a spiritual and worldly level) and doing all that I have energy for to improve the world around me.

But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners. – Quran (8:30)

Yesterday I attended the London rally supporting Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. I don’t think Jeremy is the messiah. I believe in his politics. I believe in his mandate. I believe he can provide an actual opposition to the same kind of politics we’ve heard year in and year out, ever since I can remember.

We are continuously told he is a decent man but not a good leader. The 10,000 people gathered with under 24 hours and over 200,000 signing a petition would say otherwise. He is a leader. Just not the type we often associate with politicians.


I then went out for Iftar with old friends and new. Saying the food wasn’t great would be an overstatement but alhamdulliah the company made up for that. Again, reenergising my happiness battery.

Reflecting on yesterday I realise though the actions of people can make you loose hope in humanity, equally they can fill you right back up again. I am under no illusions that we have a fight in our hands and the country is in turmoil.

But at the very least we have our friends, our families and Twitter banter to keep us going.

And on that note here are my favourite two from the tragically beautiful Euro loss last night –

Those Monday morning pickups 

These things happened:

  • People boycotted Star Wars because white fagility. But John Boyega has been keeping it real and killing it. I’m going to watch it today – very excited

“I’m grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. A confident, Nigerian, black, chocolate man.

They are merely victims of a disease in their mind.

They’re stupid, and I’m not going to lose sleep over people. The presale tickets have gone through the roof — their agenda has failed. Miserably.

I just don’t get it. You guys got every single alien in this movie imaginable to man. With tentacles, five eyes. Aliens that, if they existed, we’d definitely have an issue. We’d have to get them to the government and be, like, “What are you?” Yet what you want to do is fixate on another human being’s color. You need to go back to school and unlearn what you have learned. I think Yoda said that, or Obi-Wan”

  • Stormzy in the running for Christmas #1 and it is causing white tear tsunami
  • So many radical activists are running in the Labour Youth Conference – Corbynites taking over
  • I found out Hermione is being played by a black women in the new play – giving so much hope to so many women of colour
  • I found 3 beautiful shades of nude lipstick (getting over my red phase and moving into nudes). They were called things like cappuccino and not nude because I ain’t white but they were on sale so I’ll take it

Braaaaap – John Boyega (watch video)

JezWeCan

I have always voted Labour. Even before I could vote – I knew would vote Labour. I am the daughter of immigrants, live in a council estate and have strong social politics – Labour should be the party for me.

Except it hasn’t been. And unlike my parents who will vote Labour no matter what they do, second generation voters are likely to vote differently. I even know some who vote Conservative (*boo hiss*). Point being, they can’t get away with their so centre Left – almost going Right politics.

The introduction of tuition fees. The Iraq war. The War or Terror and PREVENT. All of these things happened under a Labour government.

And now I find myself resenting the party. Me – someone who is politically active and happy to sign up as a member – reluctant because none of them come close to my views.

But today is different. I sit here holding my breath waiting for Jeremy Corbyn to be announced as the new Labour Leader.

The media have had a lot of fun, making him sound ridiculous and the unserious candidate. But what they have actively ignored is the tide change. People are waking up to these MPs who talk the talk to get voted in yet then go and vote in the opposite way or abstain. Who say they stand for anti-austerity but then vote for cuts. Who vote through racist laws. Who clearly care more about their career than the lives of the most vulnerable in this Great Kingdom.

People who never would have gone out to a protest have taken to the streets. People who didn’t even know parties had leader elections are paying out of their own pocket to join the party so they can vote. People who said they’d never come back to Labour are giving them another chance.

And this brings us to Jeremy – the only candidate who can keep the momentum going. Being consistent, voting in the ways he says his beliefs are, right from the beginning of his career.


People say he is the candidate for the rich, those who can afford to be idealistic. I can afford no such luxuries and neither can the bubble of activists I surround myself with.

What we can’t afford is another 8 years of more cuts, more wars, more bullying. What we can’t afford is a party who is meant to be opposing but agrees even when the bills are against their core values. We need hope, we need action and we need change. And Jeremy is the only chance of that.

So I sit here holding my breath.