Could you be the catalyst that sparks the revolution? Or just another inmate in a long-term institution?
By Graham Smith
It happened in a coffee shop in Bude, just before lunchtime yesterday. A bunch of old Lefties, picking ourselves up after last month’s general election. A couple of large, strong Americanos later and we now have an editorial board. Sort of. We would like to find more people who might be interested.
We are all struggling to find within ourselves any enthusiasm about the current Labour Party leadership election. Struggling even more to understand the point of the Liberal Democrats. Quite like the Greens, but worried about their more intolerant streaks.
Are you now or have you ever been a member of a revolutionary organisation? If so, you will be in good company.
I see absolutely no point wasting time with another “realignment” or creating a new political party. There are plenty of parties already, and they will carry on doing whatever it is they do.
What is needed, we agreed, is more thinking. Hence the Cornish Beacon – a website. A think tank. A wall for graffiti artists. A notice-board for Cornish Agit-Prop. Are you organising a climate change protest? This is the place to tell Cornwall. Doing a petition about the closure of your Minor Injury Unit? The Cornish Beacon is all yours.
The individual members of the Bude Caffeine Collective (2020, Anarcho-Syndicalist, M-L etc, not yet on the Scotland Yard Counter-Terrorist Watch List but we haven’t given up hope, do not be fooled by imitations) have been around quite a long time. Adding up all the years around the table could take a while. Not only can we all remember the 1960s, we really were actually there.
OK, I was at school, but while my classmates paraded around the playground in their Combined Cadet Force uniforms, I shouted “Fascist!” and campaigned against the Vietnam war. It was an all-boys school. There was nothing else to do.
Then came the Troops Out Movement, and countless Anti-Nazi League demonstrations, before somehow drifting into the Labour Party – an organisation of which I had been only dimly aware, until Harold Wilson resigned. By the time Thatcher got in, I was already a branch secretary.
What might we do with the Cornish Beacon? Well, it’s traditional. From Red Mole through to Spare Rib, there has always been a need for somewhere to let off steam.
I remember attending “editorial collective” meetings of The Leveller magazine, in North London, in the mid-70s. It ran for nearly 10 years. I still have all the old copies, somewhere in my attic.
Other members of that editorial collective went on to do interesting things. One revolutionary anarchist now divides his time between London and his French vineyard. Another former Trot is now a Labour councillor, pining for the return of Tony Blair. A few became cabinet ministers.
I went straight into journalism on leaving school, so that’s 46 years ago. Still trying to get the hang of it.
People who know me will know all about Cornwall Reports, which is something completely different. I really do need to find a way of making Cornwall Reports a commercial success, or I shall starve.
But the Cornish Beacon is a place in cyberspace for people who care more about political ideas than political careers. The intention is to promote those ideas, and win the battle for hearts and minds everywhere. Things change when they are ready to change. Debate and engagement might make change sooner rather than later.
It doesn’t matter which political party you support, or even if you support no political party at all.
Here’s the door. The paint is still wet, so mind how you go.
I'll get round to adding a Full Monty of contact details in a day or two.
You are welcome.