I didn’t vote today. I never expected to read those words written (typed) by me. I was always a great advocate of the need to vote, and felt that the many years of struggle and suffering of others to guarantee me that vote deserved my effort. I simply cannot see the point of voting for a European Parliament in which I have no faith or belief. To me, it is like being given the choice of voting for three different fascist parties, and feeling that I should at least use that vote, even if I despised their policies. Not only is it completely pointless, it is never going to happen.
When I was a younger man, I expressed militant ideas. I espoused the causes of revolutions in far-off lands, and agreed with the justifications of armed struggle, and achieving a goal by any means necessary. I was class-conscious, to the point of hatred, and regarded many sections of society as my sworn enemies. Somewhere in my now older head, all of this still swirls around. I have T-shirts emblazoned with the logos of Brigate Rosse, slogans from the Spanish Civil War, and silhouettes of Lenin. I don’t just lean to the Left, I lurch wholeheartedly towards it. My heart longs for a return to the days of the Soviet Union, devoid of utilities billionaires, and Tito’s Yugoslavia, offering a practical approach to European Communism.
My head knows that this is all gone, never to return. The Red Brigades became gangsters and kidnappers, Yugoslavia destroyed itself in sectarian blood-lust, and they pulled down most of the statues of Lenin to make room for Starbucks. The world has moved to the Right. In almost every European country, the choice for the people is between one version of a right-wing party, or another. Business rules; ideals don’t pay dividends. The few countries in other lands which still boast anything remotely resembling a left-wing government are paralysed by the need to trade with capitalists, to sell their oil, their cheaply manufactured goods, or the fast-diminishing natural resources of their land. Globalisation has finally arrived, and along with it, the politics of nationalism, racism, and self-interest.
So what of the ‘enemies’? If there is ‘another side’, a modern-day natural enemy to the capitalist vine that is slowly choking the planet, then that is surely Islamic Fundamentalism. But this is no cause to defend. Its own politics are even further to the right, significantly more terrible than those pale imitations in the West. It comes with a medieval callousness, and a completely ruthless agenda. If it was not for the religious zealotry, the flippant disregard for women as individuals, and total intolerance of all things non-Muslim, I might find myself admiring such fanaticism. We should look on in terror, as here is a war we can never win. They are the future, because they don’t care about the future. They want to restore the past, and they are prepared to die, to see that happen.
When I look back at my apparently militant youth, I see now that it was many things. Fashion, protest, rebellion by argument, even something as basic as choosing a side. It was never really militancy. We may well have called it that, but we only have to look to modern day Islam to see what it really means. Total commitment, sacrifice, abstention, loyalty, and devotion. I might have had some of this, but never in large enough measure. Compared to these people, I was a child playing with ideas as toys.