Diary week c/ 5 Decemeber - Still too much politics on my mind

This post was written 2 years ago.
Mon, 05 Dec 2016
It is crazy, I follow so many Twitter links, and read or skim-read lots of (sometimes long) articles. And then there's also Medium. I am not sure how much sense it makes to do that, but then I do feel it gives me a better idea of things. There is currently a huge bias towards America I have to say. For obvious reasons, but I do think it is getting a bit out of hand. - Today I saw this article and whithout even having much knowlegde, you can just sense that this would be a totally sensible path to follow. Together with faithless electors there's absolutely a way to deny Drumpf the presidency, if only enough people want to go ahead with it. I have a bit of hope now, that if not removed this way, he will be impeached soon after having taken office.

Sometimes I also end up in curious places after following link after link. Today for example I learned about a commune in America in the 1800s that practised free love and had a shared income, then in the 20th century became a corporate producing silverware.

I did also read about Italian and Austrian elections though in Die Zeit - I recently remembered that I can actually read German ;) There was a time when I had Spiegel Online as my home web page, but for a while I did not read German papers much, I don't really know why.

Starting a little feminist vocabulary

I don't know when I started this, I think it might have been just after the US election. I coined this term : Wopups - Women Propping Up Patricarchy. I was so so annoyed with those white women who voted for Drumpf (voting with their husbands?). And now I've thought of another term: VW - standing for Visible Woman. I by now believe one of the most effective way women are kept out of the loop is the invisibility and silence. Being kept silent, and keeping quiet ourselves. This is so engrained. We deny ourselves to speak, and when we are made to speak, or pick up the courage to speak, we will - on the whole, and unless we are very privileged and specifically trained - be more insecure than men. All the more I adore those women who are very vocal and uncompromising in promoting a feminism that is about equal rights and being respectful and kind to everyone - not being anti-men. At the moment, that is the 'guilty feminists' Deborah Frances-White and Sofie Hagen, and then Jenn Schiffer in America. They are all wonderful. I'd like to become a visible woman like that, but I don't feel I have a very good standing. I feel like I'd unjustly assume such a position. This could be part of the whole predicament - that as women we are more prone to feeling incapable - but I fear in my case this feeling is justified. I often want too much too early.

Theresa May or, even worse, Louise Mensch, are of course the complete anithesis to what such a women should look like. They are actively demaging feminism, among many other things!

I have lots more ideas about feminism, and I will probably write about that subject many more times.

Ancora l'Italia

In an effort to not expose myself to British mainstream media very much at all (for a start it is so much focused on Britain and America; and it is quite biased), I have started to follow alternative news outlets (e.g. @truthout, @alternet, @theRealNews, @AJEnglish), and also as mentioned above, non-English ones. Following a tweet by Paul Mason about a programme in DeutschlandFunk, I started listening to that Radio station a bit, and today I looked for some Italian ones. Most of the ones I found just mainly played music though. I did listen to that for a bit too though and I found that I still like listening to Italian so much, and it reminded me of the time I spent there in the 90s. Recently I found out that a fellow (British) school mum shared this experience with me: On arriving in Italy and hearing people speaking in Italian (for me this was on a night train, having just passed the Brenner pass when waking up), I had this intense feeling of being at home.

But what about coding??

Oh yes, this bugs me a bit. I have been quite good on the weekend though. I quite intensely looked at a web content editor called Sir Trevor and learned quite a bit about Webpack. I did this in the hope to finally contribute to 24 pull requests. I don't know if I will manage in the end, but I feel I have at least got closer. This is different from previous times, where I gave up much sooner.

But I have all these other little project, and most important of all, CodeHub. There's two aspects to this, the coding - for JS101 especially. But also organising talks. I have at least some kind of 'road map' together, of things I want to do to move towards that goal. But it proves, for various reasons, quite difficult to actually get going. I know it is going to happen, though.

I have to stop, I did not want to write that much at all! It got much too late.


A weekly diary for the rest of the year

This post was written 3 years ago.
Sat, 03 Oct 2015
So, this is a simple challenge. Except, I don't know if it will be simple for me. It could be, or it could be not. The chances are 50/50. Writing is very important to me. But there was a time when it was the scariest thing for me. Writing something that would (perhaps) be read by others. That old fear occasionally resurfaces, and my control over it is limited. Then part of the challenge is maybe to learn to live with that discomfort. In any case, one post per week. That's the deal.

At the moment change is the only constant, and I thought it might be good to keep a record of some of what is going on. This stretches from the world of politics and economy, both on a global and national level, to the local communities that I am part of, my personal life and myself. (The change might not be massive in all cases though, and have more to do with my perception of things)

I'll start with an — incomplete — collection of things that are on my mind these days. Things that I observe with some interest, that cause me headaches or heartaches, or just sit there clamouring for attention and a solution of some kind. I start shifting pieces and numbers around in my mind, and it feels like a real-life three-dimensional Sudoku. What chances are there of ever solving anything? Perhaps the art is to restrict the solution-finding to very little things, and otherwise just try to live a half-decent live, without being on some kind of I-need-to-save-the-world mission. Observing things is a start, paying attention, and asking questions perhaps.

(Money) politics

There are a few recent events that I found striking in that a while ago I would not have thought them possible. Especially these two:
  • The Greeks voting "No" to the conditions imposed on them by the Eurogroup
  • The election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour leader with a majority of 60%; somebody who has principles and speaks their mind
In addition to that, it seems to me that there is a turning. Something gathering momentum. More and more people getting fed up with austerity politics and refusing to be sold that to them anymore as "we are all in this together". Honestly, who on earth would ever believe that? I am fully aware that there are still big enough numbers of well-off people who want to cling to the Status quo, so that we will not see the end of the Tories soon. And yet, my hope is that they will be gradually held in check more. Yes, Corbyn will probably not be elected Prime minister, but I think he will be fully capable of providing a strong opposition.

When the Greeks said No, I started following the reporting of Paul Mason, and eventually read his book "Postcapitalism". It made a big impression on me, and I hope to post a review of it at some point. There is something so sane and truthful about it. It is also a book that conviction and a deep interest in the matter has gone into. I am quite sure it is not a book written for the sake of making money, and it is not following some kind of blueprint.

The idea of an unconditional basic income has been floated for a while now, and in Germany the owner of a ubiquitous drugstore chain is passionately pushing it which I hope will help it gain traction — I also just realised that Switzerland will even hold a referendum on it in 2016!. I think when it comes, it will not make things easier for most people. Status anxiety will remain, and the freedom to choose might even add pressure. But it would end poverty and that is absolutely a good enough reason to introduce it.

By coincidence yesterday we watched television, which we do extremely rarely, and there happened to be Brian Eno on, giving a John Peele lecture. I did not even know these lectures existed, and I would not have thought of Brian Eno as somebody who gives lectures. Interestingly, part of it was exactly about the subject of postcapitalism and he did even mention Paul Mason's book. Before that he said something about Art which I found quite beautiful: Art is the "things that we don't have to do". And we will all produce more art, professionally or otherwise, as automation progresses. I also liked how he said that after art college he "went on the dole, because I was desperate to not get a job, because I feared I would not get out of the job anymore" The one thing I felt a bit uncomfortable with was when he said that refugees "wanted a share" of our wealth. The very last sentence of the programme, in a response to a question, was something similar again. Of course a lot of people want to come to Europe for economic reasons, but those would not be called refugees?

The growing power of women

This is somewhat connected to the first point, as I think women will play a big role in political and social change. There is so much untapped potential at the moment. For me, the way in which women have been silenced, and out of convention or habit often remain silent themselves, is one of the biggest challenges in that respect. That silence is something that does not only apply to women, of course, but to any oppressed group. It is unfortunate, because it often means that an intelligent, knowledgeable and well-meaning part of a group does not exert their power, ceding the playing field to the bullies. But once we recognize that the only reason the bullies have power is because of the silence of a big fraction, if we manage to empower that fraction of the group, all is not lost.

For me true feminism is so valuable because I had to come round to it, I had to be converted to it, I did not really know for a long time what it was. I have for so long looked to men to "rescue" me, to teach me, to make me feel good. And somehow not seen just how many brilliant, kind, fantastic women are out there. I still like men, there are as many good men as there are women. But their outlook is different on the whole (by the culture they have been brought up with, they are much more competitive and more status-oriented), and the women — as a group, of course there are exceptions, women can be power-hungry too — can bring something else to the table, something that is much needed. I just heard an interview with Erica Jong, in which she said that native Americans had a "council of grandmothers" who decided whether to go into a fight. While it was the men who did the fighting, it was the grandmothers who decided. They knew what was at stake, the value of life, because they had given birth (those were not her exact words, but it was something along those lines).

Becoming more effective

Then there is my personal progress. I will devote some space to that too. Being a woman and considering the above, I wonder in how far I can have a voice, whether my voice is of value and so on. The thing is, if you can call this blooming at all, I am a late-bloomer of the highest order. I feel I have missed some boats, career-wise and skills-wise, in the sense that I won't become as good at something anymore as my talents would have allowed me to become, had I started earlier (and been less bogged down in self-doubt!). But in some cases, I don't know if that is just a feeling or actually the truth. And then, the truth is such an abstract thing anyway. Better to cultivate a "growth mindset" and just work on the things you like. Whether they live up to some impossibly high standard, is that really an important question? I don't think so. I have a lot more choice than I think. And I want to see if I can utilize my voice in a good way.

There is much more of course, but I will have to leave it to another time!