It is already the fifth day of 2013 and I’m sitting in my office re-reading the post I wrote at the end of 2011. What can I say, that was such an exciting, exhausting year that I’d forgotten most of it. I spent 2011 gallivanting around the world doing a million different things. Not necessarily fun things. I think I was pretty drained by the end of it.
Now I’m trying to remember what happened in 2012, and my mind’s more or less blank. 2012 was a pretty rubbish year for me. I decided to settle down, move into a rent-paying flat, and study fulltime. I felt like I was going undercover in the Muggle world.
In the long run it was probably a good experience for me to step outside my anarchist bubble. At least, I’m sure in the future I’ll look back and think it was a good experience. Lefties love to complain about how we need to stop being so insular and engage more with the mainstream (whatever the hell that is), but this year really made me appreciate the importance of having spaces and communities where people actively oppose oppression. Radical left spaces don’t always live up to that, but at least there’s a shared understanding that they should.
That’s the self-involved component of this post. So on to the actually interesting things that happened last year:
2012 finally concluded the long and ludicrous saga of the Operation Eight court case. Rangi Kemara and Tame Iti are still in prison, and state attacks on Māori are continuing. So the struggle is far from over.
There was also the mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners, in protest of Israel’s administrative detention policies. There are still prisoners who are hunger striking, including Samer Issawi, who’s been hunger striking for over 150 days. Again, the struggle is far from over.
It made me fantasise a lot about alternate timelines where the world doesn’t suck as much.
Another thing that happened last year was that ridiculous Kony 2012 campaign. I still haven’t watched the actual video, but it did trigger some useful discussions about accountability of NGOs, and their role in perpetuating colonialism.
That war everyone was expecting for all of 2011 did happen in 2012. Israeli forces killed 170 Palestinians in Gaza in under a fortnight. They named it Operation Pillar of Defense in English, but in Hebrew it was Pillar of Cloud, which apparently is some biblical reference that I’m not a good enough Jew to get.
The Palestinian Authority finally got observer state status at the UN. I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing. It’s a huge symbolic victory, and it gives Palestine the right to take Israel to the International Criminal Court. But it could also entrench the 1967 borders and endanger the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes.
There was a lot of organising around asset sales and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. I’m opposed to both, but I also feel incredibly uneasy with the nationalist rhetoric used by anti-asset sales and anti-TPPA activists. Especially after finding out that a neo-Nazi participated in an Aotearoa Not For Sale march. You can’t separate the struggle for economic justice from the struggle against colonisation and racism.
I’m trying to think of exciting new music that I discovered in 2012 and the only band I can think of is the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Feel free to leave your music recommendations in the comments section.
On the other hand I went to see four movies at the cinema last year, which is a lot for me. Here’s my 2012 film reviews:
The Avengers: so did not pass the Bechdel test. WTF Joss? I expect better from you.
The Hunger Games: was a perfectly fine movie, but really did not live up to the book. I am very emotionally invested in the book.
Cabin in the Woods: was so fucking amazing. Joss, you’re a genius, I totally forgive you for The Avengers
Five Broken Cameras: is a very moving documentary and you should watch it.
I read a lot of books last year. My picks are Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors, Grace Paley’s The Little Disturbances of Man, Ali Abunimah’s One Country and The Hunger Games trilogy.
Towards the end of the year my grandmother died. I want to write something about her life, and what she meant to me, but I’m not quite ready yet.
I feel like I should have something inspiring to say about my hopes and aspirations for 2013. I’m actually feeling pretty jaded at the moment. I’ve decided my goal for 2013 is to find a way to feel optimistic and inspired about revolutionary social change. I figure if you set small goals, you’re less likely to be disappointed. So here’s to feeling hopeful about feeling hopeful.
Happy (belated) new year. Go forth and make revolution.