Thinking is slow and discursive – even lazy in a way. Blinking is a reaction – an impulse often involving a degree of trust. As a rule, we stay where we are when we blink in reaction. A chain reaction which chains us to the spot, more often than not.
Two events when I’ll be blinking I think, more than thinking in the way I am accustomed.
This Wednesday, a Labour-organised conference call with Caroline Flint and Arnie Graf. I imagine many others will be attending: a “broadcast” meeting of minds it’ll be, more than anything else. But my “going” is a declaration of intent, even so – a growing desire to spend more time out there doing real stuff than in here doing just this thinking.
Meanwhile, on November 27th I’ll be down London way, looking to honour the memory of Norman Geras. I only knew him through his thinking, even as he occasionally blinked his way through Twitter too. But his thinking was a weight of coherence which few have achieved or will ever achieve.
I’ve always been more comfortable hidden behind a computer screen and putting virtual pen to e-paper, as I refuse – quite persistently I do admit – to come down on one side or another.
People like Geras, however, managed to do both the thinking – the imagining of right worlds – as well as the blinking that is basic daily life.
If blinkingti.me is about anything at all, it is about my attempting to achieve that balance too.
So what do I expect of both these events? Labour will be looking to generate volunteer participation in the area I live. We are a target seat for the next election. My now month-long disengaging from 21CF is probably, in part, motivated by the need to spend my time more carefully: on my own work, now with two distinct streams of income coming in, as well as politics, which is what Labour will have to begin to mean for me.
As at least one of my Twitter folk has commented on the network today, austerity is open warfare on the poor, sick, disabled and unemployed: but first and foremost, an open warfare on women. It is true, of course, that Labour is not perfect – how many times have we heard that proclamation, even from myself? – but in a world of savage realism which I now find myself obliged to sign up to, it’s the only realistic way available to us for getting rid of political evil like this.
Yes. Austerity is evil, because it was deliberately designed to saddle a supportive state with bills it could no longer pay, in order to:
- bitterly cheapen a labour market of the already poverty-stricken; and
- load its component parts with even greater physical and emotional burdens.
Do I finally nail my flag irrevocably to a mast then? Now I do. Now I will. Now I have to. And so do you.
In the meantime, the 27th will be a reminder that some things are universal: human rights, the battles we must wage in their defence, the integrity and calm we must continue to manifest in our ways of waging such conflict.
So blinking (just a bit) it is true we must do, as we break out of our virtual sofas and onto the streets of solidarity.
But thinking (just as much), let’s carry on too. Because without a thought, a blink is only ever a moment.