The nights are drawing in, the Equinox approaches and the powers that be, for reasons unfathomable, will plunge us back onto Greenwich Mean Time. It seems to me that when summer is gone, it’s time to get serious. As the vegetative parts of our ecosystems diminish, humans (and other animals) must take up the slack to keep things moving forward. So, without further ado, you, collectively, are stumping up £633 a month. That’s providing a home and a life for 4 people. It won’t last beyond January unless our autumnal strivings are successful. There can be no hibernation for thousand 4 1000 this winter.
Here is a request, can you help in the search for more subscribers and more accommodation? You could like the website, thousand41000.org. You could, if that’s your bent, tweet about the project. If, like me, you’re more at home in the good old-fashioned Internet, you could email a link to your unsuspecting friends and neighbours. Hell, you could even talk to people face-to-face. You never know, they might have sweets.
On the accommodation front, realistically, the next house will be from another sympathetic source with enough surplus to survive with a low rent. If you have any leads, please make the necessary introductions. I’m sort of hoping that one of us has a maiden great-aunt with a spare house in Brighton. Do check your family trees.
Before I leave you, I would like to try out a little thought. It is my reason to be optimistic or a little ray of late autumn sunshine. The politics of the border and migration seem intractably stuck in “one immigrant is one too many” mode. The UK and France are colluding on the destruction of the Calais jungle and even closing the Jules Ferry centre. (The indefatigable Hummingbird are having a donation drive to ameliorate this horrific decision:
There has been an increase in charter flights carrying out mass deportations. For the first time in two years, there was one to Jamaica. The EU have quietly signed a deal with Afghanistan to restart mass deportations to that notoriously safe country. All of which seems to be underpinned by a concerted political attempt to insist that the referendum vote means that “controlling immigration” – by which they mean, “preventing immigration” – is the only available border policy.
So why the optimism? Firstly, I don’t think that there is a consensus that immigration must be prevented. It’s not just me and all my friends who think that our border policies are racist and inhumane. The recent refugees welcome march in London was massive. There is a growing movement against immigration detention. I am with Michael Dummett when he claimed that anti-immigration sentiment is shallow. It is not natural or inevitable, but rather the result of a concerted attempt to impose a particular political reality on the country. More importantly, those realities can change very fast. As my housemate, Tim, points out the Tories were laughed out of town trying to fight the 2005 general election on an anti-immigration ticket. And here’s the rub, all of us, most of the time, on most issues have not formed very strong opinions. How could we? There would be too much to think about. Most people, I think, quietly conform to the prevailing political reality.
This gives us plenty of space to fight back. There are people who will read this update who have first-hand experience of queer political struggles, and I hope they will correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that Pride effected a complete turnaround in attitudes to sexuality. 15 years ago, when I was an undergraduate, it was still illegal to “promote homosexuality as an equally valid lifestyle” in state schools. I suspect that this year’s intake would find that unthinkable. The unthinking thing to think was that heterosexuality is the foundation on which society is built. The genius move was to bring that assumption out into the open, to show that it was false and the cause of much suffering, and, more importantly, that a society that is open to a plurality of sexualities would be a better place to live. Brighton Pride is now a massive and joyous event.
It seems to me, that the visible presence of horror of the border will force people to take a stand. We know that a society which is open and diverse is a richer society. What thousand 4 1000 proves is that even if immigration results in some loss of material goods, that loss, if we act together, can be recuperated out of our small change. So, thank you so much for your commitment, please badger your friends to sign up and together we will bring about an enormous change and make our society a space for all.