That was the year that was.
2017 ended up being a bit quiet around here, but we had some good times, and it’s really important to remember what you’ve achieved even when things turned a bit shit.
So I’m kicking January off by revisiting the ten most-read posts of the past year. There’s some damn fine writing in there and some critical subjects which I know will come up again over the first term of our new government.
I think they also show what this place can become with a little more elbow grease and support from people like you – but more about that next week.
In the meantime, here’s to 2018, which I’m dubbing the year of living recklessly.
What does that mean? Well, I’ve got a mortgage and no full-time employment. That’s not how you get a front-page article on nzherald.co.nz about how sensible millennials can build a successful property portfolio through sheer hard work and massive parental subsidies. That’s pretty reckless.
But more importantly, 2018 will be the year in which, if I earn any new regrets, none will be “why didn’t I …?”
So here at Boots Theory, I’m going to write. I’m going to write the truth – my truth, my understanding of the world: how it is and how it should be. How we can and must bridge the gap. How we might be failing and how we can do better.
Some people won’t like it, but I’m taking my own comms advice: they aren’t the audience, and I can’t keep biting my tongue in the hopes of reaching those who cannot be persuaded.
Some will think I should keep my opinions to myself, or proper, private channels. Don’t air disagreements in public! Well, I think we’re better than that. We’re strong enough in our principles not to flinch when our opponents try to turn them into weaknesses. We have to be.
Some people will love seeing a dissenting leftwing voice because they think it can be used to undermine the left. And you can bugger right off back to your sham of a “union”, Jordy.
I’m writing for the people who want the world to be better but think they’re alone, or there’s no space to talk about what change looks like. (Don’t air your disagreements in public!) If not for the people who can be persuaded to join the good fight – they’re not really reading political nerd blogs – then the people who will do the persuading, but need some extra tools.
There’s a broader objective: we – the left, the progressive movement – need to be able to question and discuss and make political debate something anyone can be part of. As I said on NYE, in some quarters anything short of 100% enthusiastic support for everything the progressive parliamentary parties do is tantamount to voting ACT.
But we’re progressives. It is core to who we are to debate and discuss and not simply accept whatever authority tells us to do. And when we’re in government, especially when we’re in government, we need all those voices pushing the limits of debate, rebutting the right’s propaganda, creating the space for change. Continued change.
I know I can be one of those voices, speaking from the leftwing, feminist, campaigning side of things. I don’t cover all the bases by any means, and the left will also need the voices of people who are Māori and working-class and queer and trans and who have disability. Parents and grandparents and aunties and young folk, students and retirees. It will take all of us because leftwing politics is about all of us.
I have my voice, and I know change happens when I use it. So that’s what I’m going to do. And I will need your support – but more of that in a bit.
I have to believe real, significant change is achievable, and not in ten or twenty years’ time – now.
I have to believe there’s a place for my voice and voices like mine – and unlike mine.
I have to believe there are people out there willing to listen, and act.
I’m doing this.