Sunday 14 October 2018

The cliff

Hospitals have things in common with prisons and it's not just the Serco 'food'. There's also the attention to numbers – the counting of days. One difference. A prisoner can mark off the days to his/her release, but here there is no end date so I count forward – today 25 days completed . Of course any other comparisons end there. Prisons are places for containment and punishment. Oh and of course now profit. I read that Serco are to be given the power of arrest soon! But there is one other comparison – the slow passing of time which allows for reflection and thought. And time to write these blogs. One of my first questions to visitors is to ask about the weather. It's hard to tell from the inside of these frosted windows. Yesterday was apparently very warm for mid-October and I was told it was 'too warm', 'unusual weather' and so on. Here I am outside these experiences, looking out at them, but not a part of. And this curious situation brings me to another 'reflection'. More than ever before this hospital stay has made me acutely aware that I am observing something quite troubling out there. The advance of barbarism. Brought close to me courtesy of Serco of course, but also in the comments and conversation from my visitors. Yesterday a friend telling me she was heading off from here to Notting Hill for a Grenfell march and that the surrounds of the massacred building are full of toxins, as found at Ground Zero in NYC. Other topics passing through my hospital room range from the impending struggle over the decline in social security payments to the twelve, or is it thirteen, years we have left to save our world from global warming. And have you heard that the 1% who are responsible for this are buying up property in New Zealand? I am sure you have your own concerns which you can add to this list. So now to this train and the cliff. I was once a member of the International Socialists – today's SWP. In my time I have been an anarchist, Trotskyist, syndicalist, nihilist and today's desperatist. Anyway, their leading cadre was Yigael Gluckstein, an Israeli revolutionary who changed his name to Tony Cliff. He would often open his talks with this. “Comrades, we are all on the same train. The rich are eating caviar and sipping champagne in the restaurant car. The middle class are asleep in their couchettes. The working class are crammed into the corridors. But we are all on the same train. And it is heading to barbarism.” I used to think his view was extreme. Surely we had plenty of time to stop the train. Today I think he was thinking along the right tracks. Visit me, tell me about the weather and let me know what you think. Help me pass the time as we head towards that cliff.

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