This is our truth, tell us yours
I miss the Labour movement of my youth.
It was a Labour movement that debated ideas, that could inspire and lead, not follow.
Part of that Labour movement was an active press, and a world of ideas in which a plurality of voices competed for attention and space.
I find those voices now in the blogosphere, not in the clickbait obsessed world of the mainstream media. If we had more time, here at Cigar towers, we would curate more of those voices, but we have lives that require us to be more than just bloggers.
One of the voices I suspect both Jem and myself would amplify more regularly, if we could, is Stavvers. Not because I agree with everything she says, (although this resonates hugely with me) but because of the passion, commitment and intelligence with which she says it.
Stavvers is, simply, a very good writer and a unique voice. She’s also, like many good, unique writers about politics, not part of the mainstream media sustenance machine. She needs money. Intersectional politics needs voices like Stavvers. (I’ve gradually started describing myself, in my head, as an intersectional socialist; it seems to fit.) If there’s going to be an alternative to mainstream media and the platform game that is the process of writers sucking up to commissioning editors and tailoring their pieces to fit in, then there has to be a way of allowing those writers to grow.
So, dear reader, I give you an idea that needs some space, some enthusiasts and some amplification. I give you Clarion Voices (in my head it’s Fifty Voices, but that seems too prescriptive).
It’s simple. We target 20,000 people giving £2.50 a month, the sort of price we used to pay for a good magazine. In return the subscribers get to select, each year, the fifty voices who will receive a £10k bursary in return for one piece a month, about the intersections of politics, class, gender and race, sent to the subscribers, and archived a month later on the Clarion Voices website.
Would that be so difficult? Someone, somewhere, ought to pick this idea up and run with it.Otherwise, we’ll continue down the road exemplified by the Guardian, where, this week, the opinion pages have featured articles about why cats are better than dogs, and vice versa. I actually read one of them, hoping for a deep and perceptive analogy to the Labour leadership elections, with a few refereces to category errors or the apples and pears dilemma. Nope, it really was a shallow, vapid article about cats and dogs. In the Guardian.
We need voices like Stavvers more than ever. We need a structure that lets new voices grow and develop, and which lets new ideas shape the world. We need Clarion Voices.