Jean was my mom, she died when I was in my twenties (please try to get past the fact that we Brummies say Mom).
"We, not me", my mom used to whisper in my ear when I was growing up. "We, not me, sweetheart." God I miss her. From the moment of my birth until the the day she died my mom taught me that we should only seek power to give it away and that we should fight for the neighbours kid's as tenaciously as we would fight for our own. At her funeral I said:
"My mom was everything I am and everything I am not. She taught me to be a friend, a mother, a grafter, a feminist, a wife, a socialist; a women. What I didn't learn was her grace. I didn't learn to fight quietly, to let things go and to pick my battles. Her greatest skill was to fight and win, love and be loved without anyone realising she had done it. She was a master of the art of diplomacy."
My mom was the truest, kindest socialist I'll ever meet.
In layman's terms, being a socialist means not being selfish. Never think you are bigger than the struggle. Never let what you want, or your interests, be prioritised over the common good. This isn't about you its about us. Make concessions for the benefit of the group. That's what I was taught.
My mom must have missed out the bit in her teachings where no matter what the situation you are right and being right is more important than the safety of the group. She missed out the bit that says if things don't seem to be going your way, make sure you get jobs for all your mates so your way can be had.
She never told me that taking the mick out of your fellow comrades' mental health because they disagreed with you was the way to bring the group along to a consensus.
She didn't mention that socialism meant there was only one way to the exclusion of all others.
There are many reasons I wish my mom was here still. It's not easy to lose a parent when you are young; you become a sort of disciple to their ways. I wish she was here to remind me of the gentle, kind, generous nature of socialism. She would stroke my hair and say, "Bab, things will get better."
In my socialism, which is steadfast and lifelong, there is no point where your own personal socialist ideals are more important that delivering a better life for people who need it. There is no day where looking "right on" is more important and than bringing people right along. If for one second I thought that my interventions, no matter how justified, stood to potentially hurt my cause, I'd stop.
I've had a taste of this recently. My feminism caused offence. That's not enough to make me back down, but it is enough to make me temper my approach in future. To make a better effort to bring others along, even if it feels like pins in my skin. Being the best, funniest, most outspoken feminist is really great. I have had loads of people tell me how inspiring and brave I am. Thanks, by the way. These accolades and support, while great, will be no where near as great as the end result of equality. So I change my tack and bring a few more people along with me. God, my mom would be proud... As I said, she was a diplomat.
Jeremy is a bit like my mom. Slightly posher, and beardier, but soft and kind in the same way. Dedicated and hardworking in the same way. Thoughtful and analytical in the same way. The difference is, he seems more certain than she ever was, certain that he is right, certain that his way works. Maybe it's a gender thing or a class thing, I don't know. For a working class girl from a 1950's broken home, certainty was not her reality. Reality was her reality.
I'm not certain what will happen in the future of politics and the world, it seems very uncertain and scary at the moment. There is one thing I am certain of though, socialism deserves a chance and at the moment I think it's blowing it.
I wish she was here.
Notes from the author: I write these things to try and make change, to put across an opinion, not to cause rifts in the Party that I love. When I write them I usually have one person in mind who I am talking to. It's a different person each time. Jeremy Corbyn was the intended recipient of this, so I cut out the middle man and I sent it to him directly. He responded immediately, with kindness and fraternity. He offered me an audience and I shall take him up on this. He is without doubt the most approachable political leader in history (I imagine). I don't want to shout and rage and have rifts and fights. I don't want to speak behind backs and plot. I know from him I will be afforded the same thing, I hope it's the same from all who carry his banner. It takes guts to speak up. He knows that and so do I. Also as a complete aside, my mate Jayne says if I don't mention her in one of these blogs she will not be my mate anymore. So here you go Jayne, here is your footnote in history.