This week on the podcast we spoke about our feelings after the recent UK election, and about how people might cope in the aftermath of cultural events like this which can leave us feeling very precarious indeed.
We spoke about applying the idea of circles of grief to situations like this. The idea is that we locate the people most directly impacted in the innermost of several concentric circles. In this case those whose lives are put at risk by poverty, lack of benefits and support, increases in hate crime, being placed in detention centres, environmental injustice, etc. The next level out would be those more indirectly impacted, and so on. Each person or group offers support to those further in than them, and gets support from those further out (it being vital to get support in order to be able to give support).
We also spoke of the importance of expanding our capacity to cope with crises like these – which have been hitting us on the regular for some time now and will keep doing so – in between times. We can see that as like making a larger container to handle things when crises hit.
We spoke about how many of us can feel the impact of the current political situation on multiple levels. This can lead to us feeling overwhelmed, especially when it feels like each level is echoing the others. For example, we might feel how certain lives, bodies, and labours are valued way more highly than others across these levels. We might feel how the same kinds of oppression or non-consensual behaviour play out on all these levels.
However, this echoing through the levels can be helpful too. Even if we have limited capacity to shape the wider cultural situation at the moment, we may be able to think about how we can do things differently on the other levels. For example, how might we value people equally and behave consensually in our interpersonal relationships and our communities?
It can also be good to get intentional about what how to act given the situation. We spoke about the importance of giving space to your feelings – and really feeling them – before reflecting on what activism or engagement you have capacity for, find fulfilling, and feel skilful at. It is easy to become overwhelmed, so it’s important to self-care, and to nurture systems and structures to support you in that self-care, as well as recognising that you don’t have to do everything. Maintaining capacity, and working across these multiple levels is important.
Justin also wrote this piece about managing election fallout with friends and family.
We also mentioned some political podcasts/shows in the episode.
Novara Media they have a YouTube channel and a podcast feed and articles. They do so much fantastic work so support them if you can.
Trashfuture which is a very funny and often very serious leftie podcast. Don’t worry about all the in-jokes you don’t get, that’s part of it.
Financial Times Politics Podcast if you want something which is specifically not left wing but reasonably balanced.
© Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock, 2020