Hi wonderful humans,
Mikaela here! Glad to be back in your inboxes after what seems like such a long time. I wrote my last newsletter on the day I left Colombia so a LOT has changed since then. I’m now settled back in the UK, catching up with old friends and trying to keep up with the ridiculous chaos that is politics here.
It was a shift coming back here. I left Colombia just after the historic election of President Petro and Vice president Francia Marquez – two leaders from grassroots left wing groups that are now the leaders of the entire country. This win felt like seeing a miracle happen in front of us, after 200 years of right wing rule in Colombia. In my time out of the UK, I was reminded that miracles are possible. But, many of them aren’t elusive or unexplainable: they are the result of ordinary people coming together to transform the world around us. I was reminded that this radical, wonderful, transformation is possible.
Back in the UK, the realms of the possible felt much more constricted. Under a horrendous cost of living crisis and historically devastating heatwaves, rather than radical transformation of society being demanded, the news was filled with anti-climate pledges being made by the candidates to be our new – but still very right wing – PM and the so-called “Labour” party were either completely absent from the discussion or abandoning the striking workers they were set up to represent. It was so frustrating. Energy firms like Shell and BP were boasting historic profits of billions, whilst ordinary people were – and still are – being forced to skip meals and rely on foodbanks. If Colombia had overthrown 200 years of elite rule, why couldn’t we do the same here?
I channeled my emotions into my writing and work, trying to get as many people as possible into organising, building communities and systems outside of our existing ones that are failing all of us. If the government won’t intervene to prevent people dying due to high bills then we have to enact wealth redistribution and care ourselves through mutual aid groups. If the political “opposition” won’t represent our interests and fight for a liveable future for all of us, then we have to start building people power from the outside that truly demands that. This requires all of us.