Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Eyes opened

Politics. Its a funny old thing isn't it...

University opened my eyes and now they have been opened they can't be closed again. Paulo Freire (one of the founding fathers of community development) called this process conscientisation. Its about becoming aware of what is going on around you and, instead of thinking well this is just how it is, realising that you can do something about it and then getting off your butt and doing it! (yeah, he puts it waaay better than that but you get the idea!). It has been a bit of a revelation and now I'm not just interested in the things that effect me and the people I love but also the things that go on within this country that are, when you get right down to it, just plain wrong. I question things a hell of a lot more than I used to and when a statistic is quoted I go and see where it came from and look at what the person quoting it stands to gain from it's use (Oh my Social Structres and Policy tutor would be so proud!). Let me tell you that doing that is an extremely eye opening process (and one which led to me shouting at the TV during PM Question time a few weeks ago...much to the amusement of Tom).

Now, those of you that are also Facebook friends will know that I read a lot of political articles and I have been rather vocal about what is going on within the NHS at the moment. Someone said something to me recently which got me thinking that perhaps I shouldn't be so vocal and I actually spent a couple of days feeling a bit bad about it but you know what? I work in this area, I've studied the current policy in depth, I'm already seeing the negative effects that it is having and I know that there is worse to come. Community Development is a part of who I am and if conscientisation is about raising awareness and pointing people to where they can make a difference how can I not share that knowledge and ask people to add their name? I think equality and fairness are worth fighting for...we need a better place for all not just for some. I am well aware that not everyone shares my views...if you don't like the articles I share and don't agree with my politics (for the record there is no party at the moment which I feel represents my views!) then don't read them and don't add your name to the petitions...and if you do agree then...well, do. As much as I don't like upsetting or offending people I'm not going to stop sharing them.

26 comments:

  1. Your grampa would have been sooo proud of you, Carol. He was the most honest, balanced and fairest person I ever knew. I see so much of him in you. And know that you're making your dad proud, too!

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  2. Fair comment Carol, one person's opinion is as important as another's and 'people power' effects change in a way that a lone voice can't hope to do! Have a good week. Lesley x

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  3. You keep on making your voice heard!

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  4. If everyone keeps quiet, nothing will improve. Go Carol, I'm right behind you! Love Mum xxx

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  5. I did both my degrees as an adult learner, and my eyes were opened more with each. The first time, I felt like I'd come home - like it validated who I am to the core. I read Freire both in an international communications course, and more significantly in doing my adult-ed degree. Everyone should, particularly these days when we're always being handed the idea that the problems are too big and we don't have any power.

    I'm all about making your voice heard (obviously), and think the blogging/social networking phenomenon gives us loads of opportunities. As I always say, if we don't tell our own stories - the way we truly see things - someone else will tell those stories on our behalf.

    Glad to know you in blogland and facebookland Carol!

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  6. Dad - That brought a big lump to my throat (and this is now looking a bit blurry) so I'm not going to say anything else apart from thank you. I don't think you could have paid me a bigger compliment!

    Sea Blue - I was worried that, by sharing all the political stuff, I was offending people..and then I thought 'Wouldn't that be a betrayal of me if I let my concerns over offending someone stop me from saying what, in my opinion, needs to be said'. I feel so strongly about it that I can't keep quiet but I do recognise that its not everyones cup of tea.

    LadyFi - I don't think I have much choice in the matter...I don't think I could stop even if I wanted to :-)

    C x

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  7. Good for you.

    I can't add my name to some ( not all, weirdly) petitions because I live in CI and they often won't accept the post code.x

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  8. Mum, Jennifer...you both sneaked in there!

    Mum - Thanks Mum. I know what I'm doing is the right thing but I don't think it ever hurts to take someone elses opinion on board and examine your own behaviour. That was kinda what this blog post was for me.

    Jennifer - OMG..."I felt like I'd come home - like it validated who I am to the core"...You have just put into words exactly how I feel about my degree! Not only did I learn how to be better at what I do but suddently I found that there was a theory or a practice that described exactly what I had been doing instinctively and that was a revelation for me.

    Freire's insight was amazing and I agree...I think everyone should read what he had to say...especially in this day and age! Saul Alinsky is another one that is worth reading along with Antomo Gramsci.

    I'm totally with you on the stories too...my dissertation was all about giving people a voice and enabling them to tell their story in their own words.

    I'm glad to know you too Jennifer...we are definitely kindred spirits! :-D

    C x

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  9. Debs - That's weird isn't it...you would think that they would apply the same rule to everything! Didn't you say before that decisions here effect you guys too? Cause if that is the case then you should be able to add your voice all the time!

    C x

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  10. Carol, I so relate to your 'University opened my eyes..' opener - that is what is happening to me right now!

    Be vocal, voice what you believe in. If people don't like it they can ignore it (or go try and check it out for themselves, as I did the other day, if they don't want to blindly accept).

    Don't stop being yourself :-)

    J x

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  11. Good on ya!...speak up speak out, it is not the law that you are breaking so you are at Liberty to say what you want you do live in the UK.

    Best wishes Blu xx

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  12. Juniper - Its an amazing experience isn't it...you can't quite believe that you didn't see it before!

    I love that you get it! I don't expect anyone to just sign up because I say so...I thought it was brilliant that you went to find out what was going on for yourself and then shared the info cause that's what its all about isnt it :-)

    You are lovely! Mwah.

    C x

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  13. Blu - You sneaked in there!

    That is very true! I shouldn't feel bad about speaking out about something that I feel is wrong should I :-)

    C x

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  14. The last few years have really opened my eyes to some of the abuse and unfairness of the NHS and the benefits systems and I am intending to write to Andrew Lansley about it. Sometimes those at the sharp end need to raise their heads above the parapet.

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  15. All I can say is, damn right.

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  16. Cheshire Wife - I know that you have been through the mill over the last few years and I'm glad your going to write to him. (It might be worth writing to Andy Burnham too...). Your absolutely right, politicians need to know what is actually going on and need to be reminded that the numbers they look at actually represent people!

    Trousers - Thank you kind sir :-)

    C x

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  17. Carol: I am a Paulo Freire fan. I am proud of you.

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  18. I think there is nothing finer than raising your voice when you see injustice in any form. It's not about popularity, is it? It's about doing the right thing. Unfortunately these days the popular thing and the right thing couldn't be further apart. Kudos to you, Carol, for being active instead of passive.

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  19. It's so amazing and wonderful to see how your course has affected you and a real privilege to see it here (and on FB.)

    People are never a single dish; we either accept folk for all their courses or we don't. Mostly, thankfully, people that love us accept us for all the things we are whether or not they like them all.

    Keep going being all the things you are.

    xxx

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  20. JJ - I view you as another kindred spirit :-). Thank you for your kind words!

    Talon - Your absolutely right...its not about being popular and having everyone like you its about being true to yourself and taking a stand for what you believe in. I also feel like I have a responsibility to the people I see every day who are struggling and who are unable to take a stand themselves. It just feels wrong not to.

    Jenny - I would never have believed that it would have such a profound effect! I do feel different because of it...better...I can't really explain it.

    Wise words indeed (When did that happen? *snigger*). I guess if people don't accept us for all the things we are then they are the ones that lose out.

    I miss being able to just pop out and meet you for coffee

    *hugs*

    C x

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  21. You have to stay true to your beliefs. :D Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You've never posted anything that has bothered me.

    Happy New Year....Love your new art blog!

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  22. Sharon - You do indeed :-) and I'm glad that nothing I have posted has bothered you!

    Yay to new art blogs...I'm determined that I'm going to keep it up!

    C x

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  23. I am surprised that someone has suggested you might be sharing too much of your personal viewpoint. We live in a democracy and a blog or other forms of scoial networking is for exactly that kind of thing.

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  24. DJ - That is my view too...but the fact that it was raised really made me think about whether I should be so public about my opinions. In the end, I decided that I am going to keep on doing as I have been...its my page and if there is one place where I can share my views it should be there!

    C x

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  25. Wow.......

    I don't 'facebook'.....and mostly, I'm thinkin' that's a good thing. ;-)

    Frankly mydear--I don't apologize for what is true for ME. I don't suspect you will either--and I'm thinking that's an 'ok' thing. Well, I'm thinkin' that's an 'ok' thing for YOU, but I could be wrong.
    Note, I didn't say 'comfortable' thing. I'm very clear it's sometimes uncomfortable--but sometimes we all need to be a bit 'uncomfortable' to grow to all that we're designed TO be, eh?

    *laughing* I need more coffee.
    And I need to remember that while I don't know the specifics of the situation, I'm very clear people's passions come as they come for a reason. I don't know 'jack' about democracies--but I'm a firm believer in being ALL that you ARE.

    <-- going for coffee!! LOL
    And at some point, I'm going to examine the scribble page! ;-)

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  26. Mel - Holy Moley!! That's you BEFORE you have had coffee? *runs*

    I have to be honest, I love FB...it's given me the opportunity to connect with people I've not seen in years and that has mostly been a good thing. Also, when I find there is too much going on to write a full blog post I can just pop on there, post a quick update and people then still know I'm alive! Still, tis not for everyone...

    Your right, I don't apologise for being me :-) and that can be uncomfortable because I wont change my opinion just to make someone happy. I think we are cut from the same cloth you and I.

    Noooooo....stay away from coffee...stay away I tell you!! ;-D

    C x

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