‘What do Bob Dylan, Kate Tempest, the Mayan calendar and GE19 all have in common?’ by Maddy Ridgley

To this tumultuous planet that humanity currently calls home, the sun and the moon have stayed remarkably loyal. Bright spheres of stability give at least some order to our world, reliably illuminating our repeated mistakes

Part I

2000 BC – 1500 AD

Locating coherence between the cosmic order and earth-bound activity was the beating heart of ancient Maya cosmovision. They understood that we humans, while consciously floating through perceived time and space, are part of a much wider flow of interconnected entities that move within an integrated universe.

Birth, growth, decay and death; this life cycle repeats itself in every crevice of our world. From bacteria to corn cobs, humans to fireflies, we are all subject to this predetermined fate of existence. The ancient Maya celebrated this shared transience and within it they saw a common cosmic essence.

They associated these earth-bound cycles to the circular celestial movements that their astronomers would trace across the skies. Moons, planets and stars looping around the universe reflected, in their eyes, patterns of cosmic growth and decay that simultaneously pushed and pulled all interconnected universal beings into certain motions.

Maya cosmovision predicts that the beginnings and ends of cosmic cycles trigger instability, transition and dramatic upheaval down on earth. In 2012, an infamous 5,000 year calendar cycle came to an end and a new count began. Every 52 years, the Mayan calendar also forecasts a smaller cosmic shift and the possibility of renewal on planet earth.

I am personally skeptical as to how far my Aquarius moon shapes my selfhood or whether Jupiter’s regression guides my behaviour.

I do know, however, that my menstrual cycle is synchronised with the moon’s cycle, and lunar forces also push and pull on the earth’s tides. I also know, indisputably, that circular rhythms are beating all around us; days and nights, seasons, harvests and rainfall. Breath, photosynthesis, digestion, sleep. Politics?

Part II

1963

In early 60s, the tides in the United States of America had turned. The order was fading, the battle was raging and the times they were a-changing, or so sang a young Bob Dylan. His anthemic protest song captured not only a zeitgeist, but a shift in societal consciousness. He elevated a new generation of hopeful rebels with the melodic promise that the first will be last and the last will be first, and as the crowd sang along they believed it was possible.

The same year, the same promise from a different pen was published in English for the first time. Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth was a radical exploration into the consciousness of people subjected to centuries of colonial violence. The book guided liberation struggles around the world, encouraging the oppressed to move together and cultivate a common consciousness that served their humanity.

Also in 1963, Martin Luther King had a dream and it illuminated the world. Students began to mobilise against the Vietnam War. Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and the seeds of second-wave feminism started to sprout.

Consciousness was expanding. People were coming together en masse, charged by love and anger, and together they questioned, prodded, fought, marched and sang, and with communal strength they began to shake the rigid foundations of capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy.

Part III

2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmHgQT9zP_c

Under the summer sun in a Glastonbury field, Kate Tempest could feel things changing once again [see above link]. Strangers wept and held each other as she stood on stage and constructed an alternative world for the crowd, a world defined by love and empathy, a world creeping closer and closer towards our open arms.

A few weeks before, a socialist Labour Party had shaken the British establishment by winning the largest increase in vote share since 1945. Their strong stance against privatisation, austerity and inequality had resonated profoundly with people crushed by decades of neoliberalism. People, it seemed, were hungry for change… again.

The revolutionaries of the 1960s had been defeated and a new form of old power began to tear through humanity, trampling on hopes for an emancipated world. Neoliberalism reinvigorated the capitalist class, legitimising the continued exploitation of people and land for private profit, as well as sprinkling new forms of suffering upon humanity – anxieties, depression, isolation and detachment.

Politicians declared that there was no alternative to this callous social order, so the hippies put on suits and cut their hair and embraced the bland joys of the material world.

Now, fifty years on, as a Maya calendar round completes full circle, this social order is in flux once again. Neoliberalism has failed us. We are frustrated and tired, our souls have been beaten.

Kate Tempest diagnosed this pain on that summer’s day, but also, more importantly, just as Bob Dylan had done 54 years before, she spoke with a renewed sense of hope that reflected a growing belief in the possibility of change. None of this bullshit was written in stone, she told us. A new world is ours to make.

Part !!!!

12th December 2019

Chile, the testing ground for neoliberalism, and many other Latin American countries, have exploded over the past month, with disaffected citizens putting their bodies in front of police rifles to demand a complete upheaval to a broken system.

For better or worse, British radical politics have been scraped off the streets and spat into the arena of party politics. Corbynism is a rare force, an unforeseen phenomenon with the potential to rupture the smug domination of the 1%.

We are actually very lucky. On Thursday, we will be handed a piece of paper, ink, and a stark choice; penning an X for a regenerative government, a government that will help our society learn to love again, or penning an X for the old, vicious political order with a populist facelift.

We are writing the future now. Together, we can close this rotten cycle with poetic justice, with the hubris of the ruling class provoking their downfall. We may not be offered such opportunity for another 52 years, and by then our crumbling earth may be too ravaged to save.

Assange (updated)

In the light of events now taking place around the Ecuadorean embassy in London concerning Julian Assange, I am republishing this post. It concerns the manner in which the public has for years sleepwalked into a situation whereby one man has to shoulder all the responsibility for exposing the lying, war-mongering, planet-destroying elites around the world.

I had discussions with workmates – your normal white, middle-class liberals – about Julian Assange being illegally detained and what it meant for an open-truth society, and all they could do was attack the guy by saying his organisation’s leaks had put lives at risk. Where had they got their information? From the BBC and Guardian newspaper. In other words, they are just the sort of careless dupes who have allowed the current situation to arise.

I implore my ex-workmates and anybody else around to make recompense for these wasted years and get up there to defend Assange and the right to reveal TRUTH to the world.

Back in 1982 I began working on a novel about a young man who blows up an exclusive club in London to demonstrate his hatred of the neo-liberal agenda and attendant neo-con policies: the contrived ever-lasting wars, austerity measures, pro-elite/anti-social laws, and so on.

The novel was supposed to be a wake-up call about what was happening in capitalist societies – a warning of what would inevitably occur if monetarism and right-wing ideology was followed through.

My only surprise concerning actual events since then is that such an act of individual violence has not taken place. This suggests that people on the whole are very generous with regards to the intentions of their leaders, or that the public’s passivity knows no bounds. Perhaps it illustrates people’s innate goodness, I don’t know.Question_Cover_for_Kindle

The only acts of individual violence regularly witnessed are committed by those who have been deranged by social, military or religious pressure.

Mainly, as ever, the violence continues to be carried out by authorities on behalf of the state, either on its own citizens or in foreign countries.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

The whole world is under existential threat as a result of the violent policies being pursued in capitalist societies. Either war or environmental catastrophe have the very real potential to destroy the planet upon which we depend for survival.

Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to this prospect and recognising from where the real threat to their well-being emanates.

Books by Glyn Ridgley available at bookstores and Amazon UK

and in the USA

Also around the world

Assange

Back in 1982 I began working on a novel about a young man who blows up an exclusive club in London to demonstrate his hatred of the neo-liberal agenda and attendant neo-con policies: the contrived ever-lasting wars, austerity measures, pro-elite/anti-social laws, and so on.

The novel was supposed to be a wake-up call about what was happening in capitalist societies – a warning of what would inevitably occur if monetarism and right-wing ideology was followed through.

My only surprise concerning actual events since then is that such an act of individual violence has not taken place. This suggests that people on the whole are very generous with regards to the intentions of their leaders, or that the public’s passivity knows no bounds. Perhaps it illustrates people’s innate goodness, I don’t know.Question_Cover_for_Kindle

The only acts of individual violence regularly witnessed are committed by those who have been deranged by social, military or religious pressure.

Mainly, as ever, the violence continues to be carried out by authorities on behalf of the state, either on its own citizens or in foreign countries.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

The whole world is under existential threat as a result of the violent policies being pursued in capitalist societies. Either war or environmental catastrophe have the very real potential to destroy the planet upon which we depend for survival.

Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to this prospect and recognising from where the real threat to their well-being emanates.

Novels by Glyn Ridgley available at bookstores and Amazon

Be yerself – if you can, too

This time last year I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness: haemochromotosis.

After doing my research, rather than go down the route of constant tests and check-ups at the hospital – let alone blood-letting, I bought a bottle of turmeric capsules, made kim chi, cut out alcohol, had a course of acupuncture and booked a stay in Gran Canaria.

I also changed my job.

Later, I gave up work completely to concentrate on my writing.Soul_Journey_Cover_for_Kindle

That resulted in the publication of SOUL JOURNEY earlier in the year – an artistic representation of the mess we all find ourselves currently living in.

Now I have just completed another full-length work.

What I was reminded of while writing the two inter-connected pieces was what I disliked about growing up in my beloved country, despite actually having an idyllic childhood (paradoxical though that might sound): the authority-figures wanting you to conform to some unstructured and ill-considered narrative idea running inside their skulls about how life ought to be conducted.

Not that many of them conformed to the ideas they expressed themselves.

In other words, it soon became obvious even to a child they were utter hypocrites demanding one thing from others while expecting absolutely nothing of the sort from themselves.

Now – following the social gains of the 60s and 70s – that same old, mean, exploitative, hypocritical and out-dated set of so-called values seems to be closing in again – perhaps for good this time – on that little island setting itself further adrift in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thank you Margaret Thatcher, thank you John Major, thank you Tony Blair, thank you Gordon Brown, thank you David Cameron, thank you Theresa May and all your benighted cohorts…

Thank you for screwing up what was set on course to be a truly liberal, respectful and caring society.

Thank you for absolutely nothing

A plague on all your Houses of Parliament & Lords

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY are available from Amazon and all enlightened bookstores

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Be yerself – if you can

And so down here in Portugal watching the whole UK Govt/Brexit fiasco unravel you get to recall and consider why you embarked on a ‘let’s see Europe one more time while we can’ journey in a tiny little red van you can’t stand up in – and then of course your original decision makes perfect sense.

You don’t want to be – were never part of – a collapsing identity.

fiat doblo

You want to be yourself.

Standing back, seeing just the way people take irresolute positions and try to force others into believing their own absolutely unsubstantiated take on affairs they know nothing about…

Makes you realise why you never believed them in the first place.

GLYN RIDGLEY novels available on Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Ramsay MacDonald: Pacifist

Ramsay MacDonald, the pacifist first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was the father of Ishbel MacDonald, who married my great-uncle Norman precisely eighty years ago.  Ramsay MacDonald has been condemned by many, but I wonder where British society would be now without such a trailblazing personality. For my part, I am glad to know that such an intelligent and far-sighted individual added something so positive to our family. I intend to add to the legacy. A few videos are attached:

Novels by Glyn F Ridgley

What a (long, strange) trip it’s been

Corn ripening in the sunny Burgundy fields brings about a sense of well-being that can only come through travelling in a landscape of harvested grain and burgeoning orchard fruits. It’s John Keats come early.fiat doblo

When this trip starting in the Balkans began I kind of had the feeling it might lead to some new sense of purposefulness and maybe a place to promote and facilitate that brand new calling. Whereas, it has further strengthened just exactly what I have felt all along regarding the role of the human being in the universe and how society might be made to fit that most important of all aspects. The places we have been to, the experiences we have had, and the people we have met, obviously, have led to this conclusion. Which is the whole point. What is travel for except to have new experiences and develop understanding?

Now I know what I have to do.

Some people may recognise the title of this blog as being borrowed from a celebrated biography of the Grateful Dead (and a line from their song ‘Truckin’). Anne and I are not part of any hippy movement fanning out from Golden Gate Park – although we went to the place on a trip (not an acid one) to southern California a couple of years ago (see my novel Answer) – but I, for one, would dearly love to see some of the thoughts expressed during that period be evoked again in our present time. On this occasion, brought to fruition. The musicians of the sixties and seventies did a great job of expanding people’s consciousness but the artists, writers and thoughtless intellectuals sadly let them down. So here we are living through times of enforced austerity brought about by the connivance of the enervating conservative powers, when we could all be living in prosperity and having unbridled dreams for an even better future.

This is what I have re-learned through our trip to the likes of Albania and Calabria where I discovered that just like with ourselves the old regime has reasserted its previous stranglehold on the present and future well-being of the population.

The eighties and beyond were like being told to expect sunshine only to have a great big rain shower come along and spoil the day.

All that ‘drip down’ economic wealth nonsense, what an insult!

And the outcome of such untruths were plainly laid out in one particular novel – Question. At least the hero of this work had the sense to see what was happening. We are the agents of our own misfortune.

Modern economic movements are making it clearer and clearer where money comes from and how it can be produced and manipulated for the benefit of society as a whole, and in so doing are giving a lie to the politicians and 1% who would have society believe otherwise.

For sure, the Establishment wants people to live in fear of the present and future in order that they can continue to govern and remain in positions of power. They don’t care that people suffer. That is not their remit. Their one and only aim is to somehow sit on the top of the pile – no matter what a heap of shit they maintain and so long as the flies continue buzzing around them.

It can sometimes be very difficult to see the present and future as being different from what they are as a result of events that happened in the past, but it is possible. The political and economic past can be seen for what it was and overcome.

So, hey, here we are sitting in a very comfortable municipal campsite in rural France and can have no complaints of a personal nature. Soon we will be back in Blighty. And the work of my blog and my novels continue.

Posted from Louhans, Borgogne

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Balkans weblog #2

We arrived in Dubrovnik yesterday, having driven the length of Bosnia-Herzegovina north to south…fiat doblo
After surviving the worst electrical storm in living memory inside our camper van amongst the north Croatian hills, we settled down to living in the woods alongside Ingrid’s working homestead. This included making the half-hour drive into Karlovac where we saw yet more remaining evidence of the nineties’ Balkans conflict. Communist countries of the late twentieth century had a penchant for erecting bow-shaped walls twelve-feet high and covering them with murals depicting workers in all their industrious glory accompanied by state slogans of the ‘onward to a better future’ kind. Croatia was no exception. Today the Karlovac wall is pock-marked with bullet holes and whitewashed all over, while bearing the inscription ‘Britney bitch’ in black spray. With such precise emblems has the early twenty-first century zeitgeist supplanted the intended socialist ideal.
Having learned previously how with satellite technology a straightforward forty-five minute drive could become a six-hour odyssey of near-despair along country roads, we used our atlas map to take us out to the border at Dvor. Departing Croatia was easy enough, entering Bosnia predictably awkward. “Green card,” asks the officious border guard. “Don’t need one.” “Huh? Documents!” Yes, documents, always bloody documents in these little tinpot bureau-states. He takes our passports to the guard-hut, shows them to another official, scratches his head, walks back, hands them over, tells us to be on our way. What a palaver! There is confusion about where we can park in the border town without paying so while I stand guard Anne goes off to spend any leftover kuna on food and drink. Now we are hopeful the Prijedo-Banja Luka road will offer up plenty of camping opportunities. Ur, no. Soviet-hangovers and sinister conflict associations are about all we see. Thankfully, someone at a petrol station points us in the direction of the gorge at Krupa na Vrbasu so we follow the river south and fetch up on a disused camping ground there. In that odd manner some out-of-the-way communities have of quickly exchanging information, within ten minutes a car pulls up, the washhouse is partly-opened, and our passports are requested; money changes hands, and we are permitted to stay overnight. Best of all, we have access to a small supermarket and the Cric Cric bar – where my last post concluded…
At that point, we were headed easterly for Sarajevo, but now refreshed and learning from our mistakes about which roads to take, we make the decision to drop more directly south on the gorge road towards Mostar. With the help of an internet connection we have pinpointed a little campsite not far from the famed Islamic town. That afternoon, we pull into the site alongside the fast-flowing river Buna, say hello to the half-dozen Hungarian bikers relaxing in the shade from the hot sun, and set up in the furthest corner snugly beside the river.
Bosnia-Herzegovina does not fill with me joy. Everywhere are reminders of the most recent conflict and tensions existing between the various communities, most notably the Islamic and Christian. How I would love to see the end of all established religions. They breed so much hatred. In Mostar we see the replacement for the old bridge so infamously destroyed by the Croatians in full view of the TV cameras, then head to the war museum where a series of displays, artifacts and photographs aid us in re-living the terrible torments meted out and undergone under the guise of achieving freedom and independence, but which in actuality had the sole purpose of gaining perceived lost territories and the settling of old scores. Names of places cropped up: Prijedor, Banja Luka, Visegrad… The book I brought with me, Ivo Andric’s 1945 novel ‘The Bridge over the Drina’, tells of the bridge built by an Ottoman vezir – himself a kidnapped blood sacrifice as a ten year old from a Christian Serbian village – and the years of pain and toil it cost to erect over the Drina…and now in the Mostar museum five centuries later I am reading on the walls how Christians and Muslims have continued to torture and murder one another on that same bridge , before throwing the dead and mutilated bodies into the flowing Drina below. Heraclitus says you cannot stand in the same river twice – well, these guys seem able to stand in the self-same place thousands and thousands of times over. So who is telling it like it is, who is enacting out reality: the Hellenic philosopher or the brutal murderers..? You can judge. That is why this country does not fill me with joy, but anguish and dismay. Travelling is troublesome, as much as anything.
Coupled with the above, is the seemingly obsessively remaining sense of state control. Driving through country roads you are prepared around every corner to be pulled over by some hillbilly, dolled-up police officer, who waves you down with his little fluorescent paddle and asks to see your documents, always with that dour expression and the threat of some unpleasant outcome should he feel so inclined.
No, I have had enough of over-zealous guardians of authority pulling me over and demanding to know who I am, what do I have upon my person, where am I going and where have I been. In future, maybe I can refer them to this weblog. This familiar scenario – and I mean familiar even from teenage years in the UK (see in particular DEATH AND THE DEAD – is theatrically enacted four times over during the final two hours of our drive out from BIH: by the policjia, Republika Srpska cross-country patrol and then again at the southern border back into Croatia.
“Green card.”
“We don’t need one.”

GLYN RIDGLEY NOVELS AT AMAZON

Speaking aloud allowed

Speaking to a Ukrainian student today, I was told that in the Balkans everybody will be perfectly happy to speak with us in Russian. No surprise, really. Just nice to hear – living as I do in the UK 2018. At the same time I was informed by a group of German students they are undergoing the same anti-Russia media propaganda programme as that being foisted upon us here.eu map What is going on? It seemed so certain just a few years ago that the current generation would be in the vanguard of creating a harmonious globalised world – only to have it undermined and snatched away from them and us by a bunch of old-time conservative dotards stuck in their warlike way, intent on destroying the fragile integrity of a new collective spirit. Quite obviously, these war-mongers who want to destroy the planet have deep-seated psychological problems and need to be called out. What’s more, this is happening. Information is still being spread, despite the conservatives’ efforts at censorship – whether this be the attempted muzzling of information channels such as Wikileaks or further governmental legislation to make their own unlawful acts publicly known. Starting locally and spreading universally, people all over are communicating with one another, listening to one another, supporting one another. The fightback is happening. People are choosing knowledge over ignorance, so that no matter what language is being spoken a common humanity is being realised.

GLYN F RIDGLEY

Novels are available locally and universally

To the Balkans..!

And, so – to unfinished business…

Back in 1991, we were heading for the Russian-Polish border as news came through that the USSR was finally being wound up. Not wanting to return immediately to a wintry UK, we made the decision to head on south. Except the Balkans War was raging and that meant we were prevented from going down through the old Yugoslavia. Instead we braved the snow and ice of the eastern European states until we finally arrived in northern Greece by way of Bulgaria. (I have written about this trip in my anti-capitalist novel QUESTION, where the main protagonists must flee Russia after being involved in a murderous mafia shoot-out.) Question_Cover_for_Kindle

Now, at last, nearly thirty years later, we are in a position to make that drive down through the Balkans – and maybe beyond…

We had thought to take the more circuitous route across northern Europe and drive down through the Baltic states, but the rotten spring weather has left us desiring an immediate dose of southern warmth. So straight to the Balkans it will be. For reading matter, I have chosen Ivo Andric’s ‘The Bridge on the Drina’ – a novelistic account of the region’s history which brought the author the Nobel Prize, and recommended to me by a recent Slovenian student. Along with Bulwer-Lytton’s ‘Zanoni’, as audio. I’ll also be taking some books to re-acquaint myself with the Russian language. fiat doblo

I really can’t wait to make a break with all this anti-Russian propaganda swirling about on the media. As though the Russians were responsible for the horrible, social, warring mess were are currently experiencing. Whereas it is our own government and our own selves who are responsible for all the unease. To think we could be living in unbridled wealth and happiness if only divisions weren’t being deliberately sown within our communities and hatred being stirred up by those with invested economic and political interests! It’s very painful to consider.

How this will come through in my blog, I do not know. That is why I write novels (even if the MSM agents and publishers act as unwanted censors by refusing to make them available).

My only disappointment is that the trip means that I won’t be able to attend the annual big family get together. This year we were hoping to extend the event to include more overnight camping and music. That still remains an objective. There are strong connections with the area which we wish to celebrate and share. As I do in my writing.

NOVELS BY GLYN F RIDGLEY available from Amazon

aylesbury-vale

South Bucks, and proud!