For many years I have had the sense of a new start in the autumn. The Autumn Equinox, when the sun shines almost equally on the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, was once, long ago, the start of the new year. It is the time of harvest for our farmers, the outcome of hard work and their rather precarious reliance on the weather over the year. It may be a time to look at how we are living and see whether the things we are involved in are worthwhile and help us to feel fulfilled. Some things we may need to change, some we may need to let go of, as new ventures and friends come into our lives.

For those of us involved in Critical Mass, there has never been any doubt that we would maintain our level of commitment beyond the Autumn Equinox and that our work would continue to enrich our lives as we research and share information which we analyse and try to understand from a socialist perspective. Among other things, we try to keep abreast of the news, political events both in the UK and all over the world. We discuss ideology and analyse socialism, seek out stories that are rarely reported in the west, expose injustice and corruption and look back to events in the past, frequently referring to the heroes and villains who have featured in our political history. And our heroes can help to inspire us when we are discouraged. We take inspiration too from the positive and purposeful developments we hear about, as it is easy in this tormented world to experience discouragement and despair. And we never cease to discuss the way forward. 

Many of us have concluded that the electoral system will never deliver a socialist society, certainly not in our lifetimes, so this is probably something to let go of. We have discussed the possibilities for a new political party, how and when that could happen, what it would be like and where the initiative would come from. But we are unconvinced that this is the way forward. We wonder why there is not unity among the left, but many of us remain angry and bewildered at the 2019 election result, the destruction of our hopes and dreams, and the betrayal of socialists by Sir Keir Starmer. But we must move on.

We take courage from people who are like-minded. We read and listen to alternative media and find others who share our beliefs. And being part of a group, whether a political party with a set of aims with which we can identify, a campaigning organisation, a trade union or a small community such as the Critical Mass team, is nurturing, as we take strength from each other. At Critical Mass we have built up a remarkable level of trust and friendship.

So we are happy and positive in the knowledge that Critical Mass will continue to thrive, as we plan our return in September. And we have questions to ask, as always. What should our priorities be, both in our actions and in our input to Critical Mass? We support local grassroots campaigns and national organisations, especially those who are brave enough to cause disruption and risk their futures to draw attention to vital issues, to put pressure on our government and wealthy corporations and alert others to the alarming future ahead of us if we do not change course urgently. We join in action, raise awareness, keep ourselves informed, or give financial support to organisations such as Stop The War, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Just Stop Oil, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Don’t Extradite Assange and others of course. They are fighting injustice and campaigning to bring about radical change. Petitions and letters still matter, though sometimes we feel as if they achieve little. But now and then people change their opinions as a result of reasoned argument and lend their support to those who are working for change.

And what should Critical Mass focus on? We will still cover all the issues that we have been addressing over the last two years, including commenting on and analysing events in the west and across the world, but also we will be thinking ahead and planning how we can move forward, reviving our hopes for a better future and avoiding becoming mired in negativity. We will look at alternatives to our electoral system and different forms of organisation. We will examine the past and often give our own personal viewpoints. Various new items have been introduced to Critical Mass over the last year. We often review what we are doing and make changes. Now we feature on TikTok and we have a new Culture Magazine. Hopefully you enjoy them.

And from the beginning we decided that, despite the sorry state of the world, we should be having fun when we can, and so there will continue to be elements of lightheartedness which will hopefully help to raise all our spirits. Let’s make that one of our priorities as the Autumn Equinox passes and the daylight hours become fewer and the nights begin to draw in.

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