Susie Granic has been writing for Critical Mass since Issue 1 and also contributes to our daily news pieces, putting her critical eye and journalistic training to good use. She says she has been a socialist her entire life, long before “I had even heard or understood the word. It’s the way I was brought up back in New Zealand.” Her socialism was forged though the incredible hardship her parents endured when she was young and the family were reliant on the kindness of others. A kindness her father repaid by frequently bringing home wayward strangers who were in need of a bed and a meal.
Susie left home at 16, first to Australia and then to London. She lived in London (with her partner) for about five or six years, working at the WRVS and temping. They bought an old cottage in Wales which they did up and lived happily in for five years before going off to Australia for a couple of years. “As I left school early I had no university education so at the age of 30 began studying with the OU – Philosophy with a side order of Crime and Society. Loved it, and got my degree after many years.”
In addition to writing and editing for Critical Mass Susie, writes a regular blog which mixes her personal reflections with more detailed pieces (laced often with a good smoking of Susie sarcasm) on the issues of the day.
|Which book do you think all socialists should read?||Das Kapital for rather obvious reasons in that it explains the exploitation of workers which underpins capitalism – and so much more.|
|What was the most important event in the history of socialism?||For me it was the revolution in Cuba. I was only a child but as we heard more and more over the years it captivated me. Still does.|
|Who would you rate as the outstanding political leader of your generation?||Tony Benn probably, though he wasn’t a leader in the conventional sense. Can I say him? [You can say who you like – Ed] I could have listened to that man all day and|
every day. He spoke with such sincerity and he never veered from his convictions.
|Which film should socialists watch?||I loved Bernardo Bertolucci’s Novecento, but have to admit to not having watched it for a very long time. And Ken Loach’s films of course, from Cathy Come Home through to Bread and Roses and I, Daniel Blake.|
|Which single political event was most instrumental in your political development?||Undoubtedly the Vietnam War. It was my first protest at the age of 13.|
And I became more angered as time went on and troops were still there.
|With which historical socialist do you most identify?||Angela Davis. Not exactly historical but yes, Angela.|
|Which single reform could make capitalism work?||The only thing would be workers seizing the means of production and that wouldn’t be capitalism anymore, so nothing.|
|Have you ever been on strike, if so, did you win?||First time at high school when I organised a strike against unfair testing practises. Lost because everyone but me was intimidated by the teachers and returned to the classroom.|
Participated in a few (Wapping for example) since but only able to take part on days, not for full strikes. I have never been in a workplace which has had to go on strike.
|Do you think we can get socialism through the ballot box?||Very doubtful. Our only way is revolution, which may sound extreme but if we don’t withdraw our labour and take to the streets we will get nowhere.|
|What do you do when you are not doing politics?||Well, all of life is political so I’m not often ‘not doing’ politics. But probably writing, teaching or reading. Fairly boring life really!|
|Do you ever feel like giving up politically and why don’t you?||Never. Not for one second. If we don’t work together and talk about the so many injustices people are facing throughout the world every single day what would happen? It would not be a life worth living.|
|Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you think of the future for the left?||I’m a pessimist in most walks of life unfortunately. I do have a sliver of hope for the left, but I may not live to see it come to life.|
|Is socialism inevitable?||I believe so. Look at what capitalism has done for god’s sake! People must be made to wake up, and I truly believe that, especially after the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US, that more and more are waking up, looking around them, and not liking what they see.|
Spotlight on Mike Stanton from Issue 5
Spotlight on Ann Marcial from Issue 4
One thought on “Spotlight on Susie Granic”
I loved Susie’s response to the question: ‘With which historical socialist do you most identify?’. Answer: ‘Angela Davis. Not exactly historical but yes, Angela.’ I love this because Angela Davis is a personal hero of mine. I also love this answer because it made me laugh to myself. If you asked my kids about Angela Davis they would tell you she was a woman who stood up and fought for what was right. If you asked them is she ‘historic’, you get an unequivocal ‘Yep’. If you asked why, even though she’s still working, campaigning and making a difference, they would say something like ‘Well, she’s even older than you, Dad’ 🙂 That perspective of time for the person seems to make a difference.
I also have an idea of another, of many, factors that can lead us to identify the ‘historic’. The simple fact of being alive. Fred Hampton was born only 4 years after Angela. Chairman Fred, for me, is one of the most historic people certainly in black politics of the US, but also socialist politics of the US and the world. Chairman Fred was assassinated when he was 21. Despite the work Angela has done since , I think it is only by dint of being alive she may be considered as a ‘historic figure in waiting’.
No matter. I loved the answer to that question from Susie. I loved this insight into someone that has been an enormous help and support to me personally since I’ve been at CM. I don’t need to imagine that Susie is like this with all that she meets.
Great interview of a great person.