The Sixty Second Scribe has been writing for Critical Mass since Issue 1 and has somehow managed to end up managing the website – note to self – stay quiet at meetings in the future. He describes himself as always being on the left of politics, but never sure whether there actually is such a thing as the left in politics – at least not as a coherent ‘thinking in the same way’ kind of thing.
A keen musician and songwriter, Sixty turned his hand to performance poetry in recent years, when he felt like he was struggling to get things across in traditional song format – that has led to a growing repository of recorded works which can be found on www.sixtysecondscribe.com ranging from long rants through some more experimental songs and a lot of sixty second poems. He performs poetry whenever anyone will let him and will be out on the festival circuit in 2022.
|Which book do you think all socialists should read?
|So long and thanks for all the fish – Douglas Adams. One of my heroes generally, and I do believe that everyone should read anything of his that they can, as Douglas was a wonderful thinker and sometimes a beautiful writer. This is the fourth book in the trilogy, and doesn’t get much attention, but it contains within it the greatest piece of political writing I’ve ever come across. Just look for the section on ‘the wrong lizard’ and tell me it’s not amazing! It twisted my brain when I first read it, and it continues to do so to this day – it sums up our political system better than anything else I’ve ever read.
|What was the most important event in the history of socialism?
|I don’t think it’s happened yet.
|Who would you rate as the outstanding political leader of your generation?
|Jeremy Corbyn. If anyone had told me even ten years ago that three generations of my family would be standing in a square with hundreds of other people listening to a politician speak of a different future, and to be doing it with such passion, hope and pride, I’d have never believed it. I believe we’ll be seeing the ramifications of the hope that was brought to the fore during that short period for years to come. I still get excited thinking about it now. Thanks boss.
|Which film should socialists watch?
|Goodbye Lenin – wonderfully mocking of both socialism and capitalism.
|Which single political event was most instrumental in your political development?
|The early hours of May 2nd 1997. Seeing Steven Twigg defeating Michael Portillo was genuinely inspiring and a great bringer of hope. There are many reasons I look back at that government with disappointment, but there, right at the start, was a moment when I felt that anything was possible.
|With which historical socialist do you most identify?
|Tony Benn. Just a good, honest, thoughtful and caring man who worked for the good of others. That shouldn’t make him stand out, but it does.
|Which single reform could make capitalism work?
|Looking at the climate emergency, I think I’d have to dispute the question. There are many things that could make capitalism better, but none can make it work.
|Have you ever been on strike, if so, did you win?
|No – if I’ve found myself in a work situation I wasn’t happy with, I’ve tended to leave and go and do something different. .
|Do you think we can get socialism through the ballot box?
|No – if the last five years have shown us anything, it’s that those with a vested interests in the status quo will corral whatever resources they need to put a stop to anything that looks like succeeding. The media is their tool and they’re very good at using it, and the media is very willing to be used.
|What do you do when you are not doing politics?
|Music, poetry, football. I do work too, so that takes up a fair bit of time
|Do you ever feel like giving up politically and why don’t you?
|Always. And a lot of the time I do. I’m currently devoid of hope but am looking around to see if I can find it. But then I see something, and I get cross about it and feel the need to get involved again.
|Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you think of the future for the left?
|Pessimist. Not just for the left. I think we’re screwed as a species.
|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 or Bernie Sanders in the US, that more and more are waking up, looking around them, and not liking what they see.