Visit to Blaenavon World Heritage Centre

“The first function of a political leader is advocacy. It is he who must articulate the wants, the frustrations and the aspirations of the masses.” A.Bevan

Visiting Blaenavon, one can imagine the toughness and the togetherness formed by the miners’ shared journey into the Earth. As iron and coal provided the energy and strength of the industrial expansion, so was socialism developed from their mining: a seam of homogenous coal deposits, iron ore, and a mass of workers. This energy was taken to the factories, the railways and beyond. Bevan’s socialism was the advocacy of this people.

The energy and force of today’s production is oil, gas, nuclear power. This energy is won by a small heterogeneous workforce and physical man power is not crucial. The production it powers is individual; service, communication, media, even construction. Each worker has his – her – own task, at her own rate of pay. Such is the mass today. The advocacy of this people involves a new political vocabulary, practice and aesthetic. Its wants, frustrations and aspirations will, for a start, reflect the nature of their individualized working and dwelling. It is empathetic, egalitarian, individualist.

Where production is still a physically demanding, homogenous mass production (e.g. the Far East), one might expect a socialist politics. But the media world in these places (e.g. google in China) is post-industrial, post-socialist, western and it is this media forum in which a new global political practice, vocabulary and aesthetic is being developed, and one which bears up to Blaenavon.

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