Yes, you’re right. In general, nostalgia is the first refuge of the political idiot. Whether it is uttered by a Trump proposing a return to a “great” America or a Tankie rewriting the crimes of Stalin, the claim that Things Were Better In The Olden Days is hardly ever to be trusted. To urge for a return to an old regime is nearly always deluded. To pick up old techniques of resistance, however, is not necessarily a rotten idea.
Across some nations where the sun is yet to set on International Women’s Day, activists are saluting the past. This is entirely appropriate in Poland where the ruling PiS imposes its medieval restrictions on the reproductive organs of women. In Ireland, too, there was a labour strike combined with what looked to be an immense rally to repeal that nation’s abortion laws. The Lysistratas of London were out, as were the Marxists of Manila. Actually, this last group, part of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan coalition, haven’t hushed up about female labour rights for 30 years. It’s just that this year, Western women are prepared to concede en masse that their dresses were made in the Global South. Now, we’re seeing the pictures.