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“We’re going to need each other”: Viewing Freedom’s election night coverage

“We’re going to need each other”: Viewing Freedom’s election night coverage

Listening to people who have a shared passion for liberation, abolition and climate justice made the night actually enjoyable

This was my first national election as an anarchist, and a baby anarchist at that. I have childhood memories staying up late with my father, watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer stand in front of a green-screened constellation of states blinking into red or blue as the evening wore on.

This time was better. Sure, the world seems worse now than it did then. I was not yet the dual citizen I am now, and thought that Barack Obama hung the moon (oh, sweet summer child). These days, you don’t want me next to you watching mainstream TV programming. I’ve become that angry grandpa from The Simpsons, shaking my fist at the screen, yelling “the propaganda!!!” every 17 seconds.

So God bless Freedom for their inaugural live results coverage of the 2024 UK general election (which is still available to view). Because it was like sitting around with friends I had never met. There were no jazzy graphics, no bells and whistles. Just a Zoom collage of four to five people miraculously keeping a conversation going into the wee small hours of the morning. I started out on the living room couch, giving myself the full nostalgic election night experience I hadn’t had in over a decade. Except it was YouTube casted onto the TV rather than tuned into insert-household-name-journalist-juggernaut.

And would you believe it, listening to people who have a shared passion for liberation, abolition and climate justice — it made the night actually, dare I say… enjoyable?! I regularly found myself glowing with awe and appreciation of the political knowledge and experience of the panelists. I chucked the livestream link into a group chat in which I am the token anarchist, not expecting anyone to click it. But not an hour later, this notification buzzed up on my phone: “Who is Sophie? She’s brilliant”. A mate of mine referring to panelist Dr. Sophie Scott Brown, who I can confirm was dropping, as the kids say, absolute BARS in her commentary.

A standout moment for me, that I’m still thinking about, came a little over two hours in. It stemmed off the back of Sophie’s depressing point that Greens getting a paltry two seats is a damning gaze into the UK’s head-in-the-sand mentality toward the accelerating climate emergency. But it was Loukas Christodoulou who delivered words that I want to sneak into more conversations with my friends, family and neighbours: ‘I think the most important thing anyone can do right now — yes, you, watching at home — is don’t be an individual. Do something to collectivise yourself. Step up in the group chat. Do something together; do anything to create a context where you can do stuff together. Because you’re going to need each other. We’re going to need each other. These are tough times, and there isn’t any wonderful social democratic State that’s going to help us”.

We’re going to need each other. And on this night, we were together.

~ Charmaine de Miel

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