Hope for the future

29 Oct

After a great deal of debate and disruption, the elections went ahead, and were once again inconclusive.  The militia accepted amendments to their proposal, and the committee was not dissolved.  It will, instead, be expanded to include delegates from each workplace, and the pre-existing members are now responsible for and answerable to neighbourhood committees rather than political interest groups.  I’ve managed to end up elected to represent the hospital, and Sarah tells me that the militia are OK with this, provided the role is rotated periodically, which is fine by me.  The sooner the better.  Those meetings are interminable.

With all the work on re-organisation and safeguards and recallability procedures, there’s been very little time for the major administrative functions we’re supposed to be here for.  I sometimes think the only thing the committee really organises is itself, and that not too efficiently.  And yet, whether by general consensus or individuals getting on with what’s necessary without waiting for sanction, life goes on.  I take a much more optimistic view of our situation now.  Houses enough for all comers have been cleared and sanitised and re-furnished, water’s going through the system, power’s getting into the grid – albeit sporadically – from the off-shore wind farms.  There’s a programme to keep food coming in from various allotments within the city and surrounding farms (and we even have our own chickens).  Several schools are running.  The militia guards the borders and the fuel depot, and even manages to send a few buses round the city twice a day.  Most importantly (and the real cause for my change of mood) Sarah promises to stick to the transport and stay out of the higher-risk militia duties – for a while, at least.  It was Khalil who persuaded her and their militia comrades that her skills are too important to risk, and she should teach engine maintenance for a couple of years before taking on border patrols.  Merely a reprieve for Sue and me, but cause for celebration nonetheless.

And speaking of celebration, Sarah announced this plan to us on her eighteenth birthday.  We made a cake and had a small party with Khalil and his family, before he and Sarah left us for more stimulating company and wilder activities that I’m not allowed to ask about.  It was good to have a quiet evening with Maira and Rafel, anyhow.  They are amongst the few people here who call on us without any agenda, and they feel like old friends already.  Sarah has many more friends, of course.  It seems almost every night she has a meeting or a duty or a party to go to.  There’s plenty of partying among the youth here, and among the not so young, too: bonfires in the street and vegetable vodka and mushrooms and garden-grown cannabis.  I’m not sure whether we’re celebrating our survival or trying to forget our anxieties.  After so long cooped up with Sue and Sarah in cars and caravans, it feels strange to have separate rooms to go to and separate lives to lead again.  It makes me a little sad, to be honest.  I’d just got my family back, in so many ways, and I fear losing them again.  But we must all go to work – not for money or to meet quotas, but because our work is essential, and appreciated, all the more so for the lack of anything to pay us with.

No credit system has passed the pragmatism test here.  Without all those complex variables in the way, inequalities and disadvantages are easier to spot, and systems easier to overturn.  Why should doctors have more food than fruit-pickers?  And how would we take it from them?  That’s the real reason no election has been successful.  With an independent militia and no currency, there’s no way to control distribution, and so no way to make promises to any particular sector or organise us against one another.  It’s working out of necessity rather than consensus at the moment, but the longer it works, the more the consensus tends towards the way things are.  If we can fend off the raiders long enough to achieve stability… who knows, we may even have a future here.


Posted by on October 29, 2026 in actually doing something, planning


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8 responses to “Hope for the future

  1. Elaine

    October 29, 2026 at 10:37 pm

    Well, how about that, you found your utopia after all!

    • Ash

      October 29, 2026 at 11:51 pm

      Hardly! Did I mention the raiding gangs, the constant street fighting, the piles of rotting waste in the street, the terrible food, the endless wrangling over who’s entitled to how much of anything? But there does seem to be just about enough to go around, for the time being, and there’s as much chance of things getting better as worse.

      • Elaine

        October 30, 2026 at 12:00 am

        You sure you’re not doing a Jack?

        • Ash

          October 30, 2026 at 12:02 am

          Hah! If this was wish fulfilment I’d include gas central heating and municipal rubbish collections, not to mention a strictly enforced ban on under-21s in the militia – make that under-30s, or just make it anybody close to me. Which I realise is unreasonable and impossible. What I have is as much as I could realistically hope for.
          I wonder how Jack is doing?

          • Elaine

            October 30, 2026 at 12:10 am

            I don’t like to think about it. I get this black hole in the pit of my stomach. I was really angry with him, fucking fuming, but when he just stopped responding like that… I feel responsible. I yanked that comfort blanket out from under him, pretty hard.

            • Ash

              October 30, 2026 at 12:11 am

              The fall back to reality may have knocked the wind out of him, but I doubt it killed him. He may well have just preserved his fantasy by ceasing to blog about it. Perhaps it’s what he needs, and perhaps one day he’ll no longer need it and get in touch again. He’s a survivor at heart. We all are.

              • Elaine

                October 30, 2026 at 12:13 am

                I guess so. I’d like to hear how he’s doing, though. And I wish we could hear something from Mei, or anybody who knew her. I know that’s not going to happen. But I want to know how she died. I want to be able to say goodbye.

                • Ash

                  October 30, 2026 at 12:14 am

                  You did. You are. So am I. She may be out there to see it, or she may not be. As in so many things, we have to settle for what’s possible now.


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