All photos by The Syndicate
Global Faction and I Am Hip Hop Magazine present ReZONEing – an in-depth discussion on the socio-political situation facing our communities. The calling of the snap general election has intensified much of the debate, concerns, problems and divisions that the current political climate has imposed upon our people and the society, with – as expected – most of the conversation being centred on which political party people should support. Within poorer and more ethnically diverse communities and amongst those who are more active in grassroots organisation, the debate has been less about who to vote for and more about whether or not people should reassess their present (often rightfully sceptical) conceptions of the Labour Party and support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who in many ways appears to be the most humane and relatable candidate to actually stand a chance of becoming prime minister in living memory.
This scenario has seen many respected and well known members of the Hip Hop and Grime community come out in support of Corbyn, getting behind his campaign and urging people, especially young people, to engage or reengage with the process of party politics and to register then vote on June 8th. The decision to do so has been framed as an urgent call to action at a critical moment with important areas such as the NHS, people’s basic income, school funding, university fees and the movement of people (often those escaping warzones) being seen as at stake if the Conservative party were to retake control of the government.
As a result of the reduced time-scale brought about by the snap general election, people are being forced to accelerate their weighing up of Corbyn’s credentials and of the effectiveness of backing a Labour Party that has at best betrayed its original position as representative of the poorer and working class members of this society and at worst has only ever been the second half of an artificial democracy and political system designed to create the illusion of freedom and participation in the political system. Unfortunately, due to the apparent urgency, this area of discussion has been lost among the mass media driven, repetitive conversation of left or right, red or blue, Labour or Conservative, Corbyn or May. In response to Corbyn being attacked by this same mass media, much of the conversation by those who would normally be the voice of the more focused discussion have instead had to spend their airtime defending him as a person or as a politician. As a consequence, the dialogue has shifted to be far more inline with the mass media (mis)conception of political debate.
With this set of circumstances as the basis, Global Faction and I Am Hip-Hop magazine have attempted to realign this discussion, placing the conversation in the zone of questioning the very nature of the political system that party politics represents. After reaching out to a large number of the Hip Hop, Reggae, Jungle, Grime and activist communities of London, a group of individuals who view the political system from this perspective were brought together to discuss the current climate, whether or not they were voting or why, how politics does not start and end with political parties, what our communities should or can expect from this current situation, where our energies should be focused in terms of our communities and politics and the role that music(ians) and art(ists) can, could or should play in defining and acting as a result of such points of view.
Held in Imperial Flavors Caribbean restaurant in Hackney, Congo Natty, DJ Steaz, Amy True, Potent Whisper, Apex Zero, Rishma and Merz reason on all the issues mentioned above and more in part one of “ReZONEning”, an attempt to realign the current political conversation.
Watch the video and join in the discussion.