[saymaListserv] Call for Responses among Friends & others

Nancy Whitt nmwhitt at samford.edu
Tue Sep 20 10:24:37 JEST 2005

Friends: See attachment and the following message; both are self-explanatory.  Pam Lunn is Senior Tutor at Woodbrooke College, the Quaker college in Birmingham, England.  She is a sociologist, social critic, pacifist, feminist,  a theologian, and good friend.

She is also of the Boomer generation of which she writes and is beginning to assemble an international panel.

Please dissiminate  the attachment widely and send responses to:  

pam at woodbrooke.org.uk 

from Pam:

Hi, Nancy - thanks for this response! I'm happy to have that paper
circulated - I'm looking for feedback, responses, ideas, etc.

Here's what a colleage (born 1946) wrote back - really interesting:

In my recollection one of the most significant factors for those of us
brought up in Britain was the influence of  thinking that began in the war
years about world order and  social order  (Temple and Bell were on our
bookshelves, and I go back to them still today), and  on the nature of
authority (the Tavistock Institute, the Grubb Institute, Orwell and
Forster's Two Cheers for Democracy ) .  

The international dimension was important.  'We the People' was on our
shelves too and as a child I was proud of being born at the time of the
United Nations .  We had school events organised by the Council for
Education in World Citizenship,  and we participated in the European Schools
Day Essay competition before the UK was a member of the EEC.  (I won a prize
and went to Brussels and Strasbourg ....)  The Cold War and East West
relations were a constant - and with an admired  teacher who had been
refused a visa to the US because she was a CP member, the politics of
socialism was part of both home and school debate.  In my student years I
went on IVS and Quaker workcamps including an FSC/AFSC/FDJ initiative which
involved working on a collective farm in Mecklenburg and having evening
study and exchange sessions.   China, of course, was still an inspiration.
Those were the days when  Val Ferguson called herself a Marxist!  

Yes, in the household in which I was raised the 1944 education act, the post
war Attlee government and the NHS were benchmarks of the good society.  But
not in the sense of Macmillan's 'You've never had it so good' .  My father
interpreted that slogan as materialist in the wrong sense of the word, and
was profoundly shocked by it.  As for the wind of change,  we were good
liitle anti-imperialists...... 

Grants for higher education made class and gender barriers more permeable.
I was the first in my extended family to go on to university at a time when
relatives still said it was money wasted on a girl.  And maybe that is
something the article you have sent us doesn't completely capture - the
struggle.  How much was 'given'  ? (yes, free milk and university places do
count)  but there was much still to be fought for.  These struggles
continue and the 'fronts' have not changed that much.  Class and gender are
still contested areas, in employment and in pensions, education and arts
and, and...

As for our responsibility to posterity, it would be interesting to look at
the profiles of those concerned with these issues today (Silent Spring was
on our bookshelves too!)  

Changing the face of politics - I think we need to look at where politics
resides these days, and those sites of struggle .  Jeremy Seabrooke once
said that he did not think there was any such thing as a secular society but
that faith took up its abode in some strange places.  Maybe we can say the
same about politics. The bedfellows of commerce and politics is not new but
as pernicious as ever it was in the days of the old imperialism and slave

When the Eastern block fell, it was said that a critique of capitalism would
grow more strongly from within and that it would have to be taken more
seriously because the authors could not be dismissed as fellow travellers.
Where is this happening and who is doing  it?  I am worried about
conventional contemporary politics in this country for all sorts of reasons,
and we won't even mention the war .  The things that are happening to asylum
seekers and migrants, the approach to difficult members of society (exclude,
exclude).  Where the Tories made an idol of capital New Labour has turned
labour/work into a god.  All the activities which create community and build
society are squeezed as men and women have less time in their working lives.
They are not valued.  Parenting is made difficult and  then  'bad' parents
are penalised. 

So retirement brings  responsibilities  and opportunities.  But is it right
that virtually every voluntary endeavour, Quaker committee etc is carried
out primarily by those of at least 60 plus. There is I think, a need to look
beyond, to what would be the good society of the future.



Pam Lunn
On-Site Taught Programmes Co-ordinator

Direct dial: 0121 415 6778
Email: pam at woodbrooke.org.uk 

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
1046 Bristol Road
Birmingham B29 6LJ
Tel (general office): 0121 472 5171
Web www.woodbrooke.org.uk 

Reg. Charity no. 313816

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