I pledge to bring more compassionate action to the Labour Party and in politics generally by supporting a model of kindness, humility and boldness. I will be a model, creator, supporter and seeker of kindness and compassion in my communication (in meetings, on social media, internally and externally). I will dedicate time and practice to strengthen our collective ethics, integrity, heart and leadership.
How do I do a new politics of the heart?
- Talk openly about kinder politics to everyone we know.
- Ask friends and family for their ideas for a kinder way of politics.
- Go to Labour Party meetings and ask for ideas on how kind, heart-led decisions can be made.
- Ask for a moment of silence or mindfulness at the beginning or end of political gatherings.
- Ask, as Jeremy did in his interview with Andrew Marr (17/01/16) for a ‘slow down’ in conversation - for a sense of spaciousness and receptivity at meetings and debates.
- Listen attentively and unreservedly to another's political and social concerns.
- Speak about the value of being ‘in service’ to each other and our communities.
- Send thank you cards to the hardworking chairs, secretaries and treasurers of your constituency. Feeling gratitude and showing gratitude is tremendously powerful.
- Take plants and flowers to the tables of your local meetings.
- Share food and humor whenever appropriate.
- Show specific appreciation of each other in Labour party emails and other communications.
- Organise ‘kindness and collaboration walks’ with local activists from other political parties.
- Join a 'Politics Kitchen' (more information available by enquiry).
- Practice ‘Active hope’. One of the biggest factors influencing human behaviour is what we see others feel and do. When people see us feeling hopeful, or taking action rooted in hope they’re more likely to feel inspired. We can open up to hope by inviting it to reside within us and what we choose to do. Acting from a place of hope. It is a choice, it is our vote, and we can cast it every day.
- Be infinitely kind to yourself and take care of your heart!
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama
A new politics of the heart - for honesty, ethics and kindness in politics
"The human heart is the first home of Democracy" Terry Tempest Williams
Jeremy Corbyn is inspiring a new way in politics that is ethical, considerate and powerful. In this approach we are able to bring a kinder politics back into people’s lives and we can support and strengthen this with our own actions. Politics can be off-putting with its combative style, point scoring and aggression which can mirror and escalate our own feelings of fear, anger, despair and judgement. In life and in politics we ARE the 'state of our heart'. The success of our democracy depends on us healing our hearts and speaking from our hearts just enough, not always and not in isolation, but just enough of the time and with just enough of us doing so.
This pledge is also about trusting the intelligence of our hearts to work with our mind in matters that are grounded in rationale and mechanism. It is about deciding with mind that the heart offers information, healing and fortitude that can be used as a great force for good. By being open-hearted we will be as kind and compassionate as we can be, in our communication with each other and how we share our politics in the world. It isn’t about being soft or passive, our indignation and our calls for justice will have more potency when shared with love, born of a belief that a more beautiful world is possible and that humanity can be a force for good.
By signing this pledge you agree to courageously pursue kindness and heart intelligence within and around politics and the Labour Party. You pledge compassion to yourself and others when they get this wrong too! You will also be able to join in real life gatherings and actions, led by the pledge holder and others who wish to support this, to develop our collective intention of kindness. Also we pledge to heal the wounds that have divided us both inside and outside the Labour Party. We pledge to listen to and care for broken heartedness. You do not have to be a Labour Party member or involved in Politics to do this because every kind, open hearted action supports us all.
The possibility of a ‘Great Turning’
The issue is this – Do we want a group of people to lead this country who bow to the hegemony of the ‘market’ or do we want to be represented and led by representatives who understand that the ‘market’ has to be ‘in service’ to supporting people equally in their quality of life and to building a kinder society? This is a question of asking for great and compassionate leadership.
The Labour Party, by electing Jeremy Corbyn as its leader has taken a step towards seeking greater quality of life for people in this country, they are poised to build a kinder society with a new kind of politics. The call is also to institutionalise fairness - which is inherently kind. This presents a golden moment for all of us – a moment of extreme hope. If we reach out now to support the Labour Party and others who speak with compasssion – if we share our own kindness – we could transform the Politics of this country and the United Kingdom could model what is kind and what is needed for planet and people to thrive. This is also about your own happiness and peace as an individual. Every time we act kindly we become kinder and every time we give kindness the witness becomes kinder. You can build that muscle of kindness through politics just as you can build it in other work and if you pledge to join me to bring more kindness around and in the Labour Party you will be pledging to make your own life more kind.
The Pledge Holder – Skeena Rathor
I was a bouncy, hopeful Labour Party member as a student and I remember vividly, the shock and heartbreak I felt watching the levels of manipulation, deceit and distrust in Politics then – 20 years ago.
I left Politics and turned my attention to the ‘third sector’ and worked as a Fundraising Manager for Cancer Research. After having three children alongside learning the arts of teaching groups and individuals, in essence, to get in touch with the true nature of our bodies, our hearts and our minds and essentially growing my own courage of conviction that another way is possible I return to the arena, carrying the absolute and unequivocal belief that we can transform Politics so that kindness is its first porthole. From there, I am convinced that what will follow is justice, love, ethicality and creative solutions.
After studying a number of mindfulness techniques I practice the internationally acclaimed HeartMath Technique and over the last fifteen years I have taught thousands of people how to create strength, alignment and a deeper breath in their physical and mental life. I am a teacher and teacher trainer of: Pilates, Yoga, Garuda, Feldenkrais, Tai Chi, The Endorphin Effect, Baby Massage and Movement, Brain Development (Raviv Method) and Cancer Recovery.
The blessings in my life have been overwhelmingly joyous and invigorating. As both a teacher and a student I realise that every one of us is a teacher and a student and that where there is love there is learning and as a teacher it is quite simply a role of modelling the heart in action. I have also come to accept the failings, the cruelty and the fear within me and my community of people without diminishing hope and joy. This I feel is central to striving for peace – to accept that there exists in us all a struggle for peace and that we can view this with loving kindness.
My central guiding force is the bridge between my Jewish and Muslim family. I am Muslim and my husband is Jewish and my children inspire me to walk this bridge every day. It has been a great honour to share the pain and the love of these two cultures that have existed in War for so long and this I feel has taught me my deepest lessons of compassion and kindness.
And Politics? - “Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites- polar opposites- so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a resignation of love. We’ve got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at best is power correcting everything that stands against love. It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our time” Martin Luther King Jr 1967. The gift of the design of our political system is that it enables every one of us to strive for love in corridors of power. Hence the pledge is for loving kindness to be practiced in places of power.
In this present moment, in Politics today, we have a choice between what The Conservative Party do for this Country and what The Labour Party can offer. Every single day we can unconsciously support what the Conservative Party do by doing nothing or we can actively support this fantastic moment of change in the Labour Party and do and give what we can to support Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to rescue Politics for the creation of a kinder society – for a more loving society – for a compassionate world. I’m asking you to join me in pursuing, the compassionate and kinder world we know is possible.