I’m reading the political biography of Darcus Howe.

It is challenging and inspiring and it has made me reflect on my practice.

Darcus was wrongly accused of rioting in the early 1970’s. As part of The Mangrove Nine, he was clear that he would not use a liberal white defence team. In his view their liberality, while well meant, would be set within the context of their life experience. This would mean that their liberality would be bounded by and set within the confines of the legal system and therefore could only ever be a liberal expression of that system. Also, they would most likely have a life experience that would most likely be rich, elitist and well educated. Therefore, in his view, they would be unable to empathise or profoundly comprehend his experience of living in London where police brutality and systemic oppression were hard wired into the fabric of society.

Instead, Darcus, taking guidance from his mentor C L R James, took to the streets to create a grass roots movement throughout the UK informing, educating and enthusing minorities, including the white working classes, to become politically supportive and active as The Mangrove Nine fought for their freedom. He was immensely successful in his mission and public solidarity for this case meant that he became a spokesperson for black people in the UK. Something the system at the time must have been watching closely!

It is truly amazing to read how he, unqualified in law, but brave enough and smart enough to see and speak the truth, saw down the prosecuting barrister and the “prosecuting Judge” and won!

For me, my learning comes from understanding that whatever intervention I offer in my work this week in Bournemouth, Poole or London (be it, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Mindfulness, Psychodrama, Person Centered Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Solution Focused Therapy, Integrative Therapy or Family Therapy), when I support a young person, I should think about my social context as an educated adult and speculate how this influences me and my thinking and impacts on the outcomes I seek for the young people I support.

Please watch this youtube clip of the legendary Darcus Howe. I believe the BBC has taken it down. You can understand Darcus’ indignation when he is accused of being a rioter in the past by the presenter.

His quick witted irony shows how he must have terrified the judge and prosecutor back in the early 1970’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biJgILxGK0o