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    Prime Minister Gordon Brown

    Prime Minister of United Kingdom Gordon Brown reflects on when his first political awakening was.

    Tags: 1970s, Dissent & Activism, Famous figures, Highlighted, Poverty/Deprivation, United Kingdom, Video, Youth

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    Amartya Sen - Professor

    Amartya Sen, Professor in Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, and the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics reflects on when his first political awakening was.

    Tags: 1940s, Asia, Community/Family, Crisis/Conflict, Dissent & Activism, Famous figures, Highlighted, Human/Civil Rights, Video

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    Vietnam and 1960s racism

    Simon Woolley, National Co-ordinator for Operation Black Vote (OBV)
    no description

    Tags: 1960s, Crisis/Conflict, Highlighted, United Kingdom, Video

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    Forced recruitment in Zimbabwe

    Lorraine, Community Involvement Coordinator
    I was two years old and it was towards the end of the liberation war struggle in my home country (Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia) in the late 70s. Rumour had travelled that there was going to be another forced recruitment of young men to join the armed forces. My grandmother had a plan - overnight she removed everything from these big wooden storage cupboards, creating space for my uncles and cousins. The soldiers raided early that morning. Upon being quizzed my Grandma's response was that she had not seen her boys in a long time. This was not good enough so they threatened to take her instead. Women and children began crying to no avail. 800 metres from our homestead one of the soldiers asked the others to let her go as she was of no use to them and that's how she was spared.

    Tags: 1970s, Dissent & Activism, Highlighted, Sub-Saharan Africa, War

    Image copyright: cc

    *RICCIO "il colore del ricordo inganna"'s photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilriccio/3865627684/
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    Auschwitz

    Sebastian, Student
    I remember going on a tour of Eastern Europe with my Jewish organisation when I was 16. We went to Poland and visited Auschwitz. I remember being struck by how serene it was and I found it difficult to relate to the tragedy that had happened there previously. I couldn't understand how it could have happened, I still can't.

    Tags: Europe, Highlighted, Religion/Faith, War

    Image copyright: cc

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    The Foot is attached to the Heal

    Dan, Actor
    I went to our local public library in Cardiff one evening with my dad, and was surprised it had turned into a polling station for the 1983 election. I also remember exhorting him to vote for 'Foot' and 'Healy' because, obviously, the foot is attached to the heel and that clearly made sense to my 6 year old brain.

    Tags: (Un)employment, 1980s, Highlighted, Historical/Political Figures, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

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    Rock revolution

    Tim Farron, MP
    My first memories of a political kind are a) Harold Wilson resigning as PM in 76 and Jim Callaghan taking over and b) The Sex Pistols on TV swearing at Bill Grundy. I suspect that the latter had a greater effect on me - not because I approve of profanity, but because the Pistols, the Clash, Buzzcocks etc kickstarted a musical and cultural revolution and seriously influenced my record collection!

    Tags: 1970s, Famous figures, Highlighted, Popular Culture, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

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    Ed Miliband - Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

    Ed Miliband, MP
    Ed Miliband, Labour MP for Doncaster North and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change talks about his first political memory.

    Tags: 1960s, Education/School, Famous figures, Highlighted, United Kingdom, Video, Voting/Elections

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    International diplomacy in the playground

    Ben, Student
    I went to a European School in Brussels where there were kids from all over the EU. I remember diplomacy between the 6-10 year olds, playing football and occasionally having fights in teams according to country. It has kept me interested in European and worldwide relationships ever since.

    Tags: Education/School, Europe, Highlighted

    Image copyright: cc

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    Upside down subversion

    Kate, News Correspondent
    My dad is a very Irish man. He has always stuck his postage stamps upside-down onto envelopes, and when I was six years old I asked him why he did this. He proclaimed Come the revolution! and waggled his fist in the air. Years later he explained that his Republicanism had led to small acts of subversion against the monarchy. Sticking stamps on upside-down was his little way of marking his discontent with the Queen and makes me think that my dad is a modern Che Guevara.

    Tags: 1980s, Dissent & Activism, Highlighted, Monarchy, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

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    9/11 on the news

    Whitney, Student
    I remember September 11th, coming home from school and seeing it on the news.

    Tags: 2000s, Crisis/Conflict, Highlighted, North America, War

    Image copyright: cc

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    Our bodies, our choice

    Chelsea, Community Worker
    One of my clearest memories was from my first year of an all girls' high school in Australia, which means that people were 12 going on 13. Swimming was one of the summer sports which you were required to participate in. But one of the girls had her period. She went to the teacher and explained that she couldn't swim because of that. The teacher pulled her up in front of the whole class and told them that having your period is no excuse for not being able to swim; you should be wearing tampons. At the time I was outraged: they're our bodies and we should have the right to choose what we do with them and how they're used and certainly shouldn't be publicly humiliated with their choices. I was interested in women and feminism before that, but it was the first time I articulated those 'political' feelings. It made me think of how 'the personal is political'. I complained, and got my parents to complain and, eventually, if girls had their periods they had the option of tennis instead. So it did affect some change I suppose.

    Tags: Dissent & Activism, Education/School, Feminism/Gender, Highlighted, Human/Civil Rights

    Image copyright: cc

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    Exception to the rule

    Simon, Charity Associate Director
    I attended a Labour party rally with my mum during the 1979 election. I couldn't understand why my mum, a staunch feminist, didn't support Thatcher - a woman.

    Tags: 1970s, Feminism/Gender, Highlighted, Historical/Political Figures, United Kingdom, Voting/Elections

    Image copyright: cc

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    Nelson Mandela

    Ramy, Charity Fundraiser
    We were learning about Nelson Mandela in school. It made me realise that he had been locked up for something he hadn't done and I remember thinking how bad that was. I guess that's the first time I thought 'wow, there's a world outside my school'.

    Tags: 1990s, Education/School, Highlighted, Historical/Political Figures, Sub-Saharan Africa

    Image copyright: cc

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    Berlin Wall

    Danny, Artist
    The first political thing I can remember as a kid is probably the Berlin Wall coming down. I was nine and it was quite surreal, I was from a small little town and couldn't really understand, I just knew that it was something really powerful and that it was going to change a lot of things.

    Tags: 1980s, Europe, Highlighted, Peace/Unity

    Image copyright: cc

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    Milk snatcher

    Monica, Student
    I remember Margaret Thatcher taking our milk away when I was at school. I was not happy about it. I was about 12 when she came into power and there was a big hooha about it. She had taken milk from the mouths of babes, with her hair that never moved!

    Tags: 1970s, Highlighted, Historical/Political Figures, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

    Scorpions and Centaurs' photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sshb/2935166751/
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    Election distress

    Lord Kinnock
    My first conscious political memory was the General Election of 1951. With my school mates I had tramped the streets in my - very Labour - hometown chanting slogans. Then, as the results came over the radio on 25 October, I recall the real distress of my parents and grandparents at the defeat of the Labour Government that had brought the National Health Service, decent Old Age Pensions and Full Employment for the first time in history.

    Tags: (Un)employment, 1950s, Famous figures, Health, Highlighted, United Kingdom, Voting/Elections

    Image copyright: cc

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    A masterwork of an economic crisis

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
    I painted a picture at the age of 10, of the White Cliffs of Dover, complete with seagulls, buoys and drizzle. I pompously entitled this masterwork (in oils): England - home of the economic crisis.

    Tags: 1970s, Crisis/Conflict, Famous figures, Highlighted, Music/Arts, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

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    Gurdeep Grewal - Student

    Gurdeep Grewal
    Gurdeep Grewal explains how her grandmother's experience in 1950s Pakistan influenced her idea of how politics affects people's everyday lives.

    Tags: 1950s, Asia, Community/Family, Crisis/Conflict, Highlighted, Video

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    Winter of Discontent

    Saffron
    My first political memory is of the trade union strikes during the Winter of Discontent (78/79). I was about 7 and remember the regular power black outs, having to eat by candlelight and listening to my parents talking about transport strikes, petrol shortages etc. It was my first experience of things that you take for granted just not working and everyday life being thrown into chaos. It was also my first exposure to the idea that the government could be undermined if enough people stood up against.

    Tags: 1970s, Dissent & Activism, Highlighted, Poverty/Deprivation, United Kingdom

    Image copyright: cc

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    Turquoise graffiti

    Tamara, Anthropologist
    I was about 6 when the Berlin wall came down. I remember seeing the pictures on TV, which I wasn't normally allowed to watch, of people embracing in tears as though they knew each other in this city that I knew the name of and knew was in the same country as my town but that I had never been to. I saw that somehow this was affecting the adults around me, everyone seemed happy together -so I was happy too. My mother had a plastic bag with 3 little pieces of the wall on her shelf, they were turquoise and blue, from the turquoise graffiti.

    Tags: 1980s, Europe, Highlighted, Peace/Unity, War

    Image copyright: cc

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    Tiananmen Square solidarity

    Astrid, Social Researcher
    I grew up in Hong Kong. I was 8 years old on the 4th of June 1989, when peaceful student protests in Tiananmen Square were violently crushed by the Chinese army. I remember watching the 8 o'clock news on TV and having a strong sense, even though I didn't fully understand what was going on, that this was something very important and that I would look back on this moment when I was a grown-up. Many of my classmates were the children of Chinese mainlanders who had escaped Mao's regime, and I had a vague grasp of the fact that here we were free to say what we wanted, while there they were not. On the bus home from school the next day, a boy called Francois and I coloured a piece of paper black using my Caran d'Ache felt-tip pen. We waved this out of the bus window, and the cars passing by - many of whom had black triangular flags fluttering from their radio antennae - honked their horns in solidarity. I didn't really know what we were doing, but it felt exciting and momentous to be connecting with other people.

    Tags: 1980s, Asia, Dissent & Activism, Education/School, Highlighted

    Image copyright: cc

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