Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Activist Vote

As activists we have rallied together at marches, networked hundreds of thousands to petition time and again, created camps with strangers and bonded for a just cause – we have tackled the problems we see from a multitude of angles and in many arenas from roadsides, campsites, power-stations and art galleries to council estates, the streets (whose? ours!), the steps of St Paul’s, Trafalgar and Parliament Squares. We are the many outsiders and within Westminster are the very very few who hold/dictate/create the power to arrest us, intimidate us, legally bind us and prohibit our right to be heard, our right to participate.

The government is an arena we have yet to act within.

Politics is deliberately distant, removed from regular life to green-seated space of baying, booing, harassing impoliteness. The subject of politics is not considered the stuff of wonder and up until recently, I considered it so far removed from me, I chose not to engage. Now though I choose to get to know it, see how it currently works, pick at its seams, confront it and work with others, to find ways to unravel ourselves from its corrupted grip. We have to do this because no matter how loudly we protest, how deeply we plead, how firmly we act – the power to keep stopping us, is currently wielded by those elected to our government by too few voters.

In order to disengage – we will first have to engage.

Even if (like I did) you think it pointless, feel hypocritical because you know you are feeding something bad… maybe we can weaken it with a lot of good? Voters are encouraged to choose Red or Blue this time or was it Blue or Red? We’re told there’s no point doing anything else because you’ll always end up with one or the other – but this ‘implied inevitability’ serves the status quo and means voters choosing as part of a strategy, rather than with truth. 

Overwhelming anything with a good flood of honest determination, has effect and that’s what WE could do. And even if you don’t think it will matter – what harm could it do just this once/one more time?

Vote as activists.

Our government isn’t working for us and hasn’t for as long as I can remember. It is infested with lobbyists and special interests, the revolving door between office and industry spins as fast as the media manipulated myths. The practices, procedures and rituals make it inaccessible for all but the ‘political shaped’ people to get in. This time though is different – we have an opportunity to use all that we’ve developed on social media as activists, all that we’ve learned about how to find truths and expose lies as activists, all that ‘sense’ we’ve nurtured as activists and make a charge at this arena – via the vote, before it gets so bad, other means become necessary.

Trade agreements, potentially dangerous technologies, wars, sanctions, diplomacy (!), policing, healthcare, education, social care, farming, regulation… THESE things are under the control of government. It is imperative that we work together now, to ensure decisions made in these matters, are influenced/made by people acting with honour NOT self-interest.

Choose carefully, research well and then… vote as an activist, with truth and determination. 

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Not to influence you but to explain, why I am voting Green:

I expect dreams, along with hopes got cast as ‘whimsical folly’ around the same time that we started living in ‘an economy’ - as opposed to communities, families - humanity. It’s sad to read policies by political parties that focus everything back down to the economy of everything – the price of life, the cost of education, the expense of care.

The philosophy that is at the base of Green Party policies didn’t do this. It felt like hope and painted pictures recognisable from my dreams. It’s why the media are struggling because it offers a broader, long-term set of aims that would be reached for step by policy step at a time. Not a list of promises wrapped in bravado with wriggle-room jargon, targeted at demographic voting types.  It said things like:

“We believe that:
A system based on inequality and exploitation is threatening the future of the planet on which we depend, and encouraging reckless and environmentally damaging consumerism.

A world based on cooperation and democracy would prioritise the many, not the few, and would not risk the planet’s future with environmental destruction and unsustainable consumption.”

And…
“The pursuit of economic growth as a force driving over-exploitation of the Earth must cease to be an automatic aim of human societies. We should instead aim to develop sustainable economies, which improve well-being focused on human values rather than consumerism. Traditional measures of economic activity, such as GDP, should be replaced by new indicators that measure progress towards this aim.”

And…
“We reject the view that wealth can be measured solely in monetary units, a view which allows its adherents to think it consists primarily of the results of human labour. This error has caused successive governments to pursue objectives which appear to increase the nation's wealth while in fact they reduce it. Symbols of wealth, like money, reinforce the error and dominate political decision making. Economic growth is a poor guide to human welfare.”

And…
“Power is simply our ability to be effective, but it takes different forms. 'Power over' is dysfunctional, succeeds only at the expense of others and should be limited and contained. 'Power to', or empowerment, is our potential to co-operate and take control over our own lives. 

Organisations which have based themselves on empowerment have found that they are as successful, if not more, at achieving their aims, and have delivered considerable social and environmental benefits. However, 'power over' remains the dominant force in our hierarchical, competitive society. We have to engage with it, but we do so only in order to transform it. This requires changes in law, culture and economics.

And…

“We do not believe that there is only one way to change society, or that we have all the answers. We seek to be part of a wider green movement that works for these principles through a variety of means. We generally support those who use reasonable and non-violent forms of direct action to further just aims.

Our beliefs will bring us into conflict with those committed to material affluence, the accumulation of power and the unsustainable exploitation of the Earth. We are always ready to negotiate with those who oppose us, and seek fair settlements that respect their needs for security, self esteem and freedom of choice.

We will even work with those who disagree with us where sufficient common ground can be found to do so. However, we do not seek power at any price, and will withdraw our support if we are asked to make irreversible or fundamental compromises”

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