“Political action without the support of radical
mass movement inevitably becomes hollow.”
Positivity seems in short supply. Looking at the news and you might think that the end of days is upon us. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Relax. It might just be a glimpse, but there is something on the horizon.
There is no doubt that there are many terrible things happening to the planet and to its people. Yet history has taught us that in times of adversity people come together. It is easy to see how often people go against the wishes of their governments, to act humanely, decently. Just think of the migrant crisis and see how Europe have reacted. Think of the images and stories of citizens giving up their possessions and food and water to help strangers on their gruelling journey. In times of difficulty, humans are capable of great and generous acts. Under the right circumstances we will think nothing of giving away our material goods and food to others in need. If only we could realise that every time is the right circumstance.
Across the globe movements and initiatives are gaining both membership and momentum. There are foundations and charities that have huge impacts. The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, The Giving Pledge, Global Poverty Project are just a few examples of organisations that help and contribute so much. It seems that for every injustice, an opposition group is formed.
The internet has changed the approach and fluidity of the protest movement. It has enabled people the world over to make contact, to co-ordinate vast marches and demonstrations, to create instant petitions to tackle injustice, to spread information swiftly, to create and pass on evidence of acts of wrongdoing, to record the actions of a few to inspire many. Stories can be heard that might not have been and it is for these reasons that global governments are seeking to gain more control over the Internet.
Politics has become more accessible to the masses through the internet and has therefore produced more of an interest resulting in more support and participation. Despite the best efforts of governments and industry to keep citizens constrained within a bubble of self-interest and materialism, more and more people are getting involved. They want to make a difference, at a local level all the way up to making global changes.
There are many inspiring figures, organisations and companies who don’t get the attention they deserve or haven’t been giving enough publicity. Scott Neeson, the former president of 20th Century Fox International, gave up his job, sold his property, car and boat and moved to Cambodia to run the Cambodian Children’s Fund he had previously set up. Open Bionics is changing the prosthesis industry by producing custom made and cheaper prosthetics by 3D printing, making prosthetics more affordable for low-income families. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals produce and sell for $1 the same drug that Turing Pharmaceuticals bought up and now sell for $750 per pill.
In times of adversity we come together. In Belgium, pictures of cats have flooded Twitter after a security lockdown. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the French flag and national anthem could be seen and heard the world over. The inevitable backlash against Muslims has seen the Church of Satan reach out and offer assistance to Muslims.
There is a positive intensity in the air. Many have had enough of the way those in power treat the vulnerable amongst us. People do have power and their opinions do make a difference. Ignore those who say that isn’t true, they have already given up. The impact might not be noticeably great at first but it is there. Perhaps the media wants to dampen our enthusiasm by only putting on news that is harsh and violent. We are greeted with endless headlines about murder, how immigrants are taking our jobs, the cost of war and how only giving up our rights and freedom will secure our futures. None of this is true. These are lies spun to make us feel insecure but it is remarkably easy to find an organisation that opposes suppression whether here at home or abroad. Doing something good and positive makes you feel just that. Entering the world of political and environmental activism reveals just how much people care. Fighting for social justice shows you just how deep the rabbit hole goes. The media talk of liberals and activists in a distant and disparaging manner but in reality the media are losing their grip on who people listen to. Non-mainstream media consistently reports on stories that the mainstream media won’t report or dwell on.
There are many people and organisations out there taking the fight to their governments and tackling corporations. Revolution begins the moment you decide to fight back, to carry out any kind of action no matter how trivial it may seem to others. If you want change, look around and you’ll see how many others want the same.
“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
Ursula K Le Guin, The Dispossessed
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