Slowly & quietly planting the seeds of change…

30 10 2011

The noisy shouty protests aren’t working and do nothing more than placate those doing the shouting, and justify the often irrational and violent behaviour of the Police in the eyes of the government. The media promote an idea of  noisy scroungers and smelly scum trying to stop progress, instead of people exercising their right to protest. I deliberately won’t use the term peaceful for regardless of who the protagonists or antagonists are, protests are increasingly tinged with violence. Physical violence, violence of mind, words or attitude – on either side.

You’d think both sides would realise violence doesn’t work. Tit for tat violent episodes only serve to feed the war and it’s a war the protesters cannot win with traditional tactics.

I’ve spoken before how playing their game is the only way to beat politicians but before that can ever happen, activists need the general public on side.

Perhaps the activists are too used to preaching only to the converted, or perhaps they like their insulated cliques and don’t really want their cause to go truly viral… Only they know why they practice methodologies that alienate the public, especially when the protesters and public’s goals are the same.

I can’t remember who said it but there are some protesters who complain that having a legal right to protest makes the whole act of protest inefficient and without true purpose. And in this theory, the only way to effectively protest is to undertake illegal behaviour.  When the peaceful, legal protesters are pissing off the public, what hope have those who prefer less legitimate methodologies of getting them on-side?

It’s a real lefty trait, let’s all fight with each other on how to reach our common goal. Each ideological proponent reaching for similar goals, will spend more time fighting with the other on how to get there, rather than concentrating on the all important end result.

Anyone would think they didn’t actually want change, just something to complain about.

And if they got the required change, what would they do then? Well they’d likely to continue to fight among themselves over irrelevant minutiae for one thing.

The same situation is currently being seen in the labour party. I haven’t paid much attention to the latest media ‘sensation’, because to be honest it’s dull as dishwasher and relentlessly on-going. Wake me up when it’s over and we can return to productive, constructive discussion on the important matters.

That said, in-fighting and persistent methodological debate only serves to alienate all but the most hardy of the politically interested public. Those with, at most, a passing interest in parliamentary goings on have even less interest in how they reach the end result.

And is it not for and on behalf of the public these parliamentary chimpanzees screech and throw their buns?

My problem isn’t the cause for which protesters fight, on the whole I agree with that, but I do have a problem with the way in which they fight, and as I’ve said before in earlier posts I am equally as guilty of standing up to fight. I overheard a couple of wimmen chatting on the bus about the London protests last year and they made a valid point; they believed the product of the protests was to water down support for the various causes by the public. They discussed the weariness of hearing of yet another shouty protest with no results and reminisced of the days of the Poll tax protests where the country united did get a result. But it didn’t happen overnight.

It was the use of the word ‘united’ that interested me(and not a red shirt in sight). It seems that while the centre and right pull together more and more on controversial and downright disgusting issues, those on the left are fragmenting even more.

Only a united left, be that labour, or otherwise will stand up as a formidable opposition and by the looks of it, it’s going to take years, possibly decades before that will happen. Let’s face it the majority of the British public have a same distrust and fear of the left as Americans do communism. Its received far too much bad press to be a viable alternative.

I would love to see a completely new and powerful political opponent for the coalition government. There is not enough choice, or difference among the three main parties for those who feel failed by the current system.

I would love to see a new common sense party who understands the reality of world economics and the complexities of the human condition. A party who values people regardless of socio-economic background, instead of corporations. A party who chooses to invest in care for those unable to support themselves. A party who understands the structural and emotional reasons for unemployment and who instead of labelling all unemployed as workshy scroungers and punishing them, will devise appropriate and dignified means of creating and accessing employment with a living wage.

I’m not inherently opposed to businesses making money but I am opposed to how they do it. They trample on “the little people”, they don’t care who they hurt in their quest for profit. Profit is their goal, appeasing the shareholder gods far more important than ensuring their customers or staff are treated fairly or even humanely. Corners are cut in the name of driving down costs and driving up profit. People are not an important factor in this game, they are secondary to the profits companies try to make. And boy are they making profit!

Now our esteemed government are turning the last of the state-run organisations such as the NHS in England and Wales and even schools, into potential profit-making ventures. There are areas where business competition should never be factored into the structure or running of organisations; health and education are but two.

Competition compromises quality. We have seen it time and time again. When British Rail was privatised we were promised better trains, more efficient services and competitive prices. Like the passengers in any number of London train stations of an evening, we’re still waiting.

And then there were the privatisation and deregulation of power companies. Many competitors entered the market allegedly giving the customer greater choice and with a mind to driving down prices through competition. Well didn’t they get that wrong too. While profits for shareholders soar, so too do the average household prices for gas and electricity. Not just by inflation rates but two, three, four times the rate of inflation.

And instead of the private sector creating jobs and living wages, they’re creating mass redundancies, well below inflation pay rises, if any rise at all, they provide poor private pension schemes and now they’re demanding a reduction in workers rights too.

The dole queues grow, the benefits all cut. Poverty is likely to reach levels not seen in this country for a long time.

Still the public don’t listen to the protesters on all of these issues. They’ve been fed lies by the politicians, lies by the media and they swallow them like pills from expensive prescriptions handed out by increasingly more well off GPs.

The occupy movement, while not without its criticisms, has taken a slightly different approach. I’m not convinced their ethos could be carried to an apathetic general public as a means of running the country, but they’re not being offensive or violent, they’re not being hysterical and generally they’re not being attacked (yet) by the police, although I am aware of increasing violence in the US.

It’s early days yet but could these people be onto something?

Could a slow peaceful pace of gaining support be the way forward?

Could a calculated calm, quiet approach get more of the public onside?

Already the participants are proving to be more diverse than the usual suspects. It’s not all socialist worker fanatics and it’s not all black bloc. They could, with the right long-term goals, do what the marchers and shouters could not. They could get joe and jowena public interested in their cause.

Their slogans relating to the 99% do not alienate the public, wisely it includes them. They are not representative of a few dreadlocked hippies in tents, they speak for a larger majority and hopefully they will reflect this demographic in their protests.

I don’t claim to know all of their goals and I know there is much disagreement and criticism among the hardcore activists on their methods and demands but they are doing what the loudest protesters failed to, they are gathering more public support than ever before.

I honestly don’t know where this will end up. At St Paul’s it has been suggested Christian worshippers will protect the occupiers from attempts at violent removal by the authorities. Already this has sparked a wider debate on Christianity, capitalism and the bible. It’s getting people talking in an intellectual way. It’s getting people thinking about issues other than radical lefty protesters out to cause mischief.

Changing the minds of an entire nation will never happen but getting a large number of the population questioning the ills in British society is starting to happen on a grander scale. The public don’t feel so alone anymore. 99% gives people a voice, a sense of belonging, a common cause. Negatively discussing the privilege of the 1% is becoming common place and people are getting angry. Revolution starts in the mind before taking to the streets or ballot boxes.

Get the general public thinking and questioning rather than merely accepting like sheep… Give them an opportunity to speak and be heard among the noisy rabble of protesters. Do so slowly, steadily and quietly, then we will start to see the seeds of change being planted in the minds of the stagnant. Only then will true change become a reality.

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