|There are some people that believe that political goals are best pursued by public agitation; disturbance to the social order that will inevitably incur state repression of one form or another.
They tell you to go out and protest against violence in society, knowing full well that you will be met by violence in society. They want you to play the victim, the underdog. It serves their agenda – of keeping the population in abject despair.
Well, I’m here today to tell you that this is a fabulous deceit, and a monumentous waste of your time and energy.
Demonstrations, marches, rallies, postcard writing campaigns, charity donations and sign-ups, banner dropping, occupation, camping out in tents on the street, web log tirades against injustice, Twitter tsunamis, viral web videos, online voting, in fact all of the commonly-undertaken forms of resistance – they don’t work. And all you will get for your trouble is disappointment. And possibly some physical incarceration or a bruise or two if you dare venture outside your door. And the opprobrium of your online forum, should you care to not join in with the staged protest.
If you want to know why political opposition to injustice is not effective, all you have to do is look at the mechanisms that are recognised forms of protest. Anything that provokes the coordinated response of the police forces is going to fail. Anything that takes people away from the production of social goods in their daily work is going to fall flat on its face. Anything that puts a strain on public service is going to step on its own toes.
Don’t be a patsy ! Don’t follow the leadership of those who would encourage you into a street battle with the forces of law and order !
Don’t listen to the instigators, who whisper that the solution to child poverty, inequality, stagnating incomes, lack of dignity in healthcare, lack of social provision, injustices and disgraces is to take part in an event that will inevitably be kettled, cordoned and dispersed by the Metropolitan Police.
Don’t #OccupyLondon #OccupyLSX #OccupyLDN #Occupy. It’s simply a tool of public manipulation. It’s a way to permit a voice to the forces of disquiet, whilst at the same time preventing riots. It’s considered a safe outlet valve for the social pressure resulting from higher unemployment, lower standards of living and huge social budget cuts. It won’t create a new world.
Effective political opposition has to start from another place. Take another angle. Have another form of organisation. Opposition doesn’t have to be rebellion, resistance or rage.
Organisation must be collaborative to create a new reality. Opposition must be incarnated in the construction of a parallel social order, a way of living that subverts by neglecting to follow the unjust practices of the opponents. The Big Society (and here, of course, I don’t mean David Cameron’s “Big Society” which is, as far as I can tell, a mocking travesty, and would have the privatisation of all public services), the True Big Society would create value without money, serve without reward, organise without power, create without destruction, produce without pollution, educate without revisionism, build without enclosure, own without theft.
What do I think about Ed Miliband’s opposition to organised labour strikes ? I think he’s wrong. If you are engaged in the game of employment, you need some mechanisms to retain a balance of power between the employers and the workforce. The unions need tools to make sure that their members are not denied basic human rights, social protection and a living wage. The right to strike to protect the workforce is an essential thing to maintain.
And as for other injustices, we need to retain the right to withhold our labour, our participation, there, too. Don’t buy capitalism – it’s destroying the environment, progressive society and the economy. Don’t shop. Don’t drive. Don’t watch television. Don’t read advertisements. Don’t engage in trivial pursuits – don’t follow celebrities, don’t discuss pop stars, don’t (and this one is going to upset some people) get sucked into the fake competition of football and other widely-reported sports – it’s all a way to keep you from effective political and social engagement. It is, if not bread, at least circus. The television and radio news are propaganda. Even the campaigning organisations and charities are there to soak up your energy and keep you from a productive life.
Remember : they don’t own you, so stop allowing yourself to be wrestled to the ground by people in uniform; and trapped into bowing down to power by the ringleaders of dissent, all bearing uniform ideas.
Don’t pop up a tent at the London Stock Exchange this afternoon. You won’t win anything. Not even fame.