Activism is dead, Long live the politicians? 

Real change will not come via the ballot box. When you realise that then maybe we can all get on with the job at hand.

Sure, it will be great if Jeremy Corbyn can lead Labour to victory in 2020 as a Labour government will bring about some much needed social justice and societal changes but there are some fundamentals that are being missed. 

Change within government takes time. We are wholly reliant on Labour acting quickly and decisively if they get into power to bring about the promised changes and as much as we are fans of Jeremy and Co. they do have a habit of erring on the side of debate at the moment. That however is just the side show. 

The real blockage to change is what would be the opposition and the House of Lords, not to mention Jeremy Corbyn’s own detractors. ‘Bills’ in parliament as you know do not just ‘go through’ every time, they can be blocked or a forced alteration can be made. All these factors and more could all block many proposed changes and let’s not forget that as has happened for decades and decades, sooner or later the Conservatives would get back into power, it’s a given, anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves and when they do they may well undo everything that has been done, certainly some of it. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

So what of progression? Where does that leave those of us who know full well that many changes we need today must be permanent changes, not just time fillers until the next government is voted in? People can debate all they like about intricacies of policy and minor changes to them but unless we get a handle on fundamental issues such as environment, energy, war, social justice and the redistribution of wealth we will be destined to repeat the same mistakes for a long time to come and it will take up time that we can ill afford to lose.

Europe is moving to the right and even in the UK anyone who can’t see the lurch to the right is on borrowed time. Whilst the EU panders to NATO and Hilary Clinton sounds the war drum over Russia, as the Conservatives continue their expected further cuts to welfare and as the world’s nations fail to take seriously their commitment (did you ever really believe them?) to limiting climate temperature rises to 2 degrees (like you can ever make such a fanciful promise) and as the government secures our future energy policy to Fracking and Nuclear energy and stopping subsidies on Solar energy.. are we not blindly walking into an irretrievable oblivion?

Where are the activists? The earth warriors? Where are the freedom fighters? The resistance? The anti capitalists? Where are the people? 

I’m not talking about the people stuck in front of their TV screens watching X Factor or Watching Sky News believing everything that is fed to them.. I am talking about you, the ones reading this.. where has the passion for protest gone? Have you given up already? 

Without the art of protest, the government can act with impunity. It can’t just be any protest either. Too many protests are for nothing, understated and ineffectual. Localised protests sometimes have an impact because they are low level issues but when it comes to major national and international issues protest in its current form rarely hits the right note.

We have forgotten how to organise, to resist, to be resolute in what we believe. 

Back in early 2015 two large protests were due to take place in London at the same time as the state opening of Parliament, one of the protests was organised by the People’s Assembly and the other UK Uncut. The setting was perfect, a televised showing for all the world to see. A wonderful opportunity to make the message loud and clear. Yet nothing. The protests did not in the end take place at Parliament Square there were no interruptions to the State opening and the two protests did not even converge on each other. It was a golden opportunity and neither group took up the mantle but then I guess that’s to be expected when one of the groups is backed by representatives of a political party, in this case Labour.  The point here being that it was disorganised and ineffectual. 

Protest must be taken to the belly of the beast, it must be decisive and it must have an impact, it should be disobedient at the least, the message must be clear and the actions must be coordinated and ideally independent of any type of body. It must come from the people self organising. This doesn’t even have to be a left/right process it can speak to everyone. The impact of good protest should not be under estimated. In the UK we have a proud history of protest be it the suffragettes or the eco warriors in the 80’s, we have a proud history of direct action in the form of the likes of the Animal Liberation Front. Where did it all go? Today 1 million people could not stop the Iraq War and hundreds of thousands could not prevent us going into Syria. We praise the Paris climate meeting for setting targets… again… but do nothing when it’s clear they don’t intend to abide by their standards. We do little to stop hugely unpopular things such as HS2, Hinckley point, a stop on Solar subsidies, the overriding of local authorities on Fracking. When will we stand up to any of it? 

The point is that we are on a tightrope in terms of our future and I believe we are teetering on the brink of some really bad times for the planet and for the people’s of this world and we sit idly by as if Jeremy Corbyn or any other mouthpiece will fix everything for us. Don’t be so fooled. It’s up to us to do something as well. We claim to be activists but yet I don’t see the ground swell of resistance. In fact it’s disappearing.

If you’re reading this.. organise. Organise well.



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