What Can We Do?

The economic and political system we live under is thoroughly rotten and corrupt, and only serves to enrich those at the upper end of society, while systematically impoverishing those at the bottom. We have been consistently lied to, and people have been led to believe we live in a democracy, and as we all get to vote therefore everything is as it should be. We have also been led to believe that Free Market Capitalism is the only viable economic system, the only alternative being Socialism, which is far worse. However our democratic system has been fixed to only return parties who preach the same policies, and our economic system has been corrupted to ensure that wealth is only accumulated by those who are already wealthy.

London_anti-war_protest_banners
The march against the Iraq war – one of many protests that despite a huge turnout made no difference to government policy. Picture © William M Connolley

So what can we do? Well short of having a revolution, which will inevitably come if things don’t change, there are some other things we can do in the meantime. Anyone who is in touch with current affairs will know that protests achieve nothing (the anti-Iraq War march, the Countryside march, the anti-student fees march all got colossal turnouts, but achieved absolutely no change in government policy whatsoever). However non-violent direct action (ie causing civil disruption but in a way that doesn’t damage people or property) does shake the government substantially. The Occupy Camp at St Pauls, various strikes, sit-ins and road blockages have all, on occasion forced the government to sit up and take notice. The more of this there is, the more the government will become uneasy, and I strongly urge anyone reading this to try and become politically active in this way. However if activism isn’t your thing then there is still some possibility through the existing ‘democratic’ process.

Our system of parliamentary constituencies (with its ‘first-past-the-post’ method of selection) has been fixed to repeatedly return the same two parties to power. People have also been led to believe that as no other parties can possibly be elected then a vote for anyone other than Labour or the Tories is a wasted vote. However it is noticeable that as the two parties have come steadily closer together in their policies, and people have become ever more disillusioned with them, their combined share of the vote has diminished. In the 1951 General Election, 97% of all votes cast went to either Labour or Conservative. That percentage has dropped ever since, and in the recent General Election only 67% of the vote went to Labour or Conservative. If that trend continues it will become increasingly difficult for either of the two main parties to form majority governments, and then coalitions will become the norm… and with coalitions come fresh parties, fresh ideas, and the possibility of change.

Polling_Station_2008
Make sure you vote, but not Labour or Conservative. Picture © Man vyi

So the first thing to say is that, contrary to what some people are currently saying (most notably Russell Brand until very recently) it is absolutely essential that you vote in elections. If people don’t vote their opinions are completely lost, and the government interprets the low turnout as a general apathetic satisfaction with things as they are. Secondly, vote for any party you like, as long as it’s not Labour or Conservative. That will serve to push the Labour/Conservative share of the vote down. By preference I would say vote tactically for whichever candidate in your constituency is most likely to defeat the Labour or Tory incumbent. In most constituencies that will probably be either the Lib-Dem, Green or UKIP candidates (or the SNP if you’re in Scotland, Plaid Cymru if you’re in Wales). However if you’re uncomfortable with any of them, no matter, simply vote for the next most likely candidate. The crucial thing is that you absolutely must vote, but definitely not for either of the two main parties – and if enough people stick to that, then there’s a real chance we’ll see a profusion of alternative people with alternative ideas entering parliament.

If the stranglehold of the two main parties on British politics can be  broken then anything can happen. We saw from the recent coalition that it isn’t necessary for a different party to win outright – by going into government they can affect policies and bring real change. Many people felt that the Lib-Dems were a disappointment in this respect and they could have done more, but the fewer seats the main parties have, the weaker their bargaining power is in any coalition, and the more opportunity for smaller parties to bring change to our system. If we want to avert a revolution it’s the only option, and in the meantime keep a lookout for those people carrying out Direct Actions!

Share:

18 thoughts on “What Can We Do?

  1. From the international conference on Economics for Ecology 2009

    “What is not guesswork is that the broken – again – capitalist system, be it traditional economics theories in the West or hybrid communism/capitalism in China, is sitting in a world where the existence of human beings is at grave risk, and it’s no longer alarmist to say so.

    The question at hand is what to do next, and how to do it. We all get to invent whatever new economics system that comes next, because we must.”

    The words were those of a man who put his ideas on replacing capitalism into practice:

    http://www.managementexchange.com/story/re-imagining-capitalism-new-bottom-line

  2. I don’t vote or maybe I do. I do vote by doing activism and by refusing to be a brainless consumer. I vote by refusing to cover the planet in rubbish. I vote by refusing to vote and so give justification to a corrupt political class that serves the psychotics who actually rule society. I vote by refusing to work inhuman hours just to make a living. I vote by preparing to live off-the-grid. I vote by believing that only people’s organization helps, never politicians. I vote by helping depressed teenagers that the system makes desperate and suicidal. I vote by refusing the culture of fear that politicians like so much and without which they couldn’t have power on us. I vote by helping Summerhill, the school that teaches happiness and that every politician would like to see closed because it puts their power at risk. I vote by refusing to believe the lies that I “should” believe. I vote by telling people that they are our only hope if they wake up, not politicians, not the psychotics who rule society and that will make mankind extinct if we don’t stop them.

    These are the votes that matter.

    To just put a cross on a piece of paper is not to vote, it’s to refuse to vote. It’s the same as to put our head under the sand.

  3. How2 Neglect Evil more and more?
    Make a list of bad/better/good companies
    to offer the possibility for people (and children and ‘the common people’)
    to choose the best or otherwise the better one
    (insurance/banking/supermarket/brand/store).
    Combine the lists, already existing, on internet in 1database.
    And promote in the streets and on T.V. (Quiz? Talent shows?)
    to choose better and better until best!
    (if someone will pay me salary for it, I will do it)

  4. Another idea: Explain the whole crisis and wars and the 1%rich in simple English for High School children from all over the world. I notice they are still sleeping, with their focus only on YOLO. They deserve to know what is waiting for them. But please don’t punch them into apathetic-ness with powerless doom-thinking only….Let’s talk about possible solutions! Let us embrace their free-spirited creativity, although maybe a bit simple, but still usable (like my own simple idea of June 2, 2015 – I am like them). Because my intuition says: Neglect evil, build an alternative world next to the common world on our own positive ideas, until we reach a critical mass in good-doers and good-doing…. then evil will change into masks of wounded little ego’s who lack love. Small scale\big scale\small\big.
    But we loose interest of children, and also of ‘the common people’ if we talk in long difficult articles without explaining the roots of it all (my knowledge of the evil system is far below average). And if we talk in sarcastic, negative ways.

    I ask you to ‘translate’ your articles to a world-child of 14 years old, living in a 3rd world country and knows enough English to understand my simple text. And end it with hope and possible solutions.
    Come, let us make 1People to build a Better World on our 1Planet!
    Come, let us ‘translate’ intellectual texts into understandable texts for all human beings starting from 14 years old in all layers of community. Because we need them to fight this evil of today.

  5. Are there any answers?
    A sad state of affairs is being exported all round the world, emanating from the old financial centers, after the battle of Waterloo which led to London’s stock exchange takeover, now cloning at an astonishing rate across the developing markets, with total computer control of meaningless tradeable debt and futures .
    China for instance is now going through our so called pain, funny how a certain family gave up price fixing gold 3 times a day, to a short time later opening maybe the first foreign owned bank in China, to maybe a year later being able to speculate on a stricken Chinese market. Caused by “their West” turning off the demand tap for Chinese products. Plans are made in advance we cannot stop this. The funny thing is the financial markets are fantasy we do not need them but they provide real earnings, for some reason, to a tiny minority. I mean Bill Gates show us all your money or even all “real” assets please totaled exactly to your mind blowing “apparent”wealth.
    Black Wednesday? The man held responsible worked before and even after this event for the same firm, before maybe but after? Who in their right mind would have employed him, unless he had done a major favor, whilst in “power” (Govt with POWER? We are deluded) Governments are now mere terrier men/women for our lords and masters.
    It has all been done with things that do not exist, but do, because they have alleged value???
    Facebook is a major tool in “dumbing down” world opinion to a meaningless virtual protest where people truly believe their thoughts and angst are heard. Facebook built a 6 football pitches in size unit, full of servers, just for the euro market. This was before it even “floated”, Who gave the go ahead on this loan?Anyway how can something truly valueless be worth billions of dollars? Who sits on the board? A member of this family.
    We have gone from surfs to mind controlled surfs, that is the value of facebook to them and not us.
    Did facebook really deserve credit for starting every revolution since conception? Utter rubbish but we fall for it, WE ALL FALL FOR IT! However it has now taken over the free internet and IS a spying tool on it’s users.
    The point is there is nothing we can do whilst those that lead us owe allegiance to getting there to a certain well run clique entrenched in “so called”high society.
    When countries take their assets back, they are not really penalised at first, they cant be. They later face the tried and trusted divide and murder policy that sets in, because they dared to smash the glass handcuffs. Venezuela proved you can take back but are not allowed to continue, horrendous problem free. Both Iraq and Lybia oil rich. Talked of gold dinar (gold) instead of dollar (paper)as a real currency that would transcend borders easily, their leaders were executed
    (deserved?) A certain recent UK Prime minister, needs investigating on account of the blood on his hands from Iraq, though got Middle East peace envoy instead because he did his masters bidding. The countries now with armed gangs proliferating on ungovernable killing fields, are his responsibility. I ask you where is the profit in that? Well if you don’t know perhaps you do not realize these people have a cut in all action and this never ending war, sussed by George Orwell eons ago, is now reality and its all done with a few bucks and a handful of nutters to turn the sheep into wolves, whilst who owns or has a share in the arms trade?
    The zealots proliferating in the middle east prove that our masters have no more power than you or I when seriously confronted, as our lords and masters cannot put a lid back on what they exposed the poor people of the middle east to, however they still make exorbitant amounts of money out of the turmoil. We in the west truly believe the power of nothingness and there is nothing we can do to stop them our tools to do this are used within the framework of the rules the elite have given us.
    I wonder what would happen if world debt was put to zero, nothing it’s just press return on a fancy computer, debt is valueless, all it is is a promise and sometimes promises have to be broken.
    It’s not all doom and gloom celebrity big brother’s on in a minute and I have to go.
    I just hope I have not talked a load of nonsense because I honestly cannot see how there is no smoke without the promise of pretend money or mirrors!

  6. Idea: Make a list
    (like the 3 stars of animal welfare/nature benefits 1star = a bit good ; 2stars = better = range meat ; 3stars = biological meat)
    Make a list of all cooperations about how good they are. Let them make TV-shows about it. Then common people (who do not search internet for sites like yours) can learn about bad-cooperations, better ones and good ones!

  7. The last point about voting for whoever as long as its not Con or Lab is a really important one.

    WE can can’t change the electoral system before 7 May – or change party funding or lobbying. But what we CAN do is to vote for what we believe and NOT vote tactically.

    Tactical voting is bad because
    1. It gives even more votes and seats to those 2 con and lab at the expense of the smaller parties. It’s undemocratic and unfair.
    2. It’s demeaning and insulting to be told “no you can’t vote for your favoured party because it’s bound to loose, a wasted vote. You have to vote for one of our parties, the one challenging the party you hate most – even if you don’t particularly like it!”
    3. Quite often it actually doesn’t work. I voted lib dem last time to get rid of the Tory. Also I wanted a hung parliament , a coalition with a chance of PR! Fat chance!

    NOW is the best time to vote true and refuse to be bullied into tactical voting because the cons and Lab are so unpopular.

  8. Clearly we are now living in a corporatocracy and our elected representatives do not seem to rise to positions of great influence unless they are willing to bend to corporate interests, including banking, arms, oil, pharmeceuticals and so on.

    The vast majority of us bank with a major bank which leverages our deposits to invest in all of these things. The majority of us have our basic needs met via the above system. Last I checked one in every british pound goes to Tesco. Companies like Amazon and Vodafone don’t pay their tax and yet we use these companies.

    As well as a voting and civil disobedience strategy, as outlined above, we need to work towards self reliance at a community level if we are to starve this beast. Adressing these issues at either the national or community level without the other is futile (though clearly each individual is likely to have greater aptitude in a specialised area). There are now some excellent templates for building this kind of resilience, such as transition towns, co-operatives (including local renewable energy and broadband infrastructure cooperatives) and permaculture based approaches.

    These two approaches (the political and ecological if you like) are not mutually exclusive, in fact they are mutually reinforcing. Stronger communities and resilient local economies lead to more free time, better exchange of information and cultural regeneration which can only inform greater participation in democracy. Localisation may seem anarchic but IMHO we should ignore calls to abandon national governmental structures (ie Russel Brands’). Whilst they remain, somebody is going to hold that power. It might just as well be everyone.

    An additional benefit is that strong communities have a stronger voice, which we need if we are going to change anything at the national level. Whilst the left has long been plagued by a fragmented place within party politics, communities can unite and develop an undertanding of what is needed. Balcombe is a great example. Their community was at risk of being ravaged by fracking, which we all know is being driven by corporate interests. Instead of just protesting, they also set up their own energy cooperative. If more communities did the same, the arguments behind fracking would quickly wither.

    http://bit.ly/R4TSX3

    1. Great advice. I also encourage local community, and it is so important. I live in an area strong in alternative thinking, full of intelligent artistic people. Our local farmers markets are strongly supported, we stopped franking in ‘lock the gate’ campaign and metagasco lost its licence but once the TPP is signed this would be impossible to stop, as well as plain package of cigarettes. The TPP will stop our government from making or changing any laws that affect the profit of multinational corporations, even if the company is adversely affecting the people, environment, and /or anything else. They will be above the law and are settling up their own closed door court system that are above our own laws.

      What insane person would agree to this? Your government is.

      Corruption of our laws is accepted. Why? If you rob a bank you go to jail, if you rob the people in the bank you are rewarded. Is that what democracy is?

      Why do people think if we are against corporate governance we are against democracy. Misinformation is rife.

  9. Your Britain explained

    Firstly I would like to Peter for setting up this site so those of us that support human rights and fairer system enabling a better quality of life for all can view their thoughts on how we can achieve that.
    Take immigration for instance, Immigration didn’t just happen the deliberate policy of Ministers from late 2000 was to open up the UK to mass immigration.
    A collection of essays published recently by the IPPR underlined the role of Gordon Brown’s Treasury in this affair. A high level of immigration made economic growth look better and helped keep wages and, therefore, inflation down.
    Others, too, saw economic benefits for themselves. The employers’ organisations kept their heads down, but there is little doubt that they were privately encouraging a supply of cheap labour which was good for profits, whatever its impact on society.
    Then there were those members of the middle classes who found it convenient to have cheap exotic restaurants and even cheaper domestic help, but were blind to the wider consequences of this population inflow which were, of course, felt in the poorer neighbourhoods.
    So for those immigrants that were fortunate enough to be let into Britain it was not to “do the jobs the British did not want to” as I have heard so many times, labour were discriminating against your cultures because you came cheaper.
    We can one hundred percent say the two leaders of this period Tony Blair & Gordon Brown were acting with racist & discriminatory intent.
    For those in Labour accusing other parties of racism or anyone still wanting to vote Labour maybe you should read the full article first. http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/pressArticle/83
    With the return to power in 2010 of the conservatives came privatisation, before the 2010 election the Tories promised “no top-down reorganisation of the NHS”. They were lying. They were secretly planning the biggest ever.
    Full article. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-want-privatise-nhs-cuts-3102993
    The Tories took office without a mandate, but with no lack of confidence. Their agenda, which had emerged since 2008, was to represent the crisis of global capitalism as a crisis of public sector spending. Having already privatised the Tote and announced the sell-off of Northern Rock, with other nationalised banks to follow, they have indicated that Royal Mail will be sold off, along with probation services, roads, large sectors of education and the NHS. Even sections of the police, traditionally an ally of the right, will be privatised. Outsourcing will be extended into every possible area.
    But, as in the 1980s, the aim is not primarily to reduce public-sector borrowing. The Tories know that on going economic crisis is not just a fiscal or financial problem. The private sector is utterly stagnant. Globally, there are trillions of pounds being retained by corporations who see no viable avenue for profitable investment. US companies are holding on to $1.7 trillion, Eurozone firms sit on 2 trillion euros, and British firms have £750bn doing nothing. Accumulation-by-dispossession is one way to get that money into circulation as capital. And while the Conservatives are not as ideologically confident as in the 1980s, the scale of their proposed privatisations suggests they expect to over-ride any opposition.
    In historical context, privatisation seems to answer a number of dilemmas for the Tories. By spreading market incentives, it erodes the public sector basis for Labourist politics. By opening the public sector to profit, it gets a lot of capital into circulation. And by reducing the power of public sector workers, it suppresses wage pressures, thus in theory making investment more appealing. Above all, perhaps, in shifting the democratic to market-based principles of allocation, it favours those who are strongest in their control of the market, and who also happen to represent the social basis of Conservatism.
    Before you vote may also want to read these articles. article.http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/the-depth-of-corruption-in-the-conservative-partys-new-privatised-health-system/

    http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com/2013/10/12-things-royal-mail-sell-off.html

    Labour or Conservative ? neither for me as both are corrupt and traitors to the British people.

  10. thanks! ty fer all you do. seeing this site has revitalized abit of my faith. again ty and good luck.
    best regards

  11. Its very difficult to know what to do for the best, especially when the cards are so unfairly stacked against us and the game so rigged.

    I float from never vote to strategic vote, feeling that its pointless as its just a another figure head of the same beast and so the status quo will never change.

    Especially when the general public are never educated as to the reality of things as fundamental as the fiat monitory system and how it enslaves us in real terms.

    Mortgages for instance and how the banks ask if we would like to “borrow money” to purchase a home when in fact its the bit of paper with your (and only your) signature on it which is true money and the banks are just creating a credit account for you to draw from, i.e. its your money in the future. and if that were not enough require you to pay back a mathematically impossible to pay back interest.

    Which in itself is unlawful yet the politicians and there masters (the banks) legalise this fraudulent practice through legislation, not to mention the unlawful and illegal act of usury and securitisation (multiple securitisation) and taking your power of attorney without mentioning it.

    Yet there was no mention of it in there manifestos.

    But i digress, my biggest concerns are to find solutions for humanity to either topple (peacefully if at all possible please) the oligarchs that enslave us or find the tools to allow us to empower our self’s.

    I feel drawn towards the technological everyman vote on every issue, but fear that with the current strangle hold of the media the masses will still be deceived into voting for what fits the masters best and add to that current GCHQ and NSA strangle hold on technology not to mention the manipulated voting software scandals of current electronic voting systems. (see USA polling stats) i cant see how we would get a fair shot still.

    And am very concerned about talk of revolution as you may or may not know movements like Occupy are just controlled opposition, and any other forms of mass action can be subverted into violence and televised to the unaware or apathetic masses to push for more cuts to our civil liberties.

    So i personally think the way to go is non-compliance and finding ways to educate the unaware and stir the apathetic into action and finding and presenting solutions that allow john smith and his local community to take part.

    But like you say, for the faint of heart i suppose an alternate vote is better than non.

    Will humanity wake in time or will we disappear from existence without a trace.

    Regardless i will continue to fight with passion and love for my fellow man, as my mom used to say “life’s not a dress rehearsal, your only here once”

  12. Representative democracy doesn’t work very well, and there’s the old saying about it being the worst of all systems except for all the others. Certainly there is still some way to go to improve how democracy operates. People don’t have what I call “the right to decide”, and that’s just the right to be able to vote on any collective decision if you feel strongly about it, or to raise an issue and have it voted upon. Instead in the current system a only a small group are the decision makers, and this makes it trivial for that community to be captured, bribed or otherwise influenced in a manner which is not in agreement with the wishes of the wider citizenry (no matter how they vote in general elections).

    In the past the idea of voting in person on anything would simply not have been practical, so representative democracy had its place and time, but now we have technology which could be used to implement real-time and secure voting for anyone who wants to participate in a debate. I think there are going to be interesting developments in online voting systems over the next decade, and I’m quite optimistic that this may lead to new forms of collective decision making which render the existing parties and practices irrelevant, allowing large numbers of people to mobilise rapidly and efficiently around particular issues or things which need to be done.

    1. I agree that representative decision making is not democracy at all. But proper participatory democracy, where we may vote directly for policies, could only work after a radical reconstruction of the education system. While Cameron, Osbourne, Blair et al learn how to mangle the political/economic system in the top public schools, the rest of us are hauled through the national curriculum on a diet of technology, religion and Shakespeare (no offence to the bard but not much use when it comes to choosing how to vote).

      It is tragic that while we have to prove ourselves responsible enough to drive we do not need a licence to vote, only to have reached an arbitrary age. But if a voting licence was implemented at present it would discriminate against the vast majority of people in the state school system. I would propose that politics is taken seriously at an early age, together with economics and critical history. In which case there would be no need of the debate about votes at 16. Anyone, at any age could show that they are capable of making important choices; I suspect that there would be bright 11 year olds who understand what they are doing in the ballot box, and many in their 40s who never gain the vote.

  13. We need, in my view, a complete change in our system of government. Having our Head of State chosen for us by blood-line enshrines privilege and inherited wealth as a basic principle of government and this, together with the fact that our PM wields more power as a result than any other leader of a Western democracy, has steadily corrupted our society over the years and continues to do so, leading to the hegemony we currently suffer.

    1. Wouldn’t it be nice if a group of savvy, decent people with the resources to set-up, publicise and promote a new, non-political Party, managed to get organised in time to put a candidate in every UK constituency in time for the May 2015 General Election?

      We could call it:

      VOTE (Voice of The Electorate) (Just a thought… VOTE VOTE does sound pretty catchy though.)

      Call it what you like but this new ‘non-political’ party would have no political agenda other than to work to realise the Will of the Majority of their local constituents for them in parliament.

      Each ‘VOTE’ candidate would be sworn to:

      Fight for real and significant tax reforms once taking their seats, so that the wealthiest 0.01% of the population, along with the major tax-dodging corporations, were no longer able to get away with keeping so much of their obscene, exploited wealth for themselves.

      To each send out regular public service podcasts, e-mail newsletters and notices in their local press/TV/radio stations to their own constituents, asking them what their preferred stand would be on ALL major issues as they arose. Constituents could then text or e-mail in their ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ preference to each proposal. Their elected representative would then vote, in parliament, according to the wishes of the majority of those who had bothered to express a preference – regardless of whatever their personal feelings on the issue in question may be.

      (e.g. Would you like us to send/withdraw U.K. armed forces into/from the current conflict in XXX?
      Would you like us to ban fracking in the U.K.?
      Would you like us to impose a 5 year freeze/ immediate cut on our own salaries?)

      Simple, effective democracy in action – just like that! Bam!

      … or do you think the wealthiest and most powerful few would manage to scare most people away from a concept as simple and effective as such a party would surely be if it were allowed to take proper root?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *