Ideas for Revolution

No more silence

It’s painfully obvious, isn’t it?  If you silence people, they’ll make their voices heard in whatever way they can, whether they really understand what they’re trying to say or not.

Stop telling them to shut up, that they’re to blame for their situation, that they’re stupid and have to get wait in line.  Stop talking over them, making out like they’re invisible.  Stop walking past them on the street, looking away from them on the bus, pretending not to see.  And listen to them – i mean really listen, not just go through the motions – and show people how to get the expert help, counselling and advice they need.

It may be blindingly obvious to ‘people like us’ (whatever the fuck that means) what to do and where to go when we’ve got XYZ problem, but not everyone knows they can get help beyond Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It’s amazing how well people respond if you actually genuinely give a fuck about them.

An end to conspicuous consumption

Advertising, yeah, let’s blame the advertisers for a moment.  I’m messing of course.  Not that i have much time for that industry.  But anyway, yes, we’re constantly told that we have to own this, that and the other, to be anyone, to have sex with anyone, to take out loans/buy on credit in order to spend the equivalent of several months’ wages on Christmas when most of us don’t have the means to spend anything.

Because if you don’t, you’re mean, you’re unfashionable, you’re no good, right?  Even people like me, who consciously choose not to buy into most of the trappings of modern living, can’t help but fall prey to some of it.

If – and no, i’ve no firm idea how to make this the case – we can stop equating success with possessions; if the price of stuff doesn’t depends on whether or not it’s got some fucker’s name brand on it; if it were really true that money didn’t buy happiness, or rather, that a lack of money didn’t necessarily lead to misery and deprivation; if pop stars, politicians, business people and whoever else didn’t feel the need to spend vast quantities of dough on more expensive versions of the same stuff we all buy, but bigger and made by someone famous; if, if, if…  Well, you know what i’m going to say, i’m sure.

Which leads us onto…

Promotion of voluntary simplicity

Seriously though, i don’t mean this just in a middle-class kind of “ah, we don’t need no mo’ possessions, maaaan”.   What i mean is, most people haven’t even heard of voluntary simplicity, have they?  Let alone actually considered it as a viable way to live.  I know there was a brief flurry of books advocating the joys of an experiment in spending less for a temporary period of time, knowing you’re going back to your bad old ways eventually; but that’s not really the same as teaching it as a viable option to kids in schools while they’re still young enough to be idealistic and interested.

Education

Education should be for EVERYONE – not just those who can afford it.  And besides, the education system needs a massive overhaul as it’s clearly failing so many people, of all ages.  I’m not an expert on the subject – the library’s my stomping ground, not the school – but of course i’m interested.  I had a shit time at school, totally miserable, but i accepted it and carried on because i just didn’t know it didn’t have to be like that.

Part of this point goes back to people just not knowing what to do, what options there are out there.

Kids are so bored and get into so much trouble cos it’s something to do; because they don’t realise that, firstly, there are other things to do and secondly, that those things aren’t boring as fuck.  You just try mentioning stuff like libraries, free museums and art galleries, music recitals and all that sort of thing to some people and see what reaction you get.  But show them how enjoyable it can be – somehow – and you give them so much more.

Teach (and encourage) people how to express it with words

A lot of people grow up and get old and die with no idea how to do this.  Little children speak their mind, not necessarily terribly eloquently, but this isn’t exactly encouraged, let alone developed, amongst many social groups, is it?  Too many people, from ALL social strata, have any confidence to even try to say what they think or feel drummed out of them at a young age.  Too few people have been taught what i see as one of the most essential things in life – how to find out all the facts and form the beginnings of a coherent argument.  I don’t think i ever was.  As a result, such people haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to find out enough to form a real opinion on things that affect them, nor to express what they think or feel about it – let alone expect anyone to listen.  Which invariably breeds impatience and frustration and not going to find out about stuff before mouthing off or worse, kicking off.  Just look at the bigoted crap spouted by the Daily Heil and so many of its readers.  Which is why i want to be a librarian, i suppose.

Representation, representation, representation

How can we give a fuck about party-politics when it’s so far removed from real life?  Look at, for just one example, the MP expenses scandal, with all their cries of “i’ve done nothing wrong” and “well, everyone was doing it, so i thought it was OK”, versus the threats to so-called benefits cheats that the authorities are onto them.

But anyway, my point is that People Like Us aren’t fully represented.  I know it’s getting way better and it’s not going to magically change overnight, but why not widen it properly – allow fifteen-year-olds, youngsters with few prospects, unemployed people with no qualifications, homeless people, people with mental health issues, addicts… etc etc etc… to hold office, sit in Parliament and actually have a voice?  We’re part of society too, like it or not, so let us be represented.

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Published in: on 26/08/2013 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment