Sunday, 13 October 2013

White Album

White Rabbit In The Snow Filed At Midnight : Grafik Farm 2013
Staring at the future is a bit like looking for a white rabbit in a blizzard. Staring into the future is somewhere we all stand in a blizzard, usually at the bottom of a mountain beneath a burgeoning avalanche and no one can really see a thing above or below!

But our world is changing fast and I find it fascinating to take the figures, stats or data and try to second guess where we are headed. No, I don't like to use the word 'futurologist', that, to me, sounds a bit too much like clairvoyant, I would prefer to call myself a second guesser or researcher/writer - rewriter or, perhaps, a re-evolutionary - I quite like that actually - yes, re-evolutionary.

I also believe that it would be useful for us all to realise that we, as human beings, play some small part in our political, social and economic arenas, how they are structured and operated.

I had a chat with a few people this week about pensions and how and why they felt they were being ripped off. Three of these guys told me they had been made redundant, one of them after 37 years. These three would receive no unemployment benefit of any kind, despite paying into the pot for a combined 82 years!

Because they had a small pension all three had to make do with that. I asked if any of them had gone along to any of the marches against austerity, listened to any of the speakers, contacted their elected representatives, tried to change the system in any way.

They all shook their head.

Those marches were well attended, maybe in the thousands, five, six and in London it may have moved into double figures. But I can't help but thinking they all paled into insignificance when compared to the millions who took to the streets all over Brazil and actually joined together to force their elected leadership's hand.

Personally, I often write to my MP or member of the government, if I am lucky, once in while a nice Editor will have me write something that will be really meaningful and will resonate with the wider society, as for example, the Twitter article I wrote for the Mail On Sunday ( retold in the blog Zero History of the World).

When I speak to people, it seems as if the political arena and, especially capitalism, is, somehow, a great MACHINE that is operated by some kind of 'God-like' supernatural and untouchable being, who flies the contraption way above their heads. In short they feel totally powerless in the face of it all, and of those people I spoke with this week - all of them to a person - told me that 'it doesn't matter who you vote for'.

Hardly scientific I know but it makes you think when maybe eight or nine people tell you this.

I don't quite agree with that, of course, there are differences, even within parties (witness the run-of-the-mill Republican and their Tea Party counterparts) but often these structures seem so distant and removed for the ordinary day to day of most of us it can appear that way.

In an era when the UK political parties ( save UKIP - United Kingdom Independence Party) are experiencing plummeting membership, UK trade union membership is less than half what it was in 1979 and UK church attendance is declining, people are feeling increasingly isolated and impotent.

There are reasons, of course, why we are not joing political parties anymore, or going to church in such great numbers and deserting trade unions. There are reasons why people have become, atomised, and do feel increasingly powerless, and yet we all have it in our hands, in a small way, to try and make that difference.

One of the experiences from Brazil is illuminating. Many Brazillians, especially among their middle-class, considered protestors were often 'fanatical reds', 'violent individuals' and 'trouble-makers'. Inspired by social media,Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, however, where many could see that the protestors were people like themselves they took to the streets in their millions and changed their country.

I am not saying for a moment that we should all get out on the streets at every opportunity, but simply suggesting that people might actually be more powerful than they actually think, especially when they come together! Worth thinking about?
Question of the week : Andrew Marr (BBC Television Ocotober 12, 2013) 'Are the energy companies ripping us off?' - What do you think?

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