A FB friend whom I don’t know well but I respect his posts, and therefore his views, commented recently that he thought democracy was no longer tenable and that he thought revolution was brewing. His comment made me wonder what revolution looked like these days. I cannot imagine ‘the people’ flowing through the portals of the Dail, swarming through the corridors of powers and re-instating a new legislative assembly that would nationalise our assets, liberate our water, and energy resources, invest in our island and ensure equal status and pay for all. It’s not that I don’t want this, it’s just that I am not sure that the majority of people know what they want. People know what they don’t want. They don’t want too many taxes they can’t afford and they don’t want live in a society which is obviously corrupt and uncaring.
So what results do we want from our protest? We want jobs. We want enough to live on. We want homes that we can afford to pay for. And we want a health care service that looks after us, and we don’t mind paying for it as long as we have enough money. There is no evidence to show that we are overly concerned about revolutionary slogans such as fraternity, liberty and equality, as long as poverty, brutality, injustice are not shoved in our faces. After all, we have never lived in a fair and equal society.
Okay, we don’t like bankers, particularly when they make us bail out their debts. We don’t like politicians…why I’m not sure since we are the ones who put them there. But, we all know they are pivotal to the capitalist corporate system. But, we don’t really mind the system, once it doesn’t impinge too much on our individual selves, and we can’t see its internal workings. And anyway, what else is there?
Is this being very cynical or honest? I don’t know. Is my tongue in my cheek?
Revolution? I don’t know what system will improve our society, other than working democracy. A benign dictator might work to begin with. S/he may get national services running more effectively through ruthless organisation, but I am not sure it would last. And I think that society works better on a small scale where people participate in their own governance. The problem is that small, local governments are often insular and narrowly focussed and so restrict change and progression.
Sadly, the revolution in our society appears to have already taken place…the revolution of corporate business. Our world is now too interwoven and our societies are too inextricably linked through finance, communication, investment, and corruption for revolution to work. We are too comfortable. And comfortable people do not revolt with alacrity. We protest. And that is what we are doing, rightly so, in my opinion. It is good to see people engage. I believe the only way to sustainable change though is to inveigle our way into the system and ensure that we make it as fair and equitable, and as transparent and open as possible.
So we need to stand for election. And we need to organise to encourage and support people to stand for election. And we need more input into the politicians. Our local authorities need to be more accountable. Our local politicians need to engage better with civic society rather than on an individual basis. We need more women in government. We need more auditing and regulation. So, let’s do this in 2016. That would be one great way to commemorate the events in 1916.