Democracy is in danger, from us

Yesterday I was out in the streets of Stroud with a lot of other people, raising awareness of the Trans-Atlantic trade deal under way and its grim implications for democracy. I think big corporations have too much influence as it is, giving them more power is not a good thing. is you haven’t signed the petition yet.

I had a lot of really good conversations with people. I had a lot more where I said ‘this is a real threat to democracy’ and people shrugged, or said ‘I’m not interested’ and walked away. I can’t help but feel if I’d said ‘this is about a real threat to your television watching’ they would have cared. Such are our priorities.

People died to get us the democracy we have. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than many of the options. And yet we’re so complacent about it, and so blind to our own power and responsibility. We’ll abdicate power to any outfit that wants it. We’ll shrug, not wanting to make the effort to know, not wanting the inconvenience of getting involved. I can’t help but feel that if we act that way, we will get what we collectively deserve, namely a ticket back to the dark ages with our hard won rights stripped from us.

We all have power and we all have responsibility, it’s just that the vast majority of people prefer to ignore it. If we all decided, today, to fix all the inequalities in the world, sort out long term sustainability, deal with climate change and protect species from extinction, we would be well on the way to fixing every problem there is within the week. All we have to do, is do it. All we need, is the collective will, and that collective will is made up of individuals getting their bottoms into gear. Democracy is us, and if we bare our necks to the teeth of the corporate vampires, we really shouldn’t be surprised if they bite us.

I love 38 degrees. People led, people funded, doing what it can, and getting results. Every time you see a UK news item where the government have changed direction, there’s usually been a campaigning group in the mix, pushing for just that. Hundreds of thousands of people have roared, and something has shifted. Some of those wins are small, but every win counts. You can tell it works because they’re trying to legislate to shut us down around elections.

I think crowd-based campaigning, coupled with crowdfunding, are the future. When we come together to make things happen, we make things happen, and that enables a lively, active kind of democracy. Anyone who shrugs and walks away loses their voice in that, and may not like what it gets them, but that’s also part of what democracy means – choosing not to speak up means choosing not to have a voice. If enough of us can’t be bothered, then a small minority rules unchallenged. It’s like feudalism, only without the leprosy. Although saying that, if we privatise health so that the poor cannot afford care, (and TTIP makes that more likely) we open the door to get our mediaeval illnesses back. Because everyone loves the romance of weeping sores and untreated cancerous growths, right?

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Democracy is in danger, from us

  • Aurora J Stone

    Spot on here Nimue – humans may be political creatures, but like some many other things, humans are lazy. It is so easy to become disillusioned. Especially if one never votes for a winner, backing the candidate that one chooses because of belief, not to keep someone totally undesirable out of the top spot. True democracy is always a threat to those who use it as a disguise for something else. The demos riled is not something pretty, as so many revolutions have proved. Easier, by manipulating things like pay scales and the like, to pacify or keep them/us in their/our places making just enough to give us the illusion of making a living and having a life, heaven forbid at the same time, so hard, soul destroying and enervating that there is no energy to pay attention. Then there is sucking everyone into the trap of wanting which easily transmutes into needing the latest model of whatever so one slides into debt so there is so much concern about that there is no room for look out for what is happening around one. With no energy one is so much less likely to see what is lost, having been told repeatedly, ‘But see what you’ve gained.’ Insidious, truly insidious.

    Your last two sentences pretty much sum it up, really.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    It is rare that governments ever forcibly take away our rights. Instead they convince us it if is patriotic for us to give them up during the present emergency. Then all they need do is never let the emergency ever come to an end. But the rights so easily laid aside often take a great deal of time and bloodshed to get back once lost.

  • TTIP FLYER – 38 DEGREES – Rex |

    […] Democracy is in danger, from us […]

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