We’ve been conditioned to think that change will only come about by casting a vote in a local or national election every few years. After this, we’re supposed to trust our politicians and the council officers and civil servants paid to support and advise them to get on with the job. That’s because we’ve been fed the myth that they really do have our interests at heart. The thing is, more folk are beginning to see through this myth.
Okay, there are occasional exceptions where voting will bring about drastic change, the 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union being one of them! The problem with that was that although the referendum delivered a vote to leave, the powers that be couldn’t agree what leave actually meant, let alone implement a negotiating strategy that would deliver a deal people could support. Which is why Brexit is a total shambles.
One thing the Brexit shambles has taught us is that our so called leaders a) can’t be trusted and b) would struggle to organise a booze up in a brewery. If you read our sister blog, The South Essex Heckler, you’ll see examples of where we’ve been let down time after time at a local level by our councillors and council officers. Do you agree with us that ordinary people collectively working together could do a better job of running our lives?
We can’t go on like this and radical change is needed to put us on the path to a more just, sane and sustainable future. Radical, progressive change isn’t going to come about by working within the confines of the system. It will only come about by all of us collectively working at the grassroots level in our communities, workplaces and colleges.
Bringing about radical change doesn’t have to start on a grand scale. It can start with small victories such as getting the council to see sense and do the right thing for your neighbourhood or setting up a community project that makes a real difference to people’s lives. Small victories boost community morale and confidence, leading to more ambitious aims and demands.
The group of residents who took over the running of Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope (see Expropriation of land) is one such example. From the modest idea of keeping what was a neglected park free of litter, the project has developed and the park is now a much loved, well used community asset. Everyone involved in bringing that about has had a massive boost to their confidence, knowing what they’re doing working collectively with other volunteers is making a real difference to community morale in the town. A lot of the volunteers may not realise but with what they’re doing, in many ways they’re becoming anarchists:)
Grassroots activism is a vital part in bringing about change. If there’s no base in our neighbourhoods, workplaces and colleges, there’s nothing to support and sustain the larger scale change that’s needed. As we move further into an unpredictable, volatile and challenging 2019, getting stuck in at the grassroots with projects that make a difference in the here and now is essential if we’re going to win the struggle for a better world.