In a previous article I wrote that a general strike would be a disaster because Britain is a conservative country where a huge majority would choose the devil they know if it was a straight choice. But i’m not talking about just a middle class, home counties type of conservatism (that’s actually a very small part of it) it’s also many others who have given up thinking that things can change, some that aspire to ‘get ahead’ in the current system, some that are just too busy and under pressure even to have room in their minds to hope. Many of these people are angry, pissed off and know that the system doesn’t really work for them but have come to terms with it and decided to get on and make the best of bad job. These are the people that pass by the leafletting activist surrounded by a headphone comfort blanket, react to a student fee increases by starting to save or a library closure by offering to run it themselves.
These people need something that will work straight away, that will feel good and doesn’t make great claims. They need something that they can do without embarrassment, that feels familiar and is part of something that is almost universally agreed to be a good thing – i think that thing could be real local democracy. Democracy is incredibly powerful because almost everyone thinks its a good thing but yet no one really agrees on what it is, but, given that most people think that politicians don’t do a very good job and that they probably know better themselves what’s good for them then any paid bureaucrats it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade people that democracy means everyone in a local area discussing issues face to face and then making decisions.
And even conservatives want democracy, even those that are proper tories, and others we totally disagree with, but it’s fine, because we are confident that our ideas are better, and our arguments stronger, aren’t we?
And when people do this political labels lose their meaning and revolutionary ideas can be discussed on their merits, without the baggage they are often packaged with. This kind of self organising also becomes addictive and with communications technology the simple idea could spread very quickly. I fully expect better lives in more supportive communities to mean less need need to work for wages outside of them – gradually reducing our reliance on and withdrawing from the capitalist system.