Blog 29 here and today we come out swinging like a growling heavyweight boxer, who has stepped on his sons Lego and has found his next door neighbours slippers under his boyfriend’s bed. This is the angry militant blog that demands action. That screams for change, and is fed up of e petitions and strongly worded letters. It’s also written because today I’m grumpy, there are loads of great quotes on this subject, and I have indeed just stepped on my sons Batman Lego.
So onto those quotes –
“Yet what you need is not marches, demonstrations, rallies or wide associations, all of them are important. What you need is direct action. The sooner people understand that, the sooner we’ll begin to change things.” – King Arthur Scargill
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand besides us, fight with us.” – Christabel Pankhurst
“Cowardice is impotence worse than violence. The coward desires revenge but being afraid to die, he looks to others, maybe to the government of the day, to do the work of defence for him. A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a society of men and women” – Mahatma Gandhi
“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis…if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then… we should change the system itself” – Greta Thunberg.
What do they all have in common? The need for action from individuals. The need to be the change yourself, and commit to your cause. The need for solidarity against the system. Capitalism and power are never going to change by want of a polite “I say old chap, you wouldn’t mind taking a dip into your shareholders profit and consider not destroying the planet, the NHS, and the welfare state would you mind awfully?”
How did the suffragettes get the vote? How did Trade Unions gain their rights? How did the American civil rights movement change segregation law? Not by asking, but by demanding to be heard and refusing to go away quietly. The passion and commitment of the mass unified voice sends quivers down the panicky spines of the powerful. Extinction Rebellion in London the other week. Those brave souls risked arrest, personal abuse, fines etc – and now suddenly the country is talking climate change. Direct action at work.
So why don’t we do more of it? Are we all too damn selfish? Do we all sit behind our iPhone and nod and agree but leave it to others to make that sacrifice? Is it the rise of the I, and the demise of the WE in society. We are all guilty of it.
Two really great examples. Leeds City Council last month became the biggest council in the country to declare a climate emergency. Wonderful we thought, as we sipped our morning cuppa. What great chaps they are. That was my name on that petition, and on that letter I wrote, I said to myself. I took a self-congratulatory slurp of the leaves of the camellia sinesis plant, and settled into a morning of self-indulgent power to the people daydreaming….. and in reality what have they done? The council have now set out plans for a new road to Leeds Bradford airport. Yep, expanding airports is a great way to act in a “climate emergency” – I despair, and the tea turned dark and particularly bitter (that was a nice dramatic twist).
Another example – but this time with a positive outcome. The catering staff at Doncaster an Bassetlaw Hospital were TUPED over from their NHS contracts to the pantomime villains of this piece , the private firm Sodexo (boo, hiss). They had been promised pay rises in line with the NHS pay deal. However when the time came, these staff, already on a pittance, were refused that rise.
So what did they do? Did they grumble on their breaks and chunter aimlessly into an echo chamber? Well quite possibly they did, but they also took ACTION. Action that had an impact. With their unions help (UNISON) they voted to strike, and to kick their bosses in their wallets. The result after two days – the promised pay deal was delivered!!! Now if these catering staff, who must have felt very exposed, and very vulnerable giving up their hardly substantial wages can do it , then so can YOU.
Peaceful, direct action is the key. However as I delivered Labour leaflets last week for the council elections, I was the victim of several local direct actions against myself!! I was chased repeatedly through the streets, by several burly men in scenes that can only be described as the closing edits of the Benny Hill show. Comrades blamed the fragmented society post Brexit, I presumed that it was because they just knew me and had finally had enough of my wittering!
So to close, and to once more take to the quotes (great for the copy and paste and word count) – As the suffragettes said we need to see “Deeds not Words”. I’ll see you on the right side of the barricades brothers and sisters.
…..speak soon xxx