I’ve thought about politics and economics a lot these past few months. I’m really interested in the mechanics of it all. One of the things I thought about was how much it would take before there was a revolution in this country. I had two conclusions:
1) It will never happen
2) It’s undesirable.
With regard to 1, I don’t believe that we’ll ever hit the point of such clearly felt oppression that people are willing to be imprisoned/die to make a difference. I may be wrong, but actually I hope it doesn’t happen, which leads me to explaining point 2.
I’m pretty sure that revolution is the most damaging kind of disruption. There are so many examples of where it has been the only (and necessary) route that we have plenty to learn from. Large-scale disruption is a guaranteed way to plunge everything into chaos for a considerable length of time and I don’t think that’s the answer to our problems (if you don’t think we have problems then this is probably a good point to stop reading).
In a democratic country we only really have two routes to making change: democracy and revolution. We can either go through the democratic process we’ve fought so hard to build and protect, or we can overthrow the government through other means. If we rule out revolution for practical reasons then we need to focus on the democratic process.
To put it bluntly, the democratic process isn’t working. The choices we have are increasingly futile, and fewer and fewer people believe that the government is acting in the best interests of the citizens. Given the current state of the opposition and the suicide of a third political party we’re also highly likely to maintain the current government at the next election.
The alternative parties we have are often single-issue extremists. While they may make gains in certain areas, around key topics, they never seem likely to be viable as a full government. In part this is because they fragment opinion, but it’s also because they don’t demonstrate a capability of handling all the functions of the State.
I believe this leaves us in a difficult, but not escapable position.
There is an unprecedented opportunity to build something better. And at the heart of it is a very simple idea. Instead of creating a political party that enters the next general election on the promise of making things better, let’s demonstrate how things can be made better first. Use all the ideas, enthusiasm, and practical experience to re-invent the functions of the state, from health and education to banking, as if people mattered.
We have the knowledge and technologies to build things from the ground up, create all the functions of the State and big business in parallel, demonstrate new approaches to strong communities. And, most importantly, pull this together through the vehicle of a crowd-funded political party. In other words, we could go for the big target. OK, it’s a bit ambitious. But there’s more out there to draw on than ever before. And we have the means to connect it all up. In other words, this is practical.
There’s a lot more to this than I want to write here. I wanted to keep this post as short as possible. There’s a lot more to be said about what a political party formed on social principles might look like. There’s a lot more to be said about what properly designing the State around its citizens might look like. There’s a lot more to be said around network dynamics and democracy. But I think we should revisit that later.
For now, I want there to be a clear next step. There will most likely be a get-together of some sort at the end of November to get some perspectives on the idea. In the meantime the easiest way to communicate is probably a Twitter account. So, if you want to stay connected then please follow @citizenstate on Twitter. And, of course, please share.