Monday, December 31, 2012

When people decided that enough was enough

Long ago, society was being overwhelmed by a series of catastrophes to which there seemed no answers. Unemployment, poverty and inequality were rife as a global crisis took hold. The old capitalist economic system had run its course and was unsustainable.

The world was choked with products, many of them out of date as soon as they came off the production lines. Huge dumps and rubbish piles accumulated and overwhelmed parts of the planet. Waste, some of it lethal, became big business as it was shipped across the globe.

People became poorer as they lost jobs and services were cut by a undemocratic governments in the pockets of the corporations. Increasing numbers depended on charity food banks just to survive. Obesity and diabetes epidemics affected the poor – due to the marketing of junk food by agribusiness and supermarkets.

As ordinary people fell into deeper debt and could not afford high rents and mortgages, they saw their government continue to hand over hand vast amounts of public money to bankers and financiers. Britain’s debts continued to rise at every level as the global money markets and speculators ruled the roost. The ConDem coalition blamed the people and said they had to tighten their belts for another five years.  

Floods swept Britain for an entire year as extreme weather resulted from climate change. Green belt areas, parks and woods were ruined, as property speculators ran rampant. On the global scale, ecological disasters mounted. Air pollution due to carbon emissions together with rainforest clearing increased icecap meltdown at a rate that outpaced scientific predictions.

By 2012, parliament as a representative, democratic law-making body had become discredited. Corrupt collusion between media, parliament and the police was exposed and people stopped trusting those in power. Large numbers of people refused to vote in elections. Top state institutions - the BBC and the Church of England - were riddled with crises. The Trade Union Congress organised a protest against government cuts, but people had clearly lost confidence in its feeble bleating.

People could see no way out through the existing political system and could only look forward to years of cuts in jobs and services. The parliamentary alternative was a return to Labour, which was equally – if not more – tied to the global corporations and business.

But during 2012, there were glimmerings that people realised new kinds of politics were needed. Despite the media obsession with medals, naked corporate interest and security madness, people were enthused by the London Olympics. They seemed to indicate a hidden mass creativity whereby ordinary people could accomplish the impossible.

In 2013, people realised that the political system, the institutions of the state, had become a brake on the aspirations of those it ruled over. A fundamental transition to greater democracy was needed.   

Inspired by the global Occupy movement and movements such as those in Egypt and Latin America – in particular the Cochabamba World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth - people in Britain said it was time to determine their own fate. They looked into their history and discovered that at the time of the English Revolution during the 1640s, the Leveller movement had put forward an Agreement of the People.

Surely a new constitution could provide a new framework for the society of the 21st century? If the existing system had lost its legitimacy it was up to the people to work out a new solution. So groups of people in London and around the country began to call for a new Agreement of the People for the 21st century.

It provided a basis for transferring power from the old institutions to democratic grass roots movements, organised by co-leaders who were accountable to people’s assemblies. They took the discussion over what rights such an Agreement had to enshrine out far and wide through the country. Large numbers of people came forward with their grievances and brought their ideas for a future society into the debate.

The idea of a constitution began to take root and eventually the mass of the people did it. They rose up and cleared out the fat cats, the speculators and the billionaires and set up an alternative people’s parliament, using the internet and social networking technology to make it inclusive. Land was declared a common treasury. Global corporations in Britain, banks and supermarkets were taken into co-operative ownership and control.

The transition was not easy. As the movement from below gained strength, some people in the ruling elites broke ranks and joined in. But those in power did not want to let go of their privileges and resisted. But for once in history, the movement did not allow itself to be taken by surprise. They realised that they had to take power from the old rulers. In the end, the One Percent could not keep their machinations secret, were overwhelmed and lost control for good.

A World to Win editors 
Revolutionary New Year's greetings!

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