New year, new us

Monday, December 31, 2012

Despite a much anticipated apocalypse scheduled a fortnight ago, we have made it to the New Year weekend. 2012 is almost over; another revolution of the planet is complete, as is another year of revolution on the planet. We have seen civil war entrench itself deeper into the culture of the Middle East, power has changed hands in several nations and western democracies have seen their financial centres and public squares continue to be occupied by valiant protestors. 2012 has been the year of rancour and, it is reasonable to assert, 2013 shall be a year of reflection. 


Over this past year, the status quo has been challenged more consistently and more vehemently than ever before. How brilliant. Every successive generation possesses a certain disdain for the actions of the previous one and they are keen to observe contemporary history if only to point out the flaws they see. Ostensibly, the nature of humanity is dependent on (as well as shaped by) our politics. Humanity is moulded by politics and politics is moulded by humanity – so why should we, the next generation, not be entitled to mould it to suit us? As comfortable and “normal” as it may be, the status quo is one of the most restrictive, dangerous and blinding parts of society. It must be torn down like a derelict fortress, in order to expose the potential of the world within and to allow that to flourish.

Why should we continue to subject ourselves to living in a world governed by moneyed interests, ruled by elites and directed by a small clique of out-of-touch people? To sit back and sigh that there is no hope is the very action will kill hope. It could be proclaimed that idealism is a useless creed because it is overshadowed by the darkness of reality. But history is irrelevant. We are free to choose our own path and that will be the future. 

1% of people should not be allowed to exude influence they are not entitled to. They are not the majority. They are not the only ones who matter. They are not the holders of ultimate power. The power of the people is stronger than the people of power. United, we can send a message to the magnates: this is our country too.

It has long been dreamed that someday, our world would castigate the strength of the oppressors within, would shrug off the back-breaking weight of cruel injustice and would demolish the den of iniquity which has, for so long, masqueraded as the home of government and the centre of our economy. The myriad Occupy Movements are the most praiseworthy demonstrations we have seen in a long time. They are peaceful, they are sincere and they are driven. Let us drive them further still.

As a part of that message, we must insist democracy must be exercised in the most definitive sense of the word, as stipulated by the Greeks: ‘the rule of the people’. The democracy we see all around us, however, does not obey that definition. One freelance political observer, Todd Leith, regards Britain (and every other western power today) as a ‘police state using the illusion of democracy as a cloaked control mechanism’. I would argue that a control mechanism is precisely what democracy must be; but one over which ordinary people have direct authority.

That is the ideal affair. The reality we face is very different. In the world of greed and neglect we live in, it is easy to assume that the voice of the many has been muted and the ears of the few have fallen deaf; democracy was bought and sold long ago like a commodity fashioned by the forced labour of reluctant workers, with the price marked up extortionately by criminal salesmen and the profit stolen by desirous bosses; bought by the power hungry few and sold by the hesitant many.

When unity and expression are forbidden, freedom is also forbidden and liberty lost. That is why, following a volatile year of tumult and sharp protest, the world must at last open up its eyes, take stock of what it is witnessing; the world is not blind, it just has its eyes shut, therefore it blinds itself to its own beauty and character.  2013, I maintain, ought to be a year of reflection. Let’s make it our goal to really appreciate the value of life; after all, we have survived ‘Armageddon’, so why not take the opportunity to make this world a better place? Bolivia’s President said that the Mayan Prophecy did not allude to an impending apocalypse, rather it predicted the dawn of a new era of humanity. Will that happen? Or will humanity continue to sorely disappoint itself? The choice is ours to make. 

13 may be a traditionally unlucky number, but I have a feeling that 2013 could be a lucky year.

So, here is to a peaceful, prosperous and abounding New Year, everybody. All the best.

By Marc Winsland

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