Introducing a dirty word
There are lots of things in our lives that we don't find it easy to talk about. Some of them are even 'taboo'.But there's one thing which we talk about, all of us, all the time, and never give its proper name because that name is, for most of us, a rather dirty word.
That thing is Politics.
It's such a dirty word that you could well be ready to stop reading right now.
But before you do, think back for a minute on the conversations you've had this week. What were they really about?
Did you complain about the pricing of something which has gone up again?
Did you talk about problems with the Council, or with your mortgage, or with your wages?
If you work, did your boss get you down again this week, or was it the fighting in the office?
If you're unemployed, were you depressed because you walked past shops and people who all seem to live on a separate planet?
Or was it a row with a loved one over money, or with the kids, or just because you're so tired and full of stress that anything sets you off?
If your week sounded anything like that, you're not alone.
What happens in our lives is not entirely up to us, and when we talk about life we are also making political statements about how we would like things to be.
Politics is only a dirty word because the politicians have made it into a game that you play in parliaments to score off the opposition.
Their games are none of our concern, but our own lives matter, and the politics of our lives must matter to us as well. The things that worry you, that may be mentioned above, are the sort of politics we want to talk about. Not party politics, but real life.
The problems that we have in our lives don't get talked about by the papers or politicians or on Question Time. That is left to us, on our own, in pubs or among friends.
- Why do we have to work for bosses?
- What is the point of saving when inflation eats it all up?
- Why do people starve when supermarkets throw food away?
Here are some examples of 'Common Sense', and underneath, the feelings, or as they are more usually called, the 'Bad Attitudes' that a lot of people have about them.
Common Sense: This is a prosperous country.
Bad Attitude: Where is all this prosperity when you're on the dole or three months behind with the mortgage?
Common Sense: If you want to 'make it', work hard and be thrifty.
Bad Attitude: Like my parents did, and look at them. Besides, what's the point when some yuppie can make my life's earnings in twenty minutes on the Stock Exchange?
Common Sense: Other people are worse off than you. If you've got an ounce of decency you should be grateful, and give to charities.
Bad Attitude: Alright, I can't walk past a collecting box without feeling guilty, but however much I pay, the problems don't seem to go away. If anything they get worse. Why won't the government pay?
Common Sense: Politics is for politicians. I wouldn't fancy trying to run the country.
Bad Attitude: Mind you, for ￡140 thousand a year plus expenses I couldn't do any worse than them, could I? All they care about is their own power.
If you have something like this 'bad attitude' problem', don't despair.
There are others like you, not in hundreds or thousands, but in millions.
The New Society
So far we have been describing the sort of world that people don't enjoy living in. Now we'll describe a world we think people could enjoy a lot better.
It is property ownership stands between us and any real meaningful of us freedom. The power it gives is not safe in anyone's hands. The world society we propose does not use it. It would therefore have to abolish the concept and use of money.
In the new society, all things would be freely made and freely given. There would be nothing to pay, and no money to pay It with, since there could be no wages for work done.
Perhaps you ask: how are we supposed to get work done if nobody Is going to get paid for it? Why should we even get out of bed in the morning. The simple answer is: If nobody can be bothered to make the slightest effort then we've all had it!
But work itself, like so many other things, would change out of all recognition. Gone would be the Boss, and fear of the sack. Gone would be the drudgery of doing a job you hate just to pay the rent. Instead great opportunities would open up for people to choose their job, to change jobs more frequently, to work far shorter hours. It is not simply work that would change for the better.
Warfare would change too – out of existence. Can you think of a war that was fought, in reality, over anything other than money? We can't. Whatever the propaganda made us all believe at the time, all the wars of history have been squabbles over money, land, trade routes and so forth. In the new society, arguments like that Just couldn't arise, because no one would own these things in the first place.
We think the new society could benefit all in an enormous number of ways. Free travel anywhere in the world; pleasant, interesting work to choose; a sense of feeling useful, of belonging, of playing a part in things; a strength in yourself to be yourself, and not to have to take orders from anybody at all.
Imagine waking up in a world where nobody in It is starving to death. Imagine being able to walk around at night without fear. Imagine having time for things, and for people. Imagine having enough at last, without having bills to make your life a misery.
Obviously we have not persuaded you, in this short time. But we hope we've managed to interest you, if only a little.
(Adapted from some Lancaster Branch leaflets.)