We are creating an excellent local model but ....
The SH AGM was another well attended, top networking event with over 50 people from all across the Hackney spectrum. We are doing really well and the network grows steadily everyday (over 600 networking on the SH website). However, there remains and enormous gulf between this sustainable reality in miniature and the rampant capitalist destruction happening locally, nationally and globally.
Even the most basic minimum, household recycling, is still ignored by huge numbers of people. As I see it the problem however is not that the uninitiated do not understand Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If we really want to see change we need to challenge ourselves against any assumption that there is any specific issue or answer. Instead we need to address widespread ignorance about how our society is governed. That ignorance is as prevalent amongst the politically initiated as the apparently apathetic. We need to understand why people have so little regard for the future; is it apathy, fear or sense of hopelessness?
It is important to KEEP THINGS FUN and that is what we did at the AGM but because we have to FACE THE BIGGER PICTURE I made a brief speech with reference to many of the less comfortable realities of our society. Fundamentally, you have to ask, is this system we are living in really a democracy; or anything like one? The US/UK have created permanent war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan – transferring tax £billions to private arms companies whilst millions die. Israel imprisons an entire people and butchers them at will. Media narratives are highly manipulated and picking out reality amidst the spin is not easy. But with such vast contradictions between what we are told and what we know we must read the symbols that transcend the propaganda.
In the UK, despite savage public sector spending cuts, more is being spent on water cannons, prisons, surveillance, secret police spies and propaganda. Corporations spend billions on advertising that doesn’t just encourage us to consume, it deploys an array of sophisticated imagery, artistry and psychology to deliberately manipulate our feelings. Feelings of insecurity, hunger, desire and ambition are harnessed, not to drive personal development but sublimated and perverted to sell transient commodities. I phones, me clothes, not you cars. Meanwhile state managed propaganda gives UKIP mass publicity with no mention of their reactionary policies. Julian complete Farce was in every newspaper, on every TV news bulletin, with far greater coverage than Ed Milliband, despite UKIP never having had a single MP. Green MP Caroline Lucas was on Newsnight in May, 30 minutes after polls closed.
At the same time “economic recovery” means the rich get richer as the poor get poorer, and “development” provides not homes for the homeless but inflated investment units where rich landlords and builders make millions more. When was the last time you heard any commentator or politician pointing out the absurdity of the government subsidised housing scam for the rich? Instead all we get is idiotic demands to build more debt prisons (aka private flats), destroying both social housing and biodiversity in the process.
If we want others to jettison their apathy and believe in a better future then we too have to challenge our conservatism and credulity. We need to understand the pervasive and sophisticated censorship we are subjected to: silence in the media on action from the left, the radical, the generous and concerned (e.g. Climate Camp, Anti-Fracking, NHS Action, Green Party, etc.). In media propaganda speak the word radical now means (reactionary) Islamic fundamentalists. The symbols are there if you choose to see them. Even 50 years after JFK's assassination every mainstream voice repeated the lie that Oswald did it and completely suppressed the truth.
Even our own Tree Musketeer/Sustainable Hackney RELEAF awards were censored from all local media. Purportedly liberal media like the Guardian and BBC attack the sane (Snowdon, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Left (Galloway, Harman) while putting up a defence of perpetrators (tabloids, corrupt police, Saville, spooks, Blair). Even local Labour politicians are so desperate to appease power they attack what's right (Pipe's hostility to Tree Musketeers or Louise Thomson's attacks on Pilger and Assange). The mainstream media are State/corporate controlled and that is why they fail to make those responsible for the banking crisis, phone hacking, corrupt police, newspaper/political elite relationships accountable. Those in power are completely unaccountable - no bankers went to prison and Blair is a peace envoy! Meanwhile the powerless, the unemployed, poor, migrants, public sector workers, are criminalised, tied up in paperwork, subjected to scurrilous propaganda and repression. We need to seek out independent grassroots media that will tell us the truth and we need to be part of telling that truth.
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