“The current way of doing politics and our economic life on this Earth is coming to an end.”
“A peaceful, harmonious society requires that people are fairly treated.
For now, there is no justice, no peace. The breakdown of consensus is painfully visible in the poisonous cloud of abuse and polarisation on mis-named ‘social’ media.
This is not working. So what comes next?
The Far Right, because it trades in bogus certainties and machismo, has the clearest plan.
It is rising in America, Europe and in the UK with its takeover of the Tory party.
It appeals because it pretends to return control to those who feel shut out of the existing political system, though in fact its only strategy is more authoritarianism, justified by whipped-up racism and fear of The Other.
The Left and Greens offer a more sympathetic proposition but no political party can honestly claim to represent ‘the people’ or even ‘the many’.
No single party can claim support from more than about a third of the adult population. One-party government is therefore a recipe for endless political confrontation, with its own polarising dialectic.
When people take to the streets, the political system isn’t working.”
“A kind of direct, participatory democracy, inspired by anarchist thinking, is now thriving in Syria, of all places. Outside of regime control, in the predominantly Kurdish north-east, local councils make the decisions.”
“Technology can help share information (though we need better ways to verify it) but the Internet, clearly, is not a good place to take complicated decisions. Study evidence shows that people are much more likely to agree when they meet in person – and often.
It makes sense: You may detest that shouty man who attacks teachers on Twitter if you only know him online.
In person, you may feel differently when his eyes fill up over the treatment of his special needs child in the under-funded local school or when the teacher gets to explain her reality. Real-life democracy requires give-and-take, that my concession today may invite yours tomorrow.
We respect and listen to each other more when we see each other as messy, lovable humans rather than reductive political labels.
This is the beating heart of anarchist self-government: the struggle to understand, make decisions and live with one another. But this is the beating heart of a civilised, fair and tolerant – indeed loving – society too.”
“Building a new democracy and society requires us not only to demand it but to do it ourselves.”