The present situation we are facing demonstrates why capitalism isn’t working, if it ever has.
From ancient times cultures have been aware of what is happening in the present will have an effect on the future. Whether it was determined through a message from the spirit world or a sage. There had been a general sense of what you sow in the present is what you will reap in the future. Continue reading →
Then along came the western colonisers and blew all of this off as superstition. Which it was, part of it. But what was not understood was the underlying structures of these spiritual beliefs, of common sense, ecological development, solidarity and survival, that had been developed over thousands of years. These were also washed over as the plunder of indigenous resources to feed the insatiable greed of the western religion of development, as their grip took hold across continents.
This has all happened in such a small period of time on the clock of the world. The development of the human species living in reasonable harmony with each other over millennia has been reduced in the cycle of a few hundred years back to the so called barbarism, that so called, civilisation, set out to replace. Not only the present situation and the inability or political will to even think about it rationally, never mind coming up with a strategy to deal with it . And if we do, when we do, we will still have the climate apocalypse waiting for us in the wings along with countless imperialist wars, the neoliberal project, reducing our only choice being to survive within its parameters or perish. There will continue to be pandemics by other names if things, as they are, continues.
But as a friend commented. ”My calculations show that our carbon emission targets to save the planet were met yesterday. Tell me why we need to reopen the car factories again?” Good question that could be related to many of the same kind of opportunities that could be met under the present crisis.
At present the elite will be figuring it all out – what will be the end game of this disaster. What will rebound to make the best profit, how many lives will it cost, how many jobs will it cost? And at the end how many evictions? Because that is the day these people will be aiming for. You would have to be naive given the repeating circumstances, to believe there would be any compassion in a business contract, because that is the relationship we have with our government. Why would we be surprised? Saving lives should be what it is about not the predicted death rate in a cost benefit analysis. Somebody’s right to make a profit weighed up with somebody’s right to live.
There is a time (which could potentially be now) when we need to step back. To look in the mirror. To sit in a darkened room and to think and ask the following questions. What am I doing here? What part do I play in the capitalist charade that is unfolding before me? What has happened in the recent past that would encourage me to believe that the government has my interests at heart, in the present, or for the future?
There are no easy answers. But when the dust settles on the Corona virus the choices will be, some kind of “Socialism” or
“The Neoliberal Project Part II.” This is the situation that we are in right now and we should start to think about how to make good use of our time spent in isolation. Remember hedgefunders wont let a crisis go to waste.
The term activist is a bit odd as it implies everybody else is inactive, which is far from the case. But for this we will imagine an activist as someone engaged in public life, in political life, is interested in things outside of the private. Should that not be everybody? Is there such a thing as inactivism? After all, to do nothing has as big an impact on things as whatever else happens.
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Today maybe more than ever. So what is meant by activist, or activism, here is a marker to describe those odd people, to varying extents, that have some kind of political obsession. I guess what is meant by politics here needs some clarification to. Politics, in this sense, is what we do together; by discussing things, coming up with ideas consensually, by inclusion and by keeping as many people happy as possible, before making final decisions and acting on them. Politics is the act of engaging in public life. This description for the purposes here, should not be confused with “party politics”, which is something completely different.
So what is activism here, in terms of what has being described above? Well specifically, activities towards implementing ideas that will force institutional change. The banking institutions; corporate institutions, state institutions and the powerful conglomerates, who for profit, ensure that many live in poverty. This is the high end of what needs to be achieved. If we can understand a bit about what is going on up there, we can understand what we need to do down here. This is the bit, apart from the obsessed, where peoples eyes start to glaze over. Attempting to explain to folk who are politically disengaged for many reasons, what is going on up there, in the corporate stratosphere . All they can see is the mad rush of their lives flashing past. All the things they need to do, or would rather think about, apart from, (to them) the abstract and intimidating world of the “activist”. What’s this got to do with me? A question constantly posed and rarely answered.
The general problem with the activist, (self included) is that they usually know a lot more about what is going on up there, than they do about what is going on down here. This isn’t a criticism of the need for better understanding, more a question of context, more a question of what is needed at this point in time. The question is not only about getting folk away from the television, consumerism and private life into public life, into the community, but also about getting the activist away from academia, social media, esoteric groups, the protest culture and the constant defense of their own righteous position, into the same community. We all need to have things we enjoy doing and that interests us. The point is. If that is all that we are doing, no matter how important we feel it is, we also need to ask. Who, and what purpose is it serving?
“If you look over the developments in recent years, there’s been severe retrogression on economic and political issues, but considerable progress on cultural and social issues.” Noam Chomsky
In other words we are making much progress in cultural change and around social issues. There are a mass of wonderful things going on. But there are two things. Where is the infrastructure work growing out of this progress that will be powerful enough to challenge institutional power, i.e. the banks? Where is the work going on to engage the many ordinary folk we will need to raise to that challenge? In the world of the activist, we can usually fill rooms to listen to and watch how others, in other countries build and raise the kind of awareness and solidarity needed to challenge corporate power. Which is ok in itself. But in our own communities the same handful of folk will turn up when the problem is our own social housing, or such like, that is at stake. Sure there is commendable stuff going on on the ground and much to admire that we should be thankful for. But it is enough to shift the might of the powerful? To hurt as Michael Albert says, what they hold dear? That will take a massive mind shift in the population, but will still have more to do with practicalities than philosophy. A bit less peer to peering on the network and a bit more education to where it is needed most. By us getting out more, by showing up, by being active, in all the right places.
The following offers some ideas for going forward. Yet again not much is mentioned of building grass roots networks that relate to peoples day to day lives. Maybe that could be part of a shared program?
With their 1994 battle cry, “Ya basta!” (“Enough already!”) Mexico’s Zapatista uprising became the spearhead of two convergent movements: Mexico’s movement for indigenous rights and the international movement against corporate globalization.
‘I think we have to start by admitting that we don’t have the answers. The fact that we think that taking state power is the wrong way to go does not mean that we know the right way. Probably we have to think of advancing through experiments and questions: “preguntando caminamos” — “walking we ask questions” — as the Zapatistas put it. To think of moving forward through questions rather than answers means a different sort of politics, a different sort of organization. If nobody has the answers, then we have to think not of hierarchical structures of leadership, but horizontal structures that involve everyone as much as possible.’ John Holloway
Join us on an “Enough already”, walk. Meet at Govan underground and come on a walk into town, taking in the landscape and discuss the changing social dynamic and ways we can move forward. Or just come for the stroll. All ages welcome.
Saturday 18th June. Meet 12:00 Govan Underground. Walk around two hours. Finish with tea at the Electron Club CCA Suchiehall street.
Norman Armstrong Free Wheel North
Radical Imagination Project. Discussions with folk who have worked and committed much of their time to community activism. Norman Armstrong
Norman, a tenacious community worker, who “gets things done” but unlike many fly-by-night “social entrepreneurs” is rooted in his community and has the philosophy and principals to match. freewheelnorth.org.uk
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group) radicalimagination.co.uk View on VIMEO
John Cooper on the spirit of revolt and the Castlemilk connection
John Cooper, a name synonymous with Castlemilk and community struggle over the last 40 years or so. The evening took us through the adventures and campaigns of himself and his Castlemilk comrades, from the miners strike to the present. A social history. Find more on the “Spirit of Revolt” website at. spiritofrevolt.info Film in two bits Talk and after discussion. facebook.com/castlemilkagainstausterity/
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group) radicalimagination.co.uk View on VIMEO
The Downtrodden Tenant
Bad housing exists not because the housing system is not working but because it is the way it works. Peter Morton has taught me more about technology in the last few months than I knew before. His boundless energy to educate, given the fact he is in a wheelchair and on strong medication through bad health is an inspiration. We are working on a pile of projects around the Radical Imagination and opening the “Open Source” to the people who need it most. This film denotes Peters struggle with Renfrew Council, their lack of duty of care and how the use of his technological skills were used to collect empirical data to back up a case against their failure to uphold their own housing policy. Downtrodden Tenant Blog
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group) radicalimagination.co.uk View on VIMEO
Self Determination Power Event Common Sense and Freedom 1990
A wee blast from the past. The Self-Determination and Power event was organised by a loose alliance of the Free University of Glasgow, the Edinburgh Review, then under the editorship of James Kelman advocate Peter Kravitz, and Scottish Child magazine, edited by Rosemary Milne. Also involved were Variant, then a glossy magazine containing provocations from Stewart Home, Pete Horobin’s Dundee-based Data Attic and others; West Coast literary magazine, Here and Now magazine, the radical-based Clydeside Press, and the Scotia bar, then a hub for free-thinking dissent down by the river just across from the Gorbals. radicalimagination.co.uk/about/what-happened-in-1990
(Produced by Street Level) streetlevelphotoworks.org View on VIMEO
Britain will be celebrating 100 years of the RAF in venues all over Britain. One being Glasgow Science Centre.
RAF 10 Website
“On 1 April 2018, the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. To mark this occasion, we reflected on our history and our achievements. We also celebrated the work the RAF is currently doing and look forward to the next 100 years.”
To commemorate the achievements of a hundred years of the RAF will be about letting kids play with simulators of RAF warplanes, plus charity balls, flower shows and from the list of activities: “The UK’s biggest gaming convention will have an RAF twist.” War games with drones perhaps?. The technology in games machines and software it needs to be remembered has the same detail and in its portrayal, execution and sophistication and sadistic portrayal of death indistinguishable from the real thing. Kids in there bedrooms fight wars every night on their Xbox and PlayStations. Not much difference the tech shift in directing a lethal drone… MORE
The flowers of Scotland – Tap roots, history and education
“Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.” Cicero
About the need for grownups to take on some of the responsibility for what is going on around them. We can not leave the understanding of what is going on in the world to the education system.
Children are the flowers. We are the cultivators. We pass on the rich knowledge, the important nutrients, in our mentoring and guidance. Without these nutrients the aspirations of our young will continue to wither on the vine of capitalist indenture. MORE
On the recent threat of eviction for 300 asylum seekers.
The above is not just about the eviction of the vulnerable. This is the neoliberal project ramping up and testing our resistance. This is a message being sent out to all of the vulnerable in our city and in our country. Neoliberalism flexing its muscle, in this particular area, to see how much we will take and what they can get and where they will go next. MORE
Where is the left I want to join it?
Thoughts on: The reinvigorating of the common dream and the struggle for a broader collective social conscience.“Enough of the perfection of differences! We ought to be building bridges.” Todd Gitlin In Gitlin’s book. The Twilight Of The Common Dream he explains this “obsession with group differences” as the (unintended) legacy of the progressive social movements of the 1960’s, which operated on the principle of separate organization on behalf of distinct interests, rather than a universal principle of equality.’ ENotes
There can be no common ground, if nobody can hear. MORE
The last neoliberal frontier of social life
Recreational time particularly in a public park is personal and shouldn’t be defined or dictated by the state or held ransom by profiteering and commercial interests. MORE
Glasgow Life – Dices with death Arms fair what next
Our city administration has just hosted it’s first arms fair. At the protest against it, we meet our comrades, stalwarts of the movement for change and various groups representing those at the sharp end of the conflicts that the arms on offer at this event, massacre and maim. More
This is what Journalism should look like
Why May Day Is Important – May Day On The Green 2018
Radical Imagination Understanding Power III Preparing the social base
The Natives Are Revolting, Spirit of Revolt, Show and Tell
CAMINA challenging existing social structures through education
Start of some videos talking about power structures with an emphasis on “people power” in building self determined communities
The Murder of Fred Hampton Black Panther
Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and revolutionary, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. Hampton and fellow Black Panther Mark Clark were killed during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois.
The Dark Ages
:Can anyone still doubt that access to a relatively free and open internet is rapidly coming to an end in the west? In China and other autocratic regimes, leaders have simply bent the internet to their will, censoring content that threatens their rule. But in the “democratic” west, it is being done differently. The state does not have to interfere directly – it outsources its dirty work to corporations. The Dark Ages Jonathan Cook
Opening the Source
In the age of austerity it is easy to become blind to alternatives to the capitalist model when visioning our (human beings) future. We spend so much of our time understandably going over what is wrong, there is little time left to think about what is right. What are the alternatives? Why do so few know about them? Particularly when many of these ideas are closer to how ordinary people might see as being part of a normal life, and a million miles away from the dystopian political and economical vision of austerity that is being served up to them daily from all directions.
The Radical Imagination Project, wants to help expose some of these alternatives to those who mightn’t have any kind of access to them. By discussion and looking at where these kind of ideas are being built, exercised, played out and work.
Open source ideology has now moved beyond the coding and programming to inform the broader fields of information and content distribution. At this level it acquired the power to fundamentally change the way in which society is organised.
Radical Imagination Project. Updates from around the community
Michael Byrne: Organizing Tenants
The financial crisis of 2008 was not just a crisis of the global economy but also a crisis of the “home ownership dream.” The bursting of the debt bubble has placed the possibility of owning a home beyond the reach of an entire generation. In the US, the UK, Ireland, Spain and many countries affected by the financial crash, renting is on the rise for the first time in a century. This is much more than a shift in housing tenures; it represents a shift in the politics of housing. More
Living Rent is Scotland’s tenants’ union. We are a democratic organisation run by and for tenants. We want homes for people, not for profit; to redress the power imbalance between landlords and tenants; and ensure that everyone has decent and affordable housing.
Radical Imagination Making news Building vision
There are a ton of groups and individuals working on all sorts of projects out there. Do you ever wonder what they have in common? Are there coherent strands to this work, broader aims, coalitions, a bigger picture that directs any of this work? Read more