(This is carrying on from this post: Being the Sole Social Justice Warrior)
So many people have blogs and opinions.
So many people work in government and in media.
So many people vote opposite to how you would like to vote, whoever you are and whichever side you are on.
For every activist conference there’s a tonne of people at home who don’t care and don’t need to, or who have accessibility needs that haven’t been addressed, or feel disillusioned with mainstream campaigns, or who can’t make it out to London again with the cost of train tickets being so damn high. (That last one is me, sitting inside having a nice day reading and not making a damn bit of difference to the world.)
So what can we do to actually make a difference as an individual?
1, Become the ultimate opinion former.
Like a mighty greek hero, you have fought legendary battles, and you have endless wisdom and talent and grace. From on high, your demands are heard across the land, and no one who hears them can argue against them, persuasive and influential as you are.
Never mind the fact that most people quit, and most people don’t get views, and most people aren’t talented (by definition), even the people with the most influential positions only have a fraction of power compared to the masses.
2. Seize the means of production!
Like a slightly more sneaky kind of hero, you slowly and secretly acquire huge wealth and capital, until suddenly, you have enough to throw off the balance of power. With one fell swoop you give up all your electrical generators and factories and vehicles up to the mass of the people, finally fulfilling the promise of communism, the people rejoice to now own the means of production, and you gracefully bow down and out to return to your common existance, as an equal and a comrade.
Never mind the fact that there’s a reason why no one person owns all these things, chances of infiltrating the capital system on this kind of scale as a fake dash this plan down to nothing, there’s no way you could stop yourself either betraying your “for the people” values or genuinely turning to the Dark Side.
3. No, I meant, literally, seize the means of production, like how Marx actually meant, in a physical revolution!
Ooooohhh. Yeah, nope, we already established this, people aren’t going to follow you, you’re gonna be hugely outnumbered and it’s not going to work.
4. Fine. How about; Make a new system, that people can’t possibly say no to, like Elon Musk!
You look up, sweating, from your desk. It’s taken years of study, months of work, thousands of pounds, everything you’ve got, but you’ve finally done it, at last; you have created a better system than capitalism, one that gets everyone what they want for themselves, and doesn’t need to convince them, and wears the skin of capitalism…surely it will take off immediately, an overnight sucess, change happening in an instant, seamless, joyous, and new!
Until you realise that you’re not Elon Musk, and he’s not even a politician; even he only focuses on one single issue at a time, like climate change, or the rise of AI. And these plans only appeal because they aren’t political, because they don’t fundamentally challenge anyone’s beliefs, they just offer better alternatives, like Tesla’s, that are still damaging to the environment and don’t address the problem of human consumption.
What can we really do then?
As individuals, we probably all go through something like this process when we think about what change we can make, I know I do.
Of course, the depressingly real answer is that individuals, we can’t really do much. We can make big strides, like when Beyonce lit the world up talking about Feminism because of that show, or start incredible movements, like Sampat Pal Devi who started the badass Pink/Gulabi Gang of India, (which if you haven’t heard about you must read more about right now!), but no one individual came make everything happen.
Which means we have to pick our battles, which, we notoriously hate doing!
Picking battles means acknowledging that there are some things we can’t do, some causes that will have to be neglected, and it feels like a failure.
When I started this blog, it was about refusing to pick a battle, using the resources of others to create a cohesive-bullet-proof-one-size-fits-all place for everything, for all the battles.
But over time you have to admit the truth, you’re just one person.
So what are you going to choose to do?
Let me know in the comments if you relate to this struggle, I want to hear from you for the next part in what is apparently now becoming a series, which is going to be about how people make these decisions, and the more voices I get, the better it’s gonna be!
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