John Pilger – The War on Democracy

A special screening and Q&A session with John Pilger at the Clapham Picturehouse cinema.

The War on Democracy was very thought provoking. Pilger covered huge political events from the past century in Latin America, where the USA has pursued it’s usual selfish goals at the expense of others.

During the questions and answers session somebody asked “what can we do to help?” To which J.P. had no truly satisfactory answer, instead gently hinting that once you kow enough about the situation to help, the how should become clear.

Lucy and I entered into a long discussion (over steak and chips), about how we could help. Lucy confessed to being inspired to pursue a Masters in South American history, an idea of hers from her Atlantic College days. I challenged this idea, playing my usual devils advocate, by suggesting that the completion of a Masters might not leave Lucy feeling any more empowered to help.

My recently sparked passion for local scale initiatives as a force for wider scale change – see topic green living for examples – led me to suggest that the real answer is at home. My argument was that greed and a desire for security (energy, food, etc.) is driven by the lack of these securities on a local scale. If I were able to fend for myself, it is likely that the burden of responsibility I heave upon the shoulders of the country’s leader would be significantly reduced. Thus it is the responsibility of each of us to become self sufficient and find a way of developing a sociable marketplace for goods and services which focuses on the now and not on our individual, and hence selfish, future interests.

Future interests to me suggests monetary interests. In a simple example, an individual with a surplus of beans could give them to a needy neighbour, and probably would if he couldn’t sell them to a needy neighbour. It is this concept which distills the meaning of the previous paragraph. Local scale economies have no need for complex and often unfair trade mechanisms, instead requiring simple local currencies, if any monetary markets at all.

I think any movement away from our reliance on global markets is positive in both an economical and political sense. As such I will be doing all I can to move towards local sustainability. I’ll plant my own crops, buy from local sources, build instead of buying at all, and investigate renewable and local energy sources. The idea of a local currency has even been considered in my area (Brixton). You’ll find mention of it here – http://www.transitiontownbrixton.org.

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