Spending 200,000 euro in one year
should be the LIMIT!

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  19. A new culture of resistance

-- January 6 2011 --

From protest to resistance.

Mike Ferner of Veterans of Peace asks for “A new culture of resistance”.  See the article in Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/20-3). He is obviously not satisfied with the present actions. I agree with him.

Some people call the demonstrations about ten years ago against the WTO a success but I see only hurt and imprisoned activists while the train with powerful people continues its planned course. After the big demonstrations in Seattle and Milan the movement lost its momentum.

The successes of the old culture of protest have been very meagre.
People mostly tried to change one (often little) aspect of our society by asking and not forcing powerful persons to change their decisions. In strikes where more people’s power is used it was neglected that successes could easily be turned around as is now clear in the present financial crisis.

Of course there are sometimes small improvements but the old culture does not have any influence on the big line. Everything remains decided by the importance of money, power and the people who possess money and power. Common citizens are of less importance. When the top is booming, some crumbs fall down on the table of the people. When the economy goes down even the crumbs are eaten by the top-people.
There is still too much trust that decision-taking people are working for the interest of everyone. When the importance of power, money and rich greedy persons is not attacked any action will in the end be in vain.

But The People know and after a few not very successful actions many citizens withdraw from politics. Why should you risk anything when results are disappointing? The old culture of protest has failed to bring fundamental change. A new culture is indeed needed.
That the old actions do not lead to a nicer society is not strange. The same leading people (and not only the banksters who caused the crisis) remain on top. Even when leaders give in to some demands of the people their position is not changed and they will try to restore the situation that is damaged by actions of the People. They are never pressurized and their position remains secure. Nearly all actions take place on squares and in streets where leaders never come. The goal of most old actions is more to inform fellow-people than to improve society and remove failing leaders.

We have the same common dreams but the fight for the realisation of these dreams has hardly started. By the way, fighting belongs to the new culture of resistance, not fighting with the police but fighting against those leaders that in the first place enrich themselves and put the interests of The People at a very low place.

Leaders are never told that their career will be terminated when they refuse to do what The People want.
Removing wrong leaders from high positions is in accordance with the new culture just as the words in the article say that: “….w
e have the solutions, but they are not being heard. We must cause enough disruption that our voices and our solutions cannot be ignored”.

Chapter 19 of my book “On Violence and Democracy” (
http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis/Violence.pdf) is called Creative Disturbance. It is in agreement with the idea to cause disruption. To get a New Humane World, the old culture of protest is not strong enough. The wrong actions are carried out around the wrong subjects. Most actions are still guided by the idea that new elections will give change. “Politics is a game played by people with power. By elections you are asked to choose sides in false conflicts. We are given the illusion of choice but as long as those in power do not lose their control, the choice we made only influences our life and not the life of the people in power.”

In the New Culture of Resistance we must point our arrows at powerful people and care for it that they lose control. That has never happened in the old culture.  It is neglected that power is not unequally distributed because the system is wrong but because the people with power are left untouched.

Many say that power is in the hands of a few concrete persons but in the action world this small fact is not translated in actions. My idea that there should be a “Spending Limit of 200.000 euro in one year” gives the possibility to prevent that powerful people can spend their ill-gotten money and we attack the basic idea (money) that causes much misery on our world.

When we dream about a New Humane World all actions that do not contribute to that goal have to be abandoned.

Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)

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