We are seeing a schism opening up in western societies. This is largely because of the extreme inequality that has resulted from the pursuit of neo-liberal economic models that has let capitalism virtually off the leash since the late 1970’s. Most governments are still stubbornly sticking to these failed policies whilst living standards of the majority of people flounder on a rising tide of public and private debt. We face a growing disaffection of populations that have seen their chances of advancement stagnate and a generation of disenfranchised young people who are being brought up in world where their prospects appear to be so much bleaker than that of their parents.
Frighteningly we are also seeing a predictable resurgence of “right wing” political groups that thrive on growing anger and insecurity. The frightening spectres of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, hatred and intolerance are all on the rise. More positively we have also seen the growth of socially aware political groups that are offering a positive alternative to unconstrained capitalism and the worship of greed. These groups desire to restore democracy to political systems that have been thoroughly corrupted by money from small ultra-wealthy cliques and powerful global corporations.
From Bernie Sanders and his supporters in the USA to Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and the unexpected rise of Jeremy Corbyn within the UK’s Labour Party there is a growing movement to make politics work for the benefit of the many rather than a small privileged elite. For those of us who believe in a world built on mutual responsibility, compassion and a love of our fragile Earth, it is crucial that we win this battle of ideas before the world spirals downwards towards violent revolution, conflict and war.
In an increasingly globalised world it is therefore essential that all these separate progressive groups can come together to cooperate and work in unison to change the face of global politics. The big question is how do we do this? How do we create a common identity and set of values whilst still maintaining the diversity of political groupings campaigning under different names in different countries and cultures?
There are terms used to describe our movements such as “left wing,” “socialist,” and “social democratic” but all of these are coloured and tarnished by history. They are easily misunderstood or misinterpreted and I don’t think they really reflect the battle of ideas over which the very future of our planet depends upon. Above all they carry the additional baggage of being formed in societies that were dominated by a patriarchal perspective of the world. I don’t believe that any of these terms reflect a common idea or principle that we can all identify with as a unifying cause.
I think it is useful to understand what is really going between these two contrasting political dynamics. To understand what is happing in populations we need to first look at the makeup of the human psyche. Large groupings and movements are merely an amplification of the dynamic that is going on within every human mind.
After we are born we develop an embryonic consciousness that has to develop to regulate the relationship between our powerful unconscious instincts and emotions and an external, potentially hostile environment. One of the most commonly used descriptions of this developing consciousness is the term “ego.”
There are many factors that affect the extent to which this consciousness develops in every one of us. If this process is poorly developed a person is highly susceptible to unconscious impulses such as insecurity, fear, prejudice and hate. It is also fairly easy for people with weaker egos to passively allow their own ego to be overruled, substituted and dominated by the powerful will of another. The ultimate horror of this process could be seen at the Nuremberg rallies where tens of thousands of virtually robotic followers marched and paraded in adoration of Adolf Hitler’s psychopathic rantings. We only have to look at North Korea to observe a modern day equivalent.
In the UK we have just had a highly divisive referendum on our future in Europe where some politicians shamelessly fed on the insecurities and prejudices of people. We are already seeing the result of this in a rise in the number of hate crimes and abuse being targeted at minority communities. In the USA Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination on a campaign that also deliberately fed upon the insecurity and prejudices of Americans.
The terror that we face is that ignorance is much easier to achieve than wisdom as wisdom requires a concerted effort. A strong will is required to develop the capabilities of the consciousness to enable it to escape from these powerful impulses and make independent rational judgements. It is only with a developed consciousness that it is possible to look beyond individual selfish needs and develop the empathy to become aware of the needs of others. The best description of evil that I have ever heard is that it is the complete absence of empathy.
It is through this process of the development of consciousness that we realise the importance of kindness, empathy and love in creating a society that lifts and benefits everyone. It is also vital to discard failed redundant patriarchal thinking as these positive qualities are most prevalent in women and it is increasingly important their voices are heard. 1 Billion women across the world have experienced psychological or physical abuse at the hands of men. Do we really think we would have all these wars and all this violence if we truly listened to the voices of the mothers of our Earth?
I call this process of developing consciousness and understanding “awakening.” Much of humanity is virtually asleep, it slumbers and whilst in this state is easily manipulated by powerful destructive and pathological wills. The tiny wealthy global elite who have for so long exploited this condition are absolutely terrified that the mass of people will wake up and start thinking objectively for themselves.
No awake person would put up with the systematic exploitation of societies and the corruption of democracy that we have seen across the world. This is why so much of our media is owned by plutocrats and billionaires who pump out soporific messages to keep the populations asleep. This is also why they deliberately fuel insecurity and fear which leads to bigotry and selfishness to keep people blind to what is really taking place in our societies.
I am optimistic in nature, particularly about the empowerment of women in society and the growth of the many progressive social movements across the world that are taking on the forces of intolerance, ignorance and greed. I genuinely think that this battle of ideas can be won but we will all need to support each other and reach out to hold hands across the world to build a better future.
It is my radical proposal that we discard historical political labels and call our global movement “the awakening” because it is only through the process of waking up the slumbering consciousness’s of people across the world that our movement can succeed. Time is short, the unravelling of societies has already commenced and the stakes could not be any higher.