Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Dark Future?

A dystopia is a utopia in reverse. It is said people today find it easier to imagine a global disaster and world cataclysm than expect or hope for any real improvement in their social conditions. Future apocalyptic societies teetering on the brink of disaster, full of cowed populations, tyrannical governments and corrupt elites, pollution-devastated, war-torn landscapes, world-wide and often weaponised viruses plus all manner of assorted other horrors such as humans harvested for their organs. Dark visions of the future where totalitarian rulers govern the life of ordinary people, repressive social control systems, government coercion of citizens, influence of technology on human mind, conforming mechanisms upon individuality and freedom, censorship of free speech, sexual repression, class and caste distinctions, citizens living out their dehumanised lives . Today, a sense of doom hangs over the world. Many people have lost faith in a better future. In movies books and computer games scenarios stress dystopias built on lies, brutality, and callous inequality. The basic message is that we are headed for a breakdown. It's an essentially hopeless vision

Fear is the greatest ally of conservativism. When a majority of the population comes to the point of thinking that tomorrow may well be worse than today, the only possible strategy it can see becomes that of preserving what exists in order to preserve their own interests. It subtly promotes the glorification of greed and selfishness. Which leads to hampering and preventing possible, potential change. We need to move past fear.

To those who say things will get worse, one answer is that of course is that they might. But another response is to argue that for people right now they are already quite bad enough and now is time to put it right. Rather than sinking into cynicism or clinging to fantasy, we must promote a practical programme for change, to resist despair, provide a positive vision, and confront capitalism's power with sound sustainable alternatives

Distrust of progress makes utopian aspirations unconvincing to most people in modern capitalist societies. This was not always the case, however. Utopian visions have been powerful levers for action in the past. We must recover the meaning of progress, not as an automatic reflex or an empty word, but as an act of positive political will . We should be, without hesitation unashamedly utopians. We must act in production, providing for the real needs of communities. There is no progress if it does not benefit all and if it is not accepted by all. We should strive for a new world where no-one is pigeon-holed to remain in the same job for decades. It must be a society where all of us are perpetually learning or relearning. This implies a radical change in our relation to work and to our crafts and professions and build a society that allows each one to change his or her life. We will take up the challenge of democracy. The historic principle of representation, the idea according to which the people exercise real power through the intermediary of their elected representatives will be rejected. The ballot represents the opinion of the citizens, and the rich diversity of an opinion cannot be reduced to the choice of one person or one proposition at any particular given time.

Never grow resigned, never bow or submit, never beat a retreat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alan, did oyu write this, or where is it form? Nice piece
Brian Gardner