We are free to do absolutely to do anything except make a society that we want to live in. To make our society anew we must reform the state and make it democratic. This is not just a moral question but a practical question. It can only be done with the participation of millions of people. We have to change the vehicle and not just the driver. There must be many kinds of democracy not just the ‘representative/parliamentary’ kind. We must abolish parts of the state that depend on hereditary privilege. We must create transparency and real freedom of information. All activities carried out in the name of the people should be open to criticism by the people. At the moment our rights are restricted to voting for a parliamentary representative, local government and participating in juries in the justice system. I’m not proposing chaos. But we need activity and participation. Otherwise the current elites will ever more tightly control the political processes and these elites are patriarchal and institutionally racist. And just plain greedy. They assume power through a kind of unquestionable entitlement and will run the country like a colonial plantation given half a chance. They will use every means available to them to divide people up and appeal to sectional interests. As the economic mal-functioning of our society reaches more critical levels the ruling elites will attempt to impose more stringent restraints on the cost of reproducing labour. This involves public service cuts and suppression of wages. The myth is that this will increase investment because of increases in productivity. Failure to invest is so clear for all to see. We need a state that will take control of investment and this involves controlling the banks and the financial institutions. This must be done through democratic processes so self-seeking entities cannot take over this process. Our society is overflowing with the skills and understanding to make this possible. It is just a question of linking up this intelligence with popular democratic institutions. This is best done by devolving this work. In other words, localising decision-making through consultative bodies. There are good examples of how this can go wrong but generally the lessons of history tell us that over-centralisation and competition between interest groups at a national level are the problem.
The current UK government are setting out to beat the working people into submission. They are intensifying the divisions between rich and poor. The confrontation with the NHS workers is emblematic. When they demanded from the health unions an increase in productivity as a precondition for wage increases they made a declaration of war against the people who do the most valuable work. They are attempting to introduce legislation to prevent successful strike action by workers in essential industries. This is an attack on society. The next general election is imminent and the Tories are increasing social conflict. The ruling elites know that they have the Labour Party in their pocket and will be happy to let a Labour-led government continue the decimation of the collective and communal structures that hold our lives together. As people look towards the future they must be given an active chance to think through and formulate what that future can be.
This cannot be left another day. I am making a call to People’s Assembly and Enough is Enough to set up Manifesto Action Groups in every constituency in the UK to engage in formulating a charter of demands of what a new government committed to a better life for people in the UK must commit to. Politics is far too important to be left to politicians. The starting point could be the six demands raised by Enough is Enough but the Manifesto Action Groups should reach out to parts of the population who might not be in agreement, who might not feel that it is their business or right to formulate social policy. It is only in the quality and richness of this kind of activity, of the conversation and debate that can happen amongst people in their localities that a renewal of our social life can take place. We need to re-make our society.