The thing with change ..
Sunday, May 15, 2011 | 12:23 am | Comment ⇢I remembered what I wanted to talk about!
Few days ago I was waiting around at university for a friend when all of a sudden this girl from few of my courses went past. I don't really know her name and I doubt she knows mine, but we always smile at each other when passing by and sometimes extend to hellos and how-are-yous if we have time. Anyway so as I was alone and sitting down, she came over and we ended up having a conversation about random things while she smoked her fag. By the time she finished, we ended up moving onto a heated (get it? :P) topic about change, conflict and the recent events at the Middle East.
Before I proceed, my university is just amazing. Its like marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Its very left wing, i.e liberal, and tends to be pro-Middle East. Me and my classmate do a subject where we've been exposed to conflicts, Marxism, capitalism and change so it was interesting to talk about it, especially since our views were somewhat controversial (relative to the general uni consensus anyway). To summarize it in one sentence:
Change is impossible.
Well okay, we didn't quite come to that conclusion, but thats the general gist of it. In Egypt, people protested and got rid of their leader and gained freedom. Yay. Same thing is happening in Libya and Syria and possibly will move on to other countries in the future. But what has really changed?
Egypt got rid of Hosni Mubarak, but has anything really changed? Their institutions are still the same as is the structure of the society. Laws, police, everything is still essentially being run by Mubarak's government, regardless of whether he is there leading them. His ideas have been embedded into society, and (this is very Marxist of me) to be truly free, Egyptians would need to overhaul the entire system.
Its like the recent strikes in the UK. The student occupations, the teachers protest, London Tube going on strike. People are not happy, and they want change to happen. And while I understand the viewpoint of the different groups, change will not happen. Unless we ALL, every single one of us, go on a mass revolution (à la Marx) and fight the system. Thats the only way we can make any real impact, power in unity and all. But is this feasible?
We're going through a recession. Labour can't afford to go on strikes for months. Students can't afford to miss lessons and go on an occupation to stress their views. When the tube goes on strike on the 20th of May, I won't think about why its importance or supporting it. I will be thinking about how much of a hassle it is for me.
Unfortunately, people only think about themselves. This is a natural economic reaction to maximize utility. So how can we unite? I don't think it is possible unless the masses are left with nothing to lose and everything to gain. But will that ever happen? More importantly, I don't think I want the world to go to a stage of inequality where a very select few have power and everyone else has nothing. The world has a hierarchy and people will always resist change when they have even a tiny ounce of power and wealth to lose.
But hey, its a start right? Maybe the world will never change, but some change is better than nothing, and actions are stronger than words. So I'll keep my Marxist ideas in my end and continue living in a capitalist world, enjoying my consumerist lifestyle. Who knows, maybe the future holds a Marxian capitalism, waiting to be taken on by developmental governments who care more about the people than re-election?