In a book I read recently, there was an interesting discussion regarding the causal problems of radical political action. In other words, how do you change consciousness to assist political activity if political socialisation agents such as the media and education act as obstacles? There is an issue of mediation, as you could argue that it will change once in the new political structures but then conscious change needed to have already happened for the political arrangements to radically break with the existing political system.
On a related aside, Ed Miliband was busy criticising the government for failing to introduce ‘new politics’. Labour have also launched a campaign to recruit younger people to their party; a party that brought in tuition fees, initiated the Browne Review and hasn’t got a clue what they would replace tuition fees with (well there is the graduate tax, but it’s basically the same). I saw some tweets by Labour folk, criticising the Green Party’s response. Sadly, we can’t just wipe away the past – if Labour had really taken a radical break with what it used to stand for then I feel it would be easier for Greens to positivity endorses their politics (if you flick back to my earlier blogs when Ed Miliband just got in, I was a lot more positive). But as it stands, they still advocate the ‘necessity’ for immensely damaging cuts, whilst cherry picking the cuts they can make a political issue with (hence the reluctance to comment on the problems with bringing in ESA, for example) with a leader who has yet to assert his authority.
Thus, the answer to my orignal question is based on alternative outside development of political institutions to counteract the power of the existing system. I received a few comments on my Vince Cable blog re the importance of the internet for political protest and undermining the dominance media conglomerates such as Murdoch hold. This is true. But I feel we need something more. There needs to be an encouragement of community/civic based action, creatively oriented if possible, so it poses a more direct threat to the mainstream – by all means, linked through the internet (many eco-villages have linked up successfully through the internet). I have also talked about the importance cooperatives in the fashion of creative arrangements, so music for example, can have politically. However, it is much broader than that. The whole political arrangements needs to change through independent structural challenges (something I have said before, so I wont repeat).
Free education is essential for challenging the political dogmas that undermine the prevailing social, political and economics relations. We know the stories of the rubbish Oxbridge admittance re students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We know that private schools are the primarily used by the middle/upper classes. We know that Gove is reinstating discipline and obedience at a time the state is beginning to look weak. These things aren’t disconnected and only through new political movements and relations will we challenge this.
Labour are courting people who are frankly cheesed off (for want of a better word) with this government, but many of these people are joining for strategic reasons. Strategic reasons shaped by the system we live in. I know people who are much better suited to parties such as the Greens, but they feel it be a waste of time and that Labour is better than nothing when it comes to stopping the coalition. I understand and respect that logic. But all the 1p members in the world doesn’t change the effects existing governmental structures will have if Labour get back into power. It is hard for a political party to remain radical within the existing system. It is hard to actually be honest, a lot of people lie and bend to pressure in order keep to their job.
If Ed Miliband really wants to bring in a new politics it is going to take a bit more than rhetorical sound bites, he is going to have to challenge the very system that we preside in. But I am wasting my breath. This is a guy that thinks 1ps buy trust and erases Labour’s past re student policies, whilst hardly breaking from their legacy. Whilst I am a member of the Green Party, I am increasingly becoming disillusioned with exclusively fighting within the existing system to only reform it so it is slightly less crap. The student protests illustrate the way forward, a movement outside all political parties.
So political party struggles, I understand are important to an extent. I am in a political party. But we must concentrate on outside political party movements if we are to undermine the system that promotes inadequate reformism, and reflects a few powerful vested interests.