The Common Good Awareness Project Est. 2009
This project, The Social Energy Collective, is about making activism interesting, about meeting folk half way. About creating access and understanding. About helping to building a secure social base that people can work from. About agency and the freedom to think freely. We want folk to have a creative existence and enjoy thinking about and planning their future and leading decent and secure lives free of worry, debt and persecution. We are always alert to keeping these things in mind, what ever we do and whoever we work with. We do not shy away from politics but engage in it. Politics meaning how folk get together discuss things and decide on a collective action. (Not to be confused with party politics which is something completely different and which we have no association with.) Below is a thumb nail sketch of the conditions we see ourselves up against and that go some ways to inform and direct our activities.
Corporations were once created for a common good. They were formed by governments and business to perform mammoth tasks like the railways network, road infrastructure and national projects that needed a multitude of different skills and products to work together in building the counties infrastructure. Once these conglomerates of business, controlled by government, had achieved their task the corporation would be disbanded and companies would go back to practicing their given expertise.
It wasn't long before some of these big businesses realised that the formation of corporations for controlling big projects in the common good, could also be used for controlling people towards their business interests. But people weren't daft and at that time much of the business practiced by corporations today were illegal. You could end up in jail then for trying to control competition.
After the first world war another useful tool became available in the process of controlling people. The propaganda machine that was used to drum up the country to war. After the war the techniques of propaganda slipped seamlessly into the hands of business. The term propaganda had fallen into disrepute because the Germans were also using it. So it became known as Public Relations.
So armed with the tools of persuasion business was good to go. These big companies started to buy up all in their wake. governments, competitors, the media. They called it the free market but it was everything but free. Now-a-days you can book a holiday from the same company that makes guns. Richard Branson whose group controls over 400 companies is now buying up parts of the NHS. This is the world of big business. Well organised, well connected and well out of our control.
If you wish to know by how much. Take a look at John Pilgers.
" The dirty war on the NHS" film, to see how deep business is embedded in our political system and in the erosion of the welfare state.
'Propaganda." Is an instruction manual on its techniques.
But if we really want to experience corporate propaganda in action. We just have. What else could have convince people in some of the poorest areas in the country due to government austerity, to vote into power again the very corporate driven banking families who created the austerity in the first place?
Given most people by what we can judge do not want the life on offer. So the question we're concerned about here is. How do we stop the afore mentioned criminals from destroying our work towards the life we wish to lead?
First off, it can't be just about doing things, working hard, keeping busy and just getting on with it. Thats what slaves do. But what does it do for them? If maintaining he status quo is the game this is a good strategy. Just do things.
Most of the work carried out by community activists is cultural work. About making peoples lives a bit better, giving them something to do. We need these activities, they are good, but they only make cultural change. To sustain these things we also need to make/force institutional change. (the control of the banks, corporations, media and so on, on our resources our money our minds). We can only do that together.
Getting some funding to do this is not going to work on its own. In fact it may even be detrimental as most of the funding comes from the institutions we need to change. Yes even the government. The idea folk need to buy lottery tickets to fund projects in the communities where folk buy most of the lottery tickets? The extent that well funded groups will go to, to appear a-political to protect the funding stream can sometimes undermines the actual purpose of the group in the first place.
That is not to say groups should not try to get funding, that would be a bit daft at this stage of the game. But to say people should understand the limitations, restrictions that the acceptance of funding tries to put on what they say or do. But why do we need to buy lottery tickets to fund what our taxes should fund in the first place? Yes you have guessed it. Corporations avoid paying corporate tax and extort taxes from our government by promising jobs that never transpire, businesses that exploit workers. and short lived ventures that fail and our taxes has to pay for the failure. These are the same companies who while keeping their workers are dolling out a few grand to artists and community projects, here and there, in the very communities their workers live?
So this project isn't just about doing things, that's the easy part. It is about why we are doing these things. And about how the things we do and enjoy have another life and connections that can also help to build structures, coalitions, collabourations to build the energy and vision for the world we want to see. If we are after sustainable change, which we are, we believe these thoughts should run through our work and our activities, like the letters through a stock of rock. No matter the funding.