There has been increasing talk about radicalization in the UK press in recent months and years. For the most part, post-9/11, this has been about a minority of Muslims who have become radicalized by Salafist and Wahhabist fundamentalists and extremists, something which the vast majority of decent and moderate Muslims abhor.
Of course, there has been a backlash and physical reprisals, led by far right and racist factions, which are increasingly radicalizing people and swelling the ranks of their own followers, and again the vast majority of decent and moderate people find this equally abhorrent.
The mainstream media have placed far more emphasis on the radicalization of Muslims than on radicalization by the far right, but even that is only the tip of the iceberg awaiting our old steam ship.
Radicalization and Jo Public
What the mainstream media have not really addressed, but which is increasingly being covered by alternative, online media -- the real, if at times biased story -- is the perfectly understandable and growing radicalization of ordinary, everyday, liberal-minded and otherwise peaceful people, just like you and me, by the actions and inactions of their own governments; by what some have termed the military-industrial complex; and by the rich, powerful and sometimes secretive elite.
In the UK, a great many ordinary, everyday people are angered and in some cases have been brought to the point of despair and even suicide by the actions of the currently ruling coalition, the Conservatives (or the SelfServatives as some critics have dubbed them) and the lesser Liberal Democrats. These people are angered by austerity measures and by cutbacks in public spending. They are angered at cuts to their wages or salary and about being made redundant. They are also angered by the introduction of Draconian welfare reforms which unfairly treat the job seeker, the disabled and the incapacitated.
Having said that, it seems unlikely, if any other mainstream political party were to come to power, that they would roll back any of the recent changes. They might instead offer red-tinted or yellow-tinted austerity instead of blue, but you'd still end up with austerity.
The natives are restless
These people are angered, frustrated and wearied by the housing crisis and by homelessness. Angered by the rules and regulations of stupid and petty bureaucracy at all levels. Angered by fears over the use of genetically modified (GM) crops and of being tied to patented seeds. Angered by expensive patented medicines. Angered by the effects that industry is having on the global environment and global climate. And, more recently with the rapid growth of information technology and the internet, these people are angered and worried by the gradual erosion of civil liberties and human rights, invasions of privacy and the increasingly authoritarian surveillance societies in which they live or, failing that, do their best to subsist. As each year passes, the list just grows and grows. More and more, the tail is wagging the dog!
Worse still, these people are now becoming angry and disillusioned by the socio-economic model of capitalism itself, which many see as broken and perhaps unfixable. There are a growing number of people who believe that the infected boil must be lanced, that the whole system must fall, and much pain and suffering be borne, if something better is to come out of the current global crises; something better rising from the ashes, as it were, like the proverbial pheonix.
The peasants are revolting!
When ordinary, everyday, liberal-minded and otherwise peaceful people begin to get angry, frustrated and weary; cry out "enough is enough!"; talk of it being "time to fight back"; and begin to believe that civil war or revolution are inevitable here in the developed West, the Powers That Be should wake up -- I mean they really, really should wake up -- sit up straight, take notice and do something useful, before it's too late.
Of course, what is worrying is the prospect of leaping or being pushed from the frying pan into the fire, should things take this radical course. Really what is required is a revolution in consciousness to keep pace with our biological and cultural evolution, and it is said that such a thing could be driven by necessity, the mother of invention, but whether this increased awareness will come in time to save the best of our civilization, or at least the contemporary generations, is a moot point.
There are some radical solutions out there already, like The Venus Project [video], an alternative vision for a sustainable world unlike any socio-economic system tried before. But unless things had collapsed and we'd hit rock bottom, it's unlikely that such systems would be adopted.
There is no Planet B
As President Figueres of Costa Rica once pointed out: "There is no Planet B". So, if it doesn't work out for us, what then? Well when all is said and done, we're not indispensible, you know. Mother Nature could probably get along without us, or even get along a whole lot better without us. Just sayin'.
The writing is on the wall.
I can only hope and pray that some good will eventually come of our current crises, and do my best to play some small, benign and helpful part, so that I can give something back to compensate for what I have been generously given by others.
Let me leave you with a positive thought. William Shakespeare once wrote: “The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” They call this the Hidden Economy and it is not based on greed or love of money, but on unconditional, selfless, boundless and unstinting Love.
Learning from history
In these times, we can learn a lot from the cruelty, hardship and struggle of the 1800s in Britain. See the following five YouTube videos (earliest first):
- The Peterloo Massacre
- The Tolpuddle Martyrs
- The Rochdale Pioneers (film trailer, first successful cooperative retailer)
- The Chartists
- Self help and the dawn of democracy
A book you may like
If the NSA's Prism surveillance programme or George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four intrigue or shock you, you might like The Dissidents: A novella by H.M. Forester. Ever fearful of being discovered or "outed" for dissident tendencies, these people work secretly to preserve simple human pleasures and traditions in a dystopian world. Give it a try.
The book is available for the Kindle at Amazon sites worldwide. If you don't have a kindle, google "free kindle reading apps".
• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+