How lucky we are to be living in a century where stuff still matters

First Assange; then bottles of water which lead to six months in prison; now the Pussy Riot scandal in Russia.

We’re lucky these things can still happen – at least it means stuff we do still matters.

Words published, violence enacted, music sung, ideas engendered.  The social orders which allow those in charge to organise and structure our lives are more fragile than they allow us to think.

Otherwise, why should they care about the above in the least?

No.  I’m not saying I’m happy that those who have suffered – and are suffering – the consequences of speaking up should count themselves lucky that they are in the holes they find themselves in.  But for the rest of us, patient – and perhaps couch-potato – observers that we are, the fact that words, lyrics and a £3.50 case of bottled water can come to represent such allegedly “wicked” challenges to an unjust society shows there is hope yet that we may be able to re-engineer life for the better.

Yes.  What we do does matter.  Even in our consumer-ridden vacuity of a society.

And I for one am glad that we can communicate with each other when people revolt thus.

A decaffeinated revolution maybe, you say?  A revolution without a proper core?  I’m not so sure.

Perhaps we can even now still believe in bloodless renewal.  And just because it’s bloodless doesn’t make it any less real.

The sword being so much weaker than the pen – in a world, that is, of virtual interconnectednesses.



  1. I truly wish I could believe that could be the case.

    Unfortunately with militarisation of many revolutions and increasingly a rebellion being conformed, we still have very little maneuverability. No matter the form of dissent, the people in power still cling on and use any means to put down opinion against their pursuit of required norms.

    I fear I have already given up, even if I acted instead of being on my couch.

    • I dunno. I am a great believer in drip-feed processes – even as I disparage those neoliberal types who are of a mind, in a very Catholic “we’ll capture you in the end” mode – that history is on their side. Never before have we had so many people connected to each other so easily. Twitter, and Facebook to a lesser degree, are examples of flocking mechanisms which create surges of channelled response. They can be used against you, of course – but, similarly, on your behalf and in your favour.

      This is why I’m not so sure the Facebook generation can’t be the generation of the bloodless revolution after all.

      • I think I’m showing my lack of patience. The trap of the instant generation.

        I’ve given up on Facebook as anything other than a way to share family photos. It’s just too vengeful, hate-fuelled and close-minded.

      • Maybe so. But it may also be a question of how conscious you have become, compared to your peers, of what is happening out there. I’ve just posted a comment on Though Cowards Flinch on how this might be working. You can find it here – and republished in full below.

        “I think we need to differentiate between the Internet and the web. The web has been corrupted significantly by SEO, advertising budgets, Facebook-type walled gardens and so forth for quite a while now. The Internet, the machinery behind it all, is also now well on its way to a similar corruption. Which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight both for *their* freedoms and our more worldly ones at the same time.

        “The impression I get is that the Internet and the web *should* be an important part of civil society – but the tendencies are towards big interests turning them into simple vehicles for advertisers to track potential customers and their money-generating habits, and for content owners to deliver their exorbitantly priced content. The civil society thing – as in the real world itself – seems more and more a superficial add-on designed to confuse an already bewildered public. Representative democracy as an ideal really doesn’t stand on its own two feet any more – those in power are *so* in power now that they don’t even feel the need to put on a show.

        “I agree with Edgar’s following assertion: “[…] the internet is a tool that can be transformative.” Like all tools it can work for one or be turned against one. The key here, as I think I have already alluded to in previous comments, is working out how to make it work on behalf of the people – even as the powerful have many advisers and consultants who set its optimised functioning out on a silver platter for them.

        “I think we need to investigate further how to use this tool to connect and raise consciousness, above all. The drip-feed processes which traditional politics and media have used so often against the people may finally have found their working-class ally in the mechanisms of social media. Only time will tell. But, as always, I am probably inordinately hopeful.”

      • It’s a double-edged sword. The Internet is very secular, the Web is less so – and more closed – as social media and advertising now drives the Web. The Web is still diverse if you look away from social media – forums – but their is very little unification of voices.

        When social media does work together, as you noted, it does work but in a vindictive nature. Again, the problem seems to be mass opposition with few solutions. Could we get a “thinking” collective Web? That must be the goal. There are enough people to get a thought out consensus.

        The problem is social media incorporates family and friends as well as the collective. People, like I, who have this set up will refrain from bringing that “thinking” into my private circle. Maybe people like me should be more honest to ourselves and family and open everyone to thinking.

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