Excerpt from Russell Brand GuardianLive Talk.MP3
At the recent Guardian Live event with Russell Brand and Owen Jones I suggested an idea for Russell to support.
It wasn’t my idea. It’s what advocates for democracy, justice and environmental protection have been campaigning on for decades.
My name is Matt Black and I’m a musician and activist. My group is called Coldcut and Ninja Tune is our own 100% independent label. I’m generally liking what Russell Brand is saying and doing. I reckon a lot of people agree and are asking what should we actually do – people need aims and actions for positive change. So I thought it was worth putting down some suggestions. Something like:
We, the citizens of Great Britain, call for a massive protest to demand real change.
The protest happens once a million of us pledge to do it.
We will organise through an online pledge bank which lets you pledge ‘I will join the protest if you will’. Pledge banks were used to get thousands on the streets to help clean up after the London riots. Check out Mysociety.org. The idea is to gather commitment to action from millions of people who support three key demands:
1. Participatory democracy
Stop the monopoly by which only politicians can propose and vote on laws. Let people do this, using secure digital systems which already exist and are used in other countries such as USA and Switzerland. This should be coupled with a massive media education project so people get information and can debate issues rather than corporate media agendas being the main influencers of peoples news and views.
Tackle inequality by measures such as: one-off wealth tax, bank tax, mansion tax, and most importantly plugging legal loopholes which let unscrupulous rich people and businesses avoid paying their fair share of tax. Just this one measure could pay for all the austerity cuts we are told we need to accept in this country, and more. Then keep working to renew the social contract between the rich and the poor.
3. Peoples environmental constitution
The environment in this country is getting trashed so we should discuss, propose and vote on an environmental constitution i.e. a set of principles and laws to protect the environment of the UK beyond government cycles. This idea could include heavy investment in renewable energy which will create jobs, and boost energy security as well as leading the fight against climate change. Take the environment out of party politics and recognise it’s about all of us.
As well as pledge banks there are other excellent new tools to help us be effective and organise like never before, such as Avaaz/38 Degrees style petitions which have been shown to get results.
We should seize the day and design a better UK ourselves. Government has failed to do this and I believe all parties fundamentally lack the capacity to do so for a variety of reasons, as Russell Brand, Owen Jones and others are highlighting. A key one is being so strongly under the influence of corporations and other special interests whose main motivation is profit. A better UK needs something other than fuck-you capitalism as its driving force. It needs a consensus desire for justice and fairness. Cooperation is a powerful force. We need to use that force. We have the tools – so lets make it happen.
Getting meaningful change isn’t easy, but we can do it together.
I’ll help if you will.
We’ve made a start on realising this ide here: