Damien on… Political Activism
This is Your Humble Scribe in his “activist” days (I had hair, then).
The occasion was my attempt to save the North London Line – which British Rail was threatening to axe, due to poor usage. This Victorian semi-circular British Rail route cut ACROSS North London, linking it to several London Transport tube stations. But since the links were not direct (you had to come out of the LT stations and walk fifty yards to the BR stations) LT refused to include it on their popular tube map. They said it would not fit. Myself and others decided to prove them WRONG.
So we made a number of clear plastic stickers which, when stuck to LT’s station maps, “grafted” the North London Line onto them. Then, on a particular Sunday night, with military precision, we “hit” all the main LT stations simultaneously – some two hundred of them. Our work looked so professional that next day, thousands of Londoners thought a NEW LINE had been built – OVERNIGHT!
Of course, we had known LT would eventually remove the stickers, so we had combined this operation with a publicity campaign (the REAL object of the exercise) that involved press-releases to all the major London newspapers, TV and magazines. Thus on the Monday morning, the above picture appeared in the London Evening News (the Standard was and still is Right-wing rubbish) The Times, Time Out Magazine and even Commerce International. Then that night, I appeared on Thames TV’s local news. I was a star!
My personal reason for wanting the NLL to stay open was it saved me taking a bus and three trains to visit a chum who lived across town. Since LT was SUBSIDISED in those happy days, the cost wasn’t too high – but where the NLL would get me there in twenty minutes, LT took me half a DAY. And I knew my story was not untypical. I also knew many more people would have used the line – if they had known it EXISTED.
Well, after our campaign, Londoners certainly knew it existed all right! And the upshot was that most of it remained operating – eventually being absorbed into an extension, which still runs today. And five years after our campaign, LT finally included it on their tube map. So, a success, then. Power To The People! Next problem…
But sadly, our campaign was only a success because it was put in front of EVERYONE. The tragedy is that while the World is filled with corruption and bullsh*t, those who decide to campaign against it get NOWHERE. Why? Because the activism is either in the form of TV, radio – or the written word. And THAT only reaches those who are already “converts”. Those who NEED to absorb it – turn away.
Example: for eighteen interminable years, the British Right-wing Torybastards ruled. And for the whole time, TV, radio and Left-wing publications LAMBASTED them. Every week, there were HOURS of comedy programmes dedicated to exposing all of the sleaze (and there was plenty to expose) and thievery perpetrated by these excrescences – and every five years or so, the British voters would vote them back in.
WHY? Because the only people who watched, listened to and read this material were Left-wing-sympathetic. They NEEDED a good laugh as they watched the Torybastards asset-strip their country for the benefit of the Fat Cats. But since the truth EMBARRASSED Right-wing-sympathetic people – they tuned it out.
In fact, it is ironic that the old Russian government gave “dissidents” such a hard time. If they had done what Britain and America does – monitor them, but let them rant – the dissidents would have been free to carry on crying in the wilderness, while the West would have been unable to accuse Moscow of being repressive.
And it’s the same damn story in The States. Michael Moore is reviled by the Right. They accuse him of hating America; thus “spinning” the truth, which is that Moore LOVES America – he just hates what greedy Right-wing arseholes have DONE to it. Hey dude, where’s my country?
So he writes books and makes movies which EXPOSE the greed and corruption – and those RWAs have the crust to accuse him of LYING. If they had done their research before opening their mouths – they would have discovered that he had done HIS. The second half of Mike’s books list all the SOURCES for EVERY FACT stated in the main text. Information that is available to ALL – who care to look.
And there’s the rub. In the West, thanks to various “freedom of information” acts, most of the info IS available. But only activists and satirists take the time to FIND it. Then they present it to us – sugar-coated with humour, to make it more palatable – and we turn our BACKS on it, if it doesn’t fit into our View Of The World. Our belief system, if you will.
How else do you explain “Fahrenheit 911”? This film EXPOSED the sleaze, corruption and bullsh*t of The Monkey, to a point where NO-ONE who had seen it would have voted for him, if he had run against a DEAD guy. And yet he was returned with an actual MAJORITY this time – and proceeded to completely F**K UP America.
So what ELSE CAN a person who wants to get rid of all the sleaze, corruption and bullsh*t – an activist – DO? Blow something up? All that does is hurt innocent people and EMPOWER The System. Write angry letters? Blogs, even? Again, only those who are already sympathetic to the message will READ them. Run for office? But then you become PART of The System – to actually do any GOOD is almost impossible. This writer wishes Obama LUCK.
The fact is, the only way people can be made to See The Light is to wave it in front of their NOSES, like we did with the North London Line. Then The People CAN’T just turn away. But for me, that campaign was a one-off. Immediately after finishing it, THIS “activist” CEASED his activities. Why? Because he knew the life of an activist is TOUGH.
Oh sure, your supporters will love you. But those whom you wish to “convert” will hurl abuse (and heavier objects) at you with a vehemence that is shocking – given that you are trying to SAVE them. Truly, No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished. Which is why THIS reporter now limits HIS “activism” to THIS meagre outlet – “The World According To Damien”. Here lies the Truth. Take it or leave it.