By Brian Sims [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The internet has had a greater impact upon humanity than any other event in our history. For the first time people are now empowered to be able to interact directly with each other across the Planet, sharing their personal hopes and fears as well as their thoughts and beliefs.
The Arab Spring in 2010 illustrated this new environment to us in all its glory as the world became aware of the protests that our traditional media would not focus upon, as well as protesters supporting each other across the world. Who would have thought that Arab protesters would be sending messages of support to Occupy protesters in America who were facing ever growing levels of police violence in dealing with peaceful protest!
This gradual merging, as a species, is now driving a coach and horses through the traditional barriers of race, colour, creed and gender that have been used by the governing classes to separate and control the masses over the millennia. This new ‘people empowering’ stage in our evolution is sending shock waves through the established order, as they struggle to maintain the type of traditional control and suppression now being exposed through the integrity of whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and many others.
We are now witnessing desperate attempts to wrest back that control through the increasing regulation of the internet, and fuelling growing resentment by its users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for example, is trying to force service providers into codes of practice that support surveillance and an increasing censorship over what people can and can’t say – very much the old way of doing things! Keeping the masses in ignorance may have worked in the past but people are waking up to their new found freedom and are unwilling to let it go, rightly so.
It is here that we see a powerful new democracy emerging, supported by the rising powers of activist groups such as 38 degrees in UK, Move On in USA, Get Up! In Australia and Avaaz globally. Their very proliferation across the planet is evidence of how people are seeking and finding new ways to be heard and bring about change.
This activity is best typified when Rupert Murdoch, one of the most powerful men on the planet, attempted to acquire the controlling interest in BSkyB in June 2010. In political circles it was seen as a ‘done deal’, but after heavy petitioning by 38 degrees and Avaaz he was thwarted by both public opinion and unsavoury allegations of phone hacking. This example demonstrates the raw power of this new democracy when projected upon what was previously seen as a cosy political/corporate environment.
Badly shaken by actions like this the reaction is to try and smear the credibility and reputation of the perceived threat, like the campaign launched to discredit Edward Snowden (or worse, to give it no coverage at all!). Lord Tyler went as far as to describe 38 degrees members as “rent a mob” and Simon Burns MP in 2011 describing them as “almost zombie like”.
Here the traditional arrogance of the powerful, in attempting to undermine the actions of the masses, are symptomatic of a knee jerk reaction that is driven by fear. They seem incapable of recognising their complete lack of respect for those who certainly voted one of them into power, widening the divide and understanding between the old world and the new. This inability to recognise and successfully adapt to the changes now going on in the world could see them quickly become labelled ‘Dinosaurs’, adding to their growing problems of credibility.
What they also fail to understand and accept is that in any democracy people, as voters, are the most powerful members of Society – something I’m not entirely sure voters have complete confidence in yet. After all, without votes governments can’t get into power and corporations have nobody to sponsor! That’s right . . . without the actions of the voter’s corporations and government have no power!
This is in full evidence with the results of last weeks local UK elections and EU election results that followed on. The three main parties suffered humiliating dents to their political status as UKIP and right wing parties were given huge voter support. And this was achieved in Europe with only a third of voters turning out!
It makes no difference which parties were promoted or demoted for the sake of this argument, the important point is that people power (or a third of it in this case), changed the then current political power bases and THE ESTABLISHMENT WAS TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANIPULATING THIS.
Over the generations both politicians and business have been very aware of this, hence their use of the media to manipulate the public’s perception of the democratic process, making them appear as the masters of Society, rather than their true role as servants. The reality is that if they don’t do as we wish we show our displeasure at the ballot box, and if we don’t like their products or services we ‘vote’ with our feet, both of which they fear intensely.
The expansion of people empowerment through ‘Web Voting’ does, I believe, directly correlate to the levels of abuse now being perpetrated upon those same people. This is born out with the increasing control of the media, surveillance and the creation of purported global threats to the public such as terrorism. Once again it demonstrates the very real fear inherent within the established corridors of power, as they recognise the growing voter awareness of political abuse and the ability of the internet to now deal with this, gradually reducing the power they have exercised for too long.
The time of totalitarian states is now receding, in spite of what we are currently experiencing, because of our natural evolution into a Global Village. We are not the same species we were just 100 years ago, and therefore incapable of returning to the feudalism of the past.
The old order of ‘divide and conquer’ is imploding, as we witness the growing lack of credibility of our traditional institutions and our demand for their replacement by more democratic people based structures. It may take a while but the 99% are beginning to confront the power of the 1%, and will eventually control it with a powerful new democracy . . . That’s what Evolution is all about!
Until the next time