New Year’s Revolutions

Our system, capitalism, is designed to behave like this: it generates wealth for the wealthy and further impoverishes those with nothing. Asking it to behave differently is like asking a microwave to wash your car. — Russell Brand, Revolution

Our Christ­mas hol­i­days were great and full of vis­i­tors. The last days of 2014 were sun­ny, with the moon as a white water­mark on the bright blue sky. We cel­e­brat­ed Christ­mas at church and at home with crack­ers and ‘boughs of hol­ly’. We have been to Rochester and Lon­don. In the Vic­to­ria & Albert muse­um there was an exhi­bi­tion called Dis­obe­di­ent Objects, with objects that are used in protest march­es or riots like Occu­py. Not averse to a lit­tle rev­o­lu­tion, we went straight for it. There was a Dutch ban­ner: Krak­en gaat door (Squat­ting will con­tin­ue). There was a design for a gas mask made of a plas­tic bot­tle. At the end there was a wall where you could write your own protest mes­sage. Per­son­al­ly, I could write a whole list of issues on the protest wall, ideals that I share with many oth­er peo­ple but which are at the moment not facil­i­tat­ed by ’the system’.

Revolution - Russell BrandI recent­ly read Rev­o­lu­tion by Rus­sell Brand. In Eng­land the opin­ions about this man and this book are strong­ly divid­ed. Per­son­al­ly, I think he makes some good points, be it in a chaot­ic style. Take cap­i­tal­ism for exam­ple, where every­thing revolves around prof­it. If social val­ues are sub­or­di­nat­ed to prof­it, it is inevitable that we have a world of child labour, waste sur­plus and cor­rup­tion. Brand calls for rev­o­lu­tion because he is pes­simistic about the will of large com­pa­nies to change their course of action. But indus­try also shows some pos­i­tive signs. A Nat­ur­al Cap­i­tal Pro­to­col is planned to be in place in 2016, which will facil­i­tate com­pa­nies to val­ue the social and envi­ron­men­tal costs of their prod­ucts in a uni­form mat­ter. In this way, these costs become part of the eco­nom­ic cal­cu­la­tion, which is an incen­tive to reduce them. Stephen Fry briefly explains it in the video.

On New Year’s Day it was time to say good­bye to our guests and we took a short walk in the park. In the days before, the green grass and the blue sky had peace­ful reflect­ed the sun. But on that first day of 2015 the grass was blown to the ground and in the air dark clouds chased along and obscured the moon. A firm Wind of Change had risen to mark the new year. That is my New Year’s res­o­lu­tion: to start a mini‑revolution.