Often when scrolling aimlessly through a Facebook feed you’ll see that someone you know or someone from a group you’re in has shared a link to an online petition. Chances are it will be hosted at 38 degrees, Change, Care2 or the UK parliment’s website. The person sharing the petition – let’s say it’s to stop fracking in the UK – will do two things: Firstly, express ‘outrage’ with the activity, behind the comfort of a computer screen. Secondly, encourage anyone reading it to sign the petition with a nonchalant ‘you know what to do’.
It is a case of get it signed, job done, unpause the Tivo/Sky box and carry on watching your programme of choice.
But then what? What happens next? Aside from signing further petitions on differing subjects, nothing is what happens next. This is about as revolutionary as many are willing to go.
At this point, however, it should be recognised that online petitions are not without success. For example, 38 degrees has 3 million members, taken a total of 39.6 million actions and currently championing over 8,000 campaigns.
This passage is from 38 degrees own website:
We helped stop the Government’s plans to sell off our ancient national forests. We helped stop plans for a nuclear dump in the Lake District. 38 Degrees members helped convince the government to sign up to the EU Directive on human trafficking, helping prevent trafficking in the future as well as ensuring victims are properly looked after. We forced the Olympic sponsors not to dodge their tax, stopped eBay from selling illegal bee-killing pesticides, and stopped the unpopular hospital closure clause from becoming law.
Then there is Care2 with it’s 37 million members and over half a billion signatures collected worldwide since its inception. Following that is Change who boast more than 100 million people in 196 countries who are ‘creating change in their communities‘. The UK parliament’s petition website states that out of all the petitions it has hosted so far, 316 have had a response from the Government and 39 have been debated in parliament. In total, 3,320 petitions are currently active.
I make no attempt at criticising the efforts of those who actively pursue a cause that is behind a petition. The problem lies in the millions of people who sign them and then don’t follow up the signature with individual action. The expectation is that someone else will do the running work for me whilst I carry on with my own pursuit of self gratification.
As Max Igan of The Crowhouse has said on numerous occasions through his YouTube audio recordings, people have grown into the mindset of thinking that by signing petitions and subscribing to newsletters, this is somehow going to be enough. The thinking being that if I do this repeatedly, eventually I’ll receive an email to say that freedom has prospered and the globalist elites have been dethroned and power restored to the people. All without you and I having to break into a sweat.
Are we seriously saying that by being stationed in the comfort of our own four walls we can challenge the power structure that controls our lives? It is this passivity that undermines what I think are genuine attempts by members of petitioning websites to try and make their influence felt.
Whilst many of the subjects that this blog discusses are not featured on the aforementioned websites, this doesn’t mean that organisations like 38 degrees cannot be a force for good. But sites such as this only represent a starting point. If all you and I are ever going to do is sign an online petition and then expect others to make the change happen, the battle is already lost.
Have a look around you. Look at the people who are ingrained into their own routine – beginning at dawn and ending as their eyes close for sleep. Routines exist not to be broken. They provide structure, assurance, a sense of place. And it is through these routines that millions of online users sign petitions. Resistance through Routine if you will.
One quality is missing for people to be able to truly galvanise and take the sentiment of a petition out into the streets and make it part of the daily fabric of society. That quality is sacrifice.
To achieve it means people having to break from routine. To break from what they would normally be doing. Sacrifice requires individuals to gather en masse, to communicate with strangers, to recognise like minded individuals who want to see a change actually happen and be part of it. It requires leaving behind the creature comforts of the modern era and embracing your own individuality.
No change of significance to the wider populace can happen without personal sacrifice. The recognition that what is being fought for will not just be of benefit to me, but also to millions of others.
Personal gratification is what stands between you and I enacting change on any meaningful scale. It means having to venture out into the cold on a rain soaked winter’s night. It means having to converse with the people you would normally spend your whole commute on the train ignoring. It means having to break from routine.
As technology advances, outpacing our own development as a species, these slowly become alien concepts. Alternative realities continue to be sold to us through smart gadgets, game play and television. For some, the thought of connecting with a fellow human being and not a WIFI hub has genuine psychological ramifications.
In which case, we deceive ourselves into believing that from the warmth of our homes, the fullness of our belly’s, and the comfort of our couches, we can make the necessary changes to dis-empower the globalist elites and free ourselves of oppression. All as the rain beats at the window outside. The rain that you and I must quickly face if we are ever going to get anywhere.
Because the email to say that freedom has been won is not coming.