Protest is not enough by "Joost van Steenis"
*The elite hardly listens*
The elite reigned in the past and is in the present still on top. That has
"The G8 meeting is over.
"Protests withered away.
"The situation in the world did not improve.
"Next year another G8 meeting.
"Next year another protest.
"Next year again nothing will change.
*"Something different has to happen."
Protesters are only asking (begging?) leaders to change decisions. But all
protests are absorbed by society. Leaders continue to take decisions in
agreement with the elitist paradigm, they just go on with what they are
doing. All protests remain within the framework set by the paradigm that the
eliteworld must be preserved and extended and that Money, Power and
Elitepersons must come first. Though some money maybe directed towards the
massworld, neither power relations, the mind of leaders or the reasons why
they take certain decisions change.
*Real change is not possible when power relations don't change.
Power relations don't change when the minds of people with power do not
Actions must be part of the clash between the old elitist paradigm and the
new human paradigm.People must stand central, not power, not money. The new paradigm demands that all people have equal status. Now decisions are in the first place
taken by looking at the interest of a small part of the population, the
*There have been many actions of masspeople but powerful leaders always
remained in their place* and new decisions differed not much from attacked
decisions. Activists sometimes claimed successes but it was often a
double-edged success, there were some benefits for masspeople but at the
same time the elite profited also.
*The process of the abolition of slavery *is often described as a success
for people who found that black slaves were also human and that slavery was
a violation of human rights as we should say nowadays. Abolition seemed a
victory for humans who put the well-being of masspeople in front. The facts
tell a different story.
In the struggle for abolition masspeople were hardly involved. Occasionally
a rebellion of slaves demanded attention but these rebellions were mostly
crushed with much violence. The struggle, that lasted a century, was led by
middle class people supported by some elitepeople who saw that society could
be more profitable without slavery. More and more the elite realised it
needed abolition to advance society for their own benefit. That also some
masspeople benefited did not matter, power relations were not changed.
*After the French Revolution*, probably as a result of the new paradigm
Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood (Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité), slavery
was abolished in France in 1794. But a few years later, the influence of the
new paradigm was already weakening, *Napoleon re-established slavery* and a
revolt of slaves in Haiti was bloodily crushed. Only fifty years later
slavery was completely banned in France.
In the United States the abolition of slavery was also a long process.
Around 1800 after the Revolutionary War slaveholders were "persuaded to free
their slaves". The elite seldom attacks it own sons so slavery was not yet
lawfully abolished. Ten percent of the slaveholders bowed to the arguments
that were in complete agreement with the elitist paradigm. "Slaveholders
were encouraged to abolish slavery because the economics of the area was
changing. It was shifting from labour-intensive tobacco culture to mixed
crop cultivation that did not need so many slaves" (not one word about the
question of slaves were indeed also human).
*Only in 1865 slavery was completely abolished.* You may guess how much
human misery was caused to masspeople in this half century. Slavery was only
abolished because the elite from the North of the USA had a different kind
of economy that needed more independent workers though they still "felt
threatened as well because they were uneasy at the prospect of the sudden
addition to the labour pool of a huge number of freed labourers who were
used to work for very little and thus seen as willing to undercut prevailing
wages" (again the money argument). "Northerners came to view slavery as the
very antithesis of the good society, as well as a threat to the own
fundamental values and interests". (quotes from Wikipedia).
*The interests of an important part of the elite demanded the abolition of
slavery* and secondary was the idea that all humans had to be treated as
humans. The human factor was small in comparison to the money and power
factor, to the threat that slavery should undermine the eliteworld.
Most "improvements" in the massworld are carried through because the elite
acknowledges that the economy is changing. They make new rules and the
influence of organisations of masspeople on these decisions is negligible.
The forty-hour week, abolition of child labour, rising salaries of workers,
minimum wage, compulsory education, state pensions etceteras are first of
all products of elitist think tanks. Masspeople benefited from these
decisions but their influence on these decisions was minimal and the cleft
between mass- and eliteworld remained very wide.
*The elite brings change when it is needed – for its own paradigm*. What the
elite does is mostly compatible with this paradigm. Therefore society cannot
change fundamentally by the kind of mass actions we have seen in the past.
*The Vietnam War.*
The war was part of a power struggle on a world scale between different
Why was it stopped?
Because of the protests of many masspeople all over the world? Don't believe
it. It was stopped because the interests of the American elite were
undermined. The war was too costly, it undermined the grip on the own masses
because of the 50000 dead American soldiers (not the millions of dead
Vietnamese), trade with other countries was endangered by a growing
anti-American feeling, etceteras. All these reasons had their origin in the
danger that the dominant paradigm that the elite always has to be on top was
losing its influence.
*Massive protests had hardly any influence* but self-appointed mass leaders
still continue to propagate that it is necessary to fight for improvements
within the framework of the elitist paradigm. They ask elitepeople to
improve the massworld while the elite is in the first place occupied by
efforts to improve the own world. Its mind is directed on what happens in
the eliteworld and not on what happens in the massworld. Actions that do not
contribute to the change of mind of leaders should be ignored. But leaders
of mass organisations still demand higher salaries (though the income of the
elite rises faster), electric cars (though the interests of the oil elite is
more important), no hunger in the world (though the agricultural elite may
not be hurt), no more wars as in Vietnam (but the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan just go on and new wars (Iran etceteras) are already on the
*Mass protests have hardly any influence. *The elite does not change its
indecent attitude. Wars and violence hurt in the first place masspeople and
you can find them almost anywhere. In 2001 there was some kind of war in a
third of all countries. That situation has not changed. (See the 8th Letter
of an Autonomous Thinker Too many Wars,*
Maybe some problems will be solved and perhaps, perhaps mass actions
contributed something positive but new problems arrive just because the
world is built on the wrong paradigm that turns around money and not around
Many masspeople realise that, they lose their fighting spirit and will not
be involved anymore in political activities. They miss fundamental results
they acknowledge that all change only occurs within the elitist boundaries.
Mass actions miss fundamental ideas because they are not built on an own
paradigm. *They are a reaction on what the elite is doing.* Actions are not
based on the creativity and autonomy of masspeople nor do they put pressure
on elitepeople who take decisions. Moreover most actions take place in the
own massworld and the centre of power that is deep in the eliteworld is not
touched at all.
In my 90th Letter of an Autonomous Thinker, *Wrong kind of action* (*
http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis/letter90.htm*) I commented on a German
action group who made some principal mistakes. I named six points, stay out
of prison, do not overestimate yourself, behave like a fish in the water,
aim to change the mind of leaders, do not destroy insured things, do hardly
send messages to the media.
The new paradigm demands that persons have to stand in the centre.
- Carry out actions that are hardly punishable. In prison you can't do
- Realise you are a fly and not a tiger and that you cannot change the world
in one action.
- Do not be a professional activist but remain in touch with the people
around you, remain on trusted grounds.
- Try to influence persons with power, put pressure on them and avoid fellow
masspeople that defend the top.
- Do not attack buildings because damage will be repaired and the mind of
leaders will not be influenced.
- Do not try to win the media for your message because most media are owned
by people who are very close to the elite.
*Remember that all what happens is done by people, people stand central,
thus put pressure on people who do not consider that all people have equal
Most protests of the past were useless. I advise to stop doing things that
have no result. Do not participate in actions thought of and led by others,
you have to control your own situation, do not remain a secondary citizen in
actions – you want to be a real human isn't it?
Last but not least, direct all your energy on those people who use the
elitist paradigm to improve their own world. Use an own paradigm that will
be in the interest of all people. When not all people get an equal status,
all actions will be futile.
Some last remarks.
- *I have disregarded activities of people who want a society that is built
on a different system – be it communist, fundamentalist or something
else.*Not the system must change but the people. Societies built on
will be comparable with old societies, an elite on top and the masses down
- I have also disregarded activities of people who wait for the collapse of
the present society, be it for political or for religious reasons. Most
people who wait for a catastrophe, wait till heaven comes down on earth are
not socially active, they withdraw in their own small group in which they
discuss with each other how the new society must look like. They forget that
a New Society never comes into being when the road to this society is not
taken into consideration.
- I disregard also people who are socially active with the purpose to
improve the present society within the existing power relations.
- I concentrate on people who are socially active in taking the road to a
different kind of society, a society were the mind of leaders is changed in
such a way that all people are considered to have equal status.
More information can be found in the following articles published in the
series *Letter of an Autonomous Thinker:*
1. *Leftist actions are not effective (
18. *Is the Movement dead?* *(http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis/letter18.htm
19. *The Movement moves again* *(
20. *The end of demonstrations?* *(
40. *The road to the future* *(
41. *Change not improvement* *(
47. *The future is needed in actions (
88. *Protest is not enough* *(http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis/letter88.htm
90. *Wrong kind of action (http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis/letter90.htm) *