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It doesn't work
to leap a twenty-foot chasm
in two ten-foot jumps.
- American proverb



The Op(posi)tion To The Status Quo

Karen Lyden Cox


The recent round of opinions and exchanges that concluded with mention of the status quo ignited some ideas. I would like to share thoughts that came to mind and use those to expand the discussion.

I think it is important to recall the stated purpose of The Blanket which is "The Blanket project exists as a commitment to freedom of speech. Its purpose is to facilitate analysis, debate and discussion, to resist censorship, and to create the space for a diversity of views." This need arises from the medium's [not media's] stranglehold on opinion, and the Sinn Féin party's censoring and censuring of critics.

The Blanket is open to all people who have opinions to voice, lengthy or brief, whatever they desire. The only prerequisite is a pen or a keyboard, and, hopefully, the understanding that thoughtful contributions are valued, whether the writers have or have not used this type of media to express their thoughts before.

It is fair to say that a good portion of the population, not just people in Ireland, are in the process of forming opinions as they resist political thought control and resent being forced to accept the only course on offer. The purpose of The Blanket widens, then, to become that of an information resource, part of alternative media.

As conditions worsen, people anticipate an immediate solution and expect that somebody in charge had better come up with one. The general assumption is that only one or two solutions are viable, and to suggest anything else is capitulation. And people will respond defensively to that. In reality, this time of transition allows the exploration of many ideas for a better end result.

Activists all over the world are putting together propositions for change; with increasing oppression, more declarations are being formulated. In efforts unprecedented in history, groups independent of each other are coming up with constants. The frameworks are not identical, yet they complement each other. The strength of The Blanket project will come, not from an authoritarian recipe for change, but from the accumulation of truth-sharing and ideas, some novel, from the most likely and unlikely sources over a period of time.

The pressure is on to revise a world which is dominated by the unrestrained capacity to produce goods, destroying all living systems on the planet in the process, concentrating some 90% of the world's wealth into 2% of the population, and doping the majority of the work force into recognizing the divinity of the plan. The change in the status quo is already happening but not rapidly and not from the top down as we have come to expect change. This long-term change is more likely to be long-lasting.

There are three ways to change the status quo - either from within the political system, outside of it, or by hammering at it from both sides. Some activists believe that politicians, governments and the corporations who own them can be influenced to change, admitting that the influence will have to exceed the bounds of the scrutiny and challenges that constituents confront their representatives with; most governments are responsive to money and to powerful individuals, right now. Changing the system from within is more dangerous than difficult as the history of those undertaking to change it from within is that they become absorbed into the system and are unable to proceed effectively, lose the moral courage to say so, and often become the very institutions they vowed to dismantle.

The driving force to change is coming from outside governments and their allies, from within Ireland and outside of Ireland, making the debate of a 6 and 26 versus a 32-county republic secondary to the establishment of ethical economies which are democratic and answerable to their local communities, which provide people in communities with good working conditions and a decent livelihood, which award productive behavior and not massive production, and which function in balance with the natural world. Why? Simply because it has to.



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