how NOT to change the world!


If you do anything this year, let it be that you watch these 3 documentaries:

Soweto: the wrath of time,

The 13th and

The people vs the rainbow nation.

These documentaries have been so important to me. Underlying each of them is a horrific injustice that a group of people has or continues to suffer. None of them is about a"story of hope" but each of them is necessary in helping connect the dots between different struggles.

The more I learn &  question, the more I realize how flawed the idea of individuals "saving the world" is.  It's really less about what you do in your little space to make life slightly more bearable (not if you want real change) but its about as politicians would say; mobilizing by getting enough of society to start making changes; changes to policies, structures & systems require mass movements.

If I stop over-consuming, support black businesses, walk everywhere in an effort to reduce emmisions & stop consuming meat, the world is just going to continue turning & my actions to try to "save the world" will go unnoticed. But if a whole community moves in a similar direction, there is a better chance of disrupting the space & actually changing things.

The problem is that most of us have been "taught" to believe that people just don't care, we believe that people are terrible, lazy & stupid.....hence no change. We don't consider the many ways in which big corporates, the education system, government, religious institutions & the like disincentivise public engagement. Think about it, you always know about government celebratory events, about sales & specials and about social events in your city. When was the last time you saw a call for a municipal public forum, a call for public participation on a policy that could change your life or have someone explain the new urban design plans for the city you live in? These things happen all the time, but the doors are deliberately shut as the powers that be strip you of your right to participate & effectively silence you.  These institutions have too much skin in the game & don't want things to change because this would disrupt their comfortand profits.

What's really going to 'change the world' is if we start realizing how all our struggles are connected.  If we start thinking of ourselves as having the power to change things, not as individuals, but as individuals within powerful communities.

Back to the documentaries.

In 'Soweto the wrath of time'; it seems as if the struggle is housing, unemployment & poverty. In 'The people vs the rainbow nation' it seems as if the struggle is free education& racially charged economic inequality. In 'The 13th' it seems as if the problem is the criminal justice system.......all of these are underpinned by an economic system that incentivizes exploitation, othering & inequality. Essentially the same beast is manifesting itself in different ways.

I admit that struggles are contextual & historical, however there are strong connections & links between these problems. None of them are isolated.

I don't know, I guess all I'm saying is that there's no power in isolating struggles & efforts to change things. If we're going to make a difference & change the world, we need to realize how patriarchy is linked to police brutality, how that is linked to unemployment, how unemployment is linked to war & wars to the climate crisis and all the rest of it.

Nkgopoleng MoloiComment