A Peaceful, Positive & Productive 21st Century People’s Revolt

Re-balancing small-minded, big power & its hollow ideological wasteland

Joshua Malkin suggests how we can move beyond our dysfunctional politics

We find ourselves in a dysfunctional system called liberal democracy, where moral or economic bankruptcy are the only choices of which Brexit is the ultimate symptom. For over two hundred years our politics and economy have been distracted by a sterile and unproductive debate between proponents of ‘freedom’ on the one hand and proponents of ‘’equality’ on the other [1]

This worldview informs the way we organise the whole of our societal governance systems but has reached the limits of its own logic and our thining is thinking us. Increasingly it seems as though we cling to an incoherent ideological wasteland whose compass is taking us nowhere, and which, despite our delusions of grandeur in terms of technological advance, are undermining human and planetary wellbeing.

We inhabit a broken political system [2], a broken economic system [3] and a degraded environment [4] where both human and natural value have been hollowed out not just from places and communities but even from within the domestic and personal domains of home, family and self [6] for the benefit of powerful interests – whether these are market or state-based.

The consequences of this pointless opposition of left and right are legion – they include, among many other things, empty high streets [7], increasing numbers of homeless people [8], unaffordable homes, rising levels of mental health problems [9], communities bereft of beauty but filled with bureaucracy, time-poor families with both parents on a treadmill of debt [10], an epidemic of loneliness [11] and young people without the prospect of a meaningful or flourishing future in a speculative economy whose purpose is to reward those willing and able to turn labour and nature into capital at everyone else’s expense and a patronizing state that allows us a vote every five years for parties that don’t represent us, our communities or our values and who exclude the capability, leadership and wisdom of everyone outside their party membership, irrespective of ability or knowledge[12].

The resulting short-termism of left and right and centre must be replaced. Contrary to what our political elites tell us, neither becoming more left wing nor more right wing , nor honoring the EU referendum nor staying in Europe, nor changing a voting system to include proportional representation will change this. We need a system capable of planning for the long term, based not only on who we are in terms of the diversity of our own communities, but on who we want to become together – a conversation which is rarely heard but which needs to be encouraged.

The good news is that we can step beyond our current impotent, testosterone fueled, swingometer grab for power called party politics, by choosing to leave those who want to fight each other behind and getting on with organizing ourselves and reclaiming our ability to improve our own communities  ourselves, irrespective of the state or the market.

Despite the BBC and the other mainstream media’s addiction to melodrama, doom and despondency and their unwillingness to see the hundreds of thousands of people already involved in underfunded, positive care and community activism as ‘news’, you can join in this amazing story of self-organizing and volunteering happening near you and across the country – indeed across the world –  which is under-represented and under-resourced by our dysfunctional political and economic institutions.

Integral to this peaceful, positive and productive people’s revolt is a principle that is not represented by any political party. It is that of regenerative human fellowship, which requires responsibility from each and respect to each from all. Mutualism encompasses at its best the idea that ethical is optimal. There are many organisations that were originally founded on such principles but have lost their way in our political and economic wasteland and who need a gentle or less gentle reminder of their own values.

Unfortunately, there also are many others still stuck in the old lower level destructive worldview of power and money who see efficiency and self-interest as more important than shared purpose, growing people or protecting place or planet. We can lead them by example by simply getting on with what must be done in order to make this journey together and to reach for a greater destiny than small-minded big power dares to embrace.  But at some point, we will have to have the gumption to evolve new institutions that will make the old ones redundant by simply being better. For that we need new platforms such as an alliance fot civil society.

By choosing human fellowship instead of ‘freedom’ or ‘equality’ we can move beyond liberal democracy to compassionate democracy where families, communities and ethical enterprise can flourish, where everyone matters and creativity and innovation, held by the principle of fraternity, are honoured for the contribution they make to individual, community and societal wellbeing.

You never change something by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller


  1. Since the French and American revolutions
  2. Voting levels have constantly been decreasing unless there has been a particular reason to vote strategically or an opportunity like the EU referendum where a vote could have impact
  3. More meaningless jobs, increasing levels of inequality, decreasing middle class, economic students in revolt
  4. Climate change, tree cover, biodiversity, sea plastic, agribusiness examples
  5. Rowan Williams quote
  6. Empty high streets figures
  7. Homeless people figures
  8. Unaffordable homes figures
  9. Rising mental health figures
  10. Debt figures
  11. Loneliness figures
  12. Political party membership figures

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