A small revolution in Mexico might be showing us the way forward.
If you get the time, take a look at this video here.
It’s a fascinating case study in revolution and the use-by date on our current political system. I reckon.
Anyway, the short version is that Cheran town in Mexico has banned politicians and political parties.
(I know, doesn’t it sound like heaven on earth?)
Cheran is a remote village, and they had illegal loggers coming into their forests and stealing their wood and resources.
When they complained they were harassed, murdered or just disappeared.
And so they went to their politicians, but their politicians were corrupt, on the payroll of the loggers and their big-party bosses in the city, and did nothing.
And so they just kicked them all out.
What I love about this is that it wasn’t one of those planned uprisings. Basically, a bunch of women just had enough one day, and started ringing the town bells, and everyone just showed up in force.
They didn’t even have a hashtag. #nottakingthisshitanymore
It seems the revolutions are often like this. Ferment can fester for years before it finally erupts, often over something relatively trivial. The seeds are sown, but the spark that lights the fire often comes out of nowhere.
And so now the people of Cheran have a new system, based on neighbourhood campfires and a general council. They also have their own police and an armed checkpoint into and out of town.
What I thought was interesting about this story though was just how familiar this story felt.
The world over, politicians are not there to serve the people. They are there to serve themselves… apart from a rare few.
I mean, think of the goose-stepping march of politicians in Australia that have been shown to be on China’s payroll.
We kind of put up with it because we don’t know what the alternative is, or think the alternative would be worse.
But stories like this remind us that politicians are parasitic pains in the arse.
I think we’re all feeling it. Disaffection with the political process is rife. Our revolving door of Prime Ministers reflects this. People have lost faith in the whole damn system.
And so they should. Even in Australia, which is still far and away one of the best places on earth to live, the government has been co-opted by power and does more to oppress and control that uplift and elevate.
(And you have to pay for the privilege!)
So how many people would shed a tear for our two party political system if it ended up on the scrap heap? Apart from all the lobbyists in Canberra, not many.
But I don’t think we’re on the brink of a revolution… yet.
What you see in this village in Mexico is an isolated people with tight social and cultural fabric. That makes a revolution possible, and an alternative viable.
There might be some small towns in Australia that could pull something like this off. But you wouldn’t see it in the major cities, and I don’t think you would see it at a national level.
This is the idea of Hobbs’ Leviathan. He said that the world is dominated by monsters. Government is the least bad monster, and we all agreed to give all our power to the least bad monster if it would then go and stop all the other monsters fighting and stomping on our children.
(Look it up. That’s literally what he said.)
Government wasn’t ideal, but it was better than the alternative.
And so it’s hard to see a way through a revolution because we worry about what might happen in the power vacuum it could create.
If there’s no government and no police, whose going to protect you from the bikies? If you’re a bikie, whose going to protect you from the vegans?
That’s why I’m not very optimistic about top-down revolutions. They can re-jig who’s in charge, but I don’t think they can create meaningful change.
The only hope, I think, is to start small, and hope to inspire and build up. Like what they’ve done in Cheran.
And so if you want to start a revolution in Australia, go out to Boggabri and start from there.
But no. All the revolutionaries are drinking coffee in Fitzroy.