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chris newman

General Practitioner, NHS

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How to effect social change most...effectively??

I currently live in Colombia, and on Sunday there will be a peaceful masked march in Cali against corruption, rather like V for Vendetta. It is a ´general ´protest, against corruption as a whole.

It got me thinking. ´Is this going to affect anything?´

Of course it wont, the corrupt politicians, officials, police etc will all be sitting at home laughing at the futility of it all.

Protests such as these, against building new highways, closing hospitals, don’t achieve anything. The government will not react to a peaceful march unless it suits them. Unless it will help them to get re-elected.

The thought of a huge protests gives me mixed emotions. Happy because lots of people the world over CARE about their world.

Sad because the average citizen, even a huge group of them, is almost powerless to effect change in the things that really matter.

The ´best protest´ at the moment is the hunger strike chap – Anna Hazare – in India, because he is being a leader and motivating others to stand up and be counted.

But the reason his protest might work is because
1) It is against something specific: a parliamentary bill which does not go far enough, something physical which could be changed easily.
2) He is putting his safety on the line, making it more personal. And the government has reacted, causing civil unrest. Governments listen to generalized focused civil unrest (as opposed to feral rioting and looting like in London).
3) It is against corruption, and this is something about which there is no argument, there is no black and white – corruption is wrong.

I believe that are a LOT of like minded people interested in the same things, but we never focus our energies on the same problem at the same time or in the right way. If we can do that then perhaps ´people power´ can achieve something.

So what is the best way to make governments listen and change, with those things that are a little less black and white,3rd world poverty, environmental exploitationfor example?


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    Aug 22 2011: Hi Chirs,
    I am personally tied to this discussion because I am Colombian, and it is interesting to me that you have been intrigued by the current situation, although obviously this is a problem that we face all over the world.
    I have only one word for you, and anyone who has ever tried to effect change:


    Whatever the strategy is, if it is not kept up long enough, through the indifference, the hatred and any bad circumstances, it will not have any effect at all.
    You would think that it goes without saying, but it is very easy for fed up citizens to give up on a cause because the opposition has been to great, or they have been waiting for too long.

    There are many cycles to break, and corruption is the biggest of them all, it leaks into every aspect of our daily lives and though most of us ignore it,or are not even aware of it, it grows immensely as it engulfs more countries, takes what belongs to them, enslaves them, and leaves them to die slowly as it simultaneously destroys their environment.

    We are in urgent need of change!

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