Outraged against the “Outraged”?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To the contrary, we are thankful for and inspired by the peaceful and positive “outraged” who offer proposals and freely express their points of view.

But with the violent “outraged”, no. Never.

Peaceful “outraged”, yes. It was about time. Gandhi said, “Peace is the way”. And now, for the first time, this road may be traveled without having to seek permission from the “powers that be”.

The Popular Party’s Deputy-Secretary for Communication Esteban Gonzalez Pons has stated that “Many Spaniards are becoming outraged against the “outraged”. I believe that even more are becoming outraged with those who, moved solely by their ambitions for power, never contribute anything, not even a little cooperation when it’s for the benefit for society as a whole, and at especially critical times.

Iran, China, Tunis, Egypt… Spain… Italy… and now Israel… it is clear that a new era of participative democracy is irreversibly dawning, thanks to the civic emancipation provided by new information and communications technology. In 1994 it was already possible to perceive and announce that the secular era of silence was over.

We are counted in the ballot boxes. But democracy doesn’t consist of being counted once in a while, but rather being constantly taken into account.

From the onset, the reaction to the “outraged” from non-progressives, from those who think more of themselves than of the present and future of the people, has been very much reticent. They continue to cling to the G7, then to the G8 or G20… while global and regional governance worsens and becomes more arbitrary, while the West continues off course for having sought to achieve total hegemony.

It’s clear that most of the promises that they make over and over again will be impossible to achieve without radical changes: How are they going to create jobs if, as was also the case in Portugal and the UK, they continue to believe that neo-liberal policies are the best? How are they going to create jobs if they accept as inevitable cuts in social benefits and public employment, interruption of public works projects, rampant privatization and delocalization of production to countries where labor is dirt cheap?

Thread by thread. Strand by strand, citizens who are now aware of their recently-acquired capacity for action will weave an immense web of solidarity around the world and will accelerate economic and social evolution. Let those who are “outraged against the outraged” know that fortunately the end is nigh for fragile democracies, with their political leaders weakened by the “great domain”.

The “outraged” will no longer tolerate this and -with all of the inconveniences that popular mobilizations may occasionally provoke- now that they can freely express themselves via Internet and mobile phones, they will peacefully but firmly propose in Spain and gradually elsewhere genuine democracies with active and transparent parliamentary representation (can we continue to accept parliamentarians who hold multiple jobs, or Euro-Deputies elected by less than 20% of voters?); and they will demand that political party programs include the appointment of high court judges with verifiable objectivity, professional standing and commitment demonstrated before a full session of parliament after the necessary nomination hearings; and that within a given term banks demonstrate that they no longer hold funds in tax havens, since otherwise many depositors and consumers will no longer trust them or acquire their products…; and that industrial delocalization be reduced, limiting greed and taking into consideration employment conditions in other countries and, above all, the environment…

And so on: rating agencies in the European Union, rejecting speculation and the hounding of the markets, rapidly adopting a system of economic federation; a new, urgent structure for the United Nations, displacing once and for all world governance by groups of the wealthiest countries (G7, G8) that has prompted so many conflicts; and once a strong United Nations system has been achieved, the initiation of a process of disarmament, as well as global ecological policies…

Having broken the silence of fear and submission that has always kept the people on the fringes of power, the “outraged” may make the 21st century the century of the people. I expressed this wish years ago. Today –thanks, Stéphane Hessel- it may become a reality. And that would really take the wind out of the sails of those who are outraged against the outraged (in reality, it already has)…