For several months now there’s been talk of legislation designed to limit the amount of money any individual party or organisation can spend , in the twelve month run-up to a general election. A “Lobbying” bill.
Polly Toynbee discusses it in today’s Guardian here ;
If this bill succeeds , as it looks likely to, it will be the greatest assault on free speech this country has ever seen, literally.
It isn’t hyperbole to say this, and I’m no Julian Assange.
I’m talking a out the deliberate silencing , across the political spectrum, of organisations voicing plainly obvious, commonly held, concerns.
Nothing secret, nothing subversive.
Oxfam, the Trussel Trust, Save The Children, all silenced.
Even, ironically, the Tax Payer’s Alliance.
All those organisations that, outside the political sphere, represent the interests and concerns of the otherwise voiceless .
It doesn’t take a cynic to work out why.
If this happens, who will stand for the voice of the people, the “vox populi” if those normally entrusted to do so, are silenced?
Certainly not “Anonymous” – while their campaigns have unparalleled coverage in the media, it’s not their style to “show face” as individuals.
In most other scenarios this is their main advantage. But if we are to “occupy” society, rather than just “the city”, we need to eschew anything that can be perceived or portrayed as anything other than “the man* on the street”.
But what we can learn from Anonymous is this; to remain individual, unconnected, sharing only common concerns, a common narrative,a common voice.
This way no government, that wants to call itself democratic, can attempt to silence even one single person, speaking as an individual, for simply having a conversation with another.
Unless it regards conversations about the cost of living , etc, as de-facto “insurrection”? Unless it really does want to be remembered as being the very thing it implicitly ad-homs the opposition as – “Stalinist”
But how many informal conversations will have to happen(as they surely will),between how many unconnected individuals, before they become a million conversations, a million voices?
Maybe then, false talk of “big societies” can finally be silenced by big society’s big conversation.
One can only hope.
NB “*man” is used here simply because it is less cumbersome than most alternatives! and because it’s also a well known saying. And I’d hope no one would be so snippy….