Radical? I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means…


The mainstream media have started to realise that the Greens are a threat and consequently have aimed the same belittlement strategy against them so long applied to the SNP – as characterized by their misreporting of Green policies and overtly hostile interviews. We’ve also seen a similar hatchet job conducted on SYRIZA in recent days…

At the same time, I keep seeing Greens (and those of a left-leaning persuasion in general) described as loonies, dreamers and unfit for government all over social media – invariably by folks who can’t offer intelligent criticism or indeed display basic spelling or reasoning skills, much of which comes from people being conditioned by the established media.

Yes, the Greens are radical – as most modern, progressive, left-leaning parties tend to be – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they or their policies are irresponsible, dangerous or poorly thought out. Indeed, the meaning of the word ‘radical’ has been twisted by the tone in which it has been used by established power structures for so long…

Once upon a time, when I first started seeing Radical Independence Campaign posters in the run-up to the independence referendum, I thought it was a poor choice of words because unless you are a surfer or extreme sports devotee, ‘radical’ tends to evoke images of scary change, perhaps even violent upheaval, terrorism, the collapse of society, dogs mating with cats and the Sun rising in the West.

However, as I became more invested in the campaign and my long dormant political mind came back to life, I came to realise that it was exactly the right word. Look it up in a dictionary and you’ll find…

Radical (adjective)
– of or going to the root or origin, fundamental
– thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms

The Greens and others of the broader progressive left are ‘radical’ because they see that the issues and iniquities of our time cannot be solved by cosmetic maintenance of the capitalist economic machine which runs our society.

If you believe that the problems with our society and with our government are fundamental, then radical solutions are the only things that make sense.

The structures which are responsible for our current problems – economic inequality, ecological unsustainability and a fundamental lack of democracy in our governance – and are not immutable, but human created conventions which we can change, if we only have the will.

Of course, there are those who benefit from the current arrangements, invariably those who have accrued power and wealth under these conditions and of course these people do not want things to change.

The bulk of the population lie in between those angry & informed enough to advocate change and those at the top who wish to quell such talk.

Unfortunately, it is those at the top who are in control of the conventional media, the school curriculum and the forms of our society and they will use (and have used) all of these levers to maintain their position and convince the bulk of the electorate that voting for continuity and ‘stability’ is in their best interests and failing that, dissatisfaction with the system is best expressed by not voting at all.

Well, that’s my view and I don’t expect anyone to change their viewpoint on my word alone.

Instead, all I ask is that you apply one simple test to any article, news broadcast, interview etc. that you read about politics, economics etc.

Cui Bono – ‘Who Benefits?’

Always ask yourself if the media source has an angle it wishes to portray, either in outright editorial or interviewer/voiceover hostility (or otherwise) to a subject, read as widely as possible and always be extra careful when issues like religion or national identity are mooted as these are used to evoke irrational reactions which are less about the actual issues and more about ingrained prejudices and convictions.

Whatever your conclusions, I urge, beseech and implore you to question the motivations and bias of all media and politicians before allowing their articles and pronouncements etc. to influence your thinking.

Question authority, question your own biases and prejudices, do some real research into the issues at hand and think about who is really responsible for the problems of our time – those at the bottom, or those at the top?

I don’t want to tell you how to think, all I ask is that you examine your thoughts more before writing off anyone as a loony or a dreamer.


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