Ok here is my old man, rant. 🙂
I remember when I was younger, when I asked, ‘What are we doing for the community today?’ The answer was something on the lines of we are going to hold workshops on the importance of civil disobedience, or we are going to attend (insert whatever group here) to learn what they are about and see if we can combine efforts to expand the local community. Now when you ask that question, the answer you may get is, ‘I posted a new photo on my profile or ‘I took a photo with a sign that I downloaded from some company with a meaningless slogan and posted it online to help brand that company.’
As the years have gone by, I have seen a major move away from communities. I see less and less organizing in the streets such as clothing drives, food drives for lower income families, communities holding local business accountable for their environmental impact and wage offerings, etc. I also see less and less cross issues organizing, but I have seen more and more back biting within circles that should have been working together.I have seen too many good people get beaten down by their bosses, by their co-workers, when all they wanted was to make a difference. It seems like ‘profits before people’ have taken a hold of mainstream thinking.
What went wrong? Where did we lose our unity, our harmony, our solidarity?
It is very important for each one of us to take the time to understand what is going on in the world. It is important to know why individuals take time to work on change -no matter what that change is and no matter how much we agree or disagree with them. (There is a reason why they are protesting) Then we must take it one-step further from understanding, we must take action on how we, as a community, can improve these actions to achieve the bigger picture goal.
I am starting a series of Psychosomatic Rants posts that will introduce you to other groups and individuals who or have in the past, worked to improve their community. I will also talk about the things that I have started or collaborated with others to help improve my local community.
To start this series off, I want to share with you three documentaries from three different ‘social’ groups all striving to achieve a common goal. – A better world, a better community. Their methods are all different, their lives are different, but what is important is that their goals are all the same. I hope this inspires you, as it has me, to get more active in your local community.
The first video is entitled, ‘Beyond The Screams/ Mas Alla de Los Gritos: A U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk Documentary’ Martin Sorrondeguy, former vocalist for Los Crudos, is the producer of this powerful and uplifting documentary about the U.S. Latino punk scene and the DIY movement.
The Second video is ‘McLibel’.
McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald’s in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history. McDonald’s loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organisations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologised. But then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris. In the longest trial in English legal history, the “McLibel Two” represented themselves against McDonald’s 10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation’s business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children. Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald’s tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise – especially the British Government. McLibel is not just about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries. Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.
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The third film is called, ‘There is No Authority But Yourself.’
There is No Authority But Yourself is a Dutch film directed by Alexander Oey documenting the history of anarchist punk band Crass. The anarchist punk band Crass was very different from their contemporaries. The Sex Pistols and The Clash sold their souls to big record labels, whereas Crass stayed true to their anti-corporate ideals. Crass still exists today as a commune just outside of London named ‘Dial House’- a safe haven for those individuals of principle who still live by the old punk slogan ‘Do it yourself’
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