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Capitalism and the alternatives

From the day we're born, until the day we die, we are expected to believe that money makes the world go round. We are meant to trust the authorities and experts who tell us that they have everything under control. Our lives are determined and exploited by the perceived need for money and status; dominated by the power and influence of companies, bureaucracies and laws to keep us in our place; marginalised by a traffic system based on cars and concrete; swamped by the mass media; and controlled and affected by all manner of remote institutions and decisions.

In fact, people barely get a look in - they are just expected to go along with their set roles as obedient workers, dependant consumers and occasional passive voters. Such is the reality of capitalism and centralised government.

This all-embracing and oppressive system has been gradually but shakily established over the last 5,000 years. The major transformation of our lives has been imposed by the industrial and technological revolution of only the last 200 years.

Change and oppression has provoked dissent, protest and opposition at every stage. Ancient and indigenous peoples have fought to protect their land and ways of life; in the twentieth century, labour movements have fought for workers' rights; and a wide range of local, national and international disputes and campaigns have grown up to expose and challenge almost all aspects of the modern system.

Alternative and radical ideas have spread throughout society, drawing on past experiences, on present situations, and on people's hopes and practical visions for the future. What are the global alternatives to a system based on profits and power? How can a society be created which is based on the principles of human solidarity and mutual aid, on sharing and co-operation, on freedom, and on harmony with the environment and respect for life? How will people be able to run such a society together?

None of these questions are new - there is a wealth of ideas and experiences documented from the past or from more recent struggles and movements which people can learn about and take strength from. That is one of the purposes of McSpotlight. We must continue to develop the ideas and activities which are laying the basis of a new society within the shell of the old. Loadsalinks on capitalism