I don’t really listen to politicians, but last month David Cameron said something odd. He wouldn’t debate on TV unless the Green Party were invited. The unexpected result was soaring Green Party membership. Many people are looking for alternatives that are pro-planet, not pro-profit. People are suffering poverty, on the streets or behind closed doors. […]

I don’t really listen to politicians, but last month David Cameron said something odd. He wouldn’t debate on TV unless the Green Party were invited. The unexpected result was soaring Green Party membership. Many people are looking for alternatives that are pro-planet, not pro-profit.

People are suffering poverty, on the streets or behind closed doors. It’s happening now to the marginalised. Next it will hit the layer of middle class jobs called things like ‘admin’ and ‘finance’. Sheffield City Council’s backroom staff is still a fairly sizeable workforce and they’re facing cuts right up to 100% closure. The long-term trend is the disappearance of middle incomes. That’s not scaremongering. It’s the austerity and outsourcing which mainstream politicians call essential. It’s left, right and centre across the media as well, with a few honourable exceptions. It’s terrible – an earthquake event equivalent to the Thatcher era. It’s the pit closures again, but this time they’re coming for the office workers.

I was brought up believing that we would roughly find the best way forward in a democratic mixed economy welfare state. Now corporate competition wins all and welfare leads to inefficient dependency. I don’t agree with the basis of these views, but my opinion counts for nothing. It makes more sense to ask what will happen next, and this means following the money. Oxfam says the richest 1% will own more than the rest of the world’s population by next year. Power corrupts, and that sort of power corrupts absolutely.

Sorry if this sounds a bit negative, but there are huge things happening out there. The capitalist wet dream is looking very dried up. ‘Free trade’ clearly puts wealth and power into the same few dirty hands. But there’s massive opposition brewing.

Back on the ranch, Sheffield can feel like The Shire, Tolkien’s idyllic, slow-moving backwater. What can we do from here? Keep in touch and stand up for neighbours, family and friends as much as possible – that’s timeless advice for a crisis. Co-operate, campaign, join social organisations, look for alternatives. You can choose. Sheffield has loads of groups working for change.

Sheffield’s Positive Money group believes that new systems are needed and they’re working on this. National network coordinator, Dora Meade, attended their January meeting on the future of this growing movement. Their Banking 101 videos explain the ridiculous truths behind our current money supply. It’s a bubble waiting to burst.

See the bigger picture, like the Transition Town movement. They have an increasingly relevant viewpoint on everything from food production to power supply, working on community transition because our way of life will inevitably change. Sheffield’s various Transition groups are part of a city-wide network, waiting for you to roll up your sleeves and help make change.

I can’t be bothered with politicians, but politics matters because life matters. When the supply of money, food or water stops, people either die or get moving and get organised.

positivemoneysheffield.pbworks.com
transitionsheffield.org
alt-sheff.org

Peace in the Park by Night
13 June
Sadly postponed in 2013, Peace in the Park returned in 2014 with the best ever festival. The exciting new plan starts with Peace in the Park by Night on 13 June 2015 – live music, DJs, sound systems, stalls, bars, hot food and more. Next year it will be Peace in the Park by Day, 11 June 2016.
peaceinthepark.org.uk

One Billion Rising Flash Dance
14 February | Peace Gardens
One Billion Rising is a response to the terrible statistic that 1 in 3 women are raped or beaten in their lifetime. A flash dance protest against this will take place at the Peace Gardens on 14 February, 12.30-1.30pm, followed by a Valentine’s event at Crookes Social Club from 7pm.
onebillionrising.org/events/flash-dance

Alt Sheff