Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What exactly, is politics.

The two main ways of thinking about politics are that it is either what politicians do or it is the sum total of everyones actions. I find most people hold to the former view, politics is considered something that you stay vaguely aware of, and once every three years, you wander down to the polling booth and tick a box. I tend to have more sympathy with the later view, that actions of an individual, in as much as they require interactions with others, are political. What we buy, where we go, who we support, are all political actions. Even attempting to opt out of political action is in itself a political action - opting out hands more power to those who choose not to opt out. For most though, politics is the nasty, grubby interactions of politicians and bureaucrats, attempting to run our lives.

Ill Doctrine breaks this down superbly. Politics at it's core he says, is not just about the grubby self serving actions of politicians. It is about the systems and institutions that make it possible for millions of us to coexist, have food and get shelter. It follows from this, that we have that involves how we as a society gets along, should be accepted as a poltical conversation. When people (and bloggers) start railing at the lastest fiasco by a government department, that's politics. When we start ranting about the inanities of the justice system, it's a poltical rant. When we start pointing out the damage being done to our environment, it's a poltical discussion. Poltical discussions are ones that involve the systems and institutions that society uses to get along. Poltics at it's core, is not a bad thing, it's an ongoing discussion about how we live our lives and how we want our lives to be. Opting out, is not an option. Or at least, not a sensible one.

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