Updated: Feb 28
I've heard it said time and time again by many different types of people in many different types of environments, "I hate politics, I won't engage!".
My impression is that when people say this it's usually because they've tried, unsuccessfully, a number of times to make change. Whether it be within an organisation, a community or their own family and have ended up frustrated, demoralised and burnt out.
The point is, however, that change can't really happen without engaging in some form of influencing behaviour and our own desire for change if not always a simple, binary engagement in right or wrong. Just because we think we're right doesn't mean we are and equally just because someone else thinks they're right, it doesn't mean they are!
If we really want change I think it's inevitable that we need to engage in politics, but this takes many forms. Defining politics is not easy as it’s inherent in many of our systems, processes and everyday interactions.
Also, saying we 'hate politics' could really just be saying we're frustrated with the people we have to influence inorder to make the change we're after.
Change also has many shapes and sizes. It could be large, like the legislative change of allowing gay marriage or small but signifcant, like the remembering of an Acknowledgement to Country in meetings.
In our Loops of Learning conversation on the 13th February 2022 I asked:
"Is engaging in politics the only way to make change?"
Within our group conversation we agreed that politics relates to any activity concerned with power and status. The group felt it true that we must engage in politics, but acknowledged that there are covert and overt ways of doing this.
Overtly, engagement looks like direct actions aimed at influencing policy and legistation. Direct action assaults, terrorism, demonstrations, strikes are all such examples. They are actions that attempt to directly change our systems.
Covertly this is more subtle and indirect. Writing films that shift the narrative on particular social issues, shifting buying behaviour to stop production of products that pollute, or asking questions to spark discussion and debate around particular issues are all actions that impact society. They make change happen.
So, I ask you to consider, if you are a person that says they hate engaging in politics, do you want change? If so, what are you doing to create positive change? Do you think there are other ways? I'd be eager to hear them,
What does engaging in politics look like for you? If you hate 'politics', what is it you really hate? Not feeling heard? Not being able to influence others?
As Plato is quoted as saying, 'One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.'
I posit that it's not possible to change anything if you don't engage in politics at some level.