Johann Hari has an excellent point:
Politicians respond to the pressures put on them. The banks and oil companies and billionaires never stop putting on their pressure, waving their cheques, and making their threats. We need to make sure our collective voices talk louder. The only way to do that is to give your time and energy and dedication to demand genuine democracy.
This isn’t something remote. It’s very simple and very practical. Choose one or two groups, and donate a few hours of your time a week. There are a thousand brilliant campaigning organisations – I’d recommend Plane Stupid, Greenpeace, End Child Poverty, the Tax Justice Network and the National Secular Society, just for starters. They all have work for you to do, now. If there isn’t a group for the cause you most believe in, start your own.
You are not powerless. You are surrounded by millions of people who share your frustrations and share your instinct for justice and rationality. It is your job as a citizen to connect with them. Together, you are powerful. If you remain alone and apart and soaked in cynicism, you can be sure the Rupert Murdochs and Wall-Marts and British Petroleums will be fighting for their interests – against yours, and humanity’s.
It’s why you have to vote. It’s why if you disagree with the third Heathrow runway you join Greenpeace to stop it. It’s why if you disagree with ID cards you join NO2ID to stop them. It’s why others of us must group together to get the Independent Safeguarding Authority abolished. We can make it happen – very few of us agree with the authoritarian behaviour of this thorougly illiberal government – we have to stand together and actually do something. It’s time to stop talking amongst ourselves on the Internet – invariably preaching to the converted – and to start making change happen. I’m working on a project of my own, inspired by Cleve Jones (who preached the exact points Hari does here), to get people actively involved in making change happen.