Local or Global. Scale of Ambition.

by Amanda Harding


The prospect of January is beginning to haunt me. I've said to too many people that this will be my one treasured, unique moment to take stock, pause, look back, look in, look out and move forward. How this turns out carries no guarantees of satisfaction - to myself or others. What is already amazing me is people's readiness to offer advice and direction. Their clarity that now is the time for me to make the BIG move, to LEAD the pack, to MAKE a difference at scale, has taken me by surprise. My option to raise bees at the bottom of my garden has been instantly waived aside.

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This notion of scale, both spatial and temporal, is bugging me. It has plagued not only the likes of me - a grass roots activist who has grown older and wiser turning to the decision makers to instigate change that not only touches many people's lives but also has some chance of making it through from one regime to the next - but the range of philosophers and political theorists over time. Marx threw his glove in, alongside the best of them, taking on the whole gamut of change. Local and global. Social and political. Economic and cultural. Pitting the "workers" against the "ruling class". A full revolution that embraces profound transformation.

So does this make me a born-again-Marxist? Probably not. Yet the language I subscribe to is not so far from late 19th century political theory. Just wrapped up in early 21st century jargon building on the best of our friend Marx and adding layers from the internationalists, the human rights language of a Post-War era playing a major role. 

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If I sincerely buy-into and embrace this idea of transformative social change and count myself as one of the movers and shakers - or at the very least a self-awarded winning second role - then am I I not duty bound to move from second role to star performer? Am I able to do the very thing Marx talked about and move from works to action? To see the scale of my ambition? if I don't meet this challenge should I not relegate myself to the local life of lowly bee-keeping?  (More to come on this in the following days.)

A great use of infographics and a reminder of the hot potato that any post 2009 talk of capitalism brings us, take a look at  David Harvey on the Crisis of Capitalism, presented at the RSA in 2010.