‘We the people’, is an opening phrase of the preamble to the United States constitution and preamble to the constitution of India. However, it is not the intention of the writer to discuss herein the political connotations of this statement, rather my aim is to shed a considerable amount of light on the impact of people’s power and how we can use that power to negotiate our fate in the world.
People vote governments into power. It is through the administration of our resources that the efficiency of these governments is judged. We enlist ourselves into national armies to protect our lands from any potential threat. We start up revolutions to overthrow dictators and corrupt governments. We are agents of change. It is us that endorse, buy and consume the variety of competing products and services in the world of commerce.
Research and science is inspired by us and upon our participation, social trends are set. We develop the diverse cultures that beautify the world, we inspire the norms and values that make the moral fabric that dress up the world, covering its nakedness into decency.
The very same norms that influence human behaviour today, the implementation of norms is a vital way through which individuals may be governed, influenced even controlled beyond the reach of formalised and institutionalised rules of laws and prohibitions. The world is our footstool.
We hold ineffable amounts of power in our hands, yet we have become so dependant on our governments, begging the very same people we voted into power to allow us to eat the leftovers from their tables. They deny us the same resources that we entrusted in their stewardship. We have endorsed these products and services to which the ability to purchase them has now been used as a benchmark to measure our worth, prompting the emergence of social classes between ‘the ones that can afford’ and ‘the ones that cannot’, consequently declaring the former superior and the latter, inferior.
Through our stern efforts of wanting to bridge the gap, we have now been caught in the snares of economic dependency, crime, bankruptcy, low self – esteems, prostitution and all other problems to which further emphasis and discussion falls beyond the context of this article.
It becomes a matter of great concern as to how we managed to fall from the majestic heights of ‘people power’. At which part of our journey did we loose focus and found ourselves at the cul-de-sac of subjugation?
The moment you elect anyone to represent your interests anywhere, you are literally transferring your power to that particular person, leaving you the elector at possible risk of being a victim to the misuse that power.
According to the German-born Robert Michels – best known for his book ‘Political Parties’, published in 1911 – Iron Law of Oligarchy is the organisation that gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors and of the mandatories over the mandators.
This is what is happening in issues of governance. Does this mean I am advocating against the system of leadership and elections? No. The irrationality of a thing is not an argument against its existence, but rather a condition of it. Power is ineffective in the absence of the objects that recognise, acknowledge and accept its source, the objects to whom the force of that power is exerted upon. Any force that exerts its power upon us does so only because we have accepted it. (Sometimes, this is a subliminal process)
The system of governance depends on our participation, democracy cannot be exercised if we do not come forward to vote. Products and services will not be sold if we, consumers, do not endorse them, buy them and consume them.
The world of commerce would come to a literal stand still if workers do not report for duty, buyers do not come forward to make purchases. There is no art without an audience, trends can never be set without our participation. Such is the fate that awaits the world if ever we choose to live without participation, therefore we can use that power to determine how these activities are run, for the benefit of the people.
As we come to the realisation of our indomitable strength, I hope we acquire the shrewdness of exercising the dynamics using people’s power by knowing when and when not to offer our contribution, participation or endorsement. Having the wit to realise when our needs are not being met, when our interests are not being represented and having the courage to do something about it, henceforth we shall be able to alteregative perceptions about ourselves and do away with the victim attitude that we have come to exhibit as people.