Beyond the Status Quo

Culture has to be at the very heart of the peoples struggle for freedom and social change. If the peoples struggle is unable to adequately address and recognize cultural forces or if it bypasses the culture of a peoples in the struggle for change, its strategy for social change would prove to be counter-productive. There is a need to recognize that in strategy the longest way round may actually be the shortest way home!
A people’s understanding of peoples struggles and movements too are frozen in time and space largely due to the perceived inability to grasp the ‘story’ in whole, which has been a result of conditioning through the monoculture of dominant educational, political, cultural and social forces. It is imperative that self-realization and political consciousness of the individual for social change towards a more just and equal society is paramount for personal transformation.
One must begin to address the fact that just being a ‘good person’ is not sufficient, because an individual is only a part of the collective and should contribute and participate in the process of making a society based on justice, freedom, respect and dignity. Attaining political consciousness is a process of spiritual companionship that is realized through the liberation of the human spirit.
Creation of political and social consciousness through education is what helps sustain the vibrancy of the movement for social change. However, having said that, it would also be detrimental not to recognize that education is not a neutral institution. The education system can either promote the liberation of humankind or can be used as a means to suppress people and maintain the hegemonic status quo.
The political and social implications of such dominant systems of education are inconsistent with equality and justice. It has a tendency to break away from concrete context. Thus, any movement that is socially and politically conscious must recognize the need to take steps towards democratizing the knowledge system, as it is perceived as a central precondition to human liberation.
Democratizing the knowledge system would imply the need to promote and empower alternative knowledge system and to legitimize its existence. The alternative knowledge system must be relevant and should guide the educational process initiated to bring about change. This should enable the capacity of the people to see into the reasons of their action. It represents a paradigm that embraces and enhances life and nature. Empowerment of the collective struggle begins with an alternative knowledge system that is rooted in the people, and which represents their worldviews, values and aspirations.
Without this conscious recognition and implied paradigm shift of the knowledge system, no people’s movement can adequately confront the status quo, rather it may only go as far as reconstructing the status quo.