I’m Ragist*, I’m organised and I’m effective

This year I once again boycotted Christmas. I went to parties and enjoyed the company of others but when it came to the, exchange of gifts ritual, I declined to be involved. My family are aware of my position and now accept it in a slightly uncomfortable way as if I were some kind of recovering alcoholic abandoned amidst their alcohol fuelled revelry.

It has taken me years of reasoned argument followed by actions of sheer bloody mindedness (after I discovered that reasoned argument had no effect) to achieve this state of acceptance. It has not all been in vain though. My bow wave of resistance has slowly rippled through to my immediate family and although they still exchange gifts,  each member now only buys one gift of limited value in a ’secret Santa’  scheme. This is at least better than the indiscriminate orgy of consumerism that existed before my intervention.

This year, I felt the need to explain to people outside of my family my environmental position a lot more succinctly and effectively. I realised that the word ‘environmentalist’ was too vague and limited for what I wanted to communicate and so I looked for examples that are around today that achieve an immediate understanding of a concept. I found the word ‘vegan’ to be particularly potent.

There is no equivocation with this term. A vegan is a hard core vegetarian who does not exploit animals in any harmful way. There may be the odd grey area – eating honey or not – but the concept is well understood and respected by everyone familiar with the term.

Such a word was needed for my purposes. A term that described in an instant my position regarding the senseless waste and destruction of the planets resources, a term that identified me with other members of the movement so that every time someone heard the term, an image of a growing army was formed in their imaginations. And this army would have power. As my post title suggests, we would be organised and have the ability to impose that power onto deserving targets.

Thus, a new member would perhaps send an email to all their family and friends and announce their conversion to Ragism. Some might ask, ‘what is that? and an explanation would be offered – “we aim to smash the marketplace.”

Immediately, the recipient would understand that this person chooses to ‘conserve’ rather than destroy (except that which is most destructive to the planet) and that Christmas in particular is a focal point of their beliefs. They would learn that a Ragist does not believe that consumerism is a necessary part of the economy and they would know that a Ragist does not buy anything that is not needed. As a result, they should not expect any Christmas cards or gifts from a Ragist. The more committed Ragists will even refuse to accept any gifts bought for them at Christmas time should someone feel the need to challenge their beliefs. Thus, if you are ever asked “What do you want for Christmas?” you need only reply, “It’s OK, I’m Ragist.”

In exactly the same way that Christianity usurped the Saturnalia celebrations to further its own ends, so will Ragism hijack the Christmas period to further its anti consumerist/pro conservationist message. In fact the winter solstice would be a good day to nominate as ‘Ragist day’.

Eventually I see the movement extending its influence by organising damaging boycotts on certain practices or companies it finds particularly destructive and which are vulnerable to such boycotts.

Here is a start of some other ideas that can be associated with Ragism as it grows into a quasi belief system.

  • I am cynical of mainstream media.
  • I collaborate rather than compete.
  • My passport is a badge of my oppression; I belong to the earth.
  • I do not accept that selfishness is the inevitable motivating force in society.
  • I respect and observe rituals that reconnect me with nature.

*Ragist is a suggested name, partly due to my Rage Club and partly due to the successful campaign to get Rage Against the Machine to be the Christmas number one (I am ware of the irony – you had to buy product A to prevent product B from being the most popular, however the symbolic nature of the campaign is useful).

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