Sort the Bones Out of This!

I read the headline, but couldn’t believe what it said, so I read it again. It didn’t didn’t seem to make a lot of sense, so I thought I had better read on, and see if I could get some clarification. It soon became clear enough. It was a problem I had anticipated some time ago, but to see how it was being solved was quite a shock!

Judge for yourselves:-

Six elderly people in China kill themselves ‘before burial ban’

The problem of the space required for the dead was one that had been seen coming in Europe, but to see it in China was something unexpected, as looking at the map, there seems to be more than enough room for everything. This belies the facts on the ground, however, and the Chinese are taking drastic measures to alleviate the problem.

In Japan, with a tradition of cremation, the problem is minimal. In Europe, one solution has been to take the dead back to their town of origin to be buried. But for the Chinese, with a long tradition of ancestor worship, it is another matter entirely. And for a folk that could take 10 years in preparing their own coffin, such drastic change is going to be very hard.

Seeing some of the Chinese sections of a cemetery, I have often thought the the dead are better housed than the living.

All that is about to change!

“Elsewhere in China, local officials have launched campaigns to “flatten graves” to create land for farming and development.

Officials in the central province of Henan demolished 400,000 graves in 2012, local media reported. The case provoked a nationwide outcry.”

“Government officials in Anqing, a city in the eastern province of Anhui, ordered that all locals who die after 1 June should be cremated, the Beijing News daily reported.”

It would have been kinder to phase in this change over a period of years, rather than at two month’s notice, but kindness seems to be in short supply where politics is concerned.

Those Chinese who are concerned about the environment can take some solace from the knowledge that their “footprint” will be reduced to practically zero.

I first wrote about this in 2011 – see “Lets call a spade, a spade!”

“By the way, I am told by reliable sources that dying without giving prior notice will soon be made an offence. The reason for this is obvious enough, I am sure. We are running out of graveyards! The one viable alternative – cremation – cannot be used because of our on-going energy crisis, and air-burials are completely out of the question. Lets be realistic – where do we find enough vultures to do the job in the middle of Brussels, Paris or London? (And they always leave the bones behind!).”

If you want to read the complete post, use the ‘Postfinder’ in the top menu.

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From Los Indignados to Podemos – A Spanish Revolution!

If you are not familiar with the story behind Los Indignados, these three sites will give you the background to the situation:-
Spain’s Indignados protest here to stay
In Spain they are all Indignados nowadays
The legacy of the Indignados

What started out as demonstrations by thousands of students over austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government has gradually changed into a system of self-help organisations.

“From the Mortgage Victims’ Platform (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca), (PAH), to the Citizens’ Tide – (Marea Ciudadana) a coalition of 350 organisations, from health workers to trade unions and youth groups, have mobilised hundreds of thousands against privatisation and austerity.”

“The PAH trudged pavements for more than a year to gather 1.4m signatures, forcing the government to debate its proposal to change the draconian mortgage law where you can lose your house and still carry mortgage debt with you for life.”

“Meanwhile Madrilonia, an Indignado blog, declares the entire economic model broken; the authors are not waiting around for someone to fix it but building their own alternatives, from the Catalan network of co-operatives to the Casa Precaria in Madrid that advises people on how to go about creating their own jobs through worker co-operatives.”

Does the following sound familiar?

“Shifting focus to politics, the protesters rejected politics as usual and the representational system as bankrupt. The political representatives do not reflect the voice and will of the people. They have become a distant elite, cut off from the rest of the population, and parties, unions and other organisations are no longer able to channel the will of the people into political decision making. The protesters therefore rejected the traditional form of doing politics where citizens make demands to representatives, and where citizens are supposed to be passive except for voting every four years.”

“Not only that, but they identified the problem as the very form of the political system itself: the root of the problem lies in political representation which is bound to lead to a hierarchy between representatives and represented, those in power and those without a voice. That is, they criticised representation not only for being unrepresentative, but for being the problem in the first place.”

And borrowing an idea from Argentina (the escrache):- “At some point protesters started turning up outside the homes of politicians who did not want to change the current law and judges who did not side with those threatened by eviction.”

Although we haven’t heard much about Los Indignados recently, or 15-M, as it is now known, the principles behind it are now embedded in Spanish society, and have been instrumental in a brand new development. “Barely 100 days old, party born from indignados movement now has five MEPs and determination to change political landscape”

You can find more detail about this exciting development here:-
Podemos hopes to cement rise of citizen politics in Spain after election success

And note the following:-

“The idea behind the party is simple, Iglesias told the Guardian on Tuesday. “It’s citizens doing politics. If the citizens don’t get involved in politics, others will. And that opens the door to them robbing you of democracy, your rights and your wallet.” (My emphasis).

It is clearly not just the UK that has the problem, its much more widespread than that. In fact, any country using the Democratic system will probably be the same, with the possible exception of Switzerland.

But don’t despair. There are ways to break the stranglehold. My preferred method in the UK is the People’s Manifesto, (see previous post), but in other countries a different approach might be more suitable.

And remember the old maxim –

If you can’t join them, beat them!

Podemos = We Can!