John Lennon was assassinated in December 1980 in New York. But 36 years on, he continues to speak to us. And we should all listen very carefully to what he says.
A message just as relevant today as it ever was
In an interview posted on Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace website, Lennon says:
We can get peace now if we want it now. And the left wing talk about giving the power to the people… [but] the people have the power. All we have to do is awaken the power in the people.
Both Christians and non-Christians will probably recognise Christmas as a season of giving and goodwill; and the Bible says angels proclaimed upon Jesus’ birth “peace on earth and loving mercy towards all people!”
Now Lennon was not a big fan of religion. (Nor was he a fan of nationalism or capitalism, as his song Imagine shows.) But his insistence that we can “get peace now if we want it” is incredibly poignant at a time of year which is supposedly all about peace and love.
Awakening the power inside us
The idea of awakening the power that everyone has inside them in order to bring about change in the world is not uncommon. And numerous images on the internet have long sought to stress the importance of ordinary people uniting in order to stop oppression or exploitation. Some of the most prominent examples being:
And who could forget the pyramid of capitalism – whose bottom level could easily bring those above it crashing down?
That was precisely John Lennon’s point: ordinary working people have immense power, no matter how powerless they may feel at points. As he said in his last major interview:
It’s quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders… You have to do it yourself.
So change can come. If everyone realises the power that they have. And if they all come together to make that change happen.
For inspiration, there are already many examples of this actually happening.
In Britain’s environment of skills shortages and worsening employment conditions, some citizens have set about creating solutions. They have rebuilt local economies from the ground up. They’ve turned away from large corporations and towards independent local businesses. They’ve grown food. And they have stood up to the fossil fuel industry. Together.
Elsewhere in the world, citizens are bypassing the rule of corrupt elites to create more participative democracies. And in the middle of the worst war zones, they’re building a cooperative, sustainable future while taking a firm stand against ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination. Together.
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– Follow the hyperlinks in the ‘Come together’ section of this article to read more about the experiences mentioned. For more about the democratic experiment in Rojava in particular, see the featured book below.
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