Stop Funding Hate, Start Funding Creativity
The brilliant Stop Funding Hate movement has turned its attention to Marks and Spencer. They are trying to persuade them to stop advertising in the Daily Mail (and by extension 'funding hate'). Lego and The Body Shop have already been persuaded.
The campaign centres on the surreptitious placement of small campaign cards in M&S stores around the country. These cards have one of the Daily Mail's odious headlines on side A and a short message about M&S' complicity on side B. Like this:
When critical thinking and creativity combine, brilliant things like this happen. The successes with Lego and The Body Shop prove that they work, we need more of it, more often and from more people.
But direct action like this embarrasses media moguls and big business; they don't like it. They'd prefer us to take our critical thinking and creativity elsewhere, or better still, be completely devoid of both. This has a knock on effect, they try all the lobbying and culture bending influence they have to discourage protest - every time a campaign like Stop Funding Hate succeeds, the determination of those in the cross-hairs grows. This does not mean we should stop campaigning, but an understanding this is important in understanding the direction of Government education policy.
The Government of the day is in thrall to big media and big business, they barely even try to hide it these days. I don't think it is any coincidence that the education system they have imposed is so stifling to the sort of skills necessary to create movements like Stop Funding Hate. Critical thinking is stifled by a National Curriculum that favors knowledge accumulation over genuine thought. Creativity is stifled by the marginalisation of the arts and the punctuation police. A mass population of creative, critical thinkers terrifies the establishment, much better to work with big business to nurture a population of happiness machines.
Teachers, I'm sure, do their best to usher critical thinking and creativity into the classroom however they can. But, they are swimming against the tide and are exasperated. Many of our best teachers are giving up and quitting the English system or quitting teaching altogether. If this demise continues, we have to ask: where will the next generation of creative campaigners come from?
Meanwhile, click the buttons below and head down to your nearest M&S in a balaclava.