I’m making my own little stand at the moment… a touch of civil disobedience, I guess. At the moment it’s less to do with starting a movement and more about me making a personal stand and overcoming any fear of the system I might have, as well as helping me to gain some experience and insight into the mechanics of civil disobedience, since it is something that I definitely want to get more clued in about, and something the magazine will be advocating, supporting and initiating in the future.
About a year ago I maxed out my £1500 overdraft and ended up going overdrawn on the overdraft and incurring some charges. I can’t remember how much exactly, but since then the charges have snowballed, and I think the account is now about £1700 overdrawn. It’s my responsibility, of course, I should have managed my finances better, so there is no blame attached to the bank in that sense, but at the time I just had this little brain-wave…
Refuse to pay them back.
There was no great plan involved at the time, it was just more about me making that little stand. We all know what the banks have done, and I think it’s probably much worse than we are aware of, so I have no feelings of guilt or wrongdoing, and it’s not a big deal as such, it was just a way for me – after years of reading about Gandhi etc. and wanting to take action too – to take those first few steps in that direction. So, yeah, I’ve owed the bank about £1700 for the last year and have just refused to pay it back. Inspiring, huh!
I know some people will be like ‘oh that’s bad, that’s not the way to go about this, it makes you as bad as them’ and whatever else, but I really don’t care. For my own good, and my own ability to be more helpful in the future, I had to do something like this to free myself a little bit from all the social constraints that would normally stop people from doing something like this… well, at least purposefully, obviously some people get into debt and can’t repay.
Anyway, i’ve been receiving phone calls and warning letters from the bank and debt collection agencies, but so far i’ve just ignored them all, and mainly just because I want to see what the process is, basically, so I can work out how to cause them more trouble in the future. I mean, the banks are our obvious enemy, and maybe out of all possible targets, it is they who are most deserving of having decisive action taken against them.
I don’t think there is much we can do within the law that will be effective, and I think the banks are vulnerable in many ways to decisive action, if only we have the courage to free ourselves from what we are told we can do, to do what needs to be done, which likely will involved breaking the law. I mean, personally speaking, I have a strong moral compass. I don’t care what the law says is right or wrong, and I don’t have any problem breaking the law if I feel it is the right thing to do. With that I am obliged to accept the consequences of my actions, and I will do so, but the consequences won’t stop me from doing what is right.