Blog: Leading a Revolution against Corruption
A fight or combat against corruption is not enough because this is an eternal war against the very nature of man to become corruptible.
To fully perform evolutionary work, you have to delve deeper into the causes of a problem. The root cause of unruly driving behavior lies in our own mindsets. Although we have urbanized our lives, we have not worked upon our past behavioural habits. Contrary to what happened in Western countries we, Mauritians have not learnt new behaviours of using the modern roads. Instead we have transported our past behavior getting ahead of others onto the modern roads. We have changed the size of roads to fit the needs of newer, bigger, faster urban milieu but we have not changed our road behaviours of a primitive past. For any lasting problem solution to road safety we must address the evolutionary needs of different groups of people.
Procedural change does not take much time. Evolutionary work does. It is easy to ask drivers to change the colour of number plates. It is easy to invent a penalty point system and impose it on people. Change of behavior takes a lot of time;it takes multiple generations because people, finding behavioural change too difficult, will resist and postpone such work. Many attempts to change are thwarted because leaders have worked on putting together processes, systems, structures and reviews to streamline the organization with the hope of changing the organizations. Government has installed a time tracking device to streamline the hours employees spend at work. At the end of the year, has productivity increased? Not at all. The time tracking device made employees come at time but the ways of working within the organization have not changed. Leading people to do evolutionary work means handholding every group of people to learn new ways of being noncorrupt at individual levels.
One does not need to hold a high place in society to bring about a revolution against corruption. To start it one should focus at a single issue. Anna Hazare focused attention on the Lokpal bill. Mahatma Gandhi started his revolution on the issue of salt tax. One does not have to be very well known to succeed. In the early twentieth century, Alice Paul led a movement demanding voting rights for women in the United States. She was unknown in the US when she joined the women’s suffrage movement but she successfully led a movement to amend constitutional rights to gain voting rights for women. People in highly responsible positions are constrained from taking revolutionary actions because they have to balance multiple groups and interests.
President Woodrow Wilson could not do what Alice Paul did because he had to prioritize this issue over other critical demands from his constituencies. His party, the Democratic Party, did not at that time have a stand on women’s rights. An unknown enthusiast or activist has the leeway for extreme action. To draw public attention and to exert pressure on the government, Alice Paul deployed the extreme action of picketing a war-time president. As World War I raged, she and her colleagues stood silently, day after day, at the gates of the White House, holding banners in support of women’s suffrage. The revolutionary still needs to work with authorities concerned. Though Hazare is leading on the issue of governmental corruption, he still needs the government and Parliament to pass the Lokpal bill. The lone warrior model of leadership is a myth. Whom you partner with will determine whether you will succeed in leading.
Partners come in different forms and shapes and play different roles. They are the core group—people who will be with one leader on an everyday basis. It is critical to have the right mix of people in the core group. People with viewpoints different from yours, people with access to different kinds of resources, constitute the core group. They bring in experience and experience in various aspects of government functioning, the judiciary, security, law and order, advocacy and communications and running people’s movements. One should have a mix of youth that can appeal to the youth of the nation. You will need people who, having worked in different sectors, have built significant personal networks. It is important to galvanize support from religious and spiritual groups, media and the judiciary. Without the support of these groups keep groups, it is possible to be treated as a fringe agitation; you need to get an informal license to act. It is not your status, nor your threats that will help you. The informal license comes through the consistency, credibility of your cause and how it has gathered momentum by your personal actions.
Mahatma Gandhi gained this license by the reputation of his 22 years of work in South Africa. Mandela spent 27 years in prison as a militant against apartheid. What have you done to deserve the respect and trust of the nation? You should beware of attempts that will be made to distract attention from you. One way is to ignore your revolutionary action. After sidelining you, you may be sidetracked. Hazare’s movement was at first sidelined as a ‘middle-class’ movement and a ‘media creation’. His fast was sidetracked into the debate of Parliament’s supremacy in lawmaking.
The difference between sidelining and sidetracking is that while the former is the relegation of your message to the background, the latter implies that your attention is diverted so that you lose focus on your work. You may be given added responsibilities or a promotion that diffuses your attention. An example of sidetracking is the case of Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s response to the Jeremiah Wright controversy.
When the media picked up the incendiary and anti-American comments on America’s approach to race and made it mainstream, they sidetracked Mr Obama’s work of mobilizing Americans to restore the credibility of the country. It does not require good belief, high status, huge wealth to become a leader in the revolution against competition. Every success has its own criteria of performance.
Found a typo in the article? Vous avez trouvé une faute de frappe dans l’article? Click here.
More in Blog
Le Matinal E-Paper
Le Matinal on the Web
The keywords below represent the current searches people are performing on major search engines like Google/Yahoo, and eventually landing on our website. Click to refresh.