The phrase DIY, meaning “do it yourself” though it has a long history, really came into common usage in the 1950s and referred to jobs people could do around the house without calling on the professionals. Big business of course, not being one to miss an opportunity to exploit a situation,, seized on it and we saw the mushrooming of stores like B&Qs, etc. This in turn meant that the DIY enthusiast could be seen as just a different type of consumer. However DIY is a much richer vein than feeding the B&Qs and such, it is a whole way of seeing the world. It is a principle of challenging the accepted method of delegating work to the usually expensive so called experts. It is not just about new kitchens, it also includes growing your own food, arts and crafts, political and social action, self publishing and a host of other activities, one good example of DIY is the Indymedia network. It also includes using public transport, biking, walking as well as sharing, using and re-using, instead of buying a new product and increasing the amount of waste we produce. It can free you from the grip of the consumer culture.
In essence it is about increasing our individual skills, self reliance and empowering ourselves, building our self confidence and our ability to co-operate. It also helps us to realise that we as individuals are the agents of change, we can and must act to create the change we want. If we want that better world then we can only get it by being DIYers. We can’t get it by calling in the “expert” politicians nor can we buy it from the corporate world.