Activism

Activism

[ak-tuh-viz-uhm]
Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an often controversial argument.

The word "activism" is often used synonymously with protest or dissent, but activism can stem from any number of political orientations and take a wide range of forms, from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism (such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing preferred businesses), rallies, blogging and street marches, strikes, or even guerrilla tactics. In the more confrontational cases, an activist may be called a freedom fighter by some, and a terrorist by others, depending on whether the commentator supports the activist's ends.

In some cases, activism has nothing to do with protest or confrontation: for instance, some religious, feminist or vegetarian/vegan activists try to persuade people to change their behavior directly, rather than persuade governments to change laws. The cooperative movement seeks to build new institutions which conform to cooperative principles, and generally does not lobby or protest politically.

Transformational activism

Transformational activism is the idea that people need to transform on the inside as well on the outside in order to create any meaningful change in the world.

One example of transformational activism is peacekeeping which, as defined by the United Nations, is "a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace." Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they may have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Accordingly UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Helmets because of their light blue helmets) can include soldiers, civilian police officers, and other civilian personnel.

Another example is encouraging choices to live in racially diverse communities. Such communities may literally "transform" communities by opening the minds of residents to new ideas, new cultures, new historical perspectives, and a broader view of life that ultimately can benefit social relations.

Another example of transformational activism is transformational economics. This is the idea that you can change the way resources flow in a society by doing inner work. People examine their emotional reactions to what their needs are. This may allow them to see that things they felt they needed are not really needed. This then alters the flow of goods in a society because of the underlying change in needs.

Tranformational politics is the field of guiding people to look inwardly what they feel is true power. They may discover that real power is seeing the deep connection of everyone with each other and of being able to tap that place. In this case power is not power over someone, but rather power to unleash collective creativity in creating a new society.

Tranformational activism is about looking for the common values underneath, and then working from there so that both parties are able to get what they want. In the process one or both parties may find their inner landscape and paradigms changing.

Transformational open-sourced activism is the idea that you can tap into the power of mass collaboration and collective creativity in a way that transforms the people involved into more loving, peaceful, compassionate states.

Types of activism

References

  • Randy Shaw, The Activist's Handbook: A Primer for the 1990s and Beyond (University of California Press, 1996). ISBN 0-520-20317-8
  • David Walls, The Activist's Almanac: The Concerned Citizen's Guide to the Leading Advocacy Organizations in America (Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1993). ISBN 0-671-74634-0
  • Victor Gold, Liberwocky (Thomas Nelson, 2004). ISBN 978-0785260578

See also

External links

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