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Why Even "Failed" Activism Succeeds

Society & Culture  (tags: activists, americans, children, culture, education, ethics, family, freedoms, gayrights, government, humans, law, politics, religion, rights, society )

- 2212 days ago -
Of course, activism that appears ineffectual at the time can succeed in a great many ways, including by influencing others, even young children, who go on to become effective activists -- or by influencing firm opponents who begin to change their minds->

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Azaima A (207)
Saturday May 26, 2012, 8:50 pm

Kit B (276)
Saturday May 26, 2012, 8:52 pm

I enjoy reading histories of past activism, including memoirs by long-time activists, such as Lawrence Wittner's new book, Working for Peace and Justice.

Almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which a government has been spying on and infiltrating activist groups.

And almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which government officials were influenced by activist groups even while pretending to ignore popular pressure.

These revelations can be found in the memoirs of the government officials as well, such as in George W. Bush's recollection of how seriously the Republican Senate Majority Leader was taking public pressure against the war on Iraq in 2006.

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | Op-Ed | Truthout |

Interesting read.


Susanne R (235)
Saturday May 26, 2012, 10:50 pm
Activism gets attention, and it doesn't matter whether it's negative or positive. It makes people think. Once attention is drawn to an issue, that issue gets discussed and debated as emotions are stirred up. Activism sets the stage for change and sets a good example for our children.

The third Beatitude tells us: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." That's unfortunate indeed because without activists, inheriting the earth will be a curse rather than a blessing!

wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 7:47 am
" If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." -- Tenzin Gyatso, HH., XIV. Dalai Lama


Robert Hardy (68)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 6:32 pm

Glenn Byrnes (197)
Sunday May 27, 2012, 7:10 pm

Past Member (0)
Monday May 28, 2012, 4:46 am
Love this

Charles O (209)
Monday May 28, 2012, 7:24 am
Excellent, Kit!

Part of the problem is that we see our gatherings as PROTESTS, when in fact they are forms of COMMUNICATION.

When we protest, and the evil we confront continues, we become discouraged. Many people also feel uncomfortable, confronting government head-on. Though some parts of government are guilty of heinous crimes and abuses, on the whole, government retains its legitimacy, and the protester is the one who seems illegitimate.

So we might fare better if we were to view our assemblies as a non-confrontational form of communication -- the form we use when other forms of communication are blocked. Instead of being an alternative to the political process or a rejection of the process, our gathering continues, extends and complements the process.

The most important form of communication that occurs in the rally is horizontal: We are sharing information with our compatriots and informing ourselves. Thus, it becomes a form of education -- symbolized by the library at Zuccotti Park. The citizens library should become a feature in all subsequent rallies -- or should we say, "seminars"!

Charles O (209)
Monday May 28, 2012, 7:33 am
So going to a demonstration should be like going to the library.

We can also see the demonstration as a "Civic Festival" or "Freedom Picnic".

Many Americans have turned away from freedom and democracy: Where we once trusted our neighbor, now we trust the Dictator and fear our neighbor and his freedom. Where we once sought to get the politicians to listen to us, now we deride those who "cannot follow simple orders" or "refuse to be silent".

So the first task of the activist is to revive appreciation for freedom and democracy. That's why we should cast our demonstrations as freedom-building events.

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 28, 2012, 8:02 am
Thanks Kit, very good article. We here in this C2 community have known all along how important any form of activism is and what difference it can make. As Charles so correctly stated, communication is key.
Let me just pick one part from the article which I find essential regarding the current situation with the threat of war hanging over our heads:

"We also focus far too much on the most difficult individuals to move, such as presidents....
Soldiers can still be reached much more easily than presidents, more easily in many cases in fact than the average citizen. War lies are harder to sell to the people who have been fighting the wars."

This fits in precisely to what I have commented before in other threads, inspired by the links and video John C. has posted earlier.(American Soldiers Are WAKING UP!! SUPPORT OF TAKING AMERICA BACK!!! - )
Again, everyone do try hard to reach and influence the military among your friends and family and encourage them to disobey, refuse action!

Have a peaceful Memorial Day holiday everyone!

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 28, 2012, 8:09 am
Although I hate self promotion, if you're interested and have not yet read this, you may want to visit my post about the original meaning of Memorial Day- What does Memorial Day really stand for

Jason S (50)
Monday May 28, 2012, 9:08 am

Sheryl G (360)
Monday May 28, 2012, 12:09 pm
Good article Kit, thanks for placing it on here. We all need the pep talk even those of us who give the pep talks. The last paragraph I want to place back on here.

When someone tells you to stop imagining that you're having an impact, ask them to please redirect their energy into getting 10 friends to join you in doing what needs to be done. If it has no impact, you'll have gone down trying. If it has an impact, nobody will tell you for many years.

Many things we do we do not see our results for many years. How often do parents think, am I making a difference to my child, are they listening, and then one day way into the future they say or do something and you think, by golly they did hear me.

Each time I look at my young Grandchilds face, all fresh from the ills of the world at age 4 and I think, what is she going to enter for a world if I and others don't try to turn the tide to a better place in which to live. If it does not work, at least I know in my heart I did my best to try for her and all the other children growing up. I also do it for the Elders of today and in hopes that when I get there, which is getting closer too fast to my liking, but if I don't try to help those Elders today, I short exchange my life when I get there.

We are all interdependent with the actions or non actions of others in our please do something no matter if you think someone is looking or not, no matter how insignificant it is in your own mind, because a first drop had to fall to join with other drops to form the mighty oceans.

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday May 28, 2012, 5:53 pm
It's nice to read something that gives a bit of hope today. Thanks, Kit. Lately, it often seems that as we gather thousands of names for petitions to protect or protest, our target moves on to more nefarious attacks which they continue ad nauseum. ThePowersThatBe of 1%-ers have an agenda they fund with their billions to attack and divide us. Each action we take is important--petitions have been successful recently in many corporations stopping their funding of Koch Bros. policies. We must celebrate the victories and continue to speak out.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 12:12 am
I will always call myself an Activist Thanks Kit

M B (62)
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 1:12 pm
Everything we do has an impact, no matter how molecules; they have an impact, too. Maybe the impact won't be there all of a sudden, sometimes it takes a bit longer than a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week or a month or a year. Once we've planted the seed, it will grow - and we can influence that growth with speaking and listening to each other.....BE THE CHANGE !!

Linda K (2)
Thursday May 31, 2012, 2:26 am
When I started to enter debates on online forums I was told, remember you're not writing just for the person you're arguing with: you're writing for the hundreds or, on some sites, thousands who are reading.

So if you argue with some fool or bigot and don't change his mind, you haven't failed. You've put those arguments in front of all those other people who would otherwise only have seen his point of view.

Same applies to public protest and demonstration. When you stand in front of a corporation building, you're not going to change the minds of the people on the top floor. But you might change the minds of their customers, or their shareholders, or their tame politicians. And you'll only know if it worked years later, if ever.

l L (1)
Friday June 8, 2012, 9:27 pm
thx for the article Kit and the comments everyone else. I needed to read this. You don't know how precious you are to me. I wish I had come across this site and met you years before when I was younger and stronger. I went to sleep frustrated and wondering the same things printed here. I needed this pep talk and words of encouragement.
My physical pains are getting much worse now and I am trying to make whatever impact I can. I can identify with grandkids and the elders and am taking my place amongst the elders.
You want so much good for the world and the people in it. You want to see what you don't see the pain and suffering to not be apart of living and all the despair it brings.. I am glad I took the time to look for you all. You bring me comfort, that I need.
I think so much of you guys. You are precious to me. Now you know.
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