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Author Topic: More Activist Than Thou
audra trower williams
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Babbler # 2

posted 20 April 2001 08:59 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Does anyone else have stories like this to tell?

[ April 20, 2001: Message edited by: audra estrones ]


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anna
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5

posted 21 April 2001 10:42 PM      Profile for Anna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I go to a particularly activisty kinda school, and while that's great, oh yes, I certainly know my fair share of "more activist than thou" types. Auntie's advice made me giggle and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who gets super-frustrated.
From: Montreal | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
zach
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 499

posted 09 May 2001 05:32 PM      Profile for zach     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Maybe auntie should have said the others have "money and god" in their pockets. Although that may be extremely appropriate in the US, we have evidence that it's appropriate here too a la Stockwell Day's "moral compass" (try a global positioning system!) and how long it took to obtain legal abortions in Canada.

That wasn't very long ago.

Hmmm...back on track. Similar stories re: more activist than thou...

Well, I have a couple of friends who perform good work and are becoming forces to be reckoned with but I find them to be impatient with me because I'm not "as activist as they are".

I thought a good activist was always, in part, a good teacher too.


From: Ottawa | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
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posted 10 May 2001 12:02 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Word on that, Zach.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
zigby
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Babbler # 561

posted 10 May 2001 01:33 AM      Profile for zigby     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
yeah, I'm still in highschool, and i've noticed that within the "activist" group at school, which consists of about 15 kids, exists the same type of clique structure that these kids got together to get away from... you know... the few leaders, and then the rest... same as anywhere, i bet... anyhow... the "leaders" are for the most part "more activist than_____" almost anyone... does it get better when highschool ends?
From: Victoria | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
babbler 8
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8

posted 10 May 2001 02:17 AM      Profile for babbler 8     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Things always get better after highschool. People who's best years are highschool lead pathetic lives.
From: take a break, we've been on this site too long | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Athena Dreaming
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posted 10 May 2001 09:47 AM      Profile for Athena Dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Amen, Jeff.

I am beginning to wonder if there are any actual workable alternatives to a basic hierarchical structure. Even if there isn't one formally in place, a group tends to adopt one characteristic as the ideal and then gives leadership roles to the people who express that characteristic most. So the cheerleaders get "prettier than thou," religious types get "holier than thou," academic types get "smarter than thou," and activist types get "more active than thou."

Does anyone here know of any examples of human interactions where this pattern does not emerge in some form?

I ask this because it seems a fundamental part of a lot of radical politics is the abolition of domination and hierarchy--but has anyone ever managed to do this? And if not, how do we do it?

And should this be a separate topic, Audra?


From: GTA | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 10 May 2001 10:09 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, that's a good idea, Athena. I've wanted to have a discussion about that, and about why Robert's Rules are stupid, for a long time. If you start it, I will post in it
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Athena Dreaming
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posted 10 May 2001 10:19 AM      Profile for Athena Dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've started it in Politics. It's called "Utopia Now!"
From: GTA | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 10 May 2001 11:45 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Speaking as one who's seen something of this even in gay/lesbian groups in universities, it seems that one requirement to be taken seriously is to "be political".

Whatever the hell that is. They never define it.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Itzenplitz
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posted 10 May 2001 07:58 PM      Profile for Itzenplitz     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Political" as used in some circles, usually means, "someone who understands the need to oppose injustice, intolerance etc openly and collectively". Such a person is also expected to act on this understanding in cooperation with others who share it to advance the cause of justice and tolerance.

"Political" can also mean "opportunistic" or "ambitious", but I suspect this is not the usage that puzzles you.

I have found that people who dislike, oppose, or are upset by militant political action, or strong opinions, or anything that isn't low-key and "nice" are among the strongest barriers to a more just and tolerant society.

They often say they "agree" what WHAT is being said, they just can't stand the unpleasantness of the WAY it is said. And that, they believe, excuses them from doing anything at all.

It would be great if the people who fight against injustice would be as calm and reassuring and charming as the ones who support it. But somehow injustice makes some people mad, and they show their anger, and they don't look and act very nice.

Maybe some day the nice people, the ones who feel that life is pretty good, who don't question stuff too much, who hate politics and like the middle of the road -- maybe some day they'll put on a demo and show the rest of us how nice a demo can be.

Because when the "nice" people get mad enough to hit the streets, it usually means there's a revolution on.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 11 May 2001 10:18 AM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Was it not Trudeau who said, "The silent majority don't need to make headlines. They are content to make history." ?

You can't completely ignore human nature.


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 13 May 2001 03:52 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The thing, though, is that "being political" seems to be more of a buzzword than anything else.

Like I said, it's never defined, but some people in the group appear to think that you cannot have ANYTHING worthwhile to say unless you think as they do, or something.

Onto injustice, though...

I'm as mad as hell about a lot of the injustices in this world and you guys have seen some of that in this board, since I like to be a plain talker and to call a spade a spade, but I'm kind of shy in real life, so this is my way of combatting injustice - by explaining how the tax system screws you and how the economic structure of Canada and the USA aid in screwing you.

Working on overcoming that, tho, so hopefully by the time I'm back in university I'll be your average radical student or something. *giggle*


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
CraigHubley
unregistered

posted 13 May 2001 11:07 PM           Edit/Delete Post
Greens agree with Day on the need for a "moral compass". Money may be in Day's pocket but God is in no one's pocket. It was not so long ago that religion was more clearly identified with the left (Christian Protestant socialists, Catholic communist "liberation theologians") and the civil rights movement in North and South America. Today those people have moved to the ecological front and are talking about the moral duty not to wipe out all Creation.

When Joan Russow, head of the Green Party of Canada, ran directly against Stockwell Day in Okanagan riding in BC, when he first ran for the House, she had people working on her campaign who had been Preston Manning, Keith Martin and Tom Long supporters, and many who described themselves as Christians. There is no simple way to characterize interactions between money, God and politics.

Better to avoid the labels and concentrate on convincing people of your ethics and trustworthiness to implement those in power.


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Michelle
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posted 24 May 2001 12:50 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I ask this because it seems a fundamental part of a lot of radical politics is the abolition of domination and hierarchy--but has anyone ever managed to do this? And if not, how do we do it?

Athena, I'm not sure, but I think there are some organizations that try to be like that. London Greenpeace comes to mind, even though Dave and Helen have achieved notoriety through McLibel. That group tries to model anarchy as much as possible.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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