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How would you train an Activist?

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zoopenhoff
How would you train an Activist?

This is a sub question to my other post, but maybe will spark a few interesting and specific responses.

Have you noticed that activism doesn't really work very well?

1M people marched in London to stop Britain entering the Iraq war, and Blair did it anyway based on fabricated evidence.

Perhaps the solution is just to field political candidates. Maybe start a new party. interesting that that hasn't happened.

Meanwhile politically literate types tend to look at activists as idiots, throwing tantrums in the streets. For all the change that happens, they could well be right.

It is true that in school we are taught to vote for the politican who will best represent our interests. Meanwhile future politicians, in the 'elite' schools like Eton and the equivalent in the US, are taught to tell the voters what they need to hear and then leverage their political power for cash and more power.

How would you educate an activist? Either in efficient and effective activism or to drop activism altogether and go into politics or whatever else would work?

Every time I see vegans in the town square with billboards showing animal torture I just think "pity you don't run a vegan restaurant" and then I go and buy a nice turkey sandwich, because there's no vegan restaurant. Things like that.

I would start with all of Adam Curtis, and financial stuff like Money As Debt, The Money Masters. Zeitgeist, obviously.

Any thoughts, recommendations?

Z

ConCen
zoopenhoff wrote:
zoopenhoff wrote:

Have you noticed that activism doesn't really work very well?
1M people marched in London to stop Britain entering the Iraq war, and Blair did it anyway based on fabricated evidence.

It galvanised a lot of people together who might otherwise have thought they were a minority opposing the invasion. It destroyed Blair's career and reputation.

I marched against the Iraq invasion in Ottawa. There were only a few thousand of us, but we got our point across - the following Monday the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and said Canada will not participate. When asked why, he said the Canadian people are against it. He was smart enough to know it would be the quick end of a long career if he opposed the people's will and went to war anyway.

zoopenhoff
Honestly I think that kind of

Honestly I think that kind of proves and disproves my point.

What's different between Canada and the UK, that a few thousand in Canada put the PM off, but 1M in London did not. I bet Edward Griffin could tell you.

ConCen
Blair made a deal with Bush

before the public announcement of British participation in the "Coalition of the Willing". By the time of the protests, he could not back out.

zoopenhoff
Didn't know that, thanks.

Didn't know that, thanks.

Still, he went against public opinion. I think it's important to understand how these things happen.

euxconcen
Canadian leader

My memory of those events is a bit different. First, the decision by the UK leader was far more statistically significant than the one by Canada. It had more political ramifications and also the US-UK relationship is a far different thing than the US-Canada relation. To some degree, the US and the UK together constitute the Western English world. So my own sense is that Blair probably didn't feel like he had much choice in the matter because of the special relationship with the US (which would break if he dissented) and the fact that England had messed up the Middle East historically anyway (that's speculation on my part but France and Britain are the ones who divided this region up quite arbitrarily via Sykes–Picot lines).

In my opinion, Chretien in Canada was right to refuse to declare war against Iraq without United Nations Security Council approval. But he also had the luxury of leading a not-very-important soft power (unlike Blair). A better comparison would be with France. I actually think the decision by the French leadership had more influence on Chretien than Blair or Bush and if memory serves Chretien waited until the leadership of France made its voice known before he made his own pronouncement. The French tradition in Canada is an important factor to consider in this matter and one that the US and UK would not similarly care about.

So I didn't really have the feeling that he was concerned by a few thousand protesters but he was concerned by what other soft powers were doing.

euxconcen
soft vs not-soft power

Yeah, having checked back on some of the historical news pieces about this, I think that France and Germany represent good counterbalancing arguments to the one you made for Britain: the electorates of France and Germany were strongly opposed to the war and it would have been difficult for their governments to fail to reflect these views. While 1M+ in Britain might have opposed it, I still think that the US and UK together represent a civilizing force in the world, a "not soft power", unlike the other European countries. That is the complicating matter, in my opinion. When you believe you are doing something for the greater good it is far easier to discount the opinions of others.

euxconcen
how about Hong Kong protesters?

Have you been following the unique protest styles in Hong Kong? They are re-writing the playbook for future protests:

-decentralized or even leaderless leadership (limiting quick shut downs by gov't);
-encrypted messaging apps (unlike facebook in places like the Arab Spring);
-virus masks and goggles (limiting facial recognition by CCTV);
-hardhats and other protective gear;
-"nurse" protesters who carry gloves, saline solution, scissors, gauze and other supplies;
-hand signals in large groups where voice won't carry: arms circling the head indicates “need helmets”; a forward cutting motion made by the index and middle fingers signals “need scissors” and then the items are then passed through a human chain.

This last one is pretty impressive to see on youtube: the crowd organically spreads to allow the passage of injured protesters or even ambulances. It truly is "like water", as Sun Tzu recommends.

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