March 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm #1636
I heard it faintly from a far corner of the General Assembly. An unrecognized voice, droning over the speaker who had been recognized by the facilitator: “We don’t like local actions.” It was the distinctive cry of the slacktivist, the common subvariety of activist who is always willing to carry out any type of direct action, as long as it centers attention on them and requires no personal thought or effort. The real activists in the group ignored the slacktivist, who eventually went back to smoking a cigarette and ignoring the media committee report.
Since Occupy sprang up, and in earlier activist groups, there has always existed a basic dichotomy in the membership, slacktivists vs. activists. Let’s examine the characteristics of each group.
First, the activists. Most activist groups emerge to address a perceived social, economic, environmental, political or genral injustice..to be continuedMarch 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm #1641
Maybe people aren’t slactivist but merely feeling alienated. A lot of times people don’t feel accepted and/or don’t know how to deal with conflict, so they distance or distract as a result.March 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm #1886
Slactivism v. activism, part 2. First, the activists. Most activists groups come into being to address a perceived social, economic, environmental, politicial or general injustice. The group works to resolve the injustice and either: 1)fails and dissolves, 2) succeeds and moves on to other injustices or 3) fails because slacktivists get angry about having to do actual work and try to undermine and take credit for the efforts of the activists. The good activist follows the rules of direct action, namely: 1) identify a worthy cause, 2)get consensus from the General Assembly to focus the group effort on that cause, 3)research the issue, read all the available information, become more knowledgable than your adversary, and 4) through targeted direct action and education, win public support for your cause.
Now, the slacktivists. They follow a different process for identifying a cause. They scan the internet until they locate an issue as geographically remote as possible.. Say, an African warlord running amok in Uganda or indigenous people protesting in Nunavit. Good causes, certainly. But that’s not what really grabs the slacktivist’s attention. No, he is drawn to the sheer exoticism of the fact that all of his grandstanding actions for the chosen cause will have no meaningful effect and require almost zero effort. Research, schmesearch! Somebody’s all ready done all the thinking for them. All that’s required is a colorful sign that will catch passing motorists’ attention and make them think: “Who the hell is Kony? And who the hell are these people.” And then: “Who cares?” If media shows up to cover the demonstration, they pick out the most colorful individuals and they air the most confused, uninformed responses. And, very shortly, the group is marginalized and dsimissed by the local public, whose assistance is needed to bring meaningful reform. Does the slacktivist care? An e-mail jst came in: “the newly elected leader of Kenya might be a war criminal, and we don’t like him.” “And the Kony people have sent a new wristband, in dayglo colors, and would like a contribution…” to be continuedApril 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm #1915
Another kind of slactivist is the poser who wants to pontificate endlessly about some issue that in his or her mind is more important than any other, but about which he or she never does anything effective. In other words, all talk and little meaningful action. The poser takes up all the available time at meetings talking about his or her pet issue, leaving no time or attention left for anything else–a form of filibuster to try to keep the group from ever dealing with anything other than what this person thinks is important.
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