This Is Important

Activists, left-wingers, revolutionaries and thinkers everywhere, I want you to read this. I don't care if you burn me up in a thousand flames, or if you decry me as being too soft. This is important - for you, for me, for all of us.

In fact, it might be one of the most important things I've said to this day.

Listen up. You, me, everyone who posts on websites like The Activists, we need to stop demonising everyone who doesn't agree with us - billionaires, Margaret Atwood, doubters, the powerful - basically, anyone Western and rich enough to not starve. I've done it myself, I admit. I'm not proud of that. I did it to score some cheap political points, to help drive my message home, and to help me get my submissions accepted. (Check them out if you have time. See what you think of them.)

I regret having done that. I regret even thinking I needed to do it.

And you know why I regretted it so much?

Because demonising out-groups (people "not like us") isn't a technique used by people wanting to draw others in; it's a technique used to keep others out, while validating the beliefs and practices of the in-group. (Sociologists - I am not one of you. If I screwed up here, please correct me.) Not only is it hateful and wrong (it's clearly at odds with reality), it turns off many potential supporters while appealing to a far fewer number of established ones - oh, and it makes other established supporters uncomfortable. We need all the help and manpower we can get to spark social change. We should be trying to reach out to people, not turning them away.

Oh, and speaking of social change...we talk and talk and talk and then yak and banter, maybe have a nice little chat with a spot of tea, but at the end of the day how much are we really getting done? Not a lot. Sorry to single out The Activists again, but there's a lot of talk about "The Revolution" - an entire category devoted to it, in fact - and, as far as I can see, no action. There was once a "Join Us" page, but it's gone now. (Anyone representing them may come forward and show me some examples of action. I haven't been able to find them, but I will gladly stand corrected.)

I say that this in itself needs changing. I say that we all need to come together as a grand coalition - every single revolutionary organisation - and step up our activities. We need to use social media more aggressively and we need to talk to each other - not just on Facebook or Twitter, but on IRC as well. Ideally, we should organise massive meetings in major towns and cities - getting together in real life could really help us.

"So why don't you do this?" some might ask. "After all, you're part of the problem. You're talking and not doing anything."

I have some pretty good reasons for laying out my ideas but not carrying them out - namely, I'm a young student working my bum off to do well in my many exams, and I don't have contacts. So even if I had the time to organise everything on my own, which I don't, I wouldn't have anyone to share the fruits of my labour with. For the record, I'd be happy to lend a hand if others would help me.

As bureaucratic and businesslike and generally banal as this sounds, we should also set targets for ourselves and the movement - small targets, moving forwards in increments. At present, how many people have a detailed plan to overthrow the government and put a better system in place?


I certainly haven't seen any. (Anyone who does actually have those plans, send them to me so I can stand corrected. My contact information is available...uh...somewhere if you don't want to describe it in public or post a link.) This is a major oversight and will make it pretty much impossible to get anything done, as nobody will know how to do anything of value.

We need a plan. We also need it to be divided up into small, achievable chunks - after all, no-one's going to be able to change media perceptions or convince parents and children alike that there's more to life than consumerism in the span of a single day. It's just an idea I've come up with off the cuff, but an example of setting targets would be to encourage each member of the movement to try and change the views of x people per day, or to write in to major newspapers and magazines to make people more sympathetic to our cause. It doesn't sound like much - and at some point we will need to move beyond it - but it's a start.

As I've said elsewhere, we also need to get a grip on subjects like psychology and economics before we can even hope to do anything. Learning is essential if we are not to fail ourselves and everyone else involved.

This is something bigger than you or me. This is a task for the thousands of people fighting for a better world, the thousands of people who might talk to their individual groups but have almost certainly never communicated outside of them. We need to unite them and us all, setting each member to a certain task and co-ordinating ourselves so that our many small actions will have huge effects. Only then can we lay the foundations for a new society; only then can our revolution take place.