Activist vs Anarchist - Introduction

The word activist conjures all kinds of images, but most people imagine a megaphone (or a fight for a microphone) at some protest or another, with a lot of arguing and fierce talking about some social issue or injustice. While that’s a fair image, it’s not even the ‘tip of the iceberg’ – excuse the cliché.

The truth is, most activists fight for a social change that they fiercely believe would bring about a better society. Who doesn’t want that? – please do not answer this question, we all know such psyches exist. The point is, most of us are not psychotic and we would very much like to see a better society all around us. Well, some of us have a really great urge. We do not wait for it to happen, we think we need to make it happen. And, let me be the first to admit, sometimes we (activists) do get swept away. Our emotions take over and we might make irrational decisions. But! They are always well-intended.

Now I’ve done it! I’ve mentioned ‘intentions’. We have to pause for at least a paragraph to talk about the meaning of intentions – it’s not that they are completely meaningless, but let’s be honest, intentions do not get us very far. As that saying goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Seriously, we need to pay a bit more attention to our deeds and make sure that our actions align with our intentions. Alright, we’ll talk more about intentions in future newsletters (so if you’re interested, do sign up), but that’s enough for now.

These activists that we know about are a small group relative to the number of activists out there. In fact, since there isn’t one definition of what an activist is, you, yes, you reading this might be an activist and you don’t even know it. This doesn’t make one activist better than another, because achieving the objective is the only thing that counts. We assume that speaking louder will make more people hear us, and therefore support us, and therefore achieving the objective is easier. But this is not a rule though it has proved true far too many times.

There is a special place for drama in our societies. For some reason, we seem to be drawn to it. If someone is fighting for peace in some quiet and intellectual way, we’re just not as interested as when someone gets up there, uses a few swear words, and shouts at someone ‘important’. Fighting for peace should look like chaos, mayhem, perhaps even war. Let me repeat that: Fighting for peace should look like a war. Does that makes sense or does it look like a personification of an oxymoron?

I’m not going to talk about intentions again (at least not yet), but you see what’s really hiding behind that, right? The simple fact is that we create a society as individuals who come together. If drama is what we want, drama we will get. And since too many people believe that cause justifies the means (which is simply NOT true, but I’ll write a lot more about that, so again, if you’re interested, please do sign up to my newsletter), then we will do whatever it takes to achieve our objective even if it goes against our objective – we become a personification of an oxymoron, and instead of fighting for peace, we achieve a war.

This piece is meant only as an introduction and so, I will end it here with just one thought: Should any activist be forced to become an anarchist? Or perhaps all activists must consider their responsibility to think about their actions and not just about their objectives?