Of course you are a "political activist"!

Aug 21 2012 Published by under Politics

Any expression of your opinions and/or presentation of facts or rationale that touches on a political topic, and is heard or read by another person, is by definition an act of political activism.

25 responses so far

  • Dr24hours says:

    Thanks for the traffic. But I stand by my point that tweeting does not an activist make. I think activism requires an investment of time, effort, or money beyond tweeting between aims-page revisions.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    If one is interested in capital letter descriptors and claiming cred, I can see your point. But I maintain that what is important is the action, not the scope of effect, cookies earned or self-definitions.

  • Dr24hours says:

    Sure. The most important political activism is voting, right? And no one knows how anyone votes unless the voter tells. But it's an act that requires (a little bit of) investment.

    Tweeting requires essentially no investment whatever. By your definition, it would seem that anyone who discusses politics in any forum whatever is an activist. OK. If that's a definition that's meaningful to you, feel free to use it. But I don't claim the label.

  • drugmonkey says:

    You will note that I don't think anyone should claim a label of big P, big A Political Activist on the basis of twitting. However what you did was to disavow the label and that is something different. That can be (note "can") an attempt at gaining "above the fray" credibility for your actions that are most assuredly in the fray. It also ties into this stupid idea of "independent" voter being somehow superior to the naked partisan, of the dispassionate as being similarly elevated and to some extent supports the pernicious cancer of he-said/she-said mainstream journalism.

    If that's a definition that's meaningful to you, feel free to use it.

    fascinating. It is not a definition that is "meaningful to you", it is the definition. period. Wikipedia on Activism says: "Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms.... right off the top. Sounds pretty good to me.

  • Dr24hours says:

    Must staying an opinion be "an effort to promote..." etc? I don't see why. Me stating my opinion doesn't mean I'm trying to influenced yours.

  • Dr24hours says:

    "stating" of course. Not "staying".

  • Dr24hours says:

    I hate typing on these little handhelds. You get my point, I think. If I state a political opinion, that doesn't make it activism. I'm perfectly comfortable with people holding opinions contrary to mine.

    I do agree with your other point: there is nothing fundamentally different from being a partisan or an independent. They're just places on a multi-axis'd political spectrum. However, there is a difference between among those who believe in principled dissent and those who believe those opposed to them are stupid or evil.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I cannot conceive of why one would state one's opinion save that one is trying in some way to influence the listener. Otherwise....shower walls await, no?

  • Dr24hours says:

    Conversation?

  • Dr24hours says:

    Getting to know one's fellows better?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Those are both designed to have an effect on the listener.

  • Dr24hours says:

    Sure. But "have an effect" does not mean "convince of my opinion".

  • Lady Day says:

    Woah-ho-ho! Dude!!! DM, you just cited *Wikipedia* as if it was a legitimate reference!

    This is getting *crazy.*

  • DJMH says:

    Put it this way: how would a repressive authoritarian state (take your pick) view your tweets? Not so pleased about them? Then it's a politically active statement.

    The fact that we are generally free to broadcast political statements in the civilized world doesn't mean that it isn't activism.

  • Alex says:

    I don't feel terribly active when I'm sitting on my couch with a laptop spouting off with relative anonymity. But I'll tell my wife that I'm being active, I'm sure that will make her think more highly of my time spent surfing.

  • dsks says:

    "But I stand by my point that tweeting does not an activist make."

    A peculiar assertion in light of relatively recent world events

    Certainly, Tweeting about what one had for breakfast is not much in the way of political activism (commerical activism potentially). But if you're communicating ideas relating to this or that political movement, then you're definitely on the activist scale somewhere; possibly closer to the conscious-but-apathetic end, and a fair bit removed from the somebody-light-this-molotov-for-me end, but definitely on the scale.

  • becca says:

    When I tweet about what I eat for dinner, it's political activism. I'm trying to make my local or vegetarian or home-cooked food sound delicious (and usually, easy, rather than the BSD approach to dinnerdare), so that more people will adopt that eating style, thus shifting the consumer pressures on Big Food.
    When I let my kid tweet a keyboard mash, that's political activism. I'm trying to put kids into 'adult spaces' enough so that the age-segregated existence that is the norm in this country is seen as weird.

    The personal is the political, and everyone is a slactivist. Most of us just aren't very effective (and that goes for registering people to vote OR twitter, sadly).

  • Dr24hours says:

    I guess my main problem with this definition is that it's so inclusive as to mean nothing. If everyone who expresses an opinion is an activist, then that word is useless to distinguish between essentially passive political individuals and constructively (or destructively) active ones.

    Why have the word at all?

  • drugmonkey says:

    it's so inclusive as to mean nothing.

    Obviously I do not agree. I do not need to distinguish between "essentially passive" and "active" in one word. I'm fine with modifiers such as you have just deployed.

  • Isabel says:

    "But I'll tell my wife that I'm being active, I'm sure that will make her think more highly of my time spent surfing."

    yep, it's crucial to consider what a twitter activist is getting out of it - mainly looking good to others and even to themselves. probably a wash in most cases.

  • Dr24hours says:

    But then "activist" is just another word for "person".

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I know it may be hard to believe but not everyone is constantly spouting their opinion to the world.

  • Dr24hours says:

    But by your definition, they'd have to be silent about all matters of politics for their entire lives. Any utterance of an opinion makes them an activist.

    So, mute and illiterate, perhaps. But no one else.

  • bystander says:

    Actually, I know of a totally mute person finding ways of letting the world know how matters of importance should be run.

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