Activism

Some advice for activism in the form of my own guidelines for myself.

Speak Up

You should contact people about injustices as a first step. If you're not willing to speak up about injustices, you should only blame yourself for any that you face. Other people aren't psychics, and they can't read your mind. If you don't complain, they'll assume everything's okay. If you don't complain about injustices, you're indicating your consent. It's like if I do a job for you and you act like everything is fine and dandy, don't show up years later and say I did you wrong. You need to speak up as soon as possible if you really think something is wrong.

Harassment

Don't harass people. I believe in getting in your face if you're doing wrong, and that's my right. But if anyone asks me to stop contacting them, I do so after a final message (as with many email subscriptions) confirming that I received that message and including my final words. If I try to contact someone repeatedly with no response, I don't keep on trying to contact them because I feel that could be viewed as harassment, except I reserve the right to try to contact them once or twice a year at most to try to remind them of serious problems such as discrimination and oppression or other unresolved issues.

Threats

I don't threaten people. However, if I see threats made against myself or someone else, I'm likely to challenge them. In the process of responding to threats, I don't threaten people back, because although they may be using fighting words and I'd feel justified in punching them if we were in a face-to-face confrontation, making online threats in response to online threats does not seem like a good decision and could get you into trouble. You can respond in many ways without making statements that appear to be threats of physical violence. When responding to threats, try to make it clear what the other person has said in your reply so in case they edit their post or yours is seen out of context, they can't pretend you were the one talking about violence or otherwise try to confuse things. If someone has made threats or done some wrong, try to talk about it when you talk to them so you don't look like the bully.

Report

If you see a hatemonger spewing hate or calls for violence or death threats, you should gladly report it. I believe in freedom of speech, but I've seen so much censorship that I don't mind when the other side gets a taste of it. Teenagers with low self-esteem don't need to see that dehumanizing garbage. There are enough suicides already. If a website continues to knowingly host calls for violence, I believe that's illegal. They are also partly responsible if someone is harmed, and they should be held legally liable.

Truth

Sharing the truth and educating people should be useful to any good cause. I've only rarely lied for activism purposes.

Fallacies

Many instances of propaganda use fallacies to try to move people, so if you study fallacies, you'll be able to understand and identify propaganda better and may be able to debate and argue better for your own causes. For example, if someone claims something is true or good because most people agree with it, that's the argumentum ad populum fallacy. When people make threats, that's argumentum ad baculum, appeal to the stick. When people try to appeal to emotion, that's argumentum ad passiones. You'll see many fallacies and few logical arguments given against pedophilia, zoophilia, sex offenders, youth rights, and so on. While fallacies don't belong in a logical debate, you should feel free to use emotion and anything else to move people as much as the advertisers and propagandists do.

Sarcasm

Avoid sarcasm, or use it carefully. Humor is good, but saying the opposite of what you mean can be confusing for readers who can't hear the tone of your voice and don't know you or your intent. And sarcasm can get you into trouble, such as when you declare that you're going to shoot up a shopping center in some kind of twisted attempt to make a point like one idiot I was debating with on YouTube. Joking about that sort of thing these days is not the sanest decision to make.

Words Matter

It's important to consider the words we choose to use and their connotations. If we don't select the right words, we can't hope to convey the meaning we desire. We need not use the terms and cliches of the oppressors.

Don't Be Boring

I've seen activists who tried to act professional, and it gained them little popularity. I've seen people like Alex Jones become popular by being outrageous and wacky. I'm not saying you should act crazy, but I am saying don't be so afraid to say how you really feel. Don't be afraid to seem a little crazy, because maybe it's better than being boring.

Everything Is Activism

Every decision you make is a form of activism. Every product you choose to buy is activism. Every dollar you spend is a vote. In chaos theory, we learn that a small trigger can have a huge result. A butterfly flapping its wings could determine whether or not a hurricane forms. A small nudge could prevent an asteroid from striking Earth if it's made soon enough.

Yin & Yang

Outreach is a positive form of activism. Boycotts are a negative form of activism. There are many other positive and negative forms of activism to consider.

My Orientation

I avoid talking about my own private sexual preferences, interests, or orientation for various reasons. I may sometimes imply that I'm affected by certain laws, but we're all affected by such laws. People might make assumptions about my sexual preferences based on the laws I oppose, but what does it say about this society when selfish motives are assumed? What does it say when anyone speaking against any particular injustice is assumed to be a victim of that injustice?

Don't Weaken Statements

I avoid saying "I feel" or "I think" unless necessary. If you're saying something, folks already know it's your own view. Don't weaken something you believe by introducing uncertainty or by reminding folks that it's only your own personal view unless that's what you intend to do.

Very

I try to avoid using the word "very". Does being "very sure" make you more sure than sure? Is "very good" really better than good? For the love of all that is very holy, avoid using the word "very" unless it adds something to the sentence besides length.

Pretty

I try to avoid using the word "pretty" unless I'm talking about a little girl. I'm pretty sure that's pretty reasonable and everything is pretty because it's such a pretty world today. Pretty much. I'm pretty good and I'm pretty this and I'm pretty that. I'm pretty something in every sentence. I'm so pretty. Think about how pretty you are next time you start a sentence with "I'm pretty...."

See also:
Alex Jones

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