Taking Activism to the Next Level

activism

When it comes to the betterment of humanity, activism is perhaps the most important yet most controversial element in society. Activists are the free thinkers, the system busters, the loving warriors, the boat-rockers, and the truth tellers. These visionaries are the vanguard of social reform, acting as the warning system for a society out of balance. Activists are often criticized, ostracized, and even killed, yet their legacy stands among the most virtuous of contributions throughout history. Whether in the form of social media outcry, boycotts, protests, public art (Banksy), sit-ins, or armed insurrection, activists have undoubtedly been a major driving force of progressive social change.

Yet despite the intensity of external focus typical in most activists, honorable and necessary though it is, internal focus for the purposes of Self-Work, tends to be lacking in the majority of activists. This explains why there are social REVOLUTIONS (revolution = revolve = circular spin = going in circles) instead of social EVOLUTION, which transcends the violent, divisive, authoritarian paradigms which has enslaved humanity for centuries.

If activists integrated Self-Work as part of their transformative process, not only would they be more effective and healthier on all levels, but their impact on society would move beyond minor accommodations to a deeper paradigm shift. Due to this deficiency of Self-Work, many well-intentioned activists, swept away by their righteous anger in the “revolutionary mindset”, become just as aggressive and power-hungry as the tyrants they vehemently oppose. Violence is all too often met with violence as police brutality is met with rioting (an understandable yet self-defeating reaction), and “in-fighting” by activists against other well-intentioned activists exacerbates our challenges rather then allowing for a peaceful exchange of ideas. This hyper-aggression only serves to perpetuate violence which could otherwise be resolved with responsible self-awareness, compassion, critical thinking, and a broader perspective. This is the obstacle humanity has yet to overcome through Self-Work, and, as the saying goes, “When people do not learn their lessons, history repeats itself.”

There are many people speaking out about the atrocities and injustices of the world. Oftentimes activism comes with a lot of finger-pointing and hostility. Understandable. Who wouldn’t be upset? The problems of the world often seem insurmountable and sometimes the weight of life wears down even the best of us. As important as honoring our healthy boundaries and anger is, dwelling in anger causes us to miss out on the richness of higher understanding. It’s important to keep in mind that the moment we demonize or vilify those who disagree with us or do things differently, we commit an act of violence by severing an opportunity to learn and find loving empathy and compassion to resolve conflict. We cannot hold on to spite and vengeance, for the problems of the world are too enormous, and hostility, no matter how small, simply creates more violence. We must become more mindful, understanding, and conscious in our behavior if we are to ask others to do the same.

 empathy

Time shows us that even in the most dark of circumstances, there is understanding and love to be found, within and without, for all things serve a purpose in objective reality. As difficult as it can be to come to terms with, all moments of life are like lessons in the school of Earth. It is rightfully natural to be angry, afraid, sad, and defensive, passively or aggressively, but for the sake of transformation and growth, we must not stop there.

Justice is neither avoidance or vengeance; it is taking responsibility by utilizing the opportunity to see things clearly through gaining knowledge, healing, and, ultimately, understanding and finding forgiveness by seeing the greater context, which ultimately leads to compassion. With communication comes new perspective. With new perspective comes new understanding. With understanding comes connection. With connection comes love. And in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

darkness-light

If we, as activists, ever want to realistically live in a world wherein people are well-educated, empathic, and responsible enough to be sovereign and easily resolve (or avoid altogether) social injustices, we must embody the very maturity and virtue we ask from others. We must strive to be a living example of the principles and ideals we uphold.

How the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Apparatus Is Being Turned on Protesters

Photo via Flickr user mpeake

By Alex Kane
Vice

Activists organizing protests against police brutality in New York are marking Martin Luther King Day with a march beginning in Harlem. Some attendees might be surprised along the way to encounter officers in blue jackets with the words “NYPD Counter Terrorism” emblazoned on the back. But Linda Sarsour, a prominent Muslim-American activist and member of the anti-police brutality group Justice League NYC, one of the sponsors of the march, is almost used to it by now.

As head of the Arab American Association of New York, Sarsour has been a leader in the fight against police misconduct. Much of her energy has gone into speaking out against the NYPD’s expansive spying program that since 9/11 has targeted Muslims and activists. She’s part of a broad coalition trying to change policies ranging from surveillance to ” broken windows” policing, the philosophy that going after minor offenses will deter serious crime. (more…)

Grasp The Nettle (Full Movie)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/64705880[/vimeo]

Grasp The Nettle graspthenettlefilm.com follows the exploits of a ragtag band of land rights activists in
London as they struggle against corporations, government, police – and themselves –
in their efforts to create alternative communities outside the framework of consumer society. (more…)

Breaking News: Adam Kokesh Facing Up to 7 Years is Sentenced to 2 Years Probation

Adam Kokesh has been sentenced to 2 year probation with time served Friday morning in D.C. Superior Court,. The prosecutors had sought a 12 month sentence due to the fact that 31-year-old Adam Kokesh, remains “unremorseful for his actions” and is at a “high risk for recidivism.”  (more…)

Media Roots TV – Occupy Oakland Day of Action & Third Police Raid

MEDIA ROOTS On Saturday, November 19, 2011, Occupy Oakland (OO) held another mass day of action after the nationwide crackdowns against the Occupy Movement days before. Thousands vigorously took to the streets and jubilantly marched through downtown Oakland and around Lake Merritt before tearing down a fence around an empty lot at 19th & Telegraph to establish another OO encampment.

The demonstrators held a huge dance party in the streets despite the pouring rain, as over thirty tents were set up by occupiers.  Although, not enough people held the space overnight to prevent a third raid from Oakland PD the next morning, 11/20, the Occupy Movement continues undeterred.

www.mediaroots.org

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