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Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change.
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- Young women have more choices to make today about what to be. One of those choices is activist.
- My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism. I think that the ethico-political choice we have to make every day is to determine which is the main danger.
- Michel Foucault, “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress.” Afterword, in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Massachusetts Press. (1983)
- To be naïve, especially politically, would mean seeing reality as simple and clear-cut once again. It would imply viewing the social world in an unambiguous and probably dualistic way with, for example, the ruling class and exploiters on one side, and the ruled and exploited on the other with no distinctions in between. Likewise it would mean conceiving of the world as eminently changeable and subject to human will, not as something given over to the play of accident or chance. Historically speaking, the naive attitude has engendered tremendous passion and commitment to the same degree that the ironic attitude has produced skepticism and passivity. Most mass movements of both the Left and Right have been naive in the sense described here. In fact it could be argued that activism is possible only where there is the real (though "naive") conviction that the world is completely mutable and therefore capable of being shaped by human action. Furthermore, the naive awareness does not allow itself to be paralyzed by obstacles, but rather engenders in its adherents a feeling of dedication and vision, of vigor and enthusiasm, just as early Christianity did (and the Church of the first three centuries was a model "naive movement"). Such movements acquire faith in themselves, and consequently great power, precisely because they see reality in unequivocal terms. Lastly, the naive outlook generates an inordinate capacity for heroism and heroic commitment which cannot be aroused by the ironic mode.
- David Gross, “Irony and the ‘Disorders of the Soul,’” Telos, vol. 34, December 21, 1977, pp. 170-171
- Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet.
Forms of activism