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Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet. ~ Alice Walker

Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change.


Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy. ~ Proverbs 31:9
  • Broadly speaking, the governments today are organisations of elderly men who know no other way to work and govern than the ways of their youth, the ways of the past. They have little sense of why their methods no longer work. They know nothing of the new energies and impulses which flood the world today, and are baffled and betrayed by their inability to control events... To a large extent, today, the People’s Voice is the voice of the young. Governments, and the media under their control, largely ignore or vilify the voices and aspirations of the young; yet it is the young who have the answers, who understand that humanity is One, who call for fairness, for justice and sharing, and an end to war. The voice of such young people can never be silenced, and will not for long be ignored. The Voice of the People, young and old, will drown the whimpers of the men of money and lead humanity to the New Dawn. So will it be.
    • Benjamin Creme, Youth at the Helm, Share International Magazine, (April 2012)
  • Activism, suffers injury when it is considered as merely practice and effect, for in fact it has also to carry forward not only the external but also the internal situation of things. On the other hand, mental creativeness must be looked upon as something more than a mere preparatory stage for activism it has ever to present us with norms superior to the transient aspects and impressions of the world and of the moment, and it has to deal with the orientation of our quests.
    • Rudolf Eucken, Knowledge and life 1907, 1913 p. 172
  • Without penetrating Criticism, Creativeness fails to stand out in bold relief from the ordinary shallow life, and fails in self-reliance as well. But unless we pass from both into Activism the necessary clarification is lacking, and effects which are possible come to nought. Therefore the different tasks serve one specific total-task.
  • Pragmatism and activism attach very different meanings to the union of truth with life. The former regards truth as merely the means towards a higher end (which seems to us subversive of inner life), while the latter makes it an essential and integral portion of life itself, and hence can never consent to it becoming a mere means.
  • 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
  • What we are seeing now in America is about so much more than people just being sick of the police murdering innocent people. It is a generational and class revolt. Yes, COVID certainly exacerbated it...
  • I'm more optimistic because I see the resistance in the streets, which wasn't there a few weeks and months ago. That's where hope lies. It lies in the streets. And I have got to acknowledge these people. They're mostly young, incredibly courageous, they are out there braving economic misery, arrests, indiscriminate, brutal and often lethal police violence and COVID-19, and they're fighting against injustice and the elites anyway. They're all heroes in my book.
  • What do Ben and Jerry’s, an 800,000-member South African trade union, countless college professors, a big chunk of Amazon’s Seattle workforce, and more high school students than you can imagine have in common? They’re all joining in a massive climate strike this coming Friday, September 20 — a strike that will likely register as the biggest day of climate action in the planet’s history.
  • Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Forms of activism[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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