Thursday, August 31, 2006

What is positive activism?

There is a saying that the price of freedom is eternal vigilism. That wise old guy Plato also once said that the price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

When we suffer from crime, poor service, corporate exploitation or poor governance, many of the roots can be found in our very own apathy. When our actions are negatively impacted, we very well might be ruled by evil men - and I'm not necessarily talking about someone in government here.

How often do we not say that we just don't have the time to do anything? Or to claim that there is no point in trying because those in authority will not do anything? Or to claim that it is not our job to get involved - that's why we pay taxes?

From my early involvement in analysing crime, it is apparent that previous years' success against crime in South Africa drew on community involvement. As crime in Gauteng was reduced in the late nineties, apathy grew and community involvement dropped.

But the effects of apathy are not confined to increasing crime. They can be felt in the service we receive from public institutions or at retailers. They can result in lack of representation in government.

Activists are not born, they are made. Be it through an upbringing that encourages standing up for one's beliefs or through circumstance that convinces them to say, "Enough is enough."

I believe we need positive activists. People who are not dragged into confrontation and negative criticism, but constructive engagement. People who want to be part of the solution and not the problem. People who understand that there is a personal cost to enjoying progress.

The positive activist's manifesto is:
  • I understand that positive engagement yields quicker, better results than negative attack

  • I understand that should I wish to enjoy the benefits living in a community then I must contribute to that community

  • I understand that my contribution includes taxes and moentary contributions but is likely to require personal involvement

  • I will seek to be involved in solution before criticising

  • I will act rather than pass by

  • I will give positive feedback - where this is not possible I will ensure my feedback is constructive

  • I will escalate rather than give up.


The positive activist's goals are:
  • To promote action rather than argument

  • To promote accountability and results

  • To promote community involvement

  • To make a difference.


If you agree and want to be involved, then feel free to post the following code on your blog / site that links to this article:

<a href="http://itisthequestion.blogspot.com/2006/08/what-is-positive-activism.html"><img src="http://static.flickr.com/83/230343279_96b8171088.jpg?v=0"/></a>

This will put the following logo and link onto your page:

11 comments:

kyknoord said...

I applaud your attitude, but it seems to me that you've neatly summarised why it's easier and more rewarding to be a criminal.

Oranje_Orakel said...

Excellent arti - as usual SS

expect your link on OORB

It is the question said...

KN: Ah Mr Noord. Next time you're knocked off your scooter, don't expect someone to stop -it's easy just to drive on by... Easy does not equal right. Good to have you back here!

OO: Thank you. Let's spread this fever!

ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Nice post. I like your drive and enthusiasm.
You are right of course. When we choose to remain silent in the face of crime and adversity, we give it our stamp of approval.
Thanks for the code... it will go up on my blog.

It is the question said...

Hey Chit. Thanks.

Every single person counts.

tripeak said...

I've been chatting to my friend nic about the recent crime wave they've been having in their area... and you do get results when u get the community involved.

I suggest placing / mailing yr post to community papers like the Fourways Review to reach a wider audience – it’s a good concept, but it will take a lot of “w2m”.

Oranje_Orakel said...

Pls mailme at oranje_orakel(at)hotmail(dot)com

I would like to discuss some issues

kyknoord said...

Just for the record, I've been knocked off three times thus far and no-one has ever stopped.

It is the question said...

You see KN - we need more positive acitivists!

This is a Good Sign said...

I completely agree! I made some Good Signs for this very reason.. We have started a positivity movement based around a concept using a visual cue and a notion that people should show up to encourage/people events they care about. Instead of waiting until they are angry to start carrying signs. These are signs of hope and encouragement. We would like your help in spreading the work by maybe writing a blog article and tweeting up thisisagoodsign if you would be interested in learning more about us please check us out at or just google good sign to see some of the different things weve done.

We also are going to be promoting a contest for prize giveaways and blogging contract!!!

Peace

Eric

Lauren said...

I have been having the discussion lately about positive activism, it is something I believe in. The counter argument is that there is more finger pointing and fear mongering than positive solutions. Are there organisations or political bodies out there that are employing positive activism on large scale projects?