When I did decide to become an ‘activist’ - I had no idea how to start - how to be heard when I wanted to call for an end to the war in Iraq, how to stop my (UK) government taking my tax and slaughtering people with it. I found groups and organisations - but I also found agendas, politics, religion or other considerations in many groups....so not for me, I was seeking activism on the war in Iraq that would offer unity and respect for individuality, not a review of personal ethics.
I also wanted to help other people like me who are not 'naturally' activists - to become so, instantly, without cost and without fear. I finally opted to create my own campaign for anybody who wanted as I did, to see an end to the war in Iraq and asked that we use a simple, home-made, white fabric armband to signify this. No other agenda - just this. No money needed, no time, no place to be....just instant activism.
ARMS AGAINST WAR (www.armsagainstwar.info) is doing quite well since I gave it its website in January 2006 - we have been mentioned in Australian parliament, the armbands are being worn all over the world, the campaign has been nominated for a Social Enterprise Award here in England, students on campuses in the US have been writing to say they are wearing white armbands and I do feel we will approach the tipping point soon - when finally we will know and see just how many, the world over, want an end to the war in Iraq. I just want to race ahead and 'see' that strength of feeling as soon as possible and before any more suffering.
As the reader here and now, please think about whether you could be a part of this and if you could consider promoting it further - it would make a world of difference and mean so much. I believe many of us want a world with less divisions, less reasons to find our differences and think that this should start with others who want this too. In bringing unity to all our actions against the war in Iraq, by encouraging all individuals and groups to wear a symbol of unity - the armband - we will be united and agreeing in one voice - whatever our different campaign agendas are, whatever our other slogans, logos or colours.
I am sure you are aware of how little attention the mainstream media will afford your/our efforts at protest and action...they typically lower the turnout numbers and make us sound like a small lunatic fringe group when we march; it is always the way. That though is one of the reasons why I looked to create an 'image' that we could all wear (freely at no cost) that would show just how many of us agree with the statement "I want an end to the war in Iraq". We need an image that unites us. Even if a group has other items on the agenda - the armband can still be worn to signify that they want an end to the war in Iraq - regardless/or as well as what else they stand for.
The home-made, white fabric armbands are available to every person, they cost nothing and are instantly available by tearing and wearing fabric from a sheet, t-shirt etc.
It may seem a small gesture, insignificant even - but look at the difference between one pesky bee and a swarm...we need to be seen and the armband not only gives us an image media can relate to - it also means we can demonstrate at all times in all places, in groups, at events, alone, at work, at lectures etc. yet still be united in purpose wherever and whoever we are. Thanks so much for your time and regardless of your inclusion or not in this action - I wish you every success with any action you choose.
Two thousand years ago, a Roman Senator suggested that all slaves wear white armbands to better identify them. "No," said a wiser Senator.
"If they see how many of them there are, they may revolt."