STRESSING THE HOPE: AN ACTIVIST’S TOOLKIT
First let me share some activist ideas and strategies, then I will provide links (with brief summaries about each link) to articles of various topics, pro-active tips and ideas, etc. to comprise an activist’s toolkit.
What can we do when clouds cover the sun and hope is blocked from our vision? The thing to do is to always remember that the sun burns through clouds like they never even existed, and that the sun is always there no matter what. Storms and clouds are temporary things, blowing away with the winds and evaporating in the presence of the sun.
Our work as activists is always to tout the hope. Because hope motivates and inspires proactivity. Depression disables our masses, so we must break through it. That’s part of our work.
Another key to smart activism taught to me by a brilliant activist, is to identify and rebut commonly-held assumptions in the public mind. Examples: “Just let them wiretap me: I have done nothing wrong, so I’ve got nothing to hide”. “As long as they keep me safe I am happy”. “If we write Congress it won’t make a bit of difference” etc….when we know what is on peoples’ minds and what informs their beliefs, we can create change by providing correct and fact-based information, based on which they can form their own new beliefs. Beliefs and assumptions are what motivate or demotivate people, so to work with assumptions and beliefs is key to spawning proactivity.
This same brilliant activist also offered me the following tip: Preaching to the choir works! You get a wave of like-minded people going, then the wave grows, and finally it gains power. Then word spreads. Last of all, people you wanted to recruit may finally be convinced. Start with your own constituent base first! Tipping like-minded people off to facts/ideas is to strengthen our movement. Send out emails to like-minded friends (don’t turn anybody off, that’s the last thing you want for the sake of yourself and the movement!) and ask them to forward them. The power of the internet is exponential!
In order to keep hope alive, it would be important for us all to focus our energies on getting good people elected rather than "being against" any one cause (which is to fight many battles and win them but also to lose the war. Winning the war means practicing the solution: Getting good people in public office).
The idea that Congress won’t care if we write to them is at times right and probably most of the times wrong. Crooked Congressmembers don’t care: That’s true. But others gain strength and credibility on the Congress floor by waving signatures and letters in front of their colleagues’ faces. Our input, especially in great numbers, can prevent compromise from happening, help passage of an unwanted bill to be halted, etc. Note also how many politicians are resigning to avoid scandal: Obviously our opinions do matter and our voice does count, or they wouldn’t be dodging the public disgrace! Truth is powerful and we must always remember that.
Last but not least, let us also remember that one powerful way to pack a punch into the world of proactivity is to hit corporations right where it counts: The pocketbook. Even if the day comes that we go so far as to lose our free speech, boycotting is the way we can definitely win. The time to start is now: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Write to your grassroots organizations, using the “contact us” button on their website, to organize boycotts, to ask for petitions about any particular matter to go around, to offer a new point of view, etc and there’s your power! The grassroots is stronger than ever, and therein lies our hope. Let’s use it to our advantage!
ARTICLES ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO ARE LINKED AND BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED BELOW
Here is a marvelous website of quotes, quotes and more quotes from our founding fathers, politicians et al, which are helpful in writing letters to the editor and talking to people: