Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Talk: Activism, Slacktivism, and Clicktivism

I am often asked to either sing or speak at events, but rarely am I asked to do both. This was precisely what I did at the Edmonton Earth Day Week Kickoff 2014 that took place on April 21 at the Alberta Avenue Community League. Organized by the local Green Party, I was asked to sing a couple of songs and also give a short talk discussing the differences between activism, slacktivism, and clicktivism. I have posted my notes here for others to learn whatever they would like to take away from such a discussion, as well as the actual video of my talk (and the song I chose to follow it up with).

Activism vs. "Slacktivism" vs. "Clicktivism"

A. Definitions

  • The Internet/modern technology has opened up new possibilities in activism.

    1. Clicktivism: online surveys, petitions, forwarding Facebook statuses, posting links on Twitter
  • Does not require much effort and can create inflated sense of accomplishment

    2. Slacktivism: Term started a few years ago when wearing the yellow "Livestrong" bracelets became popular
  • Wearing something with a message, possibly just because it is trendy. Che Guevara t-shirt joke (picture of him, underneath: "I don't even know who this is.")
  • All activists have t-shirts etc. with messages. Can be discussion starters.

    B. Criticism

  • I don't like these terms.
  • Lateral violence: criticising each other's methods and intentions when we should be working together towards common goals.
  • We need to respect each others' contributions to making a better world.
  • I am into rallies and marches: some people think they are ineffective. But they can raise awareness of others who see them, and get into media.
  • We can't always judge the effectiveness of methods.
  • Can be barriers to taking part in certain activities: sitting at the computer and doing things online may be all someone can do.

    C. Activism

  • I discovered activism online while looking for groups to connect with.
  • Activism = active.
  • Requires commitment, lifestyle changes, working towards systemic changes on underlying issues.

    D. Bottom Line

  • Avoid lateral violence.
  • Support each others' efforts.
  • Get involved in issues that speak to you.

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