Activism is working to bring about important social change. We all know what this looks like, even if we haven’t heard it deemed “activism.” There are organizations that work to bring about all kinds of social change.
According to my textbook, there are five different areas activists use to achieve their goals:
- Informational activities
- Symbolic activities
- Organizing activities
- Legal activities
- Civil disobedience activities
Each covers a specific part of what activist organizations do and how they bring about change.
The first, informational activities, involves informing the public. They might do interviews with media outlets or publish their ideas on a website dedicated to their cause.
Then next, symbolic activities, includes boycotts. One group might stop visiting a restaurant or riding a particular bus if the hope to bring about change.
Organizing activities means the group is going to start organizing itself. The people will hold meeting and pass out information pertaining to their cause.
Legal activities is also self explanatory. The might write letters to their congressmen. In addition, if their problem is with a administrative-type agency, like the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency (they were created by the government and can create regulations that are like laws, but it’s a little different, according to my Law and Regulations professor from last semester) that can put pressure on them, by writing letters and the like.
The last is the most drastic, in my opinion. Civil disobedience. I had a teacher once (I don’t remember who it was or even what class he or she was teaching) that was teaching us about civil disobedience, probably in the context of MLK and desegregation and we learned that the world only works if almost everyone follows the rules almost all the time. Basically, civil disobedience is disrupting things enough that people will at least have to listen. Personally, I think that if a group is willing to “disrupt the peace” so to speak, and they’re willing to break the law or put themselves in potential danger for what they believe in, they much have something significantly important they want to say. That’s not to say that they should all be listened to, but it might be worth hearing them out if it’s that important to them.
Activism is all about the PR behind these organizations. Without good PR, they wouldn’t get anywhere. Their message wouldn’t be heard and they would have no support to make the changes they want to make.