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To Change Things, You Must First Accept Them


The paradox of activism

There are some causes that we care about perhaps because they directly concern us. There are others that we embrace simply out of empathy or a desire to do something for someone we know. There are many injustices, but there is an important step in taking action: accepting the facts, almost coldly.

The observation that one can make about the injustices suffered by a group is necessary to prepare a strategy of attack to fight them. Without this first level, one can remain passively deploring the afflictions of a situation, without being able to really change things. Contestation is a possible strategy to employ, but it follows a lucid analysis of the situation.

When you begin to accept reality as it is, you can develop plans to change it. It is like facing an enemy army and your only reaction is to protest its presence. By doing so, you are unlikely to win the battle it is about to fight. Sending out scouts to report on the situation and identify enemy movements and positions. When you have a more accurate map of your opponent, you increase the likelihood of routing him. Intelligence is an essential part of warfare, and without knowledge of the terrain and the enemy, victory is more than uncertain.

Once you have a more accurate mapping of the enemy army, you can put it in perspective with the resources you have to defeat it. In activism, it comes down to choosing the best strategy to use to defeat, it can be either by a violent or non-violent way, then there are hundreds if not thousands of tactics to implement in each of these categories:
– guerrilla, when the balance of power is too much against you
– satyagraha (“force of truth”, non-violent resistance)
– demonstration
– strike
– culture of cancellation
– boycott
– use of art to popularize a cause
– etc.

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