taking a positive approach to protest

One of the attractive things about going on a bog rally, such as the one in London recently, is that you feel part of things, you feel like you’re in it with others, not just little and insignificant.

Actually its the same reason that drives some people to go to church, and some churches to strive to be big, but in essence the approach is unhelpful.

Ghandi is supposed to have said: “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

(I say ‘supposed to have said’ because I’ve never been able to find an attributable source for it.)

But it reminds me very much of something the Welsh saint David said: “Do the little things…”  It’s a reminder that we shouldnt shy away from doing the small insignificant things, and only involve ourselves in the grand statements, as these little things are the most important parts of our lives.

Think of them like the molecules which go to make up the atoms which make up a body, they all need to be doing their tiny insignificant bit in order for the body to function.

I take this approach to protest too, I am not sold on the big showy demos, as I posted earlier today, they are pretty ineffective anyway unless your intent is to cause death or destruction.

The best way to protest in my view is to take a positive approach, and here it is summed up quite well by Saoirse, aka the freeconomy pilgrim, who is currently attempting to live for a year without using any money:

Every time you don’t buy something, you protest. If we stop buying the ‘stuff’ the IMF’s £1,000,000,000,000 package wants us to buy, there is no police tactic on the planet that can stop us. So in solidarity with the Shell protesters in Ireland, stop or even just reduce your dependency on oil. I would say don’t buy from Shell but even they are seen as the most ethical oil company apparently, which says very little for the others given the fact that they had a peaceful protester, Ken Saro Wiwa, executed not so long ago for defending indigenous rights in the Niger Delta. If you want to protest against banks, stop using them, it really is possible, neither me or my neighbour Martin have a bank account and we get by just fine. If you want to protest against animal cruelty, go vegan and send a link to Earthlings to everyone you know. The list goes on…”

You might say that this too is negative, but in fact it’s a positive step, its making a positive choice to disengage with the harmful system, and engage instead with other ways of living.  I do of course accept there are times when a statement protest is helpful, but in general I think our lifestyles should be the biggest statement.

I am interested in positivity, which I think equates with a creative approach, not just finding a solution for a problem, but creating a whole new perspective.  Certainly beats having to stand in a huddle for hours on end while police use time honoured crowd dispersal tactics and hand out the occasional battering.

Some ideas for positive protest:

  • get rid of your car or at least confine car use to a minimum.
  • live on less, and give your money away.
  • choose to cut your consumption of luxury items.
  • reconsider what are luxury items.
  • build relationship in your local community.
  • find out who needs help in your area, and help them.
  • become active in your local school.
  • move to a deprived area and aim to be a positive person there.
  • grow your own food, and give your surplus to others
  • find ways of working less, and spend more time with your family
  • look for other positive people, and encourage them

Please feel free to add to this list…


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