A challenging question it was this week, but so many of you took the challenge and have answered from your own unique perspectives! There is of course no right or wrong answer, only our opinions.. and this week it is fair to say that the vast majority of us agree that in most cases protests are indeed justified and very important, even if others are inconvenienced! Let's be honest, a very minor inconvenience today could be what it takes to prevent the most grand inconveniences somewhere down the road. It could be a dramatic change in climate and weather patterns that leads to devastating crop failure, overbearing laws and restrictions on our personal freedoms.. even totalitarianism from power hungry and over controlling governments. Another great question is whether we should even have the expectation of our own personal desires of a care free and convenient life, and whether that is realistic when we share this world will billions of other people who all have different ideas, cultures, and ways of doing things. Finally we do have to ask, what alternatives to demonstrating are there these days? Is there any action that we can take that can have long lasting and real effects on our world and the way it is governed?
I would like to share a handful of posts from the ecoTrain community, so we can see what everyone thought! Its always so interesting to see what we say because we represent a very real cross section of society with our community representing to many different cultures, religions and people from many different countries around the world. What better way to get a snapshot of how we feel than this? If you would like to see all of the entries this week you can always view the tag #qotw where all of our posts are grouped together. The posts below are not necessarily the best, whatever that means, but are some great posts that really stood out for different reasons. I hope you enjoy, and if you didn't post then feel free to leave your views in the comments below!
Also this is our last collaboration with Dreemport where entries are curated via their website https://staging.dreemport.com/. If you have submitted your post then i wish you the best of luck for winning and being listed on the winners charts and the chance to win some Dreemport tokens!
Finally, i have a very important announcement that i will share from my personal account later today. This will be rather significant and perhaps even a surprise to many who have followed me and the ecoTrain for so many years. Let's just say that this weeks QOTW will potentially be the very grand finale of what has been an inedible journey since 2018!
I would very much like to answer this question, the main reason being my Son is an activist, and I get many mixed reactions from people on his work. But at large people appreciate.
First of all, I need to mention one thing, that yes not every cause of an activist is justified. When I say that I mean there are many times when some people get on the road for a cause which is not really justified. But then who decides what is justified and what is not. What may be relevant to one may not be relevant for another. While one person may agree to be vocal about it, another would find it a nuisance. It is very difficult to identify in such a case if the cause is justified or not.
Being an activist is a work of guts, it is not every person's cup of tea. A lot of people have an opinion but they feel afraid of raising their voice. An activist comes up with a lot of courage to voice the opinion. When an activist is getting onto the road for a cause, it is not his or her personal agenda, they are doing it for some greater good of the people. There may be some disturbances but people need to understand that what they cannot stand up for and speak for these activists are doing.
Let's start by separating the chaff from the grain: what is really happening on planet earth?
For millennia we entered a new geological era. They call it Anthropocene, according to experts; it began when our species, homo sapiens-sapiens, began the neolithic revolution; which allowed us to advance in the production of our sustenance. Something revolutionary, certainly, because we come from beings that survived by hunting, fishing, gathering vegetables and anything edible or useful that we found.
But; The energy revolutions have been much more important to understand the impact on the environment caused by our humanity. Which is a fact that can be verified - by any of us - just by taking a fleeting look around, wherever we are.
Let me put it more clearly and specifically. I speak of the energy revolution, to imply the changes and progress that we have achieved in the past and in the present each time we learn and develop technologies to be more efficient in modifying the environment and producing resources - in some way always involving the use of energy -
It's election time here in Australia, where hopefully we'll be voting out our inept, arrogant and out of touch leader out of office. Most of those who are anti-the-current-government feel despair, for the alternative isn't much better, and those who care about the environment are even more worried, because that seems as far down on the agenda as you can get. Yet despite what political party we might ascribe to, climate change is more of a concern for us than every before. Almost 90 percent of us believe it's a real issue that needs addressing, especially due to the devastation of floods and fires in the last two years.
There are different areas of concern, of course - some party voters aren't concerned about or don't believe in climate change, yet still believe in conserving native habitat or addressing environmental degradation. Some don't care at all about renewable energies whereas believe it's a priority.
If you're Australian, you can probably guess who I voted for - it's no real surprise if you have read any of my posts. I'm not saying I believe in climate change or not - I think it's a moot point and absolutely pointless to argue about it. If we simply focussed on the environment over industry, everything would be fine and we wouldn't be having these arguments anyway.
The answer is simple: Yes.
At this point, with the level of influence of both big business and military intelligence (whose very existence creates the constant geopolitical power struggle, creating endless wars) on government policy and active debate. Activists are completely justified in disrupting society as a whole, and in fact, I would argue that it's often their duty in defining themselves as activists, rather than protestors.
The reasoning behind my opinion is rather less simple than my 'Yes' answer and revolves around two fundamental factors, which are most often dodged in debate yet they are the reason nothing changes, or changes so slowly that it will make no difference in the end.
One: Social conditioning - the majority who haven't disrupted their social conditioning contribute to a mass delusion that government policies don't perpetuate pollution, climate change, and potentially catastrophic environmental degradation that is destroying our world. We are conditioned by society, and our family members, to believe certain things.
It's essential to put the needs and concerns of family first above all else.
Work hard all your life and you will be rewarded.
This is not a question that can be answered with a straight yes or no answer. At least not when I answer it. There are parts of me that want to yell a resolute YESSSS!!! And there is a small part of me that tries to answer with a yes...but.
You must have noticed that I didn't even consider giving an answer that contains a 'No', and in this post I will tell you why.
Freedom of Speech & The Right to Protest go Hand in Hand This is very important to remember, since we've seen both being stripped away in these past two year, and especially in the last few months. "Where", you ask? "I didn't see this happen!" If this is the case, then you haven't been paying attention! Did you not notice that there were some protests that were 'allowed' and others weren't? Like the BLM protests, where it oftentimes resulted in violence, and destruction of property, even property of the black American community? But peaceful protests against Covid mandates and restrictions were met with violence by the police. This didn't just happen in one country but many. Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, among others...
Since ancient times, violence has been the darkest form of human expression, but the most common form of interaction to resolve conflicts that could well be resolved with more thoughtful and harmonious actions. But no, violence is easier and more elementary and there is nothing to justify violent actions; violence generates more violence and a vortex unpredictable that can bring change, but also chaos.
Two Wolves It seems that our reptilian brain is a better and faster gunman when it comes to trigger reactions to egoic situations involving low vibrational energies, but emotions after all. Thus we see how, faced with the impotence of seeing themselves as voices in the wilderness, activists of noble causes also fall into excesses. This reminds me the Cherokee legend of the two wolves.
In my opinion, activists in most cases who inconvenience the general public are not justified. There are a few reasons for this which I will outline below. But first of all, it's good to define what we are talking about. What is an activist?
According to Oxford Languages Dictionary, an activist is someone who campaigns to bring about political or social change.
I can understand why people may want to be an activist and this is ok for me, some do some great work to educate the public and their effort should be praised. However, if an activist wants to communicate and propose something to me, as a thinking adult, there are better ways to communicate with me than disruptive behaviour such as blocking roads, vandalism or other destructive behaviours.
The fact that most people don't know how to think still doesn't justify disruptive types of behaviour.
As we are all bestowed with God-given rights, I can fully support the rights of people who want to get active and inform others about any social or political change they want, I believe this is called the "outreach" type of activism.
The following is a hypothetical situation. Let's say you're an activist, and you're protesting something that doesn't affect you personally in any way. For example, let's say you are protesting the construction of a new road because it will be built on land that has been set aside for preservation as a nature reserve. You don't own any land nearby, nor do your friends or family members who live there. But you have decided to protest anyway, because you think it's important to protect this area from development.
So you go to the site of the proposed road, which is located near where you live. There are already roads in place all around this area, so why should you care about this one? Well, maybe you don't know what the reasons behind the decision to build the road were. Maybe you don't understand how it will impact the local community. Or perhaps you just don't like the idea of change happening in your neighborhood. Whatever the reason, you've come out into the streets to protest against the construction of this new road.
What a question for this week! How could I not have an opinion on it? In its current Question of the Week @ecotrain is asking us whether Activists Who Inconvenience The General Public Are Justified. Well, let's see... There is a whole list of answers that are popping up in my mind right now, all depending on how we look at the topic. What do we mean by "inconvenience"? Who is the "general public"? And what kind of "activism" are we talking about?
Okay, the last question is made abundantly clear in the prompt post: the example cites the cases of Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion who have made it into the news by blocking traffic. And the general public in these cases are probably people on that highway who were inconvenienced by said protest. I couldn't help laughing, because I remember being inconvenienced myself in this exact same way a few years back, by a teachers' protest in Mexico City.
I will walk you through the precise meaning of these three keywords, for proper accuracy of thoughts.
Sometimes when you hear
Inconvenience is putting persons, communities, or society in a position that is not comfortable and when it stays for a while like that, it might be endangering the public. This is causing troubles or difficulties to the residents of that area or the public if that may be the case.
is simply bringing justice to prevail in situations that urgently need to be addressed. Defending what is known to be right and maintaining balance in the scales of activities by the chain of command.
I believe that there are three main factors that influence the decision of whether or not an activist should be allowed to do what they want:
- how much harm does their action cause?
- if their actions cause harm, can it be mitigated?
- does their action help achieve the goal of their organization?
If you take all these factors into consideration, then you will come up with the conclusion that most often the answer to the question is yes, the action of an activist is justified.
Let's look at each of the above points in more detail.
1. How Much Harm Does Their Action Cause?
The first thing we need to understand is that activists do not go out into the street just because they feel like it; they do so because they have a problem that needs solving. Usually this problem has to do with some sort of injustice, such as poverty, pollution, etc. Therefore, it makes sense for them to try to solve it through peaceful means, i.e., by protesting. They are trying to achieve something good, which is why it makes no sense to judge them negatively for inconveniencing people. It is important to remember that sometimes there is no other way to achieve your goals without causing some harm. For example, if you are fighting against a corporation that pollutes the environment, then the only way to fight it is to cause some inconvenience to the company's employees and customers. And that's fine! Because the end justifies the means.
Boy is this an interesting question and one that makes us reflect..., in my case, when I see these demonstrations, I think of several points of view:
- That if they make these public demonstrations, it is with the aim of attracting attention and for that they use different means to do so. Means that make people uncomfortable precisely so that they focus their attention on what is being demonstrated.
- I think that sometimes it is necessary to make a stop, a pause before a situation that is getting out of hand and these demonstrations are necessary, so that people turn to see what is happening and to achieve that unfortunately it is necessary to interrupt the daily life of people, often causing discomfort.
- Otherwise, people are not aware of some situations and this is one of the ways to make them known, in a more direct way, demonstrating and informing publicly.
So, on the one hand, it is positive to make public demonstrations, but on the other hand they are also negative because of some consequences they cause in the comings and goings of people, for example:
- When these demonstrations take place, there are usually street closures, therefore, sometimes there are no vehicles or people. As a result, it may happen that an ambulance comes and needs to pass and is not allowed to do so, delaying an emergency at the moment, which is not good.
It would be hard for a person who hasn't fallen victim to a particular problem in the society to justify the inconvenience activists bring to the general public because they have little understanding of what pain the things the activists are standing for or against brings to the victims.
If many of us are in the shoes of the victims, we wouldn't hesitate to support activists in their fight for whatever change and development they are demanding regardless of how much inconvenience it would bring to the general public. It hurts to know that the different bodies of government we elected to serve us are now been bossy and they tend to turn deaf ears to the cry of the people until activists take it up to the extent of inconveniencing the general public. The movement most times have nothing to do with inconveniencing the general public but it tends to escalate when nothing is been done to meet the demands of the people
A few years ago I was on a bus at Ojota in Lagos for 3hrs, it was standstill traffic that day and we didn't know why or what was happening. We later got to discover that some students of Lagos State University were the ones who blocked the road with long buses because the governor didn't grant them an audience since they have been protesting about the increase in school fees, that road leads to the governor's office in Alausa.
This week's QOTW comes with a very interesting topic that generates positions on both sides of society, such as the paralysis or obstruction of social life due to marches and protests.
Marches, protests, mobilizations have a great power, a great effectiveness, since by paralyzing a great part of society, protests are difficult to go unnoticed, so that the claim for which it is made is very clearly exposed.
On the other hand, and as a negative effect, I could say that a large part of society becomes a hostage of the protest, even when they do not agree with the protest.
These circumstances often lead to acts of violence due to the anger of the protesters themselves and other citizens who wish to lead a normal life, who do not wish to participate in the mobilization.
One of my favorite phrases says "my rights end where other people's rights begin", that is to say that I am of the idea that although many times the claims, protests are often necessary to give visualization to certain problems, this should not affect the rights of other people.
This paralyzation of the normal social life many times raises the radicalization of thoughts or positions in front of the fact. Thus, part of society often proposes as a solution the repression by the security forces to ensure the free movement of people on public roads, which generates a lot of discomfort in people who carry out the protest.
It is evident that these situations end up confronting different sectors of society, generating a great division between different sectors of society.
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