Activists and long terms activists.
One of the continuing practical problems which all campaigning groups face is not enough activists. We all moan about it, or have heard others moan about it, but very few people know how we might encourage any kind of long term activism.
The problem being that a lot of protest activities are reactive to events, while there are only a very small number of individuals who have the time or energy to engage in to long term, day by week by month by year by years by decades activism.
Thus we can land up with: –
A very small number of long term activists within a number of very small groups.
A large number of activists who do a lot in a short period of time, but burn themselves out within a period of a year to 18 months.
Neither of which makes for an ideal situation.
Activists, research. and articles.
It should also be kept in mind that building activist knowledge is only possible because of spending a lot of time reading many different reports, books, newspapers, periodicals, newsletters, and by viewing a lot of websites.
That’s something which very few people have the time to do.
Thus the long activists tend only to network with other long term activists, as it can take a while to keep explaining the same background facts time and time again.
Thus any campaigning research tends to continually fall upon a few long term activists.
While all of that research gets used by others.
Here is might be noted that there are a lot of academics who have made a career, or good living, by using the knowledge gained by activists.
Good research work costs money, or at least the time to go visit many libraries on a regular basis. It also involves spending a lot of time chatting with or networking with other long term activists.
Joined Up Protests.
When it comes to some issues we have a lot of local campaigning groups with very few activists in them. Thus they are only able to organise a few events or protests a year, which in turn comes down to the same small organising group.
This might be viewed as a weakness in our campaigning options, but it can be turned around in to something of a major strength.
The first thing is to make sure that the activist within all of these small groups both advertise each others events, and make an effort to attend them.
Thus a small local event can become a much larger regional or national one.
It can be done if each of the local groups has a good travel budget. The same budget can also be used to pay for speakers to come and address local meetings.
The second option is to engage in coordinated protests.
That is lots of small pickets or leafleting sessions at the same time on the same day.
Those kind of activities do not take much time and effort to organise at a local level, but with the same leaflets / same leaflet text it makes for a much bigger event.
It is not so much a question of working towards what is sometimes referred to as being a Day of Action, but showing we are not just a few small isolated groups.
All of which turns what is our weakness in to a strength.
Best of all such events should attract individuals who have neither the time or the money to make it to Yet Another National Demonstration or March.