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How/Can We Unite Activists around the World?

Anna Brix Thomsen

I have noticed that a lot of activists are primarily focused on one single aspect that they want to change or revolutionize within the world system. And unfortunately such activist groups often fight or compete with each other. Now - for example with vegan and animal rights activist, I see that we have a lot in common. We agree that animals and nature has an equal right to exist on the planet and should have rights equal to those of humans. We agree that we are responsible for making that change happen. But that's where we part ways, because many vegans tend to believe that being a vegan and making personal choices to not eat meat is an important part of the solution, so basically power through consumer democracy. Based on what I have walked with LIG over the last few years I have come to understand that me not eating meat will not make a difference when it comes to animals suffering and that our focus should be on changing the overall world-system. So how can we collaborate and work together with such activists? It is a shame because we have the same basic principles and goals, but disagree on how to get there and this causes conflicts and separation between us when we could have in fact stood together. So how can the common principles we share be the point that unite us, practically speaking?

Yogan Wayra Zadronzny Barrientos

You ask some very big questions, which I don't if I will be able to answer, but I will give my perspective, and give a crack at it, as they say.

I personally felt frustrated, almost angry, when I see this little groups forming around their specialized members. To name the categories: sex, race, class, and education, are some, with many more out there. So you have feminist groups, prejudice groups, and cliques of friends that stay within their class and education. I have nothing personal against these groups, actually I see these groups having so much in common that it upsets me that they choose to remain separate. We should just have one group that does the best for all its members.

So I shared my viewpoint, the question now is how? This is a very practical question you have brought up Anna, and its definitely a step in the right direction. I have a practical answer, I don't know if its the best, but here goes. So each of us who wants this unity, needs to go out and reach and touch each person in such a way that they see you as a reliable person that really means that you want this thing that we're talking about, unity. And of course to do that, you need to be genuine, at least that's essential. I propose this because as the various people that you touch from the various groups see you, well they only see you, and stop seeing the perceived differences that they shared with the other groups, but see you, and that is what they will have in common. So you would be serving as an anchor of this reality we wish existed. Because the truth of the matter, is that's its possible. The question is just how. So this is what I see each one of us capable of doing, and it only requires a few of us to start it, and it will slowly expand, and exponentially increase in size and magnitude. So without throwing random thoughts in the mix, this is the core of how I see as an approach that would work.

Maite Zamora Moreno

Thanks for your question Anna and Yogan for your perspective.

In today's day and age with the information technology that is available, it is unavoidable that new activist groups will be formed around issues in different places and with different solutions. I don't necessarily see it as a 'bad' thing - because the primary purpose of any activist group is to raise awareness - instigating individuals to start questioning their reality and what they have come to take for granted within it - herein, all activist groups stand equal. Each group will also have a unique audience - where in some places, yes, these audiences will overlap, but still - the more small groups are active, the wider-spread the impact will be.

I don't see it as necessary to 'unite' per say - but what can definitely be useful is to connect online with different activist groups so that a person who starts asking questions about animal rights can find other groups who raise different questions, for instance about human rights and the link between human and animal rights. A person who's curiosity has been triggered by one activist group is likely to search further and expand their inquiries towards other issues and solutions. So, the diversity of activist groups allows for a wide range of individuals to find an 'entry' point within the world of activism as there are some 'thresholds' involved within starting to question one's reality and standing up for a cause - and for some the threshold for joining an animal rights group will be lower, for another the threshold for joining a gender equality action group will be lower, to just give a few examples.

Activism is not something one doesn't do the one day and starts doing the next. I do see there being a process of personal development and education involved. So - from that perspective, I believe that having multiple activist groups out there is beneficial, so that individuals can move through the various groups and as they do so, expand their understanding of problems and solutions.