Inspired by few experts mentioned below, the golden rule to have you activism actions stand out can be summarised as follows:
Stick a symbol on a gadget to brand your activism, wear it to feel empowered, and use different tactics.
Political scientist Gene Sharp, internationally renowned as the guru of nonviolent actions, recommends displaying the symbol of protests on a large variety of gadgets. He also suggests to wear the symbol as this conveys the idea that campaigners and protesters have not only an active role in public actions, but they are empowered. Kaminski stresses on the need to ‘brand’ activism with an actractive logo because “every revolution worth the name, needs a name (…) [and] the rules of modern marketing (…) demand something catchier”. “It is all about instant recognition” echoes Bridger in Marsden. Finally, Moon says bluntly that “if you want to motivate people, you don’t rely on logic and reasoning. No, what people need is a symbol. A slogan, a flag, the face of a hero to stick on a T-shirt”. He also adds that “If the real world doesn’t provide you with something people can rally around? You just make that shit up”.
That is what we did!.
We created a new symbol. This is understood in various languages and is largely received in numerous cultural contexts. It is customisable with targeted slogans according to linguistic needs and creative preferences. It can be used for numerous social issues and political matters. It can be displayed on a large variety of activism merchandise usable in conventional and alternative tactics. Our external shop(s) offers a selection of these products showing several slogans formulated using different verbal formulae and templates in many languages and on various social and political topics. However, for its capacity to be associated with various national and international social and political themes and to integrate any linguistic and personal customisation of the text activists, campaigners and protesters to write and direct the narrative of their protests. For this, they can contact us to propose their own topics and slogans, and produce their own licenced personalised gadgets for their specific social and political actions.
Its creation was guided by this research-based project. Its mission is to give a distinct identity and a stronger voice to social and political activism and its aims is to respond to the 9 weaknesses identified in today’s practices of social and political activism. It builds on the study of essential theoretical foundations of activism, protests and nonviolent public actions, and on the analysis of 4 past (un)successful social campaigns and political protests.
Conventional and alternative tactics.
Change is brought about when ordinary people do extraordinary things and not just in extra-ordinary occasions but in their ordinary and everyday life.
Conventional tactics are public actions such as big rallies, protests, marches, and similar initiatives hold on specific and punctual occasions that are extra-ordinary people’s everyday life. In communication terms, these are based on what Dr. Rodriguez calls ‘epidemiology approach’. Briefly, this means that social issues are compared to the consequences of a disease. When fighting a disease, specific communities are exposed to a vaccine campaign. Similarly, when fighting social issues target populations are exposed to a campaign with pre-designed messages. This communication approach intends to show the message around a specific issue to large crowds to sensitise the maximum possible number of people.
M. White, one of the organisers of the Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011, argues that contemporary activism is at a crossroads between innovation or irrelevance. We believe that the use of our symbol or our licenced and personalised activism merchandise can help meeting these needs of innovation and making these conventional forms of activism still relevant. Wearing these products in public actions would not just multiply the exposure of the statement. The symbol is understood in various languages and is largely received in numerous cultural contexts. Although merged with slogans articulated in various verbal formulae and templates, and formulated in different languages, the symbol preserves the meaning and value of the core statement conveying a univocal statement and putting forward a unanimous demand. When displayed in actions hold simultaneously in several places, activists would de facto confirm they are part of the same protest and convey a sense of unity of their action. This would unite and transform national demonstrations into a truly transnational action. This would have a powerful impact at international level. At the same time, customised texts and personalised gadgets would respond to campaigners’ wish to be creative in their slogans, making feel activists and protesters proactive and empowered. This would make a strong impact at local level.
Alternative tactics are actions such as the personal activism by ordinary people in the form of ‘political defiance’ (Sharp 2010 p.1). This public awareness action is based on an active, deliberate, provocative and non-violent mass mobilisation of individuals within their ordinary everyday life. In August 2018, this tactic allowed Russian LGBT activists to bypass the law that crashes the right to freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration and stifles peaceful LGBT demostrations that states defines promotion of ‘gay propaganda’. They used this legal mechanism to show the raibow flag in protest. Unfortunately, when they gathered in the centre of Saint Petersburg some activists ended up being arrested under various pretexts. Another example is the silent march of women heads bowed and dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets, the red robe of the TV series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ now become a new global symbol of women’s protest (C. Bell, J. Bulant, The Telegraph, S. Harris)
The evolution of this tatics is the everyday personal activism fostering ongoing public awareness actions. In communication terms, this tactic uses what Dr. Rodriguez calls a ‘social fabric approach’. Sketchily, this means that social issues are compared to the consequences of the erosion of the social fabric. This communication approach intends to re-knit the social and political fabric around a specific issue fostering the expected changes in the society.
In her latest book about recent evolutions in activism, Naomi Klein argues that saying ‘NO is not enough’ and calls for a systemic change and counter stories capable of connecting and re-uniting people. We believe that the use of our logo or our licenced and personalised activism merchandise can help meeting these needs. Wearing or displaying these gadgets within their ordinary everyday life, people act as ‘human billboards’ / ‘walking advertisement’. As the use of this unconventional tactic is unexpected, these messages raising awareness about social and political topics in ordinary situations can have a stronger impact than in typical situations of protest where showing these messages is the norm. As they can provoke surprise, in turn, they can inspire reflection on the specific issue and/or push people to question their and other people’s inaction or silence. Used by everyday people in their personal, everyday actions or in other forms of everyday activism, these products can extend the visibility of a specific issue beyond the community directly involved in the issue, and expose ordinary people to specific messages on a more regular basis. This form of personal and everyday proactive participation in activism actions can make people feel empowered, and connected and united with a larger community of activists. This tactics can be conducive to re-knit the social fabric and create an environment where today’s issues will no longer be a concern tomorrow, and where the reason for protesting today will be common sense tomorrow.