Below, we share our analysis on 4 inspiring social and political public actions on which we have initially focused our research for this project. We continue to investigate other more current actions, and we will shortly share our research’s findings.
Learn from other (un)successful social and political actions is one among other important recommendations from political scientist Gene Sharp, internationally renowned as the guru of nonviolent actions, and one among other scholars providing essential inputs for the theoretical foundations of this project. Sharp is best-known for his two seminal works ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy, a how-to manual for overthrowing dictatorships’ (2010) and ‘The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Part Two’ (1973).
To reinforce the power of ‘non-violent weapons’, Sharp advocates the creation of a unique and recognisable identity (logo, slogan, colour etc.), for protests actions or, in other words, to ‘brand’ the protest. Along the same line, 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”. Moreover, Sharp suggests the creation/use of a symbol to demonstrate the unity of the action. Talking about symbol, it is important to remind that semiotician Charles Peirce says its meaning is conventional and arbitrary. It is based upon the agreement within a certain cultural society, and people learn its meaning through experience. Sharp also recommends to write the slogans in English to maximise the coverage of transnational media. Finally, he urges to wear these symbols because this would convey the idea that campaigners and protesters have not only an active role in the protest, but they are empowered. An example of this powerful protest tactics 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 (J. Bulant, The Telegraph). Because the dress has a powerful symbolism, protesters can let the robes do the talking.
Basta! is a research-based project whose mission is to give a distinct identity and a stronger voice to social and political activism. It builds on the study of these and other essential theoretical underpinnings on activism, protest and nonviolent public actions. It also learns from the analysis of 9 weaknesses identified in today’s practices of social and political activism. Based on this research a new symbol has been created. 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. A selection of our products showing several slogans formulated using different verbal formulae and templates in many languages and on various social and political topics is available in our external shop(s).