Taking to the streets and marching in solidarity with others on issues that are important to you can be exhilarating—I can still feel myself buzzing from protests I recently attended in Edinburgh.
In the past few weeks I’ve seen family members, friends, and colleagues express themselves politically in ways that, for them, were new and challenging: they have marched, signed petitions, sent emails and postcards, and picked up the phone to contact government representatives. I’ve also, however, seen others keep quiet—silence, despite the views and opinions I know they hold dear. Why not join in?
Activism can be divisive
Sometimes the reasons to want to stay away from certain strategies and actions are just as important as the reasons to get involved. Take, for example, the emotional and social labour that goes into activism (discussed by Órla Murray in this article), or the fact that some actions only work to reinforce structural violence (explained here by Yasmin Nair and here by Zoe Samudzi).
Not everyone is comfortable raising their voice
Wanting to steer clear of specific forms of activism can also be down to an individual’s personality. As I learned from my research with fashion-based labour rights activists, some people just aren’t physically comfortable engaging in certain types of action. Here’s where quieter forms of protest such as craftivism can play a role.
Craftivism is a form of activism that strives not only to create space for introvert and ambivert activists to participate in strategies and actions, but also to help extrovert activists question their motives.
If this sounds right up your alley, have a listen to Sarah Corbett of Craftivist Collective explain her process here and why she feels her campaigns have been successful. Then visit her website to learn more.
BTW – In 2017, Craftivist Collective will launch the ‘School of Gentle Protest’ – an online resource! We can’t wait!