Protests all over the world linked to a reason. Let’s take the Women’s march in January 21st In Washington. I don’t need to tell you why, unless you’ve been in a Sabbatical. Hugely popular, equally criticized.
Well, if there were no protests, the obvious alternative would be silence, equals acceptance, equals complicity. The marches, any march, create attention, use airtime, ventilate emotions and make a collective point. All in themselves a very good reason to march.
Do you want to change the world, that world, your world? You need to do something else, other than marching. It is called action, mainly collective action. It is activism. The world activist has an ‘act’ inside for a reason. Activism is not marching, although marching may be part of activism. Maybe.
Many people in politics, lobbying, organizations, social causes, want to have a voice. Presumably because they feel they don’t have one. When they get their slot, their hearing, their petition, their audience with the minister or the top civil servant, they feel, naturally, that they have achieved something. They feel good. The picture is taken, the news is in front page, they can prove that attention is been given.
I sometimes feel that one of the worse things that can happen to people who want to have a voice is that they are given one.
I know many people who will dislike me for saying this. What I mean is that given a voice is not only not-that-difficult but also could be an alibi for not changing anything. The protester is happy because he has been heard. The one given a voice is praised by his magnanimous sensitivity. Both are happy, nothing happens.
This is a much worse scenario than un-achieved voice, un-given air time, which would prompt the individual to continue his activism and figure out ways to change ‘that world’. The apparent end of the struggle often masks the real problem under the illusion of achievement.
It is not that different, if perhaps less dramatic, in organizations where employee voice is given in Town Halls and workshops post-employee-engagement. All of that well and good, I support them, provided that they are a vehicle for further action.
The more satisfied the audience in a corporate Town Hall meeting, the more I fear all will stop there and business as usual will take over the next day.
Give me some dose of unsolved frustration in the air; this is where I keep hope for change. When restlessness is gone, complacency gets in the room. My non-restless clients are not my best clients.