Activism Is Not About The "Bad Guys"
Center yourself, not the opposition.
Recently, someone invited me to go after a member of the opposition. The opposition was a Jewish person who had made gross derogatory sexual comments about me. This individual had engaged in harassment of many other activists and appeared to have no redeeming qualities. The scheme this person presented me would probably succeed in legally disrupting and destroying this opposition person’s life.
I declined immediately.
It wasn’t because this person didn’t deserve condemnation - they did - but because going after them had no strategic value. They weren’t important, famous, or relevant. They were just a bad person.
Many activists have the mistaken idea that activism is about going after the “bad guys.” They spend all of their time on the opposition. They protest them, send them angry messages, and fight against them. At the end of all their work, what do they have? Their closest connections are to people they hate.
Imagine if you and other activists spent all the time you currently spend on opposition building each other up. Where would you be? The focus on “bad guys” often causes activists to miss opportunities, including the opportunity to create and lift up more good guys.
In The Intactivist Guidebook, I argue that activists should spend the majority of their time on neutral audiences and potential allies. Yes, opposition can be used for gain, but the key phrase in there is for gain. If you don’t further your position (another Intactivist Guidebook phrase) it isn’t worth it.
I am willing to (legally) go after the opposition if it benefits me and my cause. There are select cases where this might be the right action. Yet that is not my focus. Center yourself, not the opposition.
Sidenote: you could benefit a friend, by gifting them a subscription to Hegemon Media.
There is a second way the focus on “bad guys” harms activists: