Activists are annoying. No matter how strongly you agree with their principles, their persistence and one-eyedness gets on the nerves. And besides, activism is like so 1960s, with bra-burning feminists, free love devotees and . The naughties are all about consumption and complacency.
I find it incomprehensible to be so passionate about something that you are willing to give up your weekend, let alone your life. Sure, I’m all for the rights of gays, women and animals, and I realy admire the fantastic work done by groups such as GetUp!, avaaz.org and Amnesty. But activism is just not in me, which is why I find activists annoying.
Every day I walk past a hand-written sign that says “We want our public streets back, Clover”, a feeble protest to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore regarding street closures implemented in 2005 that funnel people into the tolled Cross City Tunnel. The sign clearly hasn’t worked, as the streets are still closed, yet four years later the sign is still there, on yellowing paper, becoming more pathetic as each day passes.
I do however admire the philosophy of UK activist group Common Ground, whose sole aim is to promote a sense of place in cities, towns and hamlets. Their Rules for Local Distinctiveness outline 26 (or so) rules that local governments, councils and indeed citizens should adopt lest their place of residence becomes a generic, internationalised version of its former self.
The group advocates authenticity and genuineness, two things that are lacking in many cities today. And while they may be annoying activists, perhaps this is just what our town planners and governments need.