November 13, 2011

F**k Occupy! No, F**k the Man! No: Kind Speech as effective Activism.

^ a campaign poster with a relephant message, from 2008.

Occupy Hateful Us vs. Them Speech in Public Discourse.

Aggression begets aggression. Many activists seek to change the world through force and aggression, forgetting that the means are the end. We must relax…cease to blame…create peace within our own mind and heart, and then extend that outward. ~ ed.


There’s a quote about how “they” want you to use force, then they know how to handle you…when you use force, you give “them” your power. Anyone know that quote?

Recently, in Halifax, the Occupy movement was treated with an inappropriate level of force. In the ensuing debate online, I was struck by several comments via my childhood Buddhist buddy, Noel McLellan.

In the first comment, Noel’s replying to someone who called the Occupyers “squatters” and “slackers.”

Presented without much context, I think they stand nobly on their own:

Noel McLellan …I am most amazed by the high-handed way in which this was done. Occupy is a global movement that is about raising awareness regarding inequity. It is also an attempt at creating a truly engaged democratic process. Dismissing it because it looks funky is easy to do, but if we don’t change the way things are going soon we’re going to see a whole lot more funky refugee camps everywhere.


Try practicing kind speech. It’s part of how we’ll make positive change.


A reply to Noel: Some people are practicing kind speech while they tell you lies and betray you. Sometimes the truth can be gritty and the people on the street causing change can be grittier. We don’t bite, hugs. 🙂


Noel McLellan: Being kind is not the same as being “nice,” nor is it the same as being weak.

Being kind means having respect for each person’s dignity, including our own. That brings intense power and the ability to make change. Swearing a lot and cranking up your aggression just fuels more aggression. It saps the intelligence out of the dialogue, which is what Occupy seemed to be all about, and no one takes you seriously.

It takes far more bravery to be kind than to blame. If you have kindness you can conquer because your opponents know you see them as human beings.


More on Mindful Speech, from a Buddhist perspective.

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