From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Sociology (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Sociology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Sociology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Politics (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Social activism?[edit]

Wow, first person to write here.

Shouldn't there be a Social Activism - as in activism conducted by groups of people to affect a change by getting the public support for a cause. This differs from political activism where you wish to dialogue with politicians to get governments to take action.

An example could be Clean up Australia Day which started in 1990.

I bring this up because I would like to write an article on "West Papuan Social Activism" -- to:

  • list such groups from around the world;
  • discuss possible reasons why there seems to be a lack of any such group in the US (and its not apathy from the American people; I'm thinking more like the vested interests of Freeport, Indonesia, and the Ford Foundation);
  • and itemize what constructive actions such groups could work towards.

Daeron 18:06, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Watcher's comments[edit]

People, I think that the following:

Activism, in a general sense, can be described as involvement in action to bring about change, be it social, political, environmental, or other change. This action is in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial argument.

is what the activists call what they are doing, but I do not think that this makes for a quality encyclopedia definition. Thing is, anything anybody is doing is causing some kind of change. What the CEO of KillingNature Inc is doing is "change" too, maybe just not exactly of the kind that activists would prefer, and to judge what is and is not change by someone's criteria is POV. Needless to say, we need to keep it as a self-description, but we should not have it as a basic definition. A better definition should be more specific to what 'activism' really entails, in opposition to other human activities. I think part of it entails something like participating in activities that would not be considered a "legitimate occupation" for an individual. Basically, there are some occupations, sometimes paid ones, that do not "qualify" as a real "job", sort of like protesting against Walmart, fighting against wishy-washy school curriculum, or training suicide bombers for Hamas. So if you cannot say that this guy has such and such job, you would say he is an "activist" for whatever it is that he is trying to accomplish. I am sure there are other symptoms, sort of like a "deviant" goal of the activity. Anyway, I will try working on it later, but I just wanted to open up the discussion about it. Let's make this article more analytical and less of a teach-in-truth-out kind of broadside. Watcher 09:14, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Activism is about social and/or political change, and many acts of CEOs do not do this. If a CEO does (for example if (s)he orders his/her company to start offering same-sex partner benefits, or if (s)he orders his/her company to deny such benefits if they currently exist) then it would be activism. Activism is an act, not necessairly an occupation. There are activists whose primary jobs are activist related, but I don't see how this would be a "non-legitimate occupation" --- and such a statement would not be NPOV. Likewise, trying to define activism as supporting a "deviant" goal is not NPOV. Because activism generally involves advocating for change, it often does try to change or challenge the accepted standards of a society. However, "deviant" is a loaded term. --SecretAgent 02:03, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Removed content[edit]

In contemporary use, "activism" tends to be a word associated with the actions and ideologies of those on the political left... An activist may be called a freedom fighter by some, and a terrorist by others, depending on which side of the political fence is making the observation...An activist may be called a freedom fighter by some, and a terrorist by others, depending on which side of the political fence is making the observation.

Removed this content as it appears to be original, unsupported research. Activism comes in all flavors, from left to right, so claiming that the word is associated with the political left wing is absurd; and the comment about "freedom fighters" and "terrorists" seems highly POV. Perhaps there may be another way to phrase it, but one should cite sources in any case. Let's talk about what activism is or isn't, not about what it might be subjectively called by an unnamed party. --Viriditas | Talk 28 June 2005 13:30 (UTC)
The first sentence is debatable, but it seems to have some truth to it, particularly in the United States. The second sentence doesn't seem to be particularly problematic. Certainly people use either positive and negative terms for activists depending on whether they are praising or condemning them. Though I suppose that example is relevant mainly to particular kinds of activists, like guerillas. Dforest 08:02, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
While the article lists only lefties, and the term is exclusively used of lefties, I think we need to say so. Roger Pearse (talk) 11:06, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Methods of activism and Forms of protest[edit]

Many of the methods listed under Protest#Forms_of_protest are also Methods of activism. I added protests and strikes. I would like to hear what other WPs think about merging them. What belongs in which article? Should there be a hierarchical list? Dforest 08:16, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

There are 4 articles where many forms of activism could be listed: activism, direct action, demonstration, and protest. I would say activism is the broadest category, so I would suggest putting actions that would fit in those other articles into those articles and putting links to those lists in the list in activism, to avoid repetition. I reorganized the list in protest but I think many of those should be in direct action or demonstration with a link to those lists in the protest article.
As far as the sorting of the list, I think putting similar categories nearer to each other is better than listing them alphabetically. At the top of the list I would put that which is the most popular form of protest or whatever the article is about. Edno 05:08, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


A famous mailing list for contributors to the Linux operating system is called "Linux activists". This is based not only on the general English meaning of the word, but is also a play on Finnish history, where those were called activists who started at the turn of the century 1900 to call for national independence (from Russia), if need be by armed revolution. Finland eventually declared itself independent in 1917 after the October Revolution. In Sweden the term "activist" surfaced during World War I, describing a fraction (including the Royal family) that wanted "a more active neutrality" in support of Germany. This movement was politically dead after 1915. Both meanings of "activists" are associated with the political right (German-friendly, anti-Czarist and anti-Bolshevik). --LA2 03:18, August 25, 2005 (UTC)

"Activist Issues"[edit]

I believe this list should be removed. There are about a million different acitivst issues. What makes these so special? Unless the authors can state some criteria for putting names on this list, the list is pretty useless. --Griot

Though a specific list may be non-conclusive it still servers a very valuable purpose of providing examples for understanding (just as seen in dictionary's where a word is demonstrated in a sentence..)
Examples might help readers understand the subject of the article. -moritheilTalk 03:58, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Ethical Shopping[edit]

I don't think ethical shopping can be considered a form of activism. It doesn't contribute to changing society. If this were true then going to live in the woods in a cabin could be considered activism. I think activism has to do with somehow seeing to change the rules, laws, or social norms of society. I think promoting ethical shopping would be a form of activism. But not engaging in ethical shopping by itself. A link to the forms of non-violent resistance might be good to add at the end as well. -- Chris Williams, December 18, 2005, 3:46pm EST

I think financially supporting companies, stores, etc. that agree with your values can definitely be an "intentional action to bring about social or political change" (as the article defines activism). I do agree that activism is often seen as being more confrontational than that, though. --SecretAgent 02:10, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

controversial issue?[edit]

I think that activism does not always have to be on one side of a controversial issue and I think it is not the core of activism. I will therefore remove that sentence some time soon if nobody strongly disagrees.

controversial issue?[edit]

I think that activism does not always have to be on one side of a controversial issue and I think it is not the core of activism. I will therefore remove that sentence some time soon if nobody strongly disagrees.


This page is heavily biased. Why is it that in the "mainstream" (liberal) press, people who vigorously pursue liberal causes are called "activists", while people who vigorously puruse conservative causes "extremists" or "fanatics" and the like? This should be

Can you give specific examples that are not so vague, and maybe cite sources? -moritheilTalk 04:13, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, sources from the "mainstream" media criticizing the "mainstream" media. Good luck with that!-- (talk) 18:27, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Flaming Activists[edit]

I found the reference to Flamingantisme on the French wikipedia. I have asked the person who posted this (Roby) for a citation. But also [1] and [2] look very interesting on this, but my dutch is quite limited. Harrypotter 21:54, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Belgian separatists are not the first thing which comes to mind when I see the phrase Flaming Activists. The English word is Fleming or Flemish; it's Vlaams (or variations thereon) in their own language. Incidentally, when I first saw the sentence about the Flamingant movement, my first thought was that it was related to Flamingoing. I guess I was wrong. Argyriou 20:02, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
I know it was very bad joke!Harrypotter 14:46, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Social Activist[edit]

Can someone PLEASE delete the article social activist. It is subjective and useless. Bytebear 00:38, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Removing External Link to Wikia[edit]

I am removing the External Link to Wikia with this guideline as cause. The Wikia area in question is a wiki with only 2 edits in the past 4 weeks. -- JossBuckle Swami 22:15, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Judicial activism?[edit]

The section on judicial activism is incredibly POV--judicial activism is not ordinarily considered a type of activism; it's a recent invention to selectively characterize judicial decisionmaking. At most it should be a footnote to a separate article on judicial activism. --lquilter 22:03, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Activist categories?[edit]

The Category:Activists are rather confused. If you're interested in working through sensible category schemes for activists & related people categories, please join discussion at Category talk:Activists.

Merge of Youth voice into this article[edit]

I have proposed a merge of Youth voice into this article. I'd even suggest a simple redirect. The Youth voice article openly states that it is a neologism. It also claims that it is a "fairly common" neologism, but provides no source or evidence for that assertion. The term is also used rather anachronistically through most of the article, applying it to things that would never have used the term in their day, whereas "activism" would have been. The article is simply about a narrow form of activism using a term that I suspect most people would not search for. Agent 86 22:32, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Opposed There are more than 370 google scholar hits[3] for the term "youth voice" - it is not a neologism. The article is poorly written, because the term embraces far more than simply involving youth in activism. It would be inappropriate to merge the youth voice into the activism article. - Freechild 22:46, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Agent 86, I can't help but think you nominated the article for a merger in order to circumnavigate the talkheader. - Freechild 17:32, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The talkheader on which talk page, this one or the "youth voice" one? How? And for what purpose? I completely fail to understand what you're accusing me of. If you think I have some ulterior motive, I take umbrage at the insuation. Agent 86 10:14, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
The talkheader on the discussion page, which clearly states that it is not for general discussion about the article's subject - which you have circumnavigated with your proposal, and creating a seperate discussion here. It doesn't matter now though - your comment clearly shows you didn't have anything else in mind. - Freechild 15:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, that header on the other talk page means that people aren't supposed to treat the talk page like a chat-room to discuss the issue of "youth voice". It is entirely appropriate to talk about the merits of the subject as an encyclopedic article or likewise. What I did is also in keeping with the directions at WP:MERGE. Agent 86 19:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I rewrote the article, and your proposal is no longer valid. Would you consider removing it? - Freechild 13:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

If no one has anything further to add to this conversation, I will remove the tag in one week. - Freechild 01:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

derogatory term[edit]

"activism" is just another word for "democratic participation", that is, persons actively participating politically. I have found that it is often used in disgust by those speaking it as if to marginalize active participation. "Those activists causing trouble". As if they were abnormal for not sticking to merely voting. [[User: 04:43, 6 March 2007 (UTC)]] 22:45, 05 Mar 2007 (UTC)

It is certainly considered a derogatory term, especially by people who shun group activity in favor of individualism. For people who value the individual as opposed to the community, activists pose a threat to individual freedom. To these people, activists believe that they are the ones who may dictate to others how life should be either citing absurd notions of "inherent" human rights (on the left) or "God given" dictates (on the right). Activists, on all political spectrum, distort Government to their own purposes, using it rob individuals of their freedoms. The result is a tragic tyranny of the majority, where a select few activists (read "self-appointed leaders of the community"), lead the more numerous and more gullible voters with a series of over-simplified political slogans down the path of serfdom to the will of "the community".
Please source these statements if you want to put them in the article. -moritheilTalk 05:14, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Why isn't there a "criticism" section?[edit]

well? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:40, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

No one has found any proper sources. Please find sources and add a section. -moritheilTalk 05:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Social movements[edit]

The article doesn't even mention this word! I am astounded at how inaccurate it has to be... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:54, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Please find sources connecting the two, and then add the term. -moritheilTalk 05:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

I've added a POV tag to the top of the article. The reason is that this article looks like it was written by activists. That is, it's pro-activist, and thus biased. It tries to paint activism in a positive light. It assumes activism to be a positive thing.

The language throughout the article is slanted in favour of activism. Someone who likes "transformational activism" appears to have written most of the article.

I don't mean just having a "criticisms" section. That relegates criticism to the end. However, it would be helpful to have a criticisms section that discusses connections between emotion, ego, and activism. It might discuss whether activists are truly attempting to change the world for the better, or whether they are trying to satisfy emotio-political needs to satisy their need for, or even addiction to, personal power. It might look at whether activists tend to look at more than one side of an issue, or even bother to understand alternate views before making judgements. The question "does activism = change or does activism = war?" is worth looking at as well.

Some of these are changes that would need more balanced researching, and others are simply changes in the tone ot wording of the article. But the tag shouldn't be removed until they are addressed. (talk) 00:57, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Can you find any reliable sources that state activism, in general, is at times a harmful and negative thing? Without them, we cannot support the existence of such a section. Please add sources as you find them. -moritheilTalk 03:57, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

You've completely missed my point. The article assumed (at the time I wrote the above point) that activism is a helpful and positive thing, which it shouldn't have. And no, just because people offer suggestions for more balance doesn't oblige them to be the ones to follow through on them. We need criticisms even from people who may not be able to do them. And yes, I understand that means they may not happen. But you don't need to flaunt your F.U. attitude toward people on this page for offering criticisms. They already know they can add sections it they want, so you're not informing them of anything. Get your chip off your shoulder. (talk) 01:13, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

But this is just a stub. It tells almost nothing on the subject. There are books which describe the issue from your perspective [4]. You are very welcome to improve this article. Biophys (talk) 16:11, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

It hasn't always been a stub. The book you link to has nothing to do with the perspective above, so please don't call it "your persepective." And please, don't convey the "if you don't like it, do some work" attitude immediately after it's been objected to. Putting a POV tag or offering criticisms is meant to help writers develop awareness of their biases. It's a heads up to anyone who wants to make the article more balanced. That is valuable in its own right - but "if you don't like it, do something about it" is a hostile response. If everyone who has a suggestion has to act upon it, people will stop makeing suggestions and the encyclopedia will suffer. (talk) 00:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Gloria whatsit[edit]

Never heard of her, the others are well known worldwide but she appears not to be at all notable outside the usa, maybe a better alternative could be found. (talk) 18:06, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I'll second that. On a more important notability note though, I'd like to recommend the removal of "Activism Wisdom" from the "See Also" list. The other articles in the list are relevant ideas, this just seems like a shameless self promotion. If there are no objections, I will remove it. Sir Tiki (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:22, 6 October 2009 (UTC).

Link Farming[edit]

I suspected something when over a dozen links disappeared, but the majority of them really do appear to have been specific activist groups, and thus lacking in encyclopedic merit. We should be sure to welcome links that are about activism in general, for or against, even as we delete promotional links. -moritheilTalk 05:22, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


How could anyone wrote that feminism "tries to persuade people to change their behavior directly, rather than persuade governments to change laws."? The feminists are focused primarily on changing the laws! If no one protest, I will delete it after a week. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Čermi (talkcontribs) 21:23, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Sorry for that, I have not been o nthe wiki for a while and that'S why I forgot to sign it. Nevertheless, since no one protests I dare to shorten the term to 4 days and edit it now. --Čermi (talk) 13:09, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Article needs large deletions[edit]

I have no particular views on this subject, but this article is very bad indeed. This is because it consists of a series of assertions by various persons unknown, all unreferenced to any reliable source.

I'd simply delete nearly all of this article, if there was consensus, and start again. We could start with a dictionary definition, and look up the term in some academic papers (not the sort that consist only of political polemic). A history of the term and its usage would seem appropriate.

why is there no such section?? (talk) 05:07, 23 October 2014 (UTC) R.E.D.

A set of pictures of identikit "heros of the left" -- most of whom left the world a worse place than they found it -- at the top sort of suggests to any thinking person that this article is politically motivated twaddle. And so much of it is. Roger Pearse (talk) 11:13, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

I would second that completely (though I don't feel like doing it myself!). The article is heavily biased (take for example the "notable activists", who are no more than the most recognizable figures/idols in the average middle-class Western-left psyche), and "transformational activism" seems to be an obscure term that gets just 700 hits on Google, mostly blogs, nothing published as far as I can tell from a cursory look (definitely nothing to warrant being the main body of the Wikipedia entry). That section is also badly written as far as grammar is concerned. So a serious re-write would be great. IronChris | (talk) 03:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
There, I added a re-write template to suggest giving this article a facelift. I can imagine that it's a hot topic and a difficult one to get consensus on, but in its present state it's really appalling. Like I mentioned in my edit summary, the reasons for this are: complete lack of references, original research throughout, biased perspective (especially biased towards Western mainstream leftist activism), lack of notability of the only main section, and lack of a logical, encyclopedic structure (e.g. History/Development, Geographic Variation, Types, Legality, Impact, etc.). IronChris | (talk) 04:06, 27 October 2010 (UTC)


Greetings. I have taken the liberty to remove the picture of Martin Luther King, and I want to explain why. One of Wikipedia's aims is to present a global picture, as opposed to a particular cultural perspective. However I don't think MLK represents an adequately wide perspective on the issue of activism: he exemplifies a particular kind of activism, and his importance -while considerable in the United States (and to a certain extent other Western countries)- is geographically and temporally bounded. He is therefore a culturally-specific example, as well as one that does not include many activists and aspects of activism.

Also, I worry that the placement of his photo on this page is due largely to his wide level of recognition by contemporary Westerners (in particular left-wing or liberal people), and I think that fame is not an appropriate criteria for choosing an example.

For comparison, many articles about categories of people that I have checked do not have a picture of a particular individual to represent that group at the top of the page (see politician, clerk, serial killer, artist, celebrity, revolutionary) while others have an artistic interpretation (see wife, tourist), a culturally important but non-specific representation (see civil servant, mercenary, priest), or a group of individuals (see child, white-collar worker).

I think that what this article really needs is some background, some expansion that would be inclusive of various geographical, political, historical, and cultural contexts. But if anyone thinks a picture is critical -and many articles on analogous topics do without, see above- then I would recommend either one or more pictures of groups of people, or an artistically or culturally important representation, as opposed to one famous figurehead.

Hope this helps. IronChris | (talk) 08:24, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

(responding because it was me who placed the picture). I think your arguments are very much valid. However, pictures add value to articles, as for example in wife you mentioned. Do you have any better suggestions for this page? Biophys (talk) 17:49, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that photos really help. I'm actually often surprised when I find long articles with no photos!
Following the criteria I proposed above, I find the following two pictures appealing to represent the topic of this article. They represent culturally important events, and also give a hint of the cultural, ethnic, and historical diversity of activism (maybe one of the reasons this article is a hard one to tackle?). Having both photos also demonstrates the varying levels of confrontation found in activist struggles. Let me know what you think (I'd rather propose these changes on the talk page rather than go in and change the photo right away).
I think these photos are better suited than the current one of Robert Kennedy, because although the photo portrays an important historical period, and Robert Kennedy was indeed a human rights activist, I think that a picture showing black activists more prominently is maybe more adapted to representing the civil rights era.
IronChris | (talk) 06:43, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
The current picture is not so much about Kennedy as about Civil Rights crowd that surrounds him. This is also a Featured Picture, and it is of better quality than "March on Washington", which would be also a good illustration.Biophys (talk) 15:32, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
The Paris Commune was worker's government. This is not a good illustration of activism.Biophys (talk) 20:40, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking it would work because it shows a barricade (from a historically significant event, what's more), which suggests the variability of forms activism can take, and because the Paris Commune article mentions the prominent presence of activists among the rebels; for example:
"The 92 members of the "Communal Council" included a high proportion of skilled workers and several professionals (such as doctors and journalists). Many of them were political activists, ranging from reformist republicans, through various types of socialists, to the Jacobins who tended to look back nostalgically to the Revolution of 1789."
Of course the problem remains of defining the boundaries of the concept of "activism", which is debatable, but I don't think that it is antithetical to a an organized movement with a government. Many people taking part in the uprising were activists of various affiliations, feminists, socialists, anarchists, etc. Also, on the day the photo was taken, their government was yet to be elected (though as I say, I don't think that excludes the movement from the field of activism). IronChris | (talk) 07:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

New section (?) examples[edit]

I 'd like to add a new section. I discovered recently that ACT UP has been using ACTIVISM techniques. Also Hackers can be seen as activists. Anyway...having examples could make this page more concrete. After we can all discuss, and find the best exemples. But i saw that there was some discussions around "social activism". Social activism could be cited as an exemple. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dumont jeremy (talkcontribs) 11:36, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

What you are talking about probably belongs to articles Act up and Hacktivism. Biophys (talk) 23:19, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

yes but can't we link up theses pages...and others...if we open up this section ?--Dumont jeremy (talk) 12:35, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Sure, we can. Biophys (talk) 16:22, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Merger of Activism Industry into this article[edit]

I propose that activism industry should be merged into this article, under a new section. activism industry is a pretty small article, without much room for expansion, so I don't think it really deserves to be its own article. I also think that the "fields in the activism industry" section should be completely removed as part of the merger, since the activism category already covers that info. --The Kakistocrat (talk) 18:59, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Concur. Meclee (talk) 15:12, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree that this article should be merged. ~ user: santaisback ~ date: 5/5/13

  • I agree as well, and since no one has objected in six months, I went ahead and did the merge, dropping the list from the industry article. —Torchiest talkedits 16:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Hunger strike - Nelson Mandela[edit]

Nelson Mandela may be a fine example for "hunger strike" reference as he has refused to eat inside his prison during Apartheid in South Africa. Just the tip. (talk) 20:16, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 3 September 2013[edit]

add Slacktivism under "See also"

also add something related to this paper--counterpoint to "the internet helps activism" --> Westerlycalifornia (talk) 16:52, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Partly done: I added the "See also" you requested, but you need to provide the actual text for the other part of your request. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 00:58, 11 September 2013 (UTC)