Activism &

IssueFebruary - March 2024
Comment by PN staff

Here are two examples from what was a long-running column on this page. Oldies but goodies.

From PN 2502 (October 2008): Activism & alcohol

On 17 September, the department of health announced that it had identified nine personality types of heavy drinkers who are at risk of liver damage and other alcohol-related illnesses. By pure chance, on that same day, Peace News announced that it had identified nine very similar personality types of heavy activists who frequent meetings rather than pubs, and who are at risk of brain damage and other activism-related conditions.

The nine personality types are:

‘De-stress activists’ use activism to regain control of life and calm down. This group includes middle-class women and men. The PN researchers said: ‘They typically have a pressurised job or stressful home life, which leads them to feel burdened with responsibility. Partners often supported or reinforced their behaviour by preparing actions to help relieve stress’;

‘Conformist activists’ are driven by the need to belong and they seek a structure to their lives. They are typically men aged 45 – 59 in clerical or manual jobs. ‘They tend to have traditional values and attitudes, with regularly going to the meeting being a core part of their weekly, habitual behaviour’;

‘Boredom activists’ consume activism to pass the time, seeking stimulation to relieve the monotony of life. Activism helps them to feel comforted and secure. ‘They are typically in the 35-50 age bracket and come from both genders, although the bias is towards women’;

‘Depressed activists’ may be of any age, gender or social/economic group. They crave comfort, safety and security. ‘Their lives are in a state of crisis and their activism tends to increase steadily over the period of their depression. They tend to do activism very heavily, often at home and alone, over extended periods’;

‘Re-bonding activists’ are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them. They include men and women of all ages and social classes, who ‘do activism most evenings as they catch up with different sets of people in their lives, including friends, family and partners’;

‘Community activists’ are motivated by the need to belong. They are usually lower-middle-class men and women, who demonstrate in large social friendship groups, seeking stimulation and release from everyday life in the company of others. ‘If their friends are not in the meeting in a particular evening, they would not stay on doing activism’;

‘Hedonistic activists’ crave stimulation and want to abandon control. They are often divorced people with grown-up children, who want to stand out from the crowd. ‘They frequently do actions to get arrested and could be doing this three or four times a week’;

‘Macho activists’ spend most of their spare time in meetings. They are mostly men of all ages who want to stand out from the crowd. But, unlike the hedonistic activists, they ‘want to control and be in control, albeit of others rather than themselves’;

‘Border dependents’ regard the meeting as a home from home. They visit it during the day and in the evening, on weekdays and at weekends, talking about activism fast and often. ‘They have a combination of motives, including boredom, the need to conform and a general sense of malaise in their lives,’ the researchers said.

Back in 2008, we said that PN would be launching self-help packs, available online and in printed form, telling activists how to calculate the medical risks associated with different levels of activism.... but we never did....

From PN 2586 – 2587 (October 2015): Activism & messiahs

‘I have two words for you. “Jeremy Corbyn”.’

– Woman, Hastings

‘Obviously, Julian Assange had the best comment on this when he arrived at St Paul’s [cathedral, London] on the first day of Occupy. We were in the middle of the first general assembly, and I was facilitating.

‘Julian Assange walked up through the crowd, literally followed by some disciples – and some bodyguards I think – and he made a Life of Brian reference.

‘There’s a bit in Life of Brian where he shouts something at the crowd, and they shout it back, and he looks stupid.’ [Brian: ‘You’ve got to think for yourselves. You’re all individuals.’ Crowd: ‘Yes! We’re all individuals!’ Brian: ‘You’re all different’. Crowd: ‘Yes! We are all different!’ – ed]

‘Anyway, he shouted at the crowd in the general assembly and they all shouted back, and it was very funny.

‘It was a very good moment for showing why you shouldn’t have messiahs, because he totally disrupted the meeting.’

– Man, London

'There’s people you’re really respecting because of their intellect, then they say: “What star sign are you?” Which really deflates me.

‘I kind of have the same attitude to messiahs: completely, utterly dismissive. Also, I don’t like gurus.

‘But I must say, Jeremy Corbyn comes as close as I ever have to saying “our great leader”....

‘I have been known to say, lately: “our great leader, Corbyn”.’

– Woman, London

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