My activist friends, lately there have been a fair bit of talks within our forums about current state of refugee rights movement. Some express concerns about the lack of unity, direction or even, leadership. Some complaints the movement has been lacking the participation from those who have 'real refugee' experiences (see [#1]).
Perhaps, there's no harm done being reflective about all our actions re: refugees. Some observers might try to project this refugee rights movement in terms of a traditional model: The profoundly disturbing social issue has been unearthed, the activists charged-up, the public get mobilized and a movement has been formed. A political party or leadership finally has emerged and that issue gets sorted out, so on and so forth. Nothing wrong, I would say, but not that helpful thinking this way.
My observation: the Australian people are very practical people. Not all but most Australian activists come to participate in an action, they look for some 'tangible outcomes'. I've witnessed activists thrown some actions in, measure the outcome in terms of 'writing a booklet', enjoy a bit of 'publicity', or just join-up with 'professionals' finally. To me, they all are 'good' activists and never to be accused of 'The Opportunist' (see the activist classification models in here [#2]).
Focusing on campaign at hand, the publicity for movement (or public visibility of leadership -- if any) is only a mean to an end. On this long and arduous journey, most activists, in a way of coping mechanism, looking the road ahead in a piecemeal approach; measuring one's own action each step of the way. Say you write a letter or a note, or make-up a banner, and put on the facebook, and see how many "likes" you have etc .. and then, be proud of your work. Yes, indeed. There are numerous practical ways to add publicity for the campaign and seeking popular attention . One such example is our friend Adam Richards, who had walked 1,200kms journey [#4]. They seek popularity but, I do say, they're never populists -- they are just good activists.
Perhaps, could I be abit more of you persuasive: Don't think of a movement in terms of achieving outcome with the unity under a leadership. Think a movement in terms of achieving outcome through engaging with issues and you participating in actions. For a coping mechanism, just think of your contribution (your focus, your energy & your precious time) as a "donation" for the cause of refugees. When you make such genuine 'donation', you would never seek an outcome for yourselves, but only for the cause. You'll then be able to join the club of 'The Radical' activists [see #2], who will never be faltered by means of fear and intimidation, nor by inducement of a bribe. As for the issue to be engaged with, there are plenty around already and that, all roads do lead to Rome, so to speak.
Well then, what about that parking spot ? Who will take it ? On this question, I do consult with my favourite Pooch [see #3]. Sensing from its response, I get that no-one inside the movement is likely to take that spot. -- In Solidarity, U Ne Oo, NetIPR.
(about the refugee movement in australia, 21-May-2017.)
Are we there yet?
All the way with Adam.