Welcome to Activist Land!

Activist Land provides tools and a pragmatic forum for the progressive activist community. It aims to complement traditional political blogs by emphasizing how you can get involved in specific issues and how to integrate activism into your life in an effective and sustainable way. Therefore, in addition to calling for action on a particular issue, it encourages people to post "activism opportunity" posts that describe the nuts and bolts of how one would, or did, take action in a particular instance.

My main area of focus is media reform. I've been working with Save Boston's Progressive Talk to help bring progressive talk radio to Boston, and I've written interviews to publicize "The Real News", an independent international news network. My secondary area of focus is election integrity. I maintain a set of Voting Rights pages with an emphasis on an election integrity timeline. I've written pieces on these and other subjects for Daily Kos and my local newspaper. For more info, see my first post. Come and join the community!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Lifelong Incremental Activist?

On Thursday, I introduced you to Hillary Rettig's book, The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. Today I'm going to talk about the challenges I face in integrating activism into my life. They differ from the ones she addresses in her book, but her approach is still helpful to me.

It's hard to find a volunteer opportunity that simultaneously:

- involves working with people one likes
- calls on one's strengths
- lets one contribute chunks of time that fit around around one's other commitments
- finds a nice balance between bursts of activity and "downtime"
- makes one feel essential without being the only one keeping things running
- allows one's efforts to be recognized
- supports a purpose that one feels is important
- does not feel like a hopeless cause

Hillary (whom I'm calling by first name because I've met her in person) aims her book at idealistic people who have trouble recognizing that they have the right to demand that these requirements be fulfilled. By contrast, I already am comfortable with demanding those conditions. I just find it frustrating when they're not met.

The problem of incrementalism comes up everywhere. Even in writing a blog entry, one needs a certain minimum amount of time to express the basics, even if one is planning to add more later (either by updating the post or by continuing the discussion in a new post).

Speaking of which... it's time for me to bring the discussion to a pause for the day.

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