Targets of Activism

Activism can be directed toward three interrelated components: ideas, people, and systems. Ideas represent both unique expressions and the collective zeitgeist. People may include individuals and various kinds of groups (families, special interest clubs, neighborhoods, etc.). Systems are the political, social, and economic structures through which people interact.

In activism practice, these three mechanisms are sometimes confounded. We often blame people without thoroughly investigating the structures and ideas that guide them. Sometimes we talk of changing the system without reconstructing the ideas that support them and without fully appreciating the ripple effects on the people who are involved at all levels. And if we attempt to change ideas without involving people or systems, they will remain disconnected from reality and immobilized.

Because ideas, people, and systems intersect and interact, activism should strategically target and integrate all three in order to be effective.

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