Sometimes it feels as if I major in activism and minor in university.”

Joshua Wong, Activist

Pros and Cons of Activism

advantages and disadvantages of activism

Activism is an umbrella term that describes efforts with the goal to make changes in society in order to improve the overall quality of life of the general public.

Activism can come in many different forms, including street marches, hunger strikes and demonstrations. Although activism implies several important benefits, it can also lead to serious problems.

In this article, the pros and cons of activism are shown.

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Advantages of Activism

  1. Improvements in the overall level of freedom
  2. Less discrimination of minorities
  3. Revolutions
  4. Activism may strengthen human rights
  5. People may become aware of problems
  6. Better healthcare
  7. Better social security
  8. Better access to education
  9. Pressure on politicians increases
  10. More equal wealth distribution
  11. Less poverty
  12. Feeling to get heard
  13. Connection of people with similar interests and goals
  14. You can contribute your part
  15. You may feel better
  16. Fundraising for important social projects

Improvements in the overall level of freedom

One crucial benefit of activism is that it can improve the overall level of freedom in a country. In many regions of our planet, the level of freedom is still rather confined and people are not allowed to express their own opinion without having to fear being send to jail or to suffer from other sorts of punishments.

Thus, especially in those countries, it is crucial that the local population fights for their rights and activists can make a great change in those countries. Over time, chances are that the overall level of freedom will increase.

Less discrimination of minorities

Activism can also help minorities to get a better standing in society and therefore also better chances in all parts of their daily life. For instance, many people are still not able to vote or to engage in certain professions solely due to their ethnicity.

Therefore, in order to change this, people have to show solidarity with those minorities and engaging in activism is one important measure to do so.

Revolutions

Activism can also be a crucial instrument when it comes to revolutions. In many countries, the general public is quite unsatisfied with the current political regime and urgently strives for political changes in order to improve their overall quality of life.

If people group and protest against the current regime in large numbers, the chances for a successful revolution increase significantly.

Hence, every person can make a difference in order to achieve this big goal by joining activist groups in order to accomplish political revolutions.

Activism may strengthen human rights

Another advantage of activism is that it is crucial in order to strengthen human rights on a global scale. Sadly, in many countries all over the world, the level of human rights is still pretty confined and many people are not able to live a life in freedom and peace.

Thus, especially in those regions, people may want to engage in activist groups in order to improve the rights of the local population so that fewer people have to suffer from political suppression.

People may become aware of problems

Activism is also crucial to increase awareness regarding certain problems. People are often quite busy in order to manage their own daily life and therefore, they do not really many important global problems we as humanity face today.

For instance, we all have to take measures in order to mitigate global warming. However, many people still live a lifestyle that implies the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Thus, activism is crucial in order to raise awareness of our global problems so that we are able to solve them in time.

Better healthcare

Sophisticated healthcare systems are crucial in order to assure the health of billions of people on our planet. However, not only hospitals and other medical facilities are often equipped rather poorly in poor countries of our planet, but also the lack of health insurance is a big problem for many people since they will not be able to afford proper medical treatment in case of serious diseases.

Activism can help to improve those issues since it may be able to accomplish better mandatory health insurance schemes and a higher fraction of government funding for hospitals.

Better social security

Social security is another topic that is often discussed on media, yet many people still suffer from a lack of social security. Once they get unemployed, many people will no longer be able to pay their rent and may end up homeless in the streets.

Moreover, some people may not even be able to buy sufficient amounts of food to cover their basic needs. Activism can also help to improve social security schemes since politicians may become more aware of the problem and they may be more eager to apply measures to mitigate this issue.

Better access to education

In many poor countries of our planet, millions of children still do not have proper access to education. However, since education is crucial to succeed in life, those children will likely be trapped in poverty once they turn into grownups and have to work in shitty jobs for the rest of their lives.

In order to improve the overall future perspectives for those kids, it is crucial to engage in activism so that our rich political elite may get aware of the problem and takes measures in order to solve the education issue.

Pressure on politicians increases

Through activism, also the pressure on politicians will increase significantly. Since politicians are often voted by the general public, at least in democratic states, they have a big incentive to serve the needs of people in order to get re-elected. Therefore, it is quite important to express your wishes and preferences so that politicians hear them and can act accordingly.

More equal wealth distribution

Our global wealth is distributed quite unequally. This is also true for single countries. While a small elite owns almost all of a country’s wealth, the majority of the local population may suffer from hunger and starvation.

Thus, especially in regions where the inequality in wealth distribution is too extreme, it is crucial that people take a stand and engage in activism.

Only then will there be a chance that things change and that the general public will be able to increase their wealth level of time.

Less poverty

Due to high unemployment and other factors, many people all over the world suffer from poverty. The sad thing about poverty is that it is pretty hard to get out of it.

Once you are borne in a poor family, you will often be trapped in poverty since your family will not be able to pay for your education and without proper education, you will not be able to get a good job.

This problem is present on a global scale and it is time for a change. Activism may be one way to reduce poverty since it raises the attention on the problem and also increases the pressure on our political leaders to change things.

Feeling to get heard

Joining activist groups may also be quite helpful for activists themselves. Many people have a pretty shitty life and may be quite angry. By engaging in activism, they can show their frustration and may get the feeling to be heard and understood.

Moreover, engaging in activism may feel better than just complaining about things without taking any actions. Hence, activism may also be a beneficial personal experience in order to deal with problems.

Connection of people with similar interests and goals

By joining activist groups, you may also be able to find many people with similar interests, values and goals in life. This may give you additional power to further engage in activism and to raise awareness of our environmental problems. Thus, while we are rather weak as single persons, we can be strong in groups since we can support each other.

Therefore, in order to withstand the problems that can come along with engaging in activism, a strong connection to other activists may help you to overcome potential insecurities.

You can contribute your part

By engaging in activism, you can also contribute your part towards a better future for millions of people on our planet. We as humans should feel obliged to protect the poorest among us, yet many people in our Western world seem to care solely about themselves.

Thus, it is crucial to engage in activism in order to convince as many people as possible regarding how important it is that everyone of us contributes his or her part for a more livable future for millions of people on a global scale.

You may feel better

Since you know you made a positive contribution, you might also feel much better through engaging in activist activities. Therefore, you may not only be able to do good for others, you might also feel better yourself since you may be able to get a cleaner conscience.

Fundraising for important social projects

Activism may also be crucial for fundraising purposes. Many projects and foundations still rely on donations in order to do their work. Thus, through activism, fundraising can be supported and important social projects can be carried out due to that.

Disadvantages of Activism

  1. Activism may not always be peaceful
  2. Radical movements
  3. Destruction
  4. You may have to go to jail
  5. Physical punishment
  6. Activism may not always be rational
  7. Activism can do more harm than good
  8. Some activists take it too far
  9. Online activism may lead to the spread of fake news
  10. Activism as a measure to express frustration
  11. Activism is still considered to be dodgy by many people

Activism may not always be peaceful

As we have seen before, activism has some important advantages and purposes. However, there are also some problems related to activist movements. One issue with activism is that it is not always peaceful.

While the majority of activists want to protest in a peaceful manner, a small fraction of this movement may engage in unlawful actions.

Thus, if activism is not done in a peaceful manner, it will not fulfill its initial purpose and should not be tolerated and supported by the local population.

Radical movements

Even though the intent behind activism may be good, there are also people who want to use activism for their purposes. For instance, many radical movements try to recruit new members through public events.

However, this rise of radical movements should not be supported at all. Activism should not be misused for radical political movements and whenever you see those radical groups engage in activism, you should definitely stay away from them.

Destruction

While the majority of activists do their work in a peaceful and moderate manner, some are willing to behave in an illegal manner. This may include to destroy things or to spray walls in order to raise awareness of certain topics.

Thus, some activist activities may violate local laws and the property of people may also be harmed by activist activities.

You may have to go to jail

If you are an activist and do not behave in line with the local laws, chances are that you will end up in prison sooner or later. Therefore, when you decide that you want to be an activist, make sure to demonstrate and raise awareness in a legal manner so that you do not interfere with any laws in order to avoid trouble of many different sorts.

Physical punishment

In some countries, activists even have to fear physical punishment by the police. Some regimes do not care about the free will of the local population at all and take measures of several sorts to sustain their power, even if this includes physical harm for the general public.

Thus, in some countries, activists may have a quite hard time to fight for their rights and may have to pay a high price if they act according to their own value system.

Activism may not always be rational

Many activist groups also have rather unconventional views on the world and there are also some conspiracy theorists out there who promote thoughts that cannot be considered to be rational or proven at all. Therefore, make sure you do not join an activist group that has a quite biased view of the world.

Activism can do more harm than good

In some cases, activism may also do more harm than good. For instance, some radical activist groups try to recruit very young members since they are easy to manipulate.

Those young members are often used to commit crimes that are in favor of the respective radical movement. Hence, in such a case, activism should not be supported at all.

Some activists take it too far

There are also activists out there who do not care at all about others, but rather want to promote their own radical world view. This may lead to a state where those extremists go way too far and you should refrain from working together with such activists since they often imply serious trouble for you in the long run.

Online activism may lead to the spread of fake news

Another downside of activism is that social media channels are often used to promote fake news or flawed arguments in order to push people into a certain direction which serves the need of the respective activist group. It is often quite hard to identify fake news since people have become quite good to design these news to make them look credible.

Thus, you should always stay skeptical regarding news that are spread over the internet by activists in order to avoid becoming a victim of those flawed arguments.

Activism as a measure to express frustration

Some activists even do not care about the movement itself. They just join activist groups since they are frustrated and want to express this frustration to the general public.

In this case, activism is misused to serve personal needs instead of a higher purpose and you should stay away from those kinds of frustrated activists.

Activism is still considered to be dodgy by many people

Even though people start to become more tolerant towards alternative ideas and activism, many people still consider activism to be kind of dodgy, especially in conservative regions of our planet.

Thus, if you live in one of those regions, you may have a quite hard time as an activist since you might get socially isolated and may suffer from several additional problems in your daily life.

Top 10 Activism Pros & Cons – Summary List

Activism ProsActivism Cons
Activism is important for political changeMay not always be peaceful
Reduction of discrimination of minoritiesActivism may be misused by radical forces
You might find new friends among activistsActivism may go too far
You find like-minded peopleUnlawful behavior
Improvements in social securityDestruction
Better healthcareYou might end up in jail
Better access to educationMay not always be based on rational arguments
You can contribute your partCan do more harm than good
You can express your opinionSpread of fake news
Support of fundraising projectsCan get out of control

Conclusion

Activism has many important advantages and has the potential to improve the living conditions of millions or even billions of people on our planet. However, there are also many problems related to activism.

If you plan to join an activist group, make sure that you are joining a moderate and not a radical group in order to avoid any trouble that might come along with it.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activism

https://www.ted.com/topics/activism

https://guerrillafoundation.org/why-activism/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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