On the Question of SOFT VS. HARD

I’ve been spending a bit of time over at a site called Care2. It is a social networking site that is dedicated to socio-political activism. You can check it out at:

http://www.care2.com/

You can check out my profile there at:

http://my.care2.com/clapso

If you like the place and register for an account, send me a friend request. It’s about networking after all! On the subject of networking, a remarkable woman named Kirsten sent me a very well written message on the Care2 message system. It made me think so clearly about the issues raised (teasingly) in the title of this post, I have decided to dedicate todays post to one of the best messages I have ever received. Thanks Kirsten for making me think! I have posted the full text of her original message with my response below. Kirsten’s words will be in blue, mine will be in purple:

I would like to get to know what motivates your words…who you are and how you have come to understand the self and the all connectedness. I resonate with your drive for activism and have come to understand the many ways in which we can strive for change in ourselves and the world.

Yes! Many issues, many ways to make change! As far as ways go, anyway YOU or anyone else can find to change things is a good way!

I feel the need to share some of my activist experiences with you and ask your opinion of what I am discovering now. I have partaken in many forms of activism based on opposing and protesting and am now getting to a place where I am discovering that praise and gratitude for the things we want to see in our world is a much more loving and ease full approach…I regularly attend rallies, write activist material, and am involved in organizing actions, but am very conscious that the messages I send out and actions I participate in are focused not on the struggle against something but honoring the integrity of what we want to maintain or create in the world…like clean water, pristine forests, ethical and responsible stewardship of our earth.

Both loving “for” actions and angry “against” actions are part of what I do. I seek BALANCE of hard and soft. Each has it’s place and each has it’s effect.

This is a relatively new approach for me and I am discovering the immense effects it can have. I find it challenging sometimes to understand that I can have a dramatic effect by placing positive energy into something and have a sort of exchange or flow of energy from that approach rather than expending my energy in the intensity of a struggle. Does this make sense?

YES! This makes total sense! Trust your intuition on this matter. If YOU feel that a softer approach works to bring about the effect you seek, then do that!

It seems to be working for me, but occasionally I really wonder if it just makes me feel better and will not have the kind of intensity that we need to effect change.

Small, gentle change over a longer period of time can have just as great an effect as larger, less gentle change. The question becomes how imperative is the SPEED at which change is needed and which approach soft or hard, will have the SMALLEST NEGATIVE EFFECT. When one to two million people have already been killed in Iraq, we don’t have time to be gentle.

I have a feeling that if collectively we could put this energy towards our actions that we could possibly create a new kind of revolution…well not really NEW considering the passive revolutions of the past, but the first world-wide effort for passive revolution. It is hard to trust in this considering what we have at stake. I am not suggesting this to be a blind approach without researching facts and devising strategies but to be conscious of how we take action so that we don’t give power to the struggle and create an us and them situation that gives “Them” ground to disagree and oppose peoples efforts for justice.

I can speak only for my self in this. I believe both the hard and the soft approach has it’s effect. It is “them” that have killed and exploited “us” over human history , that have created the us/them paradigm. This fight was started way back in history. I am simply tired of seeing Them win while WE lose. Some of the greatest moments in my life have come, when I have been able to convince, through either hard or soft means, an apologist for THEM to at least understand that THEY are not doing right by US.

What do you think?

All the above said, I leave you with this. We Witches are often heard to say “let NO ONE decide YOUR path for you!” Use your own intuition to guide you in these matters. You are the only one who can decide what is right at any given moment…

The real juice I get from the above message is that there are many of us doing things to make change on many issues and in many ways. The all too often unnoticed work of all the people who have toiled for all of human history to improve our lot is made clear to me in reading the above. The secret of making positive change starts with US simply “showing up”. This is the real hope, that we that show up get the word out and then others join US and we have a MOVEMENT!

Now on to a couple of examples, one in which the “soft” activism was employed to make change, the other in which “hard” activism was employed to make change:

There was a time, and in our very recent past, when the earth was considered nothing more then our garbage dump. Such things as air and water pollution were hardly ever talked about. Then Earth Day was suddenly created in the late 60’s. Since then this “soft” annual observance has done more to bring the destruction of our planet into human thought and activities then any other single event. We have things like growing recycling activities and the ongoing struggle for clean air and water because of Earth Day. As is the way of soft activism, the change happens slowly over a long period of time.

At about the same time as Earth Day was created (the late 60’s) there was a perhaps more pressing disaster that activists were working to change. It was the war in Viet Nam. The struggle for change on the issue of the war was met with more of a “hard” activism. Massive demonstrations were organized and carried out. I believe the end of that war was in large part due to the “hard” activism aimed at it.

It must be said that on most issues, including the two examples above, there is a mix of both hard and soft activism aimed at making change. How do you know whether you are involved in soft or hard activism? At events associated with the issues you are working on, if the police show up in riot gear, you are likely taking part in hard activism šŸ˜‰

As I said above, the real power of any activism is getting people to show up. The more the merrier! If YOU have never taken part in events and activities meant to produce positive change. I suggest you think about things in YOUR WORLD that you are unhappy about, whatever they may be, and take action today on making change. I have found that the rewards of doing so are priceless!

There is only one candidate for president in 2008 who has “stood up” for his entire life and sought to make real positive change. He has been incredibly successful at it and IF YOU VOTE FOR HIM HE WILL WIN! He will then have the resources he needs to TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE TWO PARTIES OF THE APOCALYPSE (dems and repubs) and their thieving corpRATeer co-conspirators. When Nader moves into the oval office we will finally have a government OF, BY, AND FOR THE PEOPLE!

VOTENADER.ORG

The Telepathic Crickets on the ClapSotronics editorial board and I hope that you will join us in being ever want to stand up and work to make change. I’m sure all reading this can see that we need such action and it’s resulting change in this, perhaps the most trying time in our country’s and planet’s history…

The scientifically impossible I do right away
The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

~ by ClapSo on April 24, 2008.

One Response to “On the Question of SOFT VS. HARD”

  1. Sounds like rediscovering Ghandi to me.

    I’m getting that ‘oh, shit’ feeling bad. Stuff surfacing about Monsanto, water deprivation, people losing homes and incomes due to economic collapse, further notes on ‘Food Aid’ destroying agriculture in recipient nations, general sabotage including DU pollution…what with the real chance of Israel starting a free-fire zone in Iran and much more : I’m ready for a ‘tinfoil hat’ because I cannot discount the seeming likelihood of an international conspiracy having put into play forces which threaten human existance.

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