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Old 11-18-2002, 12:19 PM   #1
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Political Activism.

A quick glance at the different threads in FYM proves that we all talk about politics quite a lot here.

BUT, what do you *do* politically? I know it's fun to have these discussions, but IMHO actually getting involved in the causes you believe in is far more important. (I realise lots of people don't have the opportunity to campaign etc, so I'm not criticising those who can't, or choose not to campaign - just saying that personally I see it as incredibily important.)

Do you campaign for a political party? Go on anti-war demos? Campaign agaisnt racism? Get involved in anti-globalisation activities? Work on pro-choice campaigns? Or any of the million and one other ways to be politically active?

And, sort of a related question. What do you think is the value of having political debates/discussions as we do here (and in other situations)? Do you see it as just a bit of fun and a way to relax after a long day at work or school? Or is it more important than that - maybe a way to influence what others think, or to present them with ideas that might challenge their existing beliefs?
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Old 11-18-2002, 12:30 PM   #2
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I am not directly involved with any political parties, although I vote at every level of government, I consider it everyone's duty who can. Also, being a fundraiser is a lot like being a campaigner, and there is only so much of that I can take in 24 hours.

I also write letters for Amnesty (and support them financially) and I also write to my local MPs (like congressmen) about the occasional issue that bothers me.

I actually find most political stuff to be dreary in the extreme...mostly because "plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme". However, I love a good argument and hearing what other ppl have to say. You get lots of that in here!

Recently I have been peppering some of my American friends with questions, trying to get them to explain the American system to me (ie difference between congress and senators and what on earth is the point of this electoral college stuff) just so that I can sit through an episode of The West Wing and understand what on earth is going on!

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Old 11-18-2002, 02:00 PM   #3
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I joined the Young Labour Forum when I was twelve, and have always been active in whatever programs it carried out. Debating wise, though, I have always been an active party of such, I have been a member of the Model United Nations and have debated pretty much all over Europe, so you could say I love debating.

Politically though, I am affiliated with the Labour Law Society (a society for Socialist and other Left-wing Lawyers) and the Fabian Society, which is nationally recognised as the government's 'think tank', although they never listen to us. I used to be in the Marxist Society, but was kicked out/quit about a year ago.

I don't usually go for protests, especially those concerning anti-globalisation, since I am for globalisation. However, I do NOT believe in disrupting normal everyday life, I know I hate it when roads are closed off and the whole of London has to be inconvenienced because a bunch of disgruntled people like to start a broo-ha-ha over nothing, so I don't usually take part in them. The Anti-war protest concerning Iraq though, was my first one.

Debating, especially over politics, is ultimately, a very healthy thing. It has always been my belief that political indifference is the worst thing a person can have, as it is the most dangerous form of opinion a person can have, next to fundamentalism. I believe when a person is indifferent to the way their country is run, they are not only proving democracy's failure, but are allowing anyone to take over, and that is most dangerous. I don't think I have the power to persuade people with my arguments at all, not here or anywhere else, all I have is my beliefs and the passion of expressing such. Ultimately, I know that most people are too proud to change their opinions simply over debate, I know I am. It takes a lot more than words to change society, it takes rivers of blood and blown-up parliaments.

However, I do believe debate has its importance, I just don't think it has the power to change a belief.

Ant.
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Old 11-18-2002, 04:23 PM   #4
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I've been involved with actisity things since around 8 years old. It seemed like a completly normal thing for me to do dispite my young age. I've never supported any one political party per se, but have done work for canidates I belive in. I've worked with a variety of organizations supporting a variey of things-
any branch of human rights (gay rights, feminist stuff, pro-choice stuff, anti-death pentalty, anti-sweatshop stuff, labour movements, unions, on and on)
as well as our furry animal friends (animal testing, abuse, fur, environment etc.)
You pretty much name some left-wing thing, and I've done something for it. I've been a member of AI since 8 and have always written letters on their behalf. I've been in rallys for food service workers, janitors, retail workers who weren't getting their pay checks, and weren't being allowed to form unions. I've participated in protests outside of numourous stores handing out fliers to ppl, taking to the public, the workers in the stores, and the police about what was going on, done more covert things in stores like putting little info sheets in the pockets, done loud shutting down traffic watching ppl get arrested kind of protests. Stood outside of clinics where abortions were performed and helped the women get inside safely, I ask stores where their products are made, if I can see their code of cunduct, and generally confuse the managers since they have no idea what I'm talking about (excpet the Gap Inc. and Nike, they train they're workers on how to deal with "us" and are quick to give us the corporate spiel)

As far as discussing issues, it is fun to me, so I like doing it and it is important to me as well. I have seen ppls ideas change through debates and discussions and also think it is a good way to bring different ideas to the table that others may not be bringing up. I like to simply inform ppl of certain things as well, since there is a lot of stuff not covered by the mainstream media.
I've always enjoyed talking about politics and social issues and the like, much the same way someone else would talk about their golf game or something....I've always been a little weird that way.
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Old 11-18-2002, 05:19 PM   #5
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Let's see:

*Worked as an aid in Congressman Gerry Studds (yes that Gerry Studds) office from 1985-1987
*Campaign worker for local person running for State Congress 1988
*Campaign worker for Gary Hart 1987-88
*Campaigned for Mike Dukakis in 1988
*Campaigned for Ross Perot 1992

Got married, bought house, started paying taxes.....

Became a Republican...worked local politics....which is where I feel I can make a difference. I am not involved so much on national campagns any more.

*Campaign Chair for local Candidate for Selectman 1995, 1997, 2001
*Worked on various campaigns for local politics(School Committe, Treasurer, FinCom, Moderator).
*Attend yearly Town Meetings and vote1995-2002
*Elected to the Republican Town Committe in 2000
*Delegate to the State Republican Convention 2002


Currently....my involvement in local politics is not along party lines. This town is not big enough to get into party politics. I go with the person I feel is best. I have a reputation for being a great campaigner in town, and basically am a gun for hire if I think you are deserving of my services. I do not get paid ....but I love campaigning. I am considered one of the best poll workers during elections, and can usually be found working the phones in the evening of election day, getting out the vote for my candidates. The last campaign I worked the princinct I was responsisble for had its highest turnout in 10 years putting my candidate over the top. We unseated the reigning selectman(Boss Hog) who had had the job for 48 years.

As for my involvement in charities......I am a LION's Club Member raising money for scholarships for college, hearing aids for the deaf, working dogs for the wheel chair bound, and money for eye research.

As for future goals........I am currently hoping that a good friend of mine decides to run for US Congress and unseat Barney Frank. I am crossing my fingers and I eagerly await the chance to get him out of office.


Peace
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Old 11-18-2002, 06:59 PM   #6
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Someone mentioned Amnesty International-I have not yet joined them (tried to join online, got to the part about credit cards and all that, since I have no credit cards or money, I couldn't complete that part of the signup, but I'm talking to my dad about helping to get me signed up).

Anywho, I am part of a Planned Parenthood online group, we send letters to Congress and Bush and all that, and I'm part of a couple of online things related to helping end the AIDS crisis, we also write letters and all that.

And if Bush ever decides to go ahead and attack Iraq, I'm hoping to get some kids from my AP Government class (which is a kick-butt class, by the way) together to do an anti-war protest.

So there's a few things.

As for debating-I love it. I love debates on various issues. My loving to discuss various issues comes from the fact that I live in a very opinionated household, and we love to discuss the big issues out there, we'll discuss news stories, music, books, anything and everything (course, there's not really much in the way of disagreement on most issues, since everyone in my family thinks along the same lines on a lot of things, but on occasion there's disagreements and then it gets really fun ).

And I love it in my AP Government class when we do get into class discussions on an issue.

I'm pretty set in my beliefs, so chances are someone with an opposing view won't change my mind, but at least I will understand why people who have a view on an issue that opposes mine think the way they do, which is also a reason why debating is a good thing. You may never agree with someone, but at least you understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way they do. I think more people should be willing to share their views on an issue. I love to hear what people think about things.

Angela
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Old 11-18-2002, 09:48 PM   #7
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I vote.
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Old 11-18-2002, 10:51 PM   #8
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I heckle protesters.
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Old 11-19-2002, 01:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
......I am a LION's Club Member raising money for scholarships for college, hearing aids for the deaf, working dogs for the wheel chair bound, and money for eye research.
Hey! My dad is in LION's too. He's the pres of the club in our area, we call him the LION King. I'm so proud of my dad Just wanted to add that bit of irrelevance

But to the topic, I vote...and argue with people.
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Old 11-19-2002, 02:10 AM   #10
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I usually have to work
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Old 11-19-2002, 08:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama
I vote.
Yeah, I now do that as well. .

Angela
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Old 11-19-2002, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem


Hey! My dad is in LION's too. He's the pres of the club in our area, we call him the LION King. I'm so proud of my dad Just wanted to add that bit of irrelevance

But to the topic, I vote...and argue with people.
LION's clubs are a great way of helping out your local community. You should be proud of him....he is doing great things.
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Old 11-19-2002, 10:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


*Worked as an aid in Congressman Gerry Studds (yes that Gerry Studds) office from 1985-1987
Just out of curiousity, what did you do? And which office?
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Old 11-19-2002, 11:09 AM   #14
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I used to be quite the activist in my youth--marched on Washington many times (mostly for gay rights and to protect Roe v. Wade), used to do the annual AIDS walk in NYC, used to write letters a lot, etc.

Lately, though, I'm all talk and no action (except for voting).

But I work for an organization that has a strong political voice so this is part of my contribution these days. I also have a more spiritual/zen kind of viewpoint about activism now than I used to. "Don't just do something, sit there!" as they say. Meditation (or prayer, or whatever it is that one engages in spiritually) can impact the world around one positively and effectively, I believe.
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Old 11-19-2002, 11:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Lately, though, I'm all talk and no action (except for voting).
Talk is action. Engaging in discussions, whether face to face or on a discussion forum does have an impact in our world. We may not change someone's thinking on the spot, but we plant seeds of perspective.

Our fast food culture leaves us with fast food expectations. Everyone on this board is making an impact on the world - we just can't measure it today.
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