FILMS FOR ACTION

The Compassionate Activist Toolkit: the Ultimate Guide to Love-Based Activism

By Tim Hjersted / filmsforaction.org
Dec 7, 2016
The Compassionate Activist Toolkit: the Ultimate Guide to Love-Based Activism
A quote from the Dalai Lama.

Compassionate activism is the short-hand I've started to use to refer to activism that is rooted in an underlying compassion for all beings. It is an activism that resists the strong urge we all face to dehumanize our opponents, as they often do to us, and we often do to them. This collection of articles and videos highlight perspectives and voices of people who are striving to stay off the warpath - to not reproduce in our own activism the oppressive mentalities that we seek to change and transform in the wider world.

Compassion-based activists contend that this activist philosophy is the most powerful way to create transformational change - beyond traditional left/right paradigms, beyond the traditional language and logic of war, which has historically influenced both left and right activism. We call this tendency of activists to use "the master's tools" ideological oppression - whereby people living in a culture predicated on the logic of domination ultimately strive to create change using methods, thought-patterns, and strategies that were learned and used against us growing up.

Shame, judgment, fear, insult, attack, punishment, othering, violent language and sometimes physical violence are all tools that have been used against us, or we have seen used on others, by virtue of living in this culture, and so we learn to use these tools on each other.

The left attacks the right, the right attacks the left, the left and right attack themselves, and many other labels for groups of humans have attacked each other and themselves in similar ways. We have been waging war against each other for a long time.

Compassionate activism is an activism that is ready for the war to end.

We're looking forward to the day we can put down all weapons, both physical and verbal, and embrace each other as the family that we truly are.

We're not perfect in our own practice of this ideal - we know we can do better - but that's the goal.

Our personal mission is to practice and promote not just physical non-violence, but also embody that in our communication, our thoughts and in our hearts - even when we may strongly disagree - to remember in a secret place in our hearts that we are still family and that beneath our disagreements we all share the same basic universal human needs. It's from that seed of compassion that we strive to speak and act.

If we fall short of this ideal, we ask you to help us remember, and (we hope! )... show us how to do better, through your own practice and example. May we strive for this ideal together!

May we all strive for the day when we can put down all weapons of war, and our children can play together without fear, where we can all embrace each other in the middle of the circle, and celebrate the beauty of 10,000 peaceful ways of life. - Films For Action

 

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The Problem With Judgement
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Tai Amri Spann-Wilson · On #BlackLivesMatter, moral injury and activism
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John Dear · I've been reflecting on the principles of nonviolence that Martin Luther King Jr. learned during the historic yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. After Rosa Parks refused...
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Thich Nhat Hanh: No Enemies
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There Is No "They"
Peter Joseph · I get a lot of emails as to why I do not bring up notions such as the “New World Order”, “Illuminati”, “Zionism”, “Secret Societies” and other popular occult/conspiracy...
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What Social Change Activists Can Too Easily Forget
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Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
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Tim Hjersted is the director of Films For Action. 

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