Glossary of activism

Glossary of activism

Each generation needs to reinvent protest appropriate to the power it fights. These are often creative acts that challenge a given system and highlights societies blind spots.

Protest in the sixties was defined by pop-culture, cheaply printed zines, subcultural music scenes and fashion. It fought against authority, drug law, sex control, and racial, class and gender based discrimination. The sixties created a legacy of resistnace and a sophisticated vocabulary that, today, we can merge with new tools: social media, technology and virtual spaces.

This page is at a first draft and will be regularly updated

Here is a 'movement of movements' directory created by XR

  • Subvertising
  • Tarnish corporate images
  • Transgression of boundaries
  • Produce a vision of future practices
  • Craft provocations
  • Shame elites
  • Create non-ordinary and transformative experiences
  • Run courses
  • Collect statistics
  • Develop an organisation and post job roles with time commitment requirements
  • Create an action calendar
  • Creative Hijacking - live phone-ins, televised events, sports events
  • Create buttons and badges
  • Setup a radio station
  • Media literacy training
  • Distribute images of dissent
  • Enact performances of alternatives
  • Burn things (e.g. KLF burnt money)
  • Sextremism
  • Overloading administrative systems and facilities
  • Selective patronage
  • Working from the shadows
  • Writing messages on money
  • Creating an underground press
  • Mock award ceremony
  • Mock election
  • Flags and symbolic colours
  • Disrobing
  • Slogans, caricatures, symbols
  • Banners, posters, leaflets, pamphlets, books, newspapers, journals, infographics, zines
  • Media: video, podcasts
  • Sky-writing, earth-writing, sea-writing
  • Create an organisation and assign roles/deputies
  • Picketing
  • Symbolic sounds
  • Reclamations
  • Rude gestures
  • Haunting officials (following them around)
  • Taunting/mocking officials
  • Performances: plays, music, singing
  • Marches, processions, parades, pilgrimages
  • Honoring the dead
  • Demonstrative funerals
  • Camouflaged meetings
  • Walk-outs
  • Social boycott
  • Lysistratic nonaction (sexual boycott)
  • Non-cooperation
  • Student strike
  • Collective disappearance
  • Consumer boycott
  • Blacklist of traders
  • Strikes: industry, establishment, craft, professional, prisoner, limited, slowdown, selective, general
  • Slowdown strike
  • Speeches advocating resistance
  • Disobedience: disguised, popular, sit-down
  • False identities
  • Stalling and obstruction
  • Mutiny
  • Hunger strikes
  • Exposure to elements
  • Sit-in, stand-in, ride-in, wade-in, pray-in, mill-in,
  • Non-violent air-raid, land-raid, invasion
  • Interjection (using your body as an obstruction)
  • Establishing new social patterns
  • Guerilla theatre
  • Alternative social institutions
  • Alternative communication systems
  • Alternative markets


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