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How activists attract attention

Published 22nd April 2010 - 2 comments - 2633 views -

Within one week, two renowned  civil rights activists died. Benjamin L. Hooks (85), former leader of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), passed away Thursday. Tuesday, Dorothy Height, another leading activist who stood on the stage with Martin Luther King during his dream-speech, died at age 98. Her favourite saying: “If the time is not ripe, we have to ripen the time." This counts for all activists. They put things on the agenda. How does the contemporary activist generation do that?

Go Robin Hood

The Catalan activist Enric Duran, aka Robin Bank, recalls the style of the oldest, ficticious but famous activist Robin Hood. Between 2006 and 2008, Duran took out 68 loans at 39 banks.  No one asked him for a guarantee, and he managed to loan almost 500.000 euros. On his weblog he explains this Robin Hood-ish revival: “When consumption financing and speculation are dominant in our society, what could be better than robbing the ones who rob us and distribute the money among the groups which are denouncing this situation and building alternatives?” After denouncing his action, he fled to South America. When he came back in March 2009, the was arrested, but released shortly after. He donated the money to activist groups, printed a newspaper and paid himself a modest salary. He announced not to pay back the debt. Clearly.

Get Naked

Nudity is a crowd puller- every editor in chief knows that,  and that’s why the German tabloid Bild features a naked woman on their front page every day. Activists, in their search for publicity, are enthusiast nudists. Last month, people protested naked against bullfighting in Madrid. Animal rights group PETA announces an upcoming demonstration as if they were advertising a peep show: “Sexy PETA activists Mary-Ellen Power and Emily Lavender will cuddle up in a bed on a public sidewalk wearing nothing but their underwear and holding a sign reading ”Fur-Out, Love-In." Feminist activists might not appreciate this type of campaigning, but hey, you can only support one cause at a time, otherwise the message gets blurred.The picture on the header I took myself, in the centre of Amsterdam, one year ago. The protestors, part of the “Naked Bike Ride” collective, were nude-cycling  for a car-free city centre. For more hot, naked activists, click here.

Use Twitter

Even though protesting naked has been and will be successful, as long as mankind wears clothes, for the more prude protesters there is an excellent new media tool that can raise awareness AND money.  Th!nk3 editor Guy Degen and blogger Bart Knols have elaborated on this before. The Huffington Post also has a post on “Twitter activists”:  they mention Ashton Kutcher (more than 4,5 million followers), Doug Ulman (CEO of the Livestrong Foundation, 1 million) and actor Danny Glover (1,4 million). They are easy to find, since they are all famous. And maybe a bit boring.

So. Do you know any original activists, in real life or online? Famous, infamous?  Naked, or properly dressed? Share please grin


  • Lara Smallman on 22nd April 2010:

    It never fails to get people’s attention, does it?!

  • Hieke on 23rd April 2010:

    true, also for bloggers wink

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