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Persuasive Speech in Antisystemic Movements
by Adam Starr
22 July 2002 20:44 UTC
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Hello WSN World,

It's been a while since I last posted anything; mainly
because I've been busy with the rest of my life.
However, today I had to give a speech to a group of
young, University student, moderate activists
concerning future protest movements. The speech itself
is 7 minutes and I wanted to give a world system twist
to where I see activism going in the future.

I need to use the speech again for another group
session. If anyone would like to give me some feed
back, or critique my work, it would be greatly
appreciated. Please note that this is NOT academic,
but rather, a speech written to rally student support.

Thanks AGF and IW for the inspiration.

Cheers, Adam

Title: Antisystemic Movements and Future Activism


"Democracy, a political concept that emphasizes the
participation of the general public in the decision
making process of governments. Its origins lie within
the French Revolution and the American Revolution. It
idealizes the notions of individual rights such as
voting, freedom of speech, and freedom to public
gatherings. These core concepts were meant to ensure
that government does not become a dictatorship that
may harm the general public. They are also meant to
act as mechanisms to keep the government in check with
the will of the people.

Perhaps the most common form of democratic expression
is the "public demonstration" or protest. Since the
WTO demonstrations in Seattle of 1999, there has been
social activism at International Summits around the
world. We are no stranger to this democratic device in
Victoria. As the capital of BC, we have seen several
protests at the Legislative Assembly over the past
year lobbying against the current government over
issues such as tuition fees, the firing of public
servants, and health care. However, despite much
public support in these demonstrations, have they
actually produced any real public policy change? In
other words, how effective are they?

It can be argued Union leaders and activists have been
successful in mobilizing people to attend such
demonstrations, but they have failed in creating any
real social change.

In order to achieve the later, new ways of democratic
protest must be contrived. Currently, demonstrations
rely upon making as much noise as possible hoping that
the powers that be will listen. If these powers donít
respond, more demonstrations are held, but the public
interest decreases through disillusionment and apathy.
Eventually, the cause looses its momentum and fades
away leaving the government free to continue its
policy practice.

How then can this political cycle be changed?"

Logical Support:
"World System Theorists  (Wallerstien  and Andre
Gunder Frank in particular) refer to protests as
"antisystemic movements". Rather than democracy
itself, these economists and socially minded thinkers
are more concerned with the overlying system that
individual governments exist within. Currently, the
dominant world system is the "capitalist mode of
production", or "global capitalism". Based on this
notion, we can conceive that systems are prone to
failure based on the very nature of systems. The more
complex they become, the more prone they are to
systematic failure. Thus, it is plausible that in the
long run, it is not a matter of how the global
capitalist system will fail, but more a matter of

Take this notion of "antisytemic movements" and apply
it to the dilemma of current social activism creating
real policy change. In order to make real change,
future protests must be aimed at long term systemic
failure. That is, they must be aimed at destabilizing
the system which the government exists within so that
it has no choice but to change its policies. Rather
then simply rallying at political and economic events,
 new forms of protests must be ongoing, and accessible
to individuals on a daily or weekly basis. Increased
use of the internet is essential as it provides a
communication medium accessible around the world.
Young, educated, socially minded people must begin to
consider employment within government and
international organizations to create change from
within. There must also be an emphasis on legal and
academic support. 

In addition to this, activist leaders must access the
mainstream, create perimeters that protesters must
adhere to denouncing all forms of violence, as well as
be able to offer sound, effective policy alternatives
that benefit the clear majority."
Ethical Support:
"Perhaps the thought of destabilizing the global
economic system in order to create real policy change
may seem offensive to some. In Canada, we can be
thankful for much of our wealth due to global trade,
however policy change does not mean that quality of
life does not have to be affected. It must be
acknowledged that for every event, there is a counter
event. Our wealth is partly sustained by otherís
poverty. Policy change must focus upon four main
areas: employment, education, environment and health
care. Not only in Canada, but around the world. 
These four areas are essential to maintaining our
current standard of living as well as providing
opportunity in Developing countries. 

Currently, foreign aid from Western countries focuses
upon trade and economic reform that will enhance
trade, however, such an emphasis within the system is
not sustainable and as mentioned earlier, will
eventually fail. In order for the global capitalist
system to continue, the flaws must be corrected.
However, it must be noted that an improved world
system may be radically different from the one we
exist in today."
Emotional Support:
"Many of you might not agree with these notions of 
new protests or believe that the current global
economic system is not flawed and that social activism
is for radicals dressed in black vandalizing private
property. However, this is not the case for the
overwhelming majority of activists. I ask you one
thing, what kind of world do you want to live in?

Entering the 21st century, we have seen an
unprecedented amount of social unrest, increases in
disparity between rich and poor countries, and of
course, the bloody rise of terrorist activities. I for
one do not want to live in a world that emphasizes
global corporatism as a positive social attribute over
global social justice and I am not alone.
Was September 11th only the beginning of events to
come? I would like to think not, but it is a possible
reality we must consider.

New methods of social protest aimed towards long term
destabilization of the global economic system and
emphasizing employment, education, health care, and
environment may be our only option towards a peaceful
transition of a more sustainable world system rather
than complete systemic failure.

Thank you."

Adam T. Starr
Undergraduate of Political Science, University of Victoria
2787 Neyland Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia
V9V 1G4 Canada
(011) (250) 751-7798
adam@hornbyisland.com or reunitedhornby@yahoo.com

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