I happened to stumble across a great initiative – which, though focused, I think is an example of people doing activism “right”. It’s smart, it’s very lighthearted, and it makes you think. It is: “English Disco Lovers“, or EDL.
Its website is subtitled, “One World, One Race, One Disco”. In its short bio, it explains: “We aim to spoof the slogans and emblems of The English Defence League, showing them for what they really are – racist, outdated and not the type you’d invite to your disco!“
Their goal is to get more publicity than the other EDL – a group of islamophobic thugs – and in particular beat it to the number #1 ranking in Google for their mutual acronym. I’m going to help out on that by linking to them on this blog. First, their website: EDL – and now, their Facebook page: EDL.
If you want to help, “like” their Facebook and link to them from your website or blog, if you have one. It’s more effective if your link text includes the word “EDL”.
Countering Negativity With Lightness And Humour
I particularly like this initiative because it’s simple, has a clear aim, and counters negativity with lightness and humour.
It reminds me of a true story I heard about activism against the Ku Klux Klan. An activist had infiltrated the organisation and gotten information about their secret rituals and codes. What he decided to do with them was a little unexpected, though. He spoke to the producers of the then-popular radio show “The Adventures of Superman” and got them to include the details in a series of episodes where Superman takes on the Klan.
By doing this, they made the KKK an object of ridicule, and gutted its mystique, removing the power of fear they had over people. According to this website, its recruitment was soon down to zero, and in a few years people were showing up to KKK rallies just to mock them.
I think that a lot of negative forces get their power from the seriousness, fear, and mystique people attribute them. So I think parody and humour has a great power to create change.