In my April post Communication for Change, I linked to some of my papers about intentional communication, applied research, and the process of mentoring. One of those papers, Defending Democracy, comprises a briefing on models of engagement for change. Since this is a rather lengthy paper, I’ll not post it in its entirety here, but instead post a pull quote from it that others seem to like.
The established elite of a community rarely do their own dirty work. For that, they employ their dependents, which includes charitable and pseudo public-interest organizations that benefit from their philanthropy. In this way, authentic activists committed to democratic values — the white blood cells of a community — frequently encounter overt opposition from their ideological opponents and covert opposition from ostensible allies in the pay of the power elite. This in turn makes it easy for compliant media to alienate true patriots from their natural constituency and vital resources.
Moral authorities and community leaders need to speak out against this form of social exclusion. Alternative media need to make it clear how synthetic activists (usually the better funded non-profits), posing as guardians of the public interest, often serve to maintain the status quo privileges of their benefactors by undermining the credibility of grassroots organizers.
For those who prefer a shorter narrative on the topic, my post The Public Health Model discusses many of the same ideas.
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