Chicagoans who are active in the social and political spheres are gearing up for a busy few months. We are heading into what promises to be one of the most important mid-term election cycles in the United States. Activism and movements will abound. Granted this has little to do with Canada and everything to do with what it means to be an “activist”.
As I read the article about Anti-salmon farm, Court orders (Anti-salmon farm) protesters to stop harassing fish farm workers by Fabian Dawson, I was struck by the line we must walk as activists, activists who may also be part of a broader social or political movement. There are two quotes in particular which jumped out at me. The first one is, “In delivering that decision, BC Supreme Court Justice Voth was clear that those occupying the worksite had harassed Marine Harvest employees…”
As an activist, I firmly believe in the right to peacefully protest for change. But there are rules and protocols for activism. In order to be heard activists should and must represent themselves with respect and treat their opponents with the same respect.
Decision on Anti-salmon farm Activists:
“In his decision, Justice Voth stated: ‘I consider that the activities of the Defendants that I have described gives rise to real safety issues.”
I believe as protesters, we must ensure the safety of our members. We, also, must not endanger others even though they may be our “enemies”. After all this is supposed to be a peaceful protest for a change the activists want to implement, not a war zone.
BC’s aquaculture industry workers are the epitome of positive activism. They are respectful, informed, and they follow the unspoken rule of “listening well to be heard”. Although they are harassed and abused by militant activists, the pro salmon farm group continue to respond in a level headed and respectful approach to their “opponents”.
Here in the United States, as I continue to participate in peaceful protests, rallies and movements to bring about change in our government, I will take a page from the pro salmon farm’s group and treat my “opponents” with the respect they deserve.
To the Anti-salmon farm activists, I wish to say, regardless if we are on the same side or if we are ‘enemies’ what we need to hold onto, is that we are all human-beings. We are all people who deserve respect and kindness despite our differences of opinions.
By Ana Roman