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Social Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an often controversial argument.

The terms activism and activist used in a political manner first appeared in the Belgian press in 1916 in connection with the Flamingant movement.1 The word "activism" is often used synonymously with protest or dissent, but activism can stem from any number of political orientations and take a wide range of forms, from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism (such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing preferred businesses), rallies and street marches, strikes, or even guerrilla tactics. In the more confrontational cases, an activist may be called a freedom fighter by some, and a terrorist by others, depending on whether the commentator supports the activist's ends.

In some cases, activism has nothing to do with protest or confrontation: for instance, some religious, feminist or vegetarian/vegan activists try to persuade people to change their behavior directly, rather than persuade governments to change laws; the cooperative movement seeks to build new institutions which conform to its principles, and generally does not lobby or protest politically.

'Activist judges'[edit | edit source]

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, and perhaps earlier, in the United States "activist" has often been used as a pejorative for those judges who seek to redress social ills through judicial rather than legislative action. Thus many conservative American politicians have sought to curb the power of those deemed "activist judges" whom they claim are acting outside traditional boundaries of judicial review [1]. Some liberals contend that judicial activism is a long-standing US legal tradition, while others have responded that judicial activism is equally or more prevalent among judges deemed conservative [2].

Transformational activism[edit | edit source]

Transformational activism is the idea that people need to transform on the inside as well on the outside in order to create any meaningful change in the world

Types of activism[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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