Can We Really Make a Difference?

Graphic Credit: http://www.picturequotes.com/there-are-no-passengers-on-spaceship-earth-we-are-all-crew-quote-927

“Donald Trump’s presidency is bad for black Americans, bad for Muslim Americans, bad for Mexican Americans, bad for any woman in America, bad for anyone who needs healthcare in America and bad for any working person in America.”

“His foreign policy will undoubtedly be bad for the rest of the world. We all have an interest in making this the shortest ever US presidency.”
John Rees quoted in the Morning Star

The world is in turmoil, the rise of right-wing political agendas, rampant racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitism, anti-migrants, anti-refugees, homophobia, sexism … I have I missed anything, it seems that everyone hates everyone else. Many people feel lonely and isolated. Most of us want a better world though it might not seem that way. We feel lost not knowing what to do. Petitions seem ignored. Letters and e-mail to government officials may receive a polite response but are rarely acted upon. Demonstrations are a sensation for a day or two than fade away and become just a memory.  We get on with what lives we struggle to make for ourselves, our children and those we care about while the onslaught of social injustice goes on. Achievements in human rights and equality swept under the carpet, freedoms won after hard campaigns disappear into the annals of history.

And it not just about humans either, the fight to procure rights for animals, improve welfare have become more difficult to achieve and we are taking steps backwards, particularly in the USA where animal welfare is threatened by Trump’s presidency. The environment: all the gains to secure environmental protections to save the planet for future generations and the other creatures with whom we share this world are under threat. As is the abandonment and active undoing of all the efforts to thwart climate change in recent years.

It not only the big issues that effect the majority it is the small issues also, which are of course important to those they affect. It seems Trump seeks to undo every positive, fair, and just social progress made during Obama’s time in office. In his pettiness Trump even seeks to over turn Obama guidelines on transgender toilets. Absolutely pathetic, backward thinking and shows that Trump’s commitment to protect LGBT rights was just empty promise.

No doubt about it, the world is undergoing drastic change and none of it for the better and without the consensus of the majority.

What we can do? Can we really make a difference?

Do all the petitions, letters/e-mails/ phone calls to government representatives and others really bring about change? What about demonstrations, how effective are these? How about Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media?

If nothing else social media keeps us informed: the significance of what is unfolding in the world today would have been far less apparent a couple of decades ago. The strength of feeling and solidarity on social media is supportive and the information disseminated extremely useful in the quest to bring about change. Even Trump’s compulsions to Tweet gives us first hand an insight into this person that would otherwise not be available.

So yes! most certainly we can bring about change, after all said and done everyone who cast his or her vote in the USA elections and indeed any elections including the disastrous Brixit referendum here in the UK made a difference, not a good one of course in the above examples, but a difference nonetheless. Now it is up to us, if each of us is capable of making a negative difference we can certainly make a positive one even if in only a very small way, and as with votes every action counts. Maybe if more democrats came out to vote for Hillary Clinton, Trump would not be president. If more people had familiarised themselves on all the issues in an election or a referendum instead of voting on one issue and a negative one at that, such as immigration or blatant racism, than Trump may never have been elected and we might still be a member of the EU.

While it may all seem overwhelming and we can feel powerless against the onslaught I consider that the following actions make a difference, maybe not in the immediate future or in the way we would expect, but every action however small helps to bring about change.

Can demonstrations make a difference

If you are in doubt for instance of the effectiveness of demonstrations consider the following examples:

Gandhi’s Salt March across India in 1930 was instrumental in bringing about Independence from British Rule. The Salt March was was a notable example of resistance, and one which was non-violent, that had a significant impact.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28th Auguest 1963 , was another example of a peaceful demonstration that brought about change. It was one of the largest Political rallies for human rights in American history. More than 200,000 people participated in the March for Jobs and Freedom in the USA’S capital.   During this event, Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech ‘‘I Have a Dream’’ .

“The march is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Continue Reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington_for_Jobs_and_Freedom

The article below cites ten further examples of demonstrations that had a huge impact and brought about significant changes worldwide.

Ten demonstrations that changed the world
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world – the article gives interesting information about the following demonstrations :

The right to vote  6 May, 1867  Clerkenwell to Hyde Park, London

‘Women’s Sunday’  21 June 1908  Embankment to Hyde Park, London

Toppling the Tsar  23 February 1917  St Petersburg

Breaking British rule  17 March 1919  Cairo

For more details concerning the above and six other demonstrations that changed the world please click the link below
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world

So yes demonstrations can make a difference and often without recourse to violence.

How about petitions?

Here is a recent example of the success of a petition as permission to breed rabbits is denied:

“So when Spalding, U.K., resident Christine W. learned that someone had made an application to build a facility to breed pet rabbits and guinea pigs close to her home, she immediately created a petition in protest. At first she feared that the farm would be used for vivisection and started a petition against that. Then she discovered that this was a farm for pets, and so she created a second petition about why breeding pet rabbits is bad for animal welfare.

Fantastic News For Rabbits!

“The petition garnered over 84,000 signatures, and Christine submitted it to the South Holland District Council’s office. The council included the Care2 petition in their report, which denied planning permission for the farm.”
http://www.care2.com/causes/success-permission-to-breed-rabbits-denied-2.html

Here is a list of successful Change Org petitions 

Below are just two examples:

End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda – “Over 185,000 helped Lucy convince Asda and Morrison’s to stop selling the eggs after she won with Tesco”

https://www.change.org/p/sean-clarke-david-potts-end-the-sale-of-eggs-from-caged-hens-in-morrisons-and-asda

Fund 12 Years of Education for Girls Around the World

“…the Global Partnership for Education has announced that it plans to expand its focus to support a full 12 years of primary and secondary education for the poorest girls around the globe.”
https://www.change.org/p/stand-withmalala-for-girls-education

Read more victories as a result of thousands of people signing Change org petitions

“Every day, Change.org members win people-powered campaigns for social change”
https://www.change.org/en-GB/victories

Also

People power: 10 online petitions that changed Australia in 2015

The UK on-line campaigning organisation 38Degrees lists 244 Successful Campaigns

Social Media

Social media has enormous potential to galvanise action and is the best way to disseminate information fast. News spreads quickly and often news of events and campaigns about which most of us prior to the internet would have been ignorant.

Concerning animal welfare and animal rights, before the internet unless you were a member of an activist group you would most likely not know about the vast number of atrocities which are perpetrated on animals let alone take action to stop them.

The link below will take you to a few examples of how social media has been instrumental in bringing about a positive result concerning the abuse and mistreatment of animals

How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare
Read four stories about how social media has helped improve life for animals
http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-comes-together-animal-welfare-0699762#QOszlDFrPV3kZ7E1.99

Below are hints and tips how to use Facebook for exposing the cruelty of factory farming and promoting vegan eating.

Mercy For Animals: How to Dominate Facebook
http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dominate-facebook  – Some of the advice could be adapted for blogs and other social media platforms

Lets not forget the Gadhimi festival now banned as a result of global outrage galvanised by social media.

Animal rights campaigners will recall the struggle to being to an end the barbaric Gadhimi Festival of animal slaughter where, demonstrations,  petitions and social media all played a role in its cessation.

Gadhimai Festival Slaughter Is Banned In Nepal, Saving Millions Of Animals

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/28/gadhimai-festival-animal-sacrifice-banned_n_7886638.html

Ways to make a difference – 

There are just so many groups campaigning to being about change it is of course not possible to list them all. The small selection below concerns ideas to bring about change including but not exclusively the current situation concerning the election of Donald Trump as this is an immediate threat to us all worldwide including animals and the very earth itself.

There are a lot of ideas below for action you may take, no one could take them all most certainly I have not. But different people are better suited to different types of actions. For instance not all of us are able to demonstrate but may be able to sign a petition, post a tweet, send an e-mail and so on.

Petitions. A good place to find Petitions relating Trump and so many other issues is Care 2 a community of 38 million people standing together for good.

Two petitions you might like to sign today.

Stop Keystone XL Once and For All

President Donald Trump is trying to overturn one of the biggest environmental victories of the past 5 years by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

“KXL would be an environmental nightmare on a global scale, allowing unprecedented development of dirty Canadian tar sands, and exacerbating global warming pollution.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/823/975/075/stop-keystone-xl-once-and-for-all/

Browse Care2 petitions :http://www.care2.com/

 

Keep informed

“There is a link between inflammatory statements by politicians and racist attacks and hate crimes on the street. There has been a rise in such crimes in Britain, following the EU referendum and a similar pattern has emerged in the US. Now is the time for people of goodwill to unite and stand up to racism.”
Diane Abbott quoted in Stand Up to Racism

Download the free e-book

The Anti-Inauguration: A Free Ebook

Featuring Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Anand Gopal, and Owen Jones on resisting Trump’s agenda and building the future we need.

“Just a few hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a thousand people joined Jacobin, Verso Books, and Haymarket Books at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, for “The Anti-Inauguration,” a night of discussion on how Donald Trump came to win the election, how we can resist him, and what kind of future we should be fighting for.” 

Read more and download the book

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/anti-inauguration-verso-haymarket-naomi-klein-keeanga-yamahtta-taylor-jeremy-scahill/

Speak out

10 Ways To Make Positive Change In The World

Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/10-ways-to-make-positive-change-in-the-world/ – This information focuses on general ways to make an all round difference.

The next link targets Trump’s presidency and suggested action you can take if you live in the USA to bring about change to the current situation.

11 Simple Ways to Change the World That Won’t Totally Overwhelm You

“We have four long years of President Trump ahead of us. For anyone who is concerned about the nomination of a far-right conservative to the Supreme Court or the embattled travel ban, four years feels like a lifetime.

What’s the best way to address a huge, unwieldy project? Break it into bite-size pieces.”

Ideas include Flippable –  a campaign to “flip” Republican-controlled states by zeroing in on local races where a Democrat has the potential to win an upcoming election.

Daily Action ” is an easy way to engage with your elected officials. It works like this: Text the word dailyto 228466, provide your zip code, and then voilà, you will receive a text message every weekday with a link to a prerecorded audio piece about a political issue relevant to the area where you live. After listening to the audio, it will then reroute you to a phone call to your elected official’s office, during which you can, as Daily Action puts it, “conscientiously object” to whatever urgent matter is at hand.”

For more excellent activism suggestions:
http://www.glamour.com/story/these-11-apps-make-it-super-easy-to-make-a-difference

Want to make a difference in the world, but you’re just not sure how? Here’s what you can do:
http://www.dochas.ie/our-work/european-year-for-development-2015/want-make-difference-world-youre-just-not-sure-how-heres-what-you-can-do

Support the Human Rights Campaign is “The largest national (USA) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.”

Visit their take action page
http://www.hrc.org/take-action

Here are ideas for actions you can take, some of which could be adapted to fit any cause.
http://act.hrc.org/ea-campaign/action.retrievestaticpage.do?ea_static_page_id=5614

Action Against Trump

The following is a list of resources that either recommend or discuss concrete actions citizens can take against President Donald Trump.

http://www.actionagainsttrump.com/

Weekly actions against Trump
http://www.weekly-resistance.online/

The last concerns a mass march here in the UK.

PLEDGE TO MARCH AGAINST TRUMP’S VISIT TO BRITAIN

Donald Trump’s presidency is turning out to be every bit as dangerous and divisive as we feared. The rhetoric of his campaign, and his early executive orders, have sparked a wave of fear and hatred. Those who are often already marginalised and discriminated against – particularly Muslims – have been particular targets for Trump.

Read More and make the pledge to attend a mass march against Trump to “oppose this state visit to the UK and commit ourselves to one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, to make very clear to our government, and to the world, this is not in our name.”

https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/

Contacting government officials and other influential people

For instance writing to politicians in your country if it is a national matter or the respective politicians regarding international issues.Don’t be hesitant when writing to politicians of other nations. I have written to politicians in Australia, China, Canada, Nepal,  and of course here in the UK. Also the Dali Lama concerning self immolation in Tibet. Ministers of the Nepalese government concerning the Gadhimi festival.  CEOs of various corporations mostly food producers about animal welfare.  Also retailers including Aldi’s about the sale of reindeer meat, Tesco about the workfare scheme, I even sent my points card back as a form of protest. I have written to  the American Psychiatric Association concerning the DSM. Universities about animal testing. Write to anyone who is associated with whatever you are campaigning for or against. It’s best to always be polite.

Yes you get replies.  I recall a reply from a Canadian government official concerning the seal hunt, he did not agree with me and explained his position which I did not agree with but at least what I wrote provoked him to reply. The same with Aldi who replied concerning reindeer meat, again not favourable but who knows such communications might make someone think. Retailers often reply, I had lots of letters and e-mail in reponse to my communications concerning the many campaigns to ask retailers to stop the sale of Angora and many retailers have stop selling this product of cruelty as a result of a PETA led campaign which at the time of writing continues today. Postal letters get the best response, e-mail being the next. My MP responds to everything. Even if the person cannot agree you just never know maybe you have at least made him or her think.

I hope to include information about anti Trumps actions in future blog posts

Related Links

Anti Muslim:

If you think ani muslim hate is confined to the US think again

It’s not just Trump’s US. Anti-Muslim hate threatens Europe too
Joe Mulhall

The Islamophobic ideologues at the heart of the new US administration have allies on this side of the Atlantic. We must all fight the spread of their divisive lies

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/trump-us-anti-muslim-hate-europe

Do Political Protests Actually Change Anything?

https://www.bustle.com/p/do-political-protests-actually-change-anything-29952

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2 thoughts on “Can We Really Make a Difference?

  1. Going to have to keep this post flagged – such a mass of useful info here. I do believe the internet is a powerful tool for keeping us informed, allowing us to come together and our voices to be heard. There’s very little for tyrants to hide behind nowadays. I have faith! Thank you for all your hard work putting this together. x

    • As you say there is little now that can be done behind closed doors, and we have the opportunity to make a difference more so now than ever before. Thanks for your appreciation x

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