Community Management Wiki

'Uberactivism' is, for want of a better term, an approach which involves criticising or dismissing people for being "not activist enough".

More specifically, it can involve claiming that someone is not being a 'true activist' because, for example, that person:

  • does not attend meetings, rallies etc.;
  • does not put an 'adequate' amount of time and energy into activist work / activities;
  • does not donate money to the cause;

and so on.

This approach fails to take into consideration the many possible obstacles which may restrict the way a given person engages in activism:

  • They might be a parent - and in particular a sole parent - and so not have the time and/or energy available for certain forms of activism. Further, they might not be able to afford childcare, or have friends/family available to provide it as required.
  • Their geographical location might be such that physically attending events might be difficult, particularly if they don't have a car (e.g. because they can't afford to run one).
  • They might have physical and/or mental health issues which either limit or completely block certain forms of participation, and don't have various forms of support available to work around this.
  • Their work situation is such that they have little-to-no time and/or energy available for non-essential non-work activities.
  • They might have valid concerns that doing certain forms of activism will result in being 'outed' in some respect, with serious detrimental consequences. (For example, someone doing activist work in the sex and gender diverse communities might eventually cause that person to be outed as trans.)

and so on.

Possible responses to this anti-pattern might include:

  • Emphasising that there is no "one true way" to do activism at all times and under all conditions.
  • Publicly recognising "behind-the-scenes" activist work, such as organising the logistics for events like meetings, rallies etc.
  • Pointing out that dismissing non-uberactivist modes of social change as "not doing the work" can be oppressive.
  • Educating one's activist community on barriers to participation (such as those listed above), and encouraging people to consider ways to lower or remove those barriers.