05 May Campaigning against cynicism
I have to admit that I struggle when I scroll through Facebook and Twitter and see sweeping cynical statements. Sometimes I reply and ask them not to stereotype all politicians as corrupt or say that there is nothing we can do. Sometimes people agree that it wasn’t a helpful comment and they didn’t really mean to label a whole section of society. Sometimes people thank me for challenging them to be more proactive in shaping our world. Sometimes people get defensive and tell me that I am naive, stupid or even delusional.
I grew up in Everton where local residents against the odds saved local housing from demolition from an un-listening (is that a word?!) local council. When I was voted in by my peers as Head Girl at school we campaigned to get lockers for the pupils. Previously staff said it would never happen but with the help of an influential parent governor and with the agreement from the caretaker that the lockers wouldn’t be in the way of fire exits we got them! At University I campaigned with Amnesty International to Control Arms and after 10 years of campaigning the Arms Trade Treaty was signed in 2013. Yes there have been campaigns that still haven’t been won but we have to keep trying and there is evidence of successful wins throughout history, big and small.
We try and make all of our craftivism projects optimistic, hopeful, encouraging and positive. Complaints don’t build movements, dreams do.
Martin Luther King didn’t energize people saying “I have a complaint”: he said “I have a dream”.
I was lucky enough to hear Desmond Tutu speak at the Copenhagen Climate Change summit in December 2009.Tutu was his typical cheery, dancing self. This man who had experienced apartheid in South Africa said that hope is not a feeling or a mood or a personality type but a decision and choice we make because we have faith that the world can change. Tutu’s words haven’t left me: we need to believe in spite of the evidence and then see the evidence change: for him that was vital in the struggle against apartheid.
Cynicism can be an excuse not to commit.
Doing craft can help tackle the feeling of powerlessness. Craft can help depressed people, reawakening feelings of achieving something; once you’ve done your first stitch you know you can achieve something, you can imagine your piece and a vision of a better world and you reawaken those emotions of excitement, achieving something and being creative don’t you think?
Let’s please be each other’s hope. My Craftivism Tree is a physical reminder to me of how to strive to do effective craftivism: it reawakened in me feelings of hope. My hanky I gave to my MP encourages her to use her influence to challenge structures that keep people poor, and the fact that our craft pieces are hand stitched and unique in their creation reminds us all of the beauty this world has given us and how we can MAKE change one stitch of a time…
How do you tackle cynicism whether it’s your own or others? How do you keep striving to make our world even more beautiful, just and kind than it currently is? Please comment below to help me and others not give up hope and persistence 🙂 xxx
Emma PhillipsPosted at 09:16h, 06 May
i practice kindness, I stitch messages of hope and encouragement, I try to live a simple life…
It’s hard to tackle cynicism, I live with mental illness – depression and ptsd, which means sometimes I struggle to stay enthusiastic and positive… But, I try to use my negative experience as a gift that enables me to really connect to others… I try to accept my limitations – otherwise I get overwhelmed in negative thinking… If I can smile and improve one persons day, or provoke thought, engage others in practicing kindness, then that is an achievement in itself 🙂
I’ve been inspired by craftivism – it has really helped me to feel more connected to the universe… I love the ‘quietness’ and non-aggression – rather than loudly banging fists and waving banners and flags, it can implement change in a much more gentle way… X
Craftivist CollectivePosted at 09:53h, 06 May
thanks for your beautiful comment Emma 🙂 x
Betsy GreerPosted at 23:05h, 06 May
Excellent points, Sarah!
And to Emma, I have what you have. 🙂 Even though you may not see this comment, just wanted to nudge in and say that craft can also be grounding when you need it, meaning that it’s been an important part of my PTSD toolbox.
Sue WebsterPosted at 23:04h, 07 May
Good article – and equally importantly, how can I make a craftivist cover for my phone? Anyone making DIY cross-stitch phone cover kits for Samsung Galaxy S5s?? They’d sell like hot cakes 🙂
And I also agree with Betsy Greer – making/crafting is both grounding and healing 🙂 🙂
Craftivist CollectivePosted at 17:57h, 08 May
Hey Sue 🙂 I just Googled for my case so maybe do the same? Sorry I”m no help x
Rachel huskissonPosted at 18:44h, 14 May
I agree that there is a lot of cynicism around on social media regarding the election in particular. I try to counteract it by putting positive pictures indicating communities working together, last week I posted a picture of a willow den we built for our local school nursery using cuttings from my willow den at home. I like to think it gave a message about looking out for others without having to use words.
Craftivist CollectivePosted at 21:54h, 14 May
well said Rachel 🙂 We need to keep reminding people of the positive alternatives that work and that campaigning can make change. Keep up your brilliant work hun. I’m sure it’s tiring but it’s so so needed x
Ruth van steenisPosted at 08:42h, 15 May
you are so right, cynicism is everywhere in the media/social media its so easy to get sucked into. Reading your post is brilliant reminder to make a little tiny change, can and will make a positive change around each of us.
Craftivist CollectivePosted at 13:01h, 18 May
So glad you think so Ruth 🙂 Thanks so much for your lovely comment x