The main goal of activists is to make improvements in society. According to Wikipedia, “Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental reform or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society.” But nowadays we are seeing different types of activism strayed from its main goal. We can compare it with “Yellow Journalism”. Instead of protesting authoritarian power, these so-called opportunists ally with the dictating power and serve it. Most of the times these so-called opportunist activists picks a common enemy or a minor issue with the government. Instead of fighting the corrupt authoritarian government, they gain its support for the common enemy. The government cherishes them to use against its enemy or fighting pointless issues. In return, these activists get amenities from the government.
I myself am from a third world country where democracy is mostly a subject for textbooks, rather than to be practiced. And from my experience, I can see mostly three types of yellow activists. The first category is secretly assigned by the political power itself. They pose as activists but never speaks against their employer’s follies. Their main aim is to gain support and publicity both online and offline for their master’s illegal plans and decisions. Also sometimes on some issues, they do some state pre-planned protests, so other can’t say anything about it and the gravity of the issue lightens. Similar but opposite goal can be seen too, where foreign power employs those so called activists inside the nation to run propaganda against that nation. The people from the second category pretends to be activists for their personal interests. And most of the times those interests don’t have to do anything with the benefit of mass people. They also pick some minor issues and keep themselves and the people occupied ignoring the major issues. Many so called NGO workers from third world countries whose main goal is to collect funding from foreign donors and looting them are in this category. Their goal is to be safe from dictators reprisal and gaining personal profit. The third category people are seen on a mass volume on social networking sites. They want to enjoy the ‘thrill’ of activism or rebelism. But they are too afraid to deal with the consequences. So, instead of being on streets, they do their activism through facebook likes and twitter retweets. They are more concern about their social/online status about activists rather than making any real change. They can be called toy activists. Also often they ally with the authority too.
In these countries, anybody really concerned for the country and the original problems are labeled as conspirators and enemy of the states. They get accused of preventing the imaginary progress the government doing. And they suffer repression from the government with the aid of those yellow activists.
Now, of course, no one can fight all the problems alone and don’t need to. But ignoring the major problems and keeping busy with the harmless ones just for the sake of personal benefit or popularity is shameful for all the activists. Those are not true activism like ‘yellow journalism’ is not true journalism.