contest and context

by pasdelabas

A conversation with J:

Me: I’ve taken the lead on a campaign to negotiate with the Council to keep our local Park House open and in community use.

J: That’s so good, to be involved in some form of activism.

Me: Activism today is different to the past.  There was a time that the activist took an approach that prioritised some form of demand, of insisting on rights.  This didn’t suit me, I find conflict difficult to work with.  In the current atmosphere where the 3rd sector is to a large extend being formulated as an agent of the state the implication is that there is a position of negotiation to be found.  The context within which the problem is found sets the agenda so to speak.  The catch comes when there is no agreement on context – if the context becomes understood as a global capitalist market then the negotiation takes on a different colour to when the context is how do we deal with stringent central government cuts to local government budgets.  I find the position of seeing myself as a mediator easier than being a contestant.

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