By Sir Scotchmistery
I just got another of those constant refrains from Change.Org asking me to support Mrs Whoever about the whatever thing of the day has gotten up her nose.
Tedious. Boring and constant, to a point where I choose to chop off contact with Change.org, which I would hate because occasionally there are important things come in there, like the one for Jordan Rice being recognized for his bravery by the Queensland government in spite of the efforts of Wagner’s Earth moving, construction and politician owning to prevent it.
Seriously, I wish I could reflect back at the Mrs Smiths of the world and ask them just how important their particular petition is.
Do I care if her daughter has to wear a dress? No. First world problem. At least she gets to go to school. I would point out that writing a letter to the lecherous old white men who think it’s cool to see 6 year old girls hanging upside down on the monkey bars, would be a better place to start than me. Particularly if the head person at the school is male.
Somewhere is there a contact at change.org who would give us as recipients of the email, an opportunity to reflect back to the poster/s of the endless streams of petitions for nonsense, when there are things like kids drowning on the beaches of Turkey which point we are getting to, but instead of drowning they are self-immolating? In our care, in our names, by those fluck-knuckles of the Liberal National Party and the Alternative Liberal Party.
Short answer – NO, because even they realise that there are people out in Internet Land who are capable of conscious thought, outside of their own petty bullshit issues, and they don’t want us to be hassling them about sponsoring dumb as dog shit petitions about stuff that doesn’t matter outside their own meaningless lounge rooms.
Now where the hell did I leave that box of soap?
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Problem is SirScotch ( and thanks for a good post ) …. that once a person signs a petition ( e.g. change.org ) …. a whole scad of petition signing seekers flood one’s inbox ( and spam filter ). Nothing is sacred on the internet, and much scamming / infiltration goes on. Nothing honorable about that.
I see some deserving petitions, and I sign them. Others I delete. I am not sure why I am expected to choose who is deserving – and who is not. Probably on reflection, all are deserving, but it has become ( as so much has become on cyber space ) out of control.
Still – that is freedom of speech – and the price of freedom of speech ( I think ).
Well said – SirScotch M.
so many fluck-knuckles, maybe the violent revolution approach is more fun, nope can’t even do that as the innocent always suffer, take to the bottle then?
Cynical and sad. I guess that’s the ‘misery’ part. Oh sorry – it’s ‘mistery.’ My bad.
I have to disagree with you here, Scotch. I’m normally right there with you on most things, but not this.
It is easy to not sign something. It seems worthwhile to receive the petition requests because some can be very important. Yes, some are first-world problems, and when compared to children starving to death in their millions can appear unimportant, but even many of those can be tiny steps that still help to fix the world.
I’m sorry to say this, but your complaint seems like a trivial first-world problem: being faced with fixing too many small problems — petition fatigue. A good problem to have. In many places in the world we’d be beheaded for just having such emails, let alone signing the petitions and spreading them.
Sign up for Amnesty International. That will recalibrate your sense of indignation.
What Miriam English said!
Justice occurs in big ways and in little ways, so does injustice, so does making the world a better place. There’s a lot of truth in the old saying: ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’ My favourite along these lines is: ‘Many mickles make a muckle’. If we were to agree with you, Sir, we would never help a child or an old person cross the street because we would be too busy with the children and old people being washed up on the beach in Turkey. Actually, I don’t think we can even HAVE the big justice, the big conscience, the big love and concern for others without attending to the small justice etc. Big justice grows out of small justice.
It also grieves me that you chose to make fun of the Mrs Smiths. Did you notice that the Mrs Smiths who are so concerned about their daughters and the daughters of all those other Mrs Smiths are all women taking care of their immediate milieu? And did you think that it was clever to accuse them of small-mindedness? What about the Mr Smiths? Are they ridiculous, too? Or do they just not care enough to start petitions about ‘small’ things? If you don’t want to sign ‘small’ petitions, you don’t need to – just delete them and move on. But the online petition has a huge part to play in changing our world. It enhances our democracy, gives power to individual voices and is one of the most powerful and precious gifts that the online world has to offer.
Tell me Miriam, why does Amnesty consistently ignore human rights abuses such as random arrests and imprisonment, forced resettlement and illegal land aquisition, blockades aimed at civilians and state sanctioned murder in Palestine?
Hmm, I wonder if people are properly inferring SSM’s main point, which for me is not about being overloaded with issues or with any sort of “fatigue” but with the moral and political priorities may people appear to have. That is to say, people appear to be rather petty in terms of things they give sufficient weight to such that they’d want to create an online petition for it – implying that [hopefully] many others similarly prioritise this seemingly trivial problem (please note all the qualifiers I’m using).
That’s how I see the point. I guess one might say that our willingness to prioritise the seemingly trivial is evidence of our ultimate privilege and perhaps even decadence.
Just thinkin’ out loud ….
Not supporting it by posting the link, just posting it.
John, this is where other opportunities like change.org come in. If you’re concerned about say, state-sanctioned murder in Palestine, why not get up a petition to present to the UN and/or the Israeli Government and/or…? If it is well put together, I’ll certainly sign it.
The petition sites are like most things in the era of the world wide web.
It starts as a worthy idea or effort, and spreads to the point where it’s abused.
John, perhaps you should check whether your prejudices are accurate before you post.
And in case you think they have a special axe to grind with Israelis, they also report harm done by the other side:
Amnesty is concerned with injustice. It doesn’t take political sides. It is one of the reasons I admire the group.
Thank you all for your responses and links. Yes, Amnesty does pay attention to the events in Gaza, but the article talks about petitions, I should have made myself more clear. There is an example at http://www.forensic-architecture.org/case/white-phosphorus/ analysing the use of white phosphorus in Gaza that was sponsored by Amnesty, but buried on an obscure website. I did not see any Amnesty petition fuelled outrage about this war crime.
I was on the Amnesty petition list for years and would send them emails requesting they act in response to events in Gaza as they did for Syria, for example. There was no change and no response. I began to suspect there was an agenda for regime change like Soros’ Change.org’s and Avaaz’s ‘save the kittens in Ukraine style’ lobbying for colour revolutions. See http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/category/non-profit-industrial-complex-organizations/the-soros-network-osi/. I unsubscribed from all these lists in March.
There’s an piece at http://publicgood.org/tag/avaaz/ about the way these activist sites massage opinion. By making it appear we are involved and acting they direct our attention to issues that are not core to systematic change or based in international laws or treaties (and actually subvert the democratic process by amassing a vocal minority to lobby for change outside due process) and count on petition fatigue to stop as asking further – they have a lot of power to direct our attention and energy to things that are at best tangential to the core issues.
John, the Amnesty International campaigns I am involved with are not generally petitions. They involve letter and email writing campaigns.
Regarding those links you posted, I’ve seen those sites before, criticising social justice organisations, but after reading what they had to say and weighing up carefully the kinds of letter-writing campaigns and petitions I’m involved in I don’t really believe them.
The site publicgood.org is a Christian site with links to the RAND thinktank (RAND were the ones who created the Vietnam war). The article there against Avaaz reads as little more than a paranoid rant against any attempt to gather people together to oppose powerful forces. But how else are people to prevent being crushed by excessively wealthy interests? A quick look over the kinds of petitions Avaaz has been part of lately confirms to me that they are actually doing genuine good, not misleading people, not defusing protest, not duping us.
The site wrongkindofgreen.org is a little more difficult to pin down. It doesn’t seem to offer any solutions, but tears down any apparent attempt to solve problems. Even the name of the site indicates this. Specifically regarding that link you posted, the Syrian problem is awful because the control over information the various interests have makes it very difficult for us to work out what the hell is going on. Nevertheless little bits are gradually starting to fit together. Much of the conflict there seems to be a smokescreen for USA’s big commercial interests, but there are other problems too. The failure of crops due to prolonged drought from climate change has caused big population shifts into cities from the land. Also, Assad doesn’t seem to have been the nicest of leaders, though perhaps not quite as bad as Western media are portraying him. It is difficult to say, exactly. He certainly succeeded in getting many different religious groups to live together in harmony, in an affluent, Western-style society, which is quite an extraordinary feat.
It is naïve to expect that social progress groups could magically see through all the bullshit in this region and not be sucked in when attempting to protest bombings. I am sure some social progress groups have been used by the forces of misinformation, but I’ve noticed that most of them have been reluctant to post about Syria lately. My reading of that is that they are realising how dangerous the subversion of their message can be and they are being wary and more careful.
Sure, you can opt out of all socially progressive movements. That’s your right. But be careful about decrying the attempts of others to fix the world’s problems as somehow playing into the hands of darkness… especially when we have so many successes in stopping truly awful things.
Sometimes a wealthy philanthropist really is trying to help, for example Soros and Gates. And to decry people like Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben as being stooges for Wall Street is to so badly misread reality it renders the article very suspect.
Thanks, Miriam The voice of sweet reason.