Activism – the highs and the lows

Activism – the highs and the lows

This blog is my own personal view of activism in Scotland since the referendum.

I have been an active activist for over a year now and in that time I have experienced the highs and the lows.

I campaign actively against most of the things that the Tory’s think are acceptable to us – the people.

Fracking, TTIP, re nationalisation of public services and cuts.

I have been in 2 political parties in my time and I won’t name them but they were both on the left.  They weren’t enough for me there was too many rules or procedures and no freedom.

I found that I am very capable of organising hustings, public meetings and rallys.  All on my own and with its own learning curve.

For example there are massive egos to contend with some general election candidates.  Some are completely fine to deal with and then the others are a bit difficult, it’s like trying to deal with a stroppy teenager.

The Lows of activism –

Organising a public meeting and having low numbers turn up.

Standing in a town centre and for a cause that you believe will affect people’s lives deeply but being passed over as a nuisance to the general public.

Believing in a cause that you think would benefit your town greatly just to have some members of a group think it’s daft.

Being unsupportive in difficult situations by fellow group members.

There are Highs too I’m not trying to be totally negative.

Standing in a town handing out leaflets and having lots of good interaction with the public.

Being at an event/rally with fellow activists/comrades and feeling the passion in the crowd as everyone is on the same level/page

Giving a speech at an event and having people listen to you and enjoy it.  Especially when you have out a lot of time and effort and knowledge into writing it and gearing yourself up to speak it’s a great feeling nothing can top it.

When you have been campaigning for a long time against something and you win your cause.

When you have been out campaigning for your political party candidate and you win/get a good result.


So the highs and lows in activism balance it out.

You have to have that passion for your cause burning away in the background, that drive that keeps you going back to it.

There have been many times over the last year where I have questioned what I do and if it’s the right thing for me.  I have done say 2 public meetings fracking/ttip and have had very low numbers turn up where I had arranged speakers to travel a long way only to have the meetings go in a different way and be like a small discussion group, which is still good.


There Referendum sparked so much in people, it switched so many on, unplugged them from the matrix so to speak.

These are the active activists that are out there campaigning for you for a better life, to be a voice for the people.

How many people that were involved in the yes campaign still active in other guises?

These activists that are still out there work so hard and get no other recognition except from their fellow group members.  That’s all you need though.

There are so many great movements out there post referendum I won’t name them but they also have members that are the above active activists.

Only thing is as I have seen in many groups there are the “do-ers” and the “let them do-it’s”.

This can happen in every group as every individual that signed up has different abilities and strengths, but there is something that all activists should be aware of and that is burnout.

Info here on a flier about it

I have suffered this earlier this year as I go on one women crusades and want to get involved in everything!! It came down to it for me when I was running 2 groups, volunteering in my local foodbank and doing other wee things for various people, one night I was literally tearing my hair out with stress so I had to unplug myself and re prioritise what I was doing.  I have downsized myself in activism and went smaller instead of going to every single meeting that was going on.

It comes down to communication and bonding as a group I use the term comrades which is probably seen as a socialist/anarchist term BUT it should be adopted into modern day activism.  You are all on the same side campaigning.

Definition of Comrade –


1. A person who shares in one’s activities, occupation, etc.; companion, associate, or friend.

2. A fellow member of a fraternal group, political party, etc.

3. A member of the Communist Party or someone with strongly leftist views.


Also never under any circumstances go against your principles.  If you joined a group but it had members or principles/ideals that impacted on your own you should reconsider your own involvement in that group or party.


Nearly finished just wanted to say that to all the active activists out there every weekend pounding the streets with petitions/fliers/stalls you all kick ass and I hope that one day at some conference I will meet you.  WE are all switched on and fired up and the time to influence others around us into doing the same.


We empower ourselves in our campaigning activities lets pass that knowledge on and get more active activists in Scotland.


Many thanks for reading.


Marie Macpherson

A Highlands Active Activist

Highlands and Islands Against Fracking

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1 Comment

  1. Good one Iris. Highs are the laughter . Highs are meeting new friends and thinking of them as family. . lows are reading so many things that are wrong in the world and feeling powerless.

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