Chandra Kavanagh Breaks Down Five Feminist Activist Tactics

The St. John’s Status of Women’s Council’s Feminist in Residence, Chandra Kavanagh, is giving a talk titled, “Feminist Activism: A toolkit” at Memorial University on Monday October 30th at 12:00pm in room SN-4087, as part of the Department of Gender Studies Speaker Series.

The St. John’s Status of Women’s Council’s Feminist in Residence, Chandra Kavanagh, is giving a talk titled, “Feminist Activism: A toolkit” at Memorial University on Monday October 30th at 12:00pm in room SN-4087, as part of the Department of Gender Studies Speaker Series.

“I would be thrilled if this talk was able to serve as an example of inclusive feminist activism in practice,” Kavanagh said. “I want to see people show up from every pocket of our community to take up space in the university, ask questions, and take home a toolkit that they can use to engage in feminist political action.”

Kavanagh’s talk aims to give people practical skills they can use to respond to injustice. She will walk participants through five activist tactics including; research, support, campaigning, organizing, and protest.

We asked Kavanagh to give us a quick break down of each of these tactics, explaining what they are and why they’re valuable to the feminist movement, to learn more you’ll have to catch the talk!

1) Research

“Research is always first because before we can tackle a problem, especially a complex social or political problem, we need to understand it. There has been plenty of harm done by poorly informed activists with good intentions (some folks might remember the Kony 2012 movement as a great example of this.) Research helps to better understand the problem and understand some of the solutions to that problem that may already exist.”

2) Support

“Support refers to supporting the local groups and movements that already exist to address a given social or political issue. As activists we often feel compelled to reinvent the wheel and build a solution from the ground up. I often tell my friends who are new activists that if you see a problem, chances are someone else had already seen it too and is working on a solution.”

3) Campaigning

“When I talk about campaigning I’m referring to the kinds of direct political action that a single person can take without needing a lot of resources. This includes writing letters to the editor, contacting local politicians, spreading awareness of an issue through social media or even talking with friends about your concerns.”

4) Organizing

“Organizing is a bit more involved than campaigning. Some examples might include taking on a leadership role in your local not-for-profit, union, advisory committee, or activist group, encouraging your friends and family to take part, starting your own group or even hosting a politically focused event.”

5) Protest 

“Protest is the final way that I talk about getting involved in the feminist activist community. I put it last for 2 reasons: 1) it is the one everyone thinks of when they think of activism to the detriment of the other 4 categories and 2) in well organized activists’ movements, protest is a last resort. It occurs after all of the other 4 methods have failed to achieve the intended results. There are lots of effective ways to protest from sit-ins to marches to strikes and it is a powerful option for creating change.”

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  • Like it or not, anonymous comments have become an important and necessary part of online discourse. If you see a comment you dislike you are free to scroll past it. Deleting the comments is censorship, plain and simple, and it will damage the credibility of this newspaper, especially when you have a left-leaning crowd like the Overcast censoring discussion about feminism.

    • Most comments of the deleted comments were not “discussion.” If you have a well-reasoned critique of feminism let’s see it, but leave the sexist insults at the door.

  • The Overcast is silencing people who disagree with the modern, extremist approach to feminism. This newspaper has lost all credibility.

  • In case you didn’t pick up on it, people are bashing people on that JH GG award article, i assume you are going to remove those comments. Although it’s a white male being talked about so it will probably go ignored

    • It’s a tricky one, as there’s an explanation alongside the harsh opinion. The new policy might need some work yet, bear with us. Will work it out Monday.

    • “Bashing people.” Ok. A certain unnamed writer goes into the women’s washroom and pisses all over the toilet seat. Not funny if you’re the next in line. Not funny to have your space invaded in a women’s washroom by a belligerent drunken man when you call him on it. Except if you’re in on the joke. And in on the scene. Allowed to go anywhere and do anything. And “that’s just so-and-so.” Went on for years like that. Everyone knows. Anyone else would have been burned at the stake by the arts crowd, but he’s embraced and anointed – like a made guy in the mob – so he can ‘fuck this and fuck that’ to propriety and the arts scene accepts it and all bad behaviour is just part of the schtick. Not about a white male- unless we’re talking about the roots of privilege.

      • Oh so someone has a personality that you don’t like, so that means he shouldn’t be rewarded for his work?
        Sorry, that’s not how the world works.
        I’m sure you’re not too fun to be around; but that doesn’t you couldn’t write a mean Haiku

    • Did you miss the part of the policy that requires opinions be explained? There’s nothing wrong with calling someone a knob as part of a larger critique. A little different than reducing a woman to her value as a wife and offering no substantive criticism whatsoever, no? But by all means, feel persecuted.

  • Why bother to say “Any comments below our articles — as well as the articles themselves — are the opinions of the authors. Not the paper.” if you are going to delete comments that you don’t approve? Perhaps the comments that you disapprove let the readers know that some readers disagree with what’s being said, and not intended to “add to the article”.
    The overcast is now a”Safe Space”.

    • People are more than welcome to disagree with an article. They’re just not welcome to call the author an idiot, or the topic “bullsh*t,” at least not without explaining why (ie, adding another perspective to the conversation, using their brains instead of their agression). For example, your comment here was published, as it offers a fair concern. But it’s not a “safe space” now, so much as it’s a troll free one. There’s a difference. If you disagree with an article, say why, and it’ll be published. If you disagree, but leave a comment like “F*ck you, this is why you’ll never get a husband” without explaining why, it’s not conversation or debate then. It’s just poor behaviour. If you talked to someone in a bar like that, or at a party, you’d be thrown out. Likewise, such commentary will now be thrown out of here.

    • Effective this week, yes, we now delete senseless comments. If a comment adds nothing to the article, it serves no point? We’d be open to hearing you contest that. Contradictions are welcome as discourse (healthy, productive debate was the original purpose web comments), but needless putdowns amount to trolling, and serve no purpose beyond granting a troll a podium.

      Here is our new policy:

      Our comment policy is pretty simple. Any negative commentary or counterpoints must add something to the conversation in a civilized, respectful manner that enhances the conversation, as opposed to insulting the author or content of the article. Needlessly aggressive or hateful comments will be deleted, as will unnecessarily discouraging comments.

      Any comments below our articles — as well as the articles themselves — are the opinions of the authors. Not the paper.

  • Seems this lady can teach feminists how to be effective because it seems many activists put protest as their primary role and ignore research altogether.

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