“Social Justice Activism is a waste of time that accomplishes nothing.” Sure about that?
Baby steps, to be sure–but still forward motion in the right direction. And not the last of them.
In civil society, most of my fellow citizens are my civic friends, part of a great cooperative scheme. One of the repugnant features of democracy is that it transforms these people into threats to my well-being. My fellow citizens exercise power over me in risky and incompetent ways. This makes them my civic enemies. (Jason Brennan, Against Democracy, p. 245).
One of the best features of democracy is that unlike most other political systems, it gives you the freedom to resist those who would trample on your rights by demanding a modicum of accountability in those who would do the trampling (or send the tramplers). It doesn’t just transform hitherto peaceful people into enemies; it gives you the resources non-violently to confront those who come to the civic scene determined to be your enemies. Democracy didn’t create Zionist apartheid, or the will to domination that it represents. Zionism did. Democracy gives those dominated by it the only peaceful means of resistance at their disposal.
As long as some wield power over others, they’ll do so in risky and incompetent ways. As long as that happens, the rest of us need a realistic and ethically defensible means of resistance–the means we’re to employ before “all else fails.” That may not be Jason Brennan’s conception of democracy (cf. Against Democracy, pp. 9-10, 77-78), but if not, that’s his problem. The problem the rest of us face is how to avoid being swallowed alive by the threats we face. As far as I can see, the two options at our disposal are democratic activism or terrorism. I’m not above resorting to the latter “when all else fails,” but I’d advise sticking to the former when there’s some hope of success. As there sometimes is.