Posts Tagged ‘institutions’

by Richard Martin

The March Through the Institutions

Why do activists think that it is ok to commandeer and subvert organizations and institutions that exist for a purpose completely unrelated to theirs? This includes universities, schools, companies, government agencies and departments, unions, and to a lesser extent, trade and industry associations.

Activists are highly motivated agents, whereas non activists just want to get on with their day to day job. Activists see existing institutions and organizations as a battleground. They want to commandeer and subvert the institutions and organizations.

This is how small groups of activists take over institutions and organizations. First there is a small number of activists who infiltrate the organization. They plant a seed. They use all means to get their message out. Then they form a small group of allies. In French we call this “noyautage.”

Ideas and slogans completely unrelated to the official purpose of the organization percolate and start spreading. Next thing you know, activists are demanding changes to organizational policies and public statements of support or condemnation for this or that external or internal group, cause, or movement.

Non-activists have little or no awareness or investment in the particular cause being advanced by the activists. Activists take advantage of the passivity and need for conformity of non-activists. The latter don’t want to be perceived as bad.

Initially, most of the issues and causes are presented as motherhood statements. After all, who can be against freedom of expression, human rights, personal life choices, the environment, and other seemingly self-evident notions? The problem is one of focus and concentration. For activists, these are crucial, perhaps even life-defining causes. For non-activists, they are just more demands on their time and headspace.

Regardless of the exact mechanism of action, the effect is the same. Organizations and institutions are gradually taken over or even undermined to the point where the original intent of the institution or mission of the organization becomes commandeered and subverted to perverted ends.