THE DANGER OF COMPETITIVE ACTIVISM IN ASIA PACIFIC
While we in Asia might not have full access to the series without the privilege of VPN, the series still has substantial consequences to the ingenuity and dedication change makers, social entrepreneurs, and social justice people put into their work around Asia.
Trivialize activism surely in some ways equal to a zero-sum game, and it is harming the actual work of social justice and passionate change-makers around the globe, including Asia. The truth is, genuine work of activism crosses over with people of different communities and requires interdependent work among people — and the way they set up the show does not square with that.
The Asia-Pacific region accounts for about 60% of the earth’s population. As a whole, the region has its unique challenges and opportunity for social justice and activism work. The vast regional diversity, productive capacities, socio-economic development, and demographic, political, and cultural aspects need to be considered when organizations/individuals want to address the issue via competitive activism.
A competition format, like The Activist, would entirely paint the wrong picture and easily downplay the heterogeneous Asia – Pacific region. The push for positive change is not a competition and requires a global effort. Interconnected and intersectional efforts.
While competition seemed to many forward-thinking businesses like an excellent idea, it creates a monoculture, reinforces biases, and stall innovation. Instead, collaboration, in which each brings their differences and uniqueness to the table as an asset, makes us work better for more comprehensive goals.
People, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships are all overall with each other, are codependent on each other to be achieved, and are therefore intersectionality related and should be approached as such. You cannot eradicate poverty (SDG 1) without addressing the decent Work and economic growth (SDG 8), which can’t be achieved without the implications of sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) which is directly tied to climate action(SDG 13) which is has extreme implications for both life Below water (SDG 14) and life on land (SDG 15) which cannot be achieved without partnership for the Goals (SDG17), upon which all the goals are connected to. The overlaps and the realities of all social justice and environment issues are tied to, hinged on, have implications for, and are only achievable through addressing one another – that is at the heart of intersectionality and arguably sustainability broadly. Collaboration isn’t an option it is the only viable avenue.