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Atheist discussions about social justice?

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Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  jimhabegger on Mon May 27, 2013 11:21 am

So is there any place now where atheists are having the kinds of discussions about social justice that some people wanted to have?


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  nullnvoid on Mon May 27, 2013 12:40 pm

I think I'm over the discussions now...

I would rather do some action. Early in the life of the other site...they engaged in creating transcripts of interesting videos. I thought that was a worthy endeavor. It seemed to lose focus...but perhaps we could come up with a similar useful project?


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  piginthecity on Tue May 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Hi Null and thanks for the welcome back.

I've been lurking on and off here, by the way, just not posting. I promised myself and my blood pressure that I can't beat Atheism Plus, so I'll give it five years for it to all blow over before coming back to the secular community. It'll pass like the twinkling of an eye, then we can have our community that could accomodate a diversity of views and be comfortable with itself back.

As far as A+ scribe went, I never bought into it as anything other than self-serving on the part of A+. It was all about spreading their message, while pretending to be doing something against 'ableism'. On the other hand I'm not knocking it, as i do believe that hearing impaired people should have equal access to the rest of us to utter tripe on the internet. Why should they be privileged to live in an A+ free world ? They should suffer like the rest of us in the name of equality !

On the wider point about 'activism' in internet forums, I guess we're kind of on the same page. If you're typing stuff into a computer, you are 'talking' not 'acting', and to confuse the two is a mistake. Activism is what somebody can only do if they turn their computer off. You can talk about activism, but that is a type of talking, not a type of activism. So an internet forum can never be, in itself, something in the category of activism, it can only be an alternative to activism.


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  mood2 on Wed May 29, 2013 1:12 am

disagree pig

as someone who's been involved in a lot of marches, picket lines, direct action, etc (just call me rent-a-protester!) it's rare that you come away believing you've made a significant difference. But some of these online petition lobby groups do seem to have impact. You can get a 100,000 sigs/e-letters on some politician's or CEO's desk in days or weeks, chip in a couple of quid and there's full page newspaper ads piling pressure on too.

All for like a minute's effort.

There may come a time when people in power start ignoring 'e-activism', but right now I'd say it's proving effective. Partly because it is so easy, so you get big numbers very quickly.


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  jimhabegger on Wed May 29, 2013 8:31 pm

I thought this was meant to be a place for atheists to rally around action on a wide range of social justice issues. Here are some possible reasons I see for the lack of activity here.
- Atheists who are actively involved in social justice initiatives don't have time for Internet discussions.
- Atheists who are actively involved in social justice initiatives have found better places on the Internet to find encouragement and support, and to exchange ideas and experiences. If so, where?
- Atheists who are actively involved in social justice initiatives are afraid of this place or don't want to be seen here because of ... because of ... well, just because.

Would anyone like to try posting here about your current initiatives for social justice?


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  mood2 on Thu May 30, 2013 1:54 am

I think your analysis doesn't take into account how activism can tend to be integrated into the lives of people in marginalised groups. I'll give myself as an example. As a lesbian my interests, friendships and social activities naturally became entwined with people who are active in the spheres of meatspace SJ activism relating to feminism and LGBTQ rights. Sharing my social spaces with people who organise or know about campaigns and events, hanging out where they're advertised, being friends with the organisers, or friends of friends.

I dare say similar stuff goes on with people with disabilities, people of colour, etc. There are these sorts of minority 'subcultures' all over the place beneath the surface mainstream. Maybe it 's somewhat similar to how church networks can work in terms of offering social interaction, personal support and opportunities to get involved in practical useful stuff.

Atheist activism isn't something that motivates me personally, and isn't where I look for support or SJ meat space activism. Or political activism. It's potential interest to me is where I see religious beliefs or practices doing real world harm. (Basically I'm only involved in 'online atheism' cos I like yakking on the internet about the more abstract philosophical side of it. Nobody I know is much interested in that or has better things to do, but it's a nerdy interest of mine).

Some people don't have access to meatspace support and activism networks for a variety of reasons, and the net can really help there. Or net interaction may just be preferable for some, again for a variety of reasons. And for some people their atheism is more important to them than mine is to me in terms of identity, or a source of oppression and discrimination. And all that's fine, it's just not for me.

Personally I have no desire to ever go to an atheist or sceptic conference or join an atheist meatspace group or anything like that. I don't think of those people as 'my people'. I don't know anyone in meatspace who does.

But where my interest in online atheism and SJ activism could work for me is in marrying the new opportunities afforded by 'e-activism' with this burgeoning demographic of 'new atheists'. That I could get into. Raising consciousness that a faith commitment to immutable god given truths can stymie social progress towards tolerance and equality is something I could get into.

Making it happen is the problem.


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Re: Atheist discussions about social justice?

Post  mood2 on Thu May 30, 2013 3:42 am

I just checked my email, and here's a good example of how activism at the level of affecting policy gets done now -

We have a message for All Out members from Bruno and Vincent, the first gay couple to marry in France: "Merci, All Out members! We're in love and today, at last, we're getting married. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition and took a stand for love and equality. Now, let's celebrate love."

Today at 17:30 in France, Bruno and Vincent will get married – the first gay couple to legally marry in France. It will be a beautiful moment and the first of many, as hundreds of couples will join them in the coming weeks. Here's the first picture of the happy couple taken yesterday:

Anti-gay opponents did everything they could to stop us, but love and equality triumphed. More than 350,000 All Out members in France played a crucial role in this victory. From diverse backgrounds, we joined our voices for equality with organizations and individuals throughout France. Here's how we won:

Rallies for love in 16 cities: from Marseilles to Montpellier, Paris to Nice, All Out members hit the streets to show that all families are equal.

>> In Marseille, the members of All Out defend equality, November 2012

Our petition broke all records: With 327,000 people, All Out members joined the fight to support love and marriage for all through an online petition. These signatures were presented to Parliament just before a key vote.

>> With Najat Belkacem-Vallaud, government spokesman and Minister of Women's Rights

We placed an ad in Le Monde: In the Senate, the marriage equality law was in danger and could be blocked by two votes. Thanks to donations from more than 500 members, we published an unmissable ad in Le Monde to call on Senators to vote for love and equality.

>> With MPs in the National Assembly

More than 4 million people saw our messages on social networks: We helped change the public debate by countering homophobic prejudices with our messages of love, tolerance, family values and equality.

>> This celebration macro was shared 27,000 times on Facebook in four languages and triggered a lot of discussion globally

It's so wonderful that people in France can now marry the person they love. That's why All Out exists. Together, we're building a powerful global movement for love and equality. There are more than 350,000 of us in France, and 1.6 million of us across the globe.

Whether it's in France, Cameroon, Uganda, Russia or anywhere, we're building a world where no one has to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity, because of who they are or who they love. Thank you for being part of it.

With hope and gratitude,

Andre, Guillaume, Hayley, Jeremy, Marie, Sabelo, Sara, Joe and the rest of the All Out team

PS: In 76 countries, being gay is a crime. In 10 countries it can cost you your life. All Out is working to bring those numbers to zero. More than 300 All Out members already support us with a small monthly donation. Can you help us to win more victories by chipping in?

PPS: For 6 months, our campaign has created a media uproar. Here is a selection: France 24, TV5 Monde, Europe 1, and the New York Times.

Support All Out!

We don't take money from governments or corporations, so the only people we have to listen to are our members. Our tiny team stretches every contribution to make them count.

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity – lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and all that's between and beyond – to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.

This is a campaign of Purpose Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.

yesterday I got this email from 38 degrees re a UK political issue

This could be very serious. The Conservatives are floating plans to cap the number of times we are allowed to visit our GP. [1] If we run out of visits – because we've got a sickly child or long-term health condition, for example – we could be forced to pay to go elsewhere.

At the moment it's just a proposal. [2] But if the Conservatives don't see a big public backlash, it could soon be a grim reality. So let's raise an outcry as quickly as possible and push them to drop the idea immediately.

Please sign the urgent petition now: tell health minister Jeremy Hunt to rule out limiting our access to NHS GPs:

Jeremy Hunt will be watching the public's reaction carefully. He is an ambitious politician with an eye on his own popularity. If he sees a huge petition growing fast, he'll realise this is damaging his ratings. So if enough of us sign, we could play a key role in getting this idea dropped.

Being able to visit the family doctor when we need it is a bedrock of a decent health system. GPs are often our first port of call when we're ill. [3] Limiting access to GPs could mean a dangerous illness is left undetected until it's too late – unless of course you've got private medical insurance…

But this isn't just about GPs. This is about a principle at the heart of our battle to protect the NHS. Since the NHS was created, everyone in Britain has been able to rely on visiting a doctor as often as we need to. Limiting access would undermine the NHS at its very foundations. So let's send the Conservatives a strong message: drop this terrible idea.

Thanks for being involved,

David, Rebecca, Travis, Blanche and the 38 Degrees Team

PS: Here’s what the chair of the Royal College of GPs said about these proposals: “This was obviously written by someone who has never been unwell, or has never met people who work in the health service." Let’s not let the idea get any further – please sign the petition now:

[1] Daily Mail: Fury as Tories look to limit the number of times you can see your GP each year:
Independent: Cap on number of GP visits being considered by Tories:
[2] The proposal is contained in a "Conservative Policy Forum" paper on NHS policy, you can see the whole thing here:
[3] See for example this campaign on the importance of going to see your GP early if you could have symptoms of bowel cancer:

today the petition has 162,000 signatures.

The net can be a great tool for activism. People who sniff at it simply because you're not away from the keyboard and making more effort are less interested in results which affect people's real lives than being a holier activist than thou.


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