Postprotest or positive resistance

For analytical reasons, I think it is important to see the difference between positive resistance and postprotest resistance. At the Disarmament Camps 92, 93 and 95 in Sweden, we had a rule against all protests and negative messages, which we felt made the resistance camps more constructive and attractive for both locals and the workers from the fighter-bomber company. But it wasn’t until the Vine & Fig Tree plantings 2005; the Swedish plowshares started to experiment with a more consistent postprotest, proactive and performative approach.

The narrative and symbolic strength of proactive/postprotest resistance, from what I understand, is that one is directly solving the problem (for a moment, or in a specific place, or by disarming a few weapons, or by dismantling some machines). The focus for proactive resistance would be: How do we solve the problem (at least for a moment)? This is actually the same technique they would teach in creative writing for writing a good book: Show, don’t tell!

Positive disobedience, on the other hand, is not actually solving a problem, it is civil disobedience promoting a solution. It doesn’t show us what it wants, it tells us. Then positive resistance is indirect like the negative protest (which is being against something). The focus for positive resistance, which also makes it different from negative protest, would be: How do we as clearly as possible articulate our visions for a better world?

Postprotest doesn’’t contradict the positive approach; we are not constructing a dichotomy; it is more of an analytical distinction. Postprotest/proactive resistance includes the positive message, but positive resistance doesn’t have to include the proactive part: be “doing the solution”.

Ok, this is a quick reflection which helps me understand the dynamics of resistance.

Per Herngren
May 15, 2007, version 0.1


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