Disruption done right?

Disruption is all the vogue today. Silicon valley and other startup companies are disrupting any industry imaginable. It also happens in the food business. Hampton Creek is disrupting the egg industry, for instance, with their egg replacing products.

DXE (Direct Action Everywhere) and other animal rights “subdivisions” are into “disrupting speciesism”. They literally disrupt people shopping or eating. There’s many videos on youtube of them doing that. I’ll write about DXE some other time, but I just wanted to say one thing about disruptive protests.

While I admire the courage and commitment of the protesters, I see a lot of anger in most of those protests. I get it, of course. People who care about what happens to animals have every reason to be angry (and sad, and frustrated). The question is how effective anger really is. Personally I don’t like to see angry people. Anger, no matter how understandable, in my view is almost the opposite of hope, the opposite of trying to reach an understanding. It increases the gap between “us” and “them”. If we are angry with people, we make the wall between us and them higher and thicker. It is especially problematic when we are angry about something that the people we want to reach are actively engaging in. If we are angry about eating or buying meat, it is not easy to reach meat shoppers and meat eaters with an angry message.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea of disruption itself, but I wonder if it could be done in a more positive and more effective wayWhat if DXE could find a way to disrupt without coming across as angry and accusing? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Today I found this example of another disruption. It was done in Brussels, during talks about the TTIP trade agreements that many people are concerned about:

Look at the video. The disruptors don’t sound angry, or at least not in a negative way. Their singing (of what I personally think is a wonderful song from Les Misérables) is defiant, proud, and strong, but not angry or negative. I think this is disruption done right. This motivates me, these people make me want to join them. If I were among the audience, I would be attentive. Maybe it’s personal, but positivism, for me, inspires more confidence than anger.

4 thoughts on “Disruption done right?

  1. I’ve read lots of theory and speculation, but nothing that answers the fundamental question: How do we build a vegan world by making people hate vegans even more?

  2. What a great idea! How could anyone be angry at such a nice a capella performance??? And it certainly gets everyone’s attention. I wonder what song(s) would be appropriate for a similar animal rights based disruption?

  3. Great post. I’m also skeptical about the effectiveness of angering those opposed to our message, but I’ve tried to keep an open mind about how confrontation may be a useful complement to outreach. And if confrontation is useful, the situations most appropriate for its use should be defined. This is a good example of a disruption that seemed well planned and successful.

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