Top 10: Activist Superpowers

Contrary to popular misconception, activism isn’t only for dreadlocked misfits and Molotov cocktail-throwing troublemakers. Activism is a vital part of participating in a dynamic society and playing our part in the change we wish to see. In a world crying out for change we all need to embrace our activist spirit.

Far from the one-size-fits-all stereotype, activists come in all shapes and sizes, each bringing their own set of skills to the movement to shift the paradigm. Carving out a niche for activism in our everyday lives is easy once we’ve discovered our own activist superpowers. The trick is to find your natural pace of ‘active being’, and then commit with purpose.

Here’s a run-down of what we at SHIFT think are the Top 10 activist superpowers. What’s your superpower?

10. Visionary

Archetype: You’re the idealistic instigator – the one who inspires action and rallies the troops. Comfortable in leadership positions, you are cool in a crisis and a master strategist. Chances are you are the spearhead of change who planted the seed that sprouted the group or initiative you work with.

Superpowers: Inspiration, charisma, and strategic vision.

Secret weapon: The seeds of change!

9. Blockader

Archetype: Everything about you screams activist – you are the usual suspect, and, let’s face it, everyone can tell. Every chance you get, you’re living your values on the frontline because nothing is more important to you. You’ve occupied and blockaded, been there and done that, and you probably designed the t-shirt.   

Superpowers: Fearlessness, solidarity, and a great deal of stamina.

Secret weapon: Tactical misdirection!

8. Diplomat

Archetype: A smooth operator, you’re the type to be negotiating and mediating, brokering deals with decision-makers at all levels. You might be a campaigner, or a lobbyist, or even a legal eagle – whatever your official role, it’s your representation of your values that gets the job done and saves the day.

Superpowers: Negotiation skills, the power of persuasion, and a steady set of nerves.

Secret weapon: Your firm handshake and the negotiating ace up your sleeve!

7. Monkey-Wrencher

Archetype: You’re at the hard-core end of activism, and you’re not afraid of what others might think. A roots radical, you like your actions direct where the impact is greatest, and you’re no stranger to sabotage. Your commitment and conviction mean you live by your values and lead the way on change.

Superpowers: Stealth, courage, and nerves of steel.

Secret weapon: A set of bolt-cutters or a monkey-wrench!

6. Geektivist

Archetype: You may not look like a typical superhero, but your tech wizardry empowers the movement with a vital online presence that amplifies the message. Like the Wizard of Oz, folks may never know the face behind the screen, but they dance to the beat of your keystrokes nonetheless.

Superpowers: Digital problem-solving, hacker skills, and lightning coding speed.

Secret weapon: The DoS (Denial of Service) attack!

5. Detective

Archetype: You may not appear on the frontline much, but it’s often your work that puts people there. The investigators and researchers who bring the movement the information it needs to act on are integral to change. Where would we be without the likes of Assange, Snowden, Manning – and you?

Superpowers: Curiosity, critical thinking, and a finely-tuned bullshit detector.

Secret weapon: Your recording device

4. Paradigm Builder

Archetype: A builder of the new paradigm in the most literal sense, you bring your practical skills to the front of the curve and set the trend. Whether you’re building Earthships, rocket stoves, or permaculture gardens, you’re in your element when you’re getting your hands dirty.

Superpowers: Craftsmanship, experimental genius, and upcycling wizardry.

Secret weapon: Pretty much any tool that falls into your hands

3. Downshifter

Archetype: A master of the art of simplicity you already inhabit the new paradigm. You’re off the treadmill and on the case, and everyone wants to know the secret behind your smile. A low-footprint locavore, your life in the slow lane sets the pace for a revolution of harmony with nature.

Superpowers: Conscious consumption, a light ecological footprint, and the art of post-carbon simplicity.

Secret weapon: The time on your hands to get involved!

2. Undercover Agent

Archetype: Far from the stereotype of the usual suspects, nobody would guess you’re an activist. You slide seamlessly between roles like Clark Kent into Superman, or a knitting nanna on the frontline. Whatever your disguise you are camouflaged in the crowd, perfectly positioned for a precision strike.

Superpowers: The element of surprise, a social license to operate, and the ability to blend in with your crowd.

Secret weapon: Your camouflage!

1. Culture Jammer

Archetype: You stand out, and you love it. Whatever your art, you possess a power of persuasion that you deliver with infectious charm. Artists have always flirted with revolution, and as a great improviser you use your artistic intuition to pack a powerful punch wherever it is needed.

Superpowers: Creativity, imagination, and a wicked sense of fun.

Secret weapon: Whatever the tools of your art are – the pen is mightier than the sword, and so are the paintbrush, the guitar, and the tambourine!

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