Making Enemies and Influencing People

Millions of people around the world disagree with our campaigns. Some completely reject our aims; others favour a negotiated, watered down version, or are unhappy with our methods. Many more misunderstand us or don’t identify with the groups we represent, or simply fear change (a natural and sensible caution.)

We need to live with these people. Unless we intend to execute the lot of them, we will need to negotiate and compromise, persuade them.

Hostility and confrontation will only make sceptics more resistant to our suggestions. Wilfully browbeating anyone who interrogates our positions will damage them, our relationships with them, and the credibility of our campaigns. It will drive them into the arms of our opponents. 

I am reminded of the BLM activist who refused, on National TV, to condemn the rioting and looting that accompanied the protests after the death of George Floyd, because looting was less important than social justice.  (Mentioned in Jon Sopel’s UnPresidented, 2020, London: BBC Books.) This played perfectly into the narratives of the reactionary far right, who want to dismiss us all as nothing but violent thieves who threaten the very fabric of American society (e.g. property.) And there is a vindictive envy in the comment, that expresses hatred of a large portion, possibly the majority, of the ordinary American (potentially) voting public. Good luck winning public support with that attitude!

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