“Activist” has become a self-congratulatory term people apply to themselves. It seems to describe a sense of vocation more than a salaried job role, a sort of free-floating challenger who attaches themselves to rifts and points of friction and distress in society, and prospers from, and by increasing, that conflict. They are a bit like the extremophile microorganisms that cluster and thrive in the hot waters around thermal vents, except that micro-organisms don’t seem to do much harm.
Activists often operate by inserting their particular grievance into a more general injustice and then diverting the outrage caused by this injustice to fuel their own cause. Thus, Racial Justice activists insinuated themselves into the Grenfell tower tragedy. Noting that a horrifying 85% of the victims were of colour, they proclaimed this an example of Racism in Britain. This meant they could add immolating 62 people because of their race to the rap sheet that stands against Britain, a monstrously evil crime that supercharges the anti-racist campaigns with an enormous boost of outrage.
At the same time, the Grenfell Towers protests could gain energy from the word “racist” which, as we’ve already discussed, has become one our language’s most potent condemnations, due to the hard work of previous generations of civil rights campaigners.