Activism & Performance Art


Mos Def being force-fedAn individual may choose to take non-violent direct action in order to shine a light on injustice.  It frequently takes courageous people putting themselves on the line to bring about desired political changes.

Activism is action of the powerless against the powerful.  One person who steps up to challenge the status quo can quickly gain the support of allies and the public, if they can reveal an existing problem to be against the principles of a just and democratic society.

In addition, there may be a connection between activism and performance art if there is truth to the claim that, “All art is political.” 

The work of a performance artist involves the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time, with a relationship to the audience viewing those actions.  Performance artists are connecting the performing arts with issues relevant to citizens of a particular community and the world by dramatizing compelling stories about the human experience. 

PROTEST - Veterans for Peace, Rally 800

Veterans for Peace has the support of military service members and veterans from many wars; this photo shows a rally from one of the numerous protests against U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


    Pentagon Papers Release

    Daniel Ellsberg: "The Study"   (4:52)

    The Supreme Court ruled for Ellsberg's release of a top secret Vietnam war report revealing government lies as to why the war was being prolonged.


    Whistleblower: NSA Contractor

    Edward Snowden: "PRISM"  (12:35)

    Snowden discloses his access to a massive number of documents, which reveal the extensive details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the NSA.


    A Whistleblower for WikiLeaks

    U.S. Veteran Chelsea Manning  (5:16)

    Manning received a very harsh sentence for releasing vast documentation that indicates systematic cover-up of civilian casualties in our 'War on Terror'.


    Whistleblower: Ex-NSA Official

    Jesse Ventura Interview  (21:51)

    Thomas Drake was prosecuted for challenging the NSA's right to seriously harm Americans by maintaining "an industrial-scale surveillance system".


    Victory to Save An Open Internet

    Internet Activist Remembers  (23:17)

    Aaron Swartz, who died at a tragically young age, is remembered for his passionate and personal fight to continue free sharing on the Internet.


    Veterans Throw Medals in Protest

    Reconciliation & Healing March  (24:33)

    IVAW ceremony: Afghanistan and Iraq veterans threw their war medals back, after marching with Afghan civilians and 20,000 protesters to a site near the 2012 NATO summit.


    "Operation First Casualty"

    2008 Iraq Raid Re-Enactment   (5:11)

    Iraq Veterans Against the War performed a series of dramatic re-enactments of Iraq raids their members participated in while at war.


    Vietnam Veterans Threw Medals

    StruggleVideoMedia   (2:42)

    In 1971, hundreds of Vietnam Veterans Against the War threw back their medals in disgust during an angry demonstration at the steps of the U.S. Capitol.


    End Corporate Political Power

    Medea Benjamin of Code Pink   (3:12)

    Corporate power over governmental war policies needs to be taken back by ending corporations' right to use money under a "free speech" protection.


    Defending Guantanamo Inmates

    Clive Stafford Smith  (13:08)

    Stafford Smith campaigns, as their attorney, to liberate prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, and protests drone warfare, since it imposes "the death penalty without trial".


    Force-Feeding Demonstration

    Force-feeding of Yasiin Bey  (4:38)

    Yasiin Bey submits to a demonstration of the brutally painful force-feeding procedure that is administered to Guantánamo Bay hunger strikers.


    Gitmo Protest Waterboarding

    Ball State University's SCSA  (2:41)

     SCSA (Students for Creative Social Activism) held an on-campus demonstration of torture techniques still in use at Guantanamo Bay as of 2013.