Brandy Shufutinsky
Brandy Shufutinsky

How to Hijack a Social Movement (satire)

So, you want to make sure that your interests are highlighted and no longer ignored by the masses. Well, follow this recipe to properly hijack a social movement and you’ll see your narrative centered, erasing and replacing the needs of others.

Instructions:

  • Begin to infiltrate social movements by pretending to hold solidarity with their community. This can be accomplished in several ways, but the following two seem to be the most successful: (1) show up to their meetings, marches, and/or protests, (2) pretend to be interested in their goals, by repeating their narratives. Either or both of these steps will establish you as an “ally,” willing to sacrifice for the cause. Remember, sincerity is unnecessary.
  • Promote the idea of a “common enemy.” Nothing says solidarity like a fight against a common enemy that is seeking to destroy both you and your allies, even if it is manufacturing a generalization that does not impact both your community and the hijacked community. In most cases, a common enemy will not really exist. Don’t fret. Simply make one up. Here are a few examples of common enemies that are guaranteed to get you ally status: (1) another ethnic group, (2) the police (pretending that police brutality impact both your community and the hijacked one), or (3) a political entity. The more powerful you can depict your common enemy, the better. People LOVE a David-and-Goliath-esque
  • Dehumanize the common enemy to the point of fostering violent hatred of said enemy. The worse light the enemy can be painted in, the better. *see step 2. This step is important. The common enemy cannot have any positive qualities. This is the step where it is essential to embrace an ‘all or nothing’ approach. The enemy is ALL bad. Every last one of them.
  • Make your “oppression” worse than that of the hijacked movement’s foundational community. Here is where you have to go for the gold in the oppression Olympics. First place is the only goal. However, you cannot downplay the hijacked movement’s oppression, you just have to make sure they agree that your oppression is worse. It is during this step that there is a shift from you being in solidarity with them, that the hijacked movement is now in solidarity with you. An important part of this step is sloganeering—imbed slogans that center your ideology over the movement’s foundational community.
  • All opposition to the aforementioned steps must be crushed. Spread the narrative of “us versus them” and “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”. This will secure your narrative as the primary one, disrupting any attempts at redirecting back to the hijacked movement. Individuals will hesitate to seemingly taking the side of the common enemy, and more likely to keep quiet and not disrupt.
  • Rinse and repeat. When the hijacked social movement starts to wane, begin again with another movement.

Examples:

Please see the following for successful examples of hijacking a social movement.

Finally:

Enjoy your newly earned attention and financial support as the center of the social movement universe!

About the Author
Brandy Shufutinsky is a social worker, with a MSW from the University of Southern California and a MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego. She hopes to utilize her advocacy in social justice on a global level, working towards developing intercultural opportunities to advance diversity in the workplace and academic settings.She has previously been published in The Forward. Brandy recently completed her doctorate in education at the University of San Francisco in International Multicultural Education.
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