The power of the wave: activism rainbow region-style
Hartman, Y & Darab, S 2014, 'The power of the wave: activism rainbow region-style', M/C Journal, vol. 17, no. 6.
The counterculture that arose during the 1960s and 1970s left lasting social and political reverberations in developed nations. This was a time of increasing affluence and liberalisation which opened up remarkable political opportunities for social change. Within this context, an array of new social movements were a vital ingredient of the ferment that saw existing norms challenged and the establishment of new rights for many oppressed groups. An expanding arena of concerns included the environmental damage caused by 200 years of industrial capitalism. This article examines one aspect of a current environment movement in Australia, the anti-Coal Seam Gas (CSG) movement, and the part played by participants. In particular, the focus is upon one action that emerged during the recent Bentley Blockade, which was a regional mobilisation against proposed unconventional gas mining (UGM) near Lismore, NSW. Over the course of the blockade, the conventional ritual of waving at passers-by was transformed into a mechanism for garnering broad community support. Arguably, this was a crucial factor in the eventual outcome. In this case, we contend that the wave, rather than a countercultural artefact being appropriated by the mainstream, represents an everyday behaviour that builds social solidarity, which is subverted to become an effective part of the repertoire of the movement. At a more general level, this article examines how counterculture and mainstream interact via the subversion of “ordinary” citizens and the role of certain cultural understandings for that purpose.