There are three people standing outside of City Hall, one an Activist and he/she has a loud bullhorn in their hand so better for the mayor to hear what is said outside his office window. The volume is turned way up, and all in the area can hear, "Come out, come out little piggy or we will blow you house down!" The second person standing on Fourth Avenue waiting to be invited inside is the Advocate.
The Advocate is a gentle person who will go through the required staffer to arrange a meeting, they see themselves as representing those with little influence in politics; they are good and noble people. They create organizations, nonprofits to try to balance the state of power whether it is local or national, they get along. There is the third person who will not stand but sit in the automobile waiting for that lunch date and that is the diplomat. They will often run interference between the first two and the political figure hiding in the fortress be it the Bastille or just any city hall. One of the great problems when dealing with politicians is we do not know who we are, there are some activists who will never ask anything from a politician, they demand or will confront the person and embarrass them to no end. Good example of effective activists was the Gay Rights organization of the 70s called "Act Up." Currently, we have a group of women who call themselves "Code Pink." Both groups will interrupt a press conference, stop a presentation by a Secretary of State, and embarrass the hell out of some politician who is saying nothing but is taking a long time saying it. I make no bones about it; these noble people are my favorite type of organizers. I consider myself in this group; but we need all three.
Here is what Code Pink looks like working:
link to news.antiwar.com
Once again if you read the link above about the split between two noble organizations NOW and Code Pink over a Hillary endorsement in 2007 you should begin to understand the difference between the Activist and the Advocate.
The third part of this triumvirate is the most difficult one to understand because it is created by the blurring of lines between the first two; we speak of the diplomat, the smoother, the person who comes in and spends most of their time telling the politicians what they want to hear and not, "Come out, come out little piggy... ... ." The diplomat, most times, will leave them smiling, the advocate will cause them to take Tums; the activist will just get thrown out. We need all three, and yes some of my closest friends belong to one or the other groups of fighters. We do our best work when we work together, first the hammer and chisel, then the polite request for a meeting and finally, "Let's do Lunch."
Knowing which group you belong is surly important, but working with the other two is critical to our success.
"Tour pour un,
Un pour tous"