Activist Glossary

Capitalism – socio-economic system of private ownership, exploitation and inequality

Class – group of people sharing common relations to how a society/economy is produced and organised

Marketisation – turning something into a market for commodities (see spotlight on marketisation)

Colonialism – domination by a group over others with military/economic/cultural/political tools

Decolonisation – abolishing that^ and liberating people from that domination (see spotlight)

Gender –  sociocultural concept that arbitrarily divides people into (usually) two groups and fucks all of them over in the process

Sex – gender in a lab coat – a complicated set of physical characteristics often incorrectly modelled as a binary, with shitty consequences. Not as simple as they tell you in biology class

Trans(/cis) – when someone’s gender assigned at birth does not(/does) match their identified gender (see LGBT+ group)

Non-binary (NB) – genders outside of the male/female binary

Sexuality – how people desire others, lots of options here

Queer – political identification working to abolish the sex/gender system

Racialisation/racism – social practice of sorting people into hierarchies of domination based on supposed common characteristics

BME – ‘Black and Minority Ethnic’ – a general UK term for people racialised as anything other than white (see BME campaign)

Borders – imaginary lines that force people to live in certain places and prevent them from moving freely

Disability – a characteristic of a person who society has decided should be deliberately excluded and then told that the problem lies with them, rather than in an inaccessible society

Intersectionality – forms of oppression interact in complex ways; we need to fight all oppression 

Direct action – collectively/individually bringing about change yourself, not waiting for others to act for you

Facilitation –  helping a meeting go well by ensuring everyone has balanced opportunities/ability to speak etc. (see spotlight on facilitation)

FOI – Freedom of Information request. Can be used with uni and colleges. See

Memes – a replacement for decent mental health services. See also Doggos

Occupation – taking and holding physical spaces to force action (e.g. from uni management), build links within a movement, run educational events etc.

Pronouns – how you’d like to be referred to (e.g. she/he/they), usually asked for at the start of meetings

Solidarity – assisting someone outside of your community on their terms

Strike – Industrial Action; workers take collective action, notably refusing to work, for political-economic ends

Zine – quick, cheap, paper publication for popular political/creative expression

UCU, Defined benefit/Defined contribution, Endowment, Divestment, BDS, Prevent, and some uni terms/locations 

For more, see:

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