This multi-award winning channel produces programmes made by volunteers trained by the charity WORLDwrite

Download this program as an MP3 (11.0 MB, 25:11)

Subscribe to our podcasts using your preferred service:

Help with our podcasts

Picnic in the park: What does radicalism mean today?


Picnic radical thumb

In this filmed discussion over a picnic in the park, volunteers chew over the meaning of radicalism today. Selfies and hashtags may be popular forms of expression for campaigners but do they constitute new forms of protest? Does what they express from cancer awareness to the kidnapping of girls represent radicalism today? As no one is for the kidnapping of girls or a terrible disease, one volunteer points out, they are challenging nothing. Another points out that being radical now seems to be mainstream and being ‘anti-capitalist’ the badge of a good citizen. Radicalism and so called radicalisation is also feared as holding strong views, making judgements and taking sides is seen as bad news. The discussion raises numerous questions and your thoughts would be most welcome.

Related topics: Debates, Global

Subscribe to our newsletter


Leave a comment now

Emma said:

I think that a lot of what people were pointing out that PR has won out over radicalism in disseminating ideas and getting support for them nowadays. The Cancer selfie thing and #Bringbackourgirsl are classic examples of this– they PR for good causes, but still PR and so lacking the nuance and debate of genuine movements that are not carefully run and basically advertising campaigns. The media is so crafted by PR because it is easier than finding actual stories now that we are all blind to it.

Aman said:

A very interesting debate on what radicalism means today. Twitter can be a positive force, and although it may not be a big enough vehicle for change, it is the most powerful tool for raising awareness and soreading the word, worldwide.

Natasha said:

I believe social media is more of a tool to disseminate radical messages but I don’t personally see it as a form of radicalism. I think radicalism is still the same essentially although different forms may appear.

Fisayo said:

Really interesting discussion that raised many of the questions and debates that I struggle with internally.

One area that I would have liked to expand on more would be the idea that in order to be radical you must have a concrete blueprint for an alternative. The beauty of the occupy movement for me (although it did have its flaws) is that it challenged the system despite not necessarily offering/suggesting an alternative path. In this way it was able to act as a sort of experiment in democracy where alternative communities were physically created and the desirable conditions for change could be discussed. I think that radicalism is often shut down by the requirement that things can only be challenged if a (‘better’) alternative is brought forward to replace it. This halts the discussion/ development of what this possible alternative could be before it can even begin.

In this way movements such as Occupy and #bringbackourgirls to me are always positive because they encourage people to increase their awareness and investment in their wider community and in this way are a potential catalyst for debate. Debate, I believe, is the key to change.

Malissa said:

I feel like taking a selfie is not really raising awareness for cancer. I think it may do a little bit but it doesn’t actually tackle the issue being presented. It is just a picture. I find that hardly radical. I find it more safe than anything.

Rezwana said:

It is interesting, that as an A-level student in college I am being taught that a radical feminist are those women that fight against patriarchy by refusing to get married, taking part in slutwalks and so on. 

funmi said:

When I think of radicalism, I believe it’s about changing social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems. In this day in age I don’t feel things been done is radical, for example there’s a feminist group saying we shouldn’t shave our armpits and legs etc … , were conforming to being ‘feminine’ ‘why don’t men have to shave but us as women have to!?’. A person not shaving isn’t ‘radical’ as it doesn’t change women’s rights politically; it’s more making people aware of how they feel.