An alternative subculture within society will contain gradients of expression which at the extreme end will manifest in some form of intellectual or emotional protest, extending into real life action against the subject. No longer just the subject of conversation and social structuring, the behaviour exhibits tendancies to deliberately undermine or create friction within the unwanted procedures or establishments. Usually, around half of those who partake in active and militant protest are in the younger generation. Post teenage young adults who have trouble coping or accepting the methodology of their culture for moral or intellectual reasons are the most likely to show radical behaviour. The slightly larger half of the average distribution of protesting adults are of all ages post early twenties, thus showing a strong concentration of the young in comparison to the broader scope of ages in the other group.
Perhaps during these earlier years of adulthood there is a higher resource of energy and willingness to act, which over time is worn down or changed which results in the dropping out of the protest movement. Otherwise perhaps when we are younger, it is more likely that we feel the most able to change the processes of the world around us, discovering that we have a social voice and that it can be listened to is empowering and this can spur further outspoken behaviour which could evolve into militant actions. There is also the factor that as we grow older, we discover that we can make more progress for change in other ways and that militant or radical outbursts against a subject doesn't always make the right point to the right people.
The majority of radical and protest movements are centred on the left hand side of politics. This means that for the most, the protest has a moral and emotional basis rather than an economic or nationalistic basis. There is usually a large mix from all social classes within protest movements, and for those who would benefit from left wing policies the inspiration can be seen as material but for those who would pay the extra costs required to fund the left wing politics would only receive emotional rewards. These two paths tend to lead to the same place, and in some cases the emotional pathway can be the most powerful with material gain taking the second place to apathy and disagreement.
There are also protests against military action which use militant thinking in order to make their point. This fire against fire mechanism often results in confusion and hypocrisy which creates a separate subsection of protest movements who adopt peaceful means. Soft power in protest requires the use of art, literature, and public speaking in order to spread awareness of the message. Both groups often work side by side for major rallies but contain themselves as independently operating entities when required to identify their methods.
Political leaders often attempt to figurehead protest movements in order to associate a vote in their direction with the notion of the ideal being pushed forward. This style of politics can result in big changes in government protocol but can also be used to shepherd militant and radical thinkers into the mainstream political wings resulting in little change. In other nations political leaders strongly prohibit protest and use military force to halt the progress of even the peaceful actions that could be seen as arguing with the state.
The origins of political activism in the modern era can be found in the 50s and 60s with global protest against the accumulation of nuclear weapons. This movement still exists today and although has not been able to halt their development, has perhaps been a key factor in the calming down of the frenzy of demonstrations and testing that dominated the latter half of the twentieth century. A mixture of peaceful and militant protest continues to take place, with groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Green Peace and Friends of the Earth taking major headlines in the nature of their activism.
This does not say that political activism is modern, for millennia the human culture has grown in one direction, formed disagreement, and then grown in other directions. Bloodshed and war have been a corner stone in any major change in the past, and for modern activism and protest, it can be said for the first time that it is not necessary to use brute force to make worthwhile changes.
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