Essay:Underground political movements
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There are certain political movements whose adherents do not feel free to express themselves openly, for fear of social disapproval, censorship, or other repercussions. If you've ever wanted to post a political comment to Facebook and then thought, "I better not say that," that was probably a comment typical of one of those underground political movements. You know that even if you got away with posting it, no one else would dare to hit the "Like," "Share," etc. buttons or make a favorable comment. The only comments people feel comfortable about posting in response to such postings are messages of opposition.
The types of causes that have been underground have differed from era to era. Arguably, efforts to legalize drugs and homosexuality fell into that category. People felt afraid to openly defend those behaviors because there was such a stigma. Hippies and gays were deemed dangerous, defective, immoral, etc. Communist beliefs also probably fell into that category of underground movements during the Joseph McCarthy era; undoubtedly, there were some communists, but they learned that they could not agitate openly. So they quietly read their communist books and perhaps shared their ideas with a few people with whom they felt safe.
What are the underground political movements today? I daren't say, for it would be extremely unpopular to even mention them by name, but what you'll notice happens is that the adherents quietly operate websites sharing research, editorials, etc. They probably convince a few people, but those people make an accurate calculation that the time is not right to push for those causes. It's possible to anonymously agitate for those causes, but on the Internet, such people are often suspected of being trolls, and at any rate are not able to make headway because others shy away from participating in the viral spreading of those ideas. Those ideas are like seeds stored away from moisture, dormant because the conditions for successful germination are not yet present. The potential to grow into a tree, and then a forest of trees, exists but at the moment, it would be a waste of resources to attempt to realize it.
Then one day, it becomes safe to come out into the open. Then all that preparation bears fruit, as people take advantage of the chance to push for change. The reform usually comes fairly rapidly and the wall comes down, so to speak, within a few months or years, after perhaps a period in which the system's decay and likelihood of eventual collapse seemed apparent, but to be taking forever. But by then, there is some new tyranny forcing some other movement to remain patiently underground, awaiting its time to come forth from the shadows.