Protest - Journal of Omnifarious
Apr. 3rd, 2005
01:00 am - Protest
I've been thinking about protest and societal change...
Someone (I wish I had a link to the article) wrote about the complete failure of protest as a tool for changing things in recent years. The person made a really excellent point.
Their point was that in the 60s, things were in such a state that people openly flaunting societal norms was scary. People wondered what else these people might be capable of if they were willing to *gasp* wear colorful non-standard stuff and strut down the street making noises that weren't standard street parade type nosies.
That's no longer scary. It's, at best, entertainment, and at worst a nuisance. Some people have been trying to up the ante by purposely blocking traffic, and others by vandalizing property. The first just makes you more of a nuisance, and the latter turns you into a criminal who's voice people will pointedly ignore, no matter what you say.
The real way to change it is to organize protests. No longer have them be chaotic groups of people all with their own hand-made signs and colorful clothing, expressing their individuality. Have it be ranks of files of people carry identical signs and wearing very similar (or identical) clothing. That would again be scary.
The problem with the latter approach is that you then end up looking like what we think of as fascists. And in truth, being organized enough to pull off stuff like that really does run you the danger of promulgating a narrow-minded, fascist mindset incapable of tolerating differences of opinion.
I don't really know what the answer is. I just know that what's being done right now doesn't work. Does the WTO really fear (or even care about) the opinion of the average citizen, even after the protests here in Seattle?