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I've been thinking lately that protesting (eg marching 60s style, waving banners and yelling) does more harm than good to a cause.
At the vast majority of protests (and they happen with some regularity in Canberra so I know :tongue the crowd is made up of ageing socialists, hippies and students. They might have a very good argument but the average people walking past on their lunch break are not going to hear it. Instead they are going to think "Yeah, that's all well and good, but why don't you get a haircut and get a job? I want to sit around all day with dreadlocks too but unfortunately I can't because my daddy isn't rich."
I think the anti-social attitude of most protestors trivializes their causes in the eyes of the majority. If I was organizing a protest I would want to actually achieve my goal so I would:
A) Ban all drums and chants
Ban all signs except ONE banner I and my organizational team had made to announce what we were trying to achieve.
C) Enforce a protest dress code. No dreadies, no bare feet, suits if possible. This would give the impression that what we were protesting about was so important that ordinary people had taken time off work to make their voices heard. It would in effect appear to be a political rally, which is IMO the only way a protest is going to make whoever you are protesting at even give you and your cause a second thought. It would also mean regular folk walking past who agreed with what you are protesting about might even stop and join in, instead of watching curiously until some hippy gives them a venemous glance because they have a job and a haircut and are therefore obviously part of the "evil empire."
I think that the way protests are traditionally conducted in the western world is counter productive, all it does is make people think "Oh look a protest. Yeah, whatever" :wacko:
In fact they are so badly conducted that it's almost as if the people doing them don't want any real change at all, they just want to shout and rattle their cages. Perhaps they are all REALLY working for the government? :ninja: (juts kidding I'm not quite that paranoid yet.)
Anyone esle have an opinion on this?
Well I don't think that the dresscode or banners is a problem, it might be because:
- Everyone protests. There are protests nearly every week here in Quebec, this makes the public insenstive overtime.
- Numbers. gathering a 10,000 or even 50,000 protagonists looks big, but it isn't enough to influence a country on a scale of millions.
- Radicals. The cameras usually chatch those who are a bit too harcore for the sake of intertainment, and thier behavior casts a shadow onto the others.
- Unity. There are still too few causes that have a banner ''color'', and 100,000 shirsts of the same color or other item makes a much bigger impact.
Hmm it seems as if there is a variable I hadn't thought of (silly me), protests may have a different frequency or be made up of different kinds of people in different countries.
I just sort of assumed that anywhere in the Western world would be sort of like Australia, but it sounds as if the everyday people of Quebec take to the streets more often than Australians. In Australia we have protests every week but they are always about 80% alternative people.
Then again you guys are Frenchies and the French love their revolutions!
Yeah more the latter. I did go to a union rally about the proposed changes to workplace relations laws, but that's different. It was alot of average looking people with jobs. The chanting students were kind of embarrassing, yelling about war in the middle of people's speeches about trade relations.Originally Posted by onlainari
It's just that I often agree in principle to things people protest about (war, the environment etc) but i can't shake the feeling that a much better way (maybe the only way) would be to put on a suit, join the system and then change it when you have the power. So I walk past. Banging a bongo and screaming "murderer" at people is just f**kn stupid.
Sorry about the harsh language, but it pisses me off. I think real social change is being held back by the methods we apply to change things.
EDIT: Protest is the only legal avenue for social change available in most people's minds besides voting. I am just worried that it does more harm than good.
Then again people wouldn't be protesting if they were the majority, they would find themsleves (in most cases) being represented by the government they voted for. Maybe I am just part of the majority and that's why protestors seem like idiots to me. :huh:
Last edited by Kahoolin; October 18th, 2005 at 04:00.
You know, you make a very good point. These protests really don't accomplish anything because they all seem to degenerate into name-calling and empty slogans. And I really hate slogans.
Oh darn, I'm getting started. Let's see if I can make this all make sense.
I have a fundamental problem with using other people's words. This probably stems from a base belief in ownership of concept, and a simple lack of any personal resource beyond intelligence at a young age. Basically, I had nothing but words so I considered them my most valuable posession.
In pursuing this ideal, I have discovered that most people believe something rather similar. Basically, if a person cannot be bothered to make his own words than his argument must be meaningless. The problem is, the effect is deeper than simply ignoring the offending comment. It actively closes the mind, making further arguments useless no matter how logical. One use of a slogan or cliche can destroy an entire hour worth of debate.
Further observation has led me to believe that the subject of such an attack switches into a sort of mental defensive posture. Logic goes out the window and the most base of beliefs come to the forefront of the mind. Essentially, they mentally drop to the level of their attacker to deal with his empty words directly. Even if they don't verbalize anything, their mind swithes into a kind of deafened fervor, blocking out all beliefs other than the ones they believe dependable. This is the principle that drives mob mechanics. When a mass of people drop into this state, they become driven by their basest and most emotionally volatile beliefs. If the leader of the mob can link them all to a single concept, they become a massive force driven to a single purpose. As they descend further into denial and mental shutdown, they become more and more dangerous.
This mental lockout is something I have to deal with constantly in the field of ministry. The problem is that the average Chrisitan honestly believes that a few cliches will turn the most hardened "bad person" from their wayward path. The truth is far more complicated. In fact, the followers of other religions are just as fervent as we are and the use of slogans and/or empty quotes simply lowers the field of battle to a level that accomplishes nothing, as both sides ignore everything but what they believe. I have seen far too many hopeful converts be turned away by this kind of behavior. It is especially frustrating when I'm making real progress with someone and an "evangelist" breaks in and says something stupid enough to ruin it all.
True story: I had been talking with the daughter of a High Priestess of the Wiccan religion. Yes, I deal with some interesting people. Anyway, we had been peacefully discussing points of both faiths for quite some time. I had admitted to a lack of information in a few areas, but she had agreed that she had only really been turned off by a handful of overzealous "Christians" early on in life. She and I were really getting along, mostly thanks to her slightly ignorant companion actually listening and not ruining it all. Then the other guy came back.
He sat down next to me. I swear, the first thought that crossed my mind was please don't say anything stupid. So, of course, he listened for maybe two minutes and said the absolute worst thing possible. I steeled myself, but I still couldn't believe what he said. We were talking about Christian beliefs on redemption, and he decided a testimony was in order. He recited some dreck about finding Christ, repenting, how his life rocks and all the pagans are totally pathetic and stupid...you know what I'm talking about. Then he said it and my jaw dropped.
"You need to stop being a sinner or you won't go to Heaven."
I SWEAR! And, of course, the discussion instantly exploded. Raven's companion said something about Christians being closed-minded. I tried to calm everyone down. Then the agnostic chimed in with something about having stopped being a Christian and having stopped being a Catholic two years later. Of course, my idiot Brother took instant offense and it was all over. I wanted to strangle him. I ended up leaving angry, I think Raven left turned off from Christianity forever, and no one really gained anything from the discussion.
All because one person couldn't be bothered to think about what he was saying.
Anyway, my view on protests is that they function by creating a mob in a fervent state and expecting people to listen to them. Unfortunately, they use slogans and propaganda and such methods and it just puts everyone else in the defensive state. In the end, the people stupid enough to blatantly protest end up only hurting their cause.
Quote for probably forever 'cause it rocks:
"Slaughter them, men, and bring me their hats."
@Neo, wow, that was ... wow.
@Robotnik, here in Toronto, our protests aren't as common, but they get good. Last good protest we had was about 300,000 people, about 500 arrests and a couple of people trying to break the police riot line, (with the police laying a well deserved smackdown on said stupid people).
All that this protest accomplished was to annpy a number of people. Protest marches don't seem to accomplish much. On the flip sid, if you set up a localised protest, (on the steps to legislature), that may accomplish something, (a Minister may visit).
Overall, I would say that protests are fairly inneffective, tho.
A little pain never hurt anyone - Larry
You got that right ^_^Originally Posted by robotnik
Actually the French lost the french revlution.... Remember? The King and Queen got their heads cut off for it. I would call that a solid loss.That would be because it's one of the few cases where French win .
They can't even kick their own asses.