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  1. #1
    Junior Member DonCoryon's Avatar
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    Default Protests: Legitimate form of communication or simply group temper tantrum?

    There are plenty of ways to raise awareness of an issue. Writing is a great way to convey ideas. Writing a column for a newspaper or writing a blog post can help spread your ideas. Making a YouTube video. Talking about the issues with friends, family, and total strangers. Talking on FB or here and other online forums. Getting messages back and forth and having them spread like wildfire is very easy in contemporary times.

    There are plenty of legal ways to enact change. You yourself can run for office. You can get involved in party politics. Don't ignore the parties, because they control the process. You have to enact change from within. Vote in primaries and elections. Address your elected officials at town hall meetings, council meetings, etc. Go to speeches and party events, not to protest but to get your message to the office holder / candidate.

    Yelling and screaming in the street is a complete break down of the process. It may have been necessary due to technology limitations in times past, but it is no longer.

    (This post is obviously inspired by the OWS. However, this thread is meant to discuss the tactic of protesting and not the issues of any particular protest.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonCoryon;1719142[B
    ](This post is obviously inspired by the OWS. However, this thread is meant to discuss the tactic of protesting and not the issues of any particular protest[/B].)
    Very good thread.

    I agree with you that legitimate means or channels need to be used, including mundane or procedural democratic channels, on the other hand I do believe that protest itself has legitimacy still. I've more to say about this but I'll have to get back to it in a while.

  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I think OWS is a legitimate mode of protest. People are frustrated and need to let that out, and calling it a 'temper tantrum' is condescending.

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    Senior Member ICUP's Avatar
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    Hate to say it, but I think it is akin to a temper tantrum, too, and I would not protest. I see no reason for it.
    I can understand why minority groups would do it, who are looking to gain freedoms. But just to protest against someone or something that you dislike..... seems a bit silly imho. It reminds me of a high school pep rally, but more violent and with many more consequences involved for lots of people. I think if you actually saw what messes these people made, and how they taunt and attack police, you might agree. Businesses have to put posters on their windows around Oakland that say "We are with the 99%" simply so people will not break out their store windows.... and they do it anyway.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzPbxdLXO3Q

    Here is what happens in Oakland. This Foot Locker got destroyed during Oscar Grant protests. That's not fair to the businesses of Oakland.

    If you are going to act like a criminal and a child, expect people to treat you like one.

    A peaceful protest is one thing, but I've never seen a peaceful protest in Oakland.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICUP View Post
    If you are going to act like a criminal and a child, expect people to treat you like one.
    Well sure. Although there's a difference between protest and crime. Unless its China or Syria or something.

    I take it you have the same opinion about the tax resistance protests or gadsden protests or Tea Party even?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICUP View Post

    Here is what happens in Oakland. This Foot Locker got destroyed during Oscar Grant protests. That's not fair to the businesses of Oakland.

    If you are going to act like a criminal and a child, expect people to treat you like one.

    A peaceful protest is one thing, but I've never seen a peaceful protest in Oakland.
    If only we could hold our masters to the same lofty standards

    Here is what happens to American citizens aiding wounded individuals

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLyUK0t0vQ

    How can a protest be peaceful with so many weapons being turned on citizens? It is silly.

  7. #7
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Affecting change is all about results, not legality or following forms. *shrug* The question is besides the point.

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    Senior Member ICUP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Well sure. Although there's a difference between protest and crime. Unless its China or Syria or something.

    I take it you have the same opinion about the tax resistance protests or gadsden protests or Tea Party even?
    If a good chunk of them are sitting around in tents, smoking pot, and refusing to vacate, and/or if they are looting and/or violent, then yes, especially. And yes, I think all protests are pretty silly..... including ones I agree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    If only we could hold our masters to the same lofty standards

    Here is what happens to American citizens aiding wounded individuals

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLyUK0t0vQ

    How can a protest be peaceful with so many weapons being turned on citizens? It is silly.
    I honestly find that unfair to the police of Oakland. One guy steps out of line and suddenly it is all of them. Yet, most of the crowd was hurling plates at them and throwing dumpsters off of buildings, breaking windows, etc. It was mass chaos in the streets.

    How do you suggest we stop them from ruining the city of Oakland and it's businesses and homes? Those people had turned violent and refused to vacate when told to. That police officer will get his, just like they all do when they step out of line. They serve jail terms for that shit.

    If you are going to be involved in a massive, group violence act such as refusing to vacate and turning violent against police, don't be shocked when you end up injured. All police officers are not saints, especially in Oakland, and many noobs also simply make mistakes. There is risk involved.

    After they vacated, the area was cleaned and restored, and they have now been allowed to return to the area, and to protesting. They needed to clear the area because it had become a safety hazard. Shame on those "evil masters", for protecting the citizens of Oakland.
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    I like @ICUP's logic. Some protestors are sitting around in tents, smoking pot, looting, and being "violent," so she holds that against the whole group. When some cops "step out of line," though, it's unfair to hold it against all of them.

    Anyway, to answer the question in the OP, yes, it is a "legitimate form of communication." The question, in fact, does not make sense to me. How can a form of communication be "illegitimate?" Sure, the content can be, but as with any medium, it's merely a tool to be used for good or for ill.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Right, my two cents, which is really why I stopped protesting for the most part.

    - Protests can be one way in which the very things being protested manage conflict, they can be used as a means to let of steam and effectively neutralise opposition by encouraging them to spend their energy, efforts and resources in that way. This is similar to the "temper tantrum" conceptualisation of protest, which I do think is a belittling and delegitimising way of looking at protest per se, suggesting a lack of maturity or copeing skills on the part of protestors, that its simply about frustration.

    - Societies which can handle a lot of protest are oftne those which dont change very much, there's a reason for that, its the same as the couple who appear to fight a lot but consequently are pretty stable, versus the couple which doesnt fight, couldnt bare to fight and it would be the end of it all if they did but which privately is pretty troubled and cant communicate.

    - Protests can galvinise counter-opinions which didnt exist, in any thought out or organised fashion anyway, or politicise people into a kind of "coincidential" or "accidential" support for things merely by virtue of being in opposition to the "alternative(s)" the protestors appear to favour.

    A lot of good historians of the rise of conservatism in the US, like Robert Nisbet or Russell Kirk, are honest in their acknowledgement that this was a rising tide of anti-liberalism, which actually began with the left protest movements like the Weather Underground, than anything positively supporting conservatism, they benefited though, and it set the stage for actual conservative and neo-liberal movements to emerge after that.

    Another example of this would be the whole "protest warrior" phenomenon in the US, essentially a kind of real life "trolling" if you ask me but those guys got support, money and publishing deals out of, not bad for something beginning with snark.

    - Protests have become something of a life style choice or right of passage in some contexts and for some people, it wasnt lost on me growing up how many people joined the most hardline protest groups (sometimes simultaneously of different persuasions) at university for instance but checked their membership cards in when they left university along with their other clubs or societies memberships. It was because they wanted to say they'd done that. So you can and do have people who plan participation in protests like following a band on tour or going to gigs. In fact I've known people who do both and will have a dilemma if dates for gigs and protests clash.

    In the ninties there was a debate about this within protest circles, some of them thought it was great and decided to try and take advantage of it, so occupations, reclaim the streets demos and other actions tried to catch the "party vibe", this wasnt altogether a bad thing, a lot of veteran protestors had an eye to trying to prevent violence, where media saavy or conscious of representation (you're always being judged, people reach conclusions about what you believe in accordance with your appearence or actions). Ultimately though there's a difference between street parties and protests. It shouldnt just be another sort of riskee entertainment or fun the total confusion of the two seperate things turned a lot of serious organisers off and they abandoned protesting altogether.

    - Protests dont really scare anyone, I'm not sure that industrial actions scare governments anymore either, the welfare state and division of the working population in public and private sectors with very different conditions and unionisation patterns pretty much neutralised all that.

    At a time a protest movement meant there was a credible alternative in mind, not just a vision or notional alternative, some structured, organised resistance with identifiable leaders who could enter into talks with whoever the target of the protest was, demonstrations allowed for profiling people, movements and causes but they where merely indicative of something else. That's no longer the case.

    So it is really a case of "why dont you guys vent there and we'll carry on business as usual in the mean time, when you're feeling better we're sure you'll see it our way".

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