The Samovar

Question about protest
August 10, 2007, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Activism, Politics

A question I wrote to myself. Any ideas?

Forms of protest that were effective in the past are not effective now because they are expected, dealt with and integrated into standard procedures. In the past, it might have been enough to point out how many people were being killed or hurt because it wasn’t expected. Now this tactic fails – a newspaper won’t print that sort of news. This is justified on the basis that news has to be ‘new’ and this sort of thing isn’t new. The real dynamic underlying it is that news media is run in the interests of the wealthy and powerful (through direct and indirect influences), and they are better resourced to modify their tactics than protestors. Public relations companies specialise in exactly this sort of thing. An example is the global warming debate – the tactic of the oil companies etc. is to get across the idea that there is reasonable doubt by continually promoting new deniers heavily. Each one gets shot down but the overall impression is of a debate when in fact there is none. The question is: can we design new forms of protest that get around this? (A new tactic.) Or, can we address the fundamental dynamic that stops the long term effectiveness of protest?

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