Problematic Protests

Should I join a protest? Should you?

It turns out, at least in this day and age, protests are problematic agents of change.

Guidelines for starting or joining a protest:

  1. Do you have a legitimate grievance against a commonly accepted illegitimate power, institution or societal norm or establishment?
  2. Are you willing to go the distance and risk everything—your reputation, your income, your relationships, your future and perhaps your life?
  3. Are you willing to accept that the change that you fight for may not come within your expected time frame, may not come within your focus of the situation, may not come within your lifetime or may not come at all?

If you answered YES to those three questions, then you might consider joining or starting a protest. How to evaluate your decision:

ONE: Is your cause both worthy and viable.

• 2003 The Iraq War Protests: Worthy? Generally. Viable? No. The powers that be didn’t care what protestors thought. They went to war anyway.

• 1960 Civil Rights Protests: Worthy? Yes. Viable? Eventually. The legitimacy of the requests far exceeded the ability for government to ignore the worthiness of the underlying reality of what the protests were about.

• 2009 Occupy Movement Protests: Worthy? Yes. Viable? No. Although millions lost jobs and their homes, the central aspect that this was Wall Street and the powers that be are deeply entrenched with that band of thieves negated any hope of success for this movement.

TWO: You may die pursuing your ideals.

• 1989 The Tienanmen Square protests resulted in thousands of dead Chinese dissidents and resulted in no change in policy.

• 2011 The Arab Spring Revolts created nothing but chaos with tens of thousands dying if not hundreds of thousands, including Syrians who were emboldened by the so called success of the Tunisians and possibly the Libyans. The result? ISIS, and the Arab Winter with only Tunisia surviving the tumult that has rocked the region for a decade.

THREE: Change is hard.

• Women’s voting, Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Black rights, Workers and Teachers strikes throughout the ages and dozens of other examples. All of those protests, movements or actions resulted in change—eventually. Most took years if not decades.

The Problem

  • These days, organizing a protest is an app on your phone. Tap, tap, tap: Meet at First and Main, bring banners and gas masks.
  • Your cause might be worthy, but we’ve all now got Protest Exhaustion.
  • And the biggest deterrent to any protest—actually making a statement, actually raising awareness in the world today—counter-protest insurgents. Activists actively seeking to disrupt and escalate violence in your “peaceful” protest.

Do protests work these days? My personal belief is no. You want to champion a cause, change the world? Start a GoFundMe page to oust the politicians that are in the pockets of the lobbyists who actually run the world.




Up until recently, protests seemed to work much more effectively. And I believe this was due to the egregious injustices that people had endured. As those injustices fall to the righteous revolts whereby lawmakers enact corrective and healing laws, fewer and fewer truly dreadful inequities remain to be corrected.

Yet, folks still feel lesser than—as they should. Look at income inequality, the rich and the rest of us, the 10% and the 90% and then there’s the gender and racial income inequality too. There’s the healthcare issues, and firearm reform. And a dozen other hot-topic issues. However, the intensity of injustice, the divergent level of what wrongs exist now compared to what the future might look like — someday, are not expansive enough to engender the protests reflective of the imbalances of the past.

When such apathy occurs, and it has, the only way to change the system is from within. Green shoots sprouting within the rotting trunk of the Tree of Liberty, not without.

Blood of patriots? If the Idiot-In-Chief gets reelected, well, we may again have thousands dying to water that tree.


24 thoughts on “Problematic Protests

  1. A great topic to discuss.
    Your checklist is spot on.
    The way I see protests nowadays:
    1. people congregate and protest but no one pays attention and nothing happens
    2. people congregate and spiral only making people more resistant to change.
    There needs to be an approach somewhere in the middle. Your Go-Fund-Me page might be a good idea. Just make sure that the profits don’t go to the person who created it…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I began marching when I was in my early teens (Vietnam War) I think it was worthwhile even though my father threatened to kick my teeth in. I do think the protests made a difference. Right now – in Belarus – those protests need to get more press coverage. They will hopefully prevent that country from falling further under Putin’s poisonous thumb. Seems doubtful but then I’m sitting here waiting for lightning to start more wildfires and therefore not at all in a hopeful state of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Belarus protestors have a substantial legitimacy. The foul dictator? No legitimacy whatsoever. That’s one of those fights that has righteous on its side. The question stands, can they, the protestors, overcome the obstacles in their way.


  3. When almost half the population doesn’t even bother to vote, it’s understandable that social change is probably not going to happen quickly. Even up here, we’re still just over 2/3 turnout even though voting is so easy to do where I live.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How about an update on your publishing efforts and why it’s important to you? Need validation? I validate you! PH almost validates you! Publishing really “can’t pay” much these days unless you hit it out of the atmosphere like JK Rowling, so…’zup?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Still no news. However, your constant pestering about the topic has resolved me to petition my editor (mother) to advocate on my behalf to submit our (my, I say ‘our’ as without her edits I’d be lost), to online fiction venues.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You were being encouraging, just bustin’ on ya. Unfortunately…

          “Thanks for giving us the chance to read Earth Mother. After careful consideration, we are unfortunately going to pass at this time.
          We look forward to reading more of your work in the future and hope that this piece finds a home as well.”


  5. Brilliant post with fantastic historical background. Even PHs response was brilliant. I’m taking notes…Yes, the current protests of the day are being hijacked by the radical right to disrupt and destroy and maintain their iron resistance to change. Einstein: “An entire generation has to die before a new idea takes hold.” By the time the change resistant dinosaurs actually die and lose their grip on fossil-fuel reality, money, power and greed, the millennials who were raised with “participation trophies” will vote in AOC and people like her, and Capitalism or Democracy may evolve into a more compassionate politics–provided the earth doesn’t implode or melt down in that time. Again, brilliant post worthy of being published in a venue with much wider readership. But then, you would only attract the RWPM to counter your argument with made-up, fictional nonsense. Did you now Kamala Harris slept her way to the top, and is not qualified by birth to hold the VP office. Jesus. This is why I’ve shut off the news and stare at my Bhodi tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What continues to amaze me is the blindness toward politicizing change. Vote! Legislate! So let’s go back to the success you ascribe to the 60s. MLK and thousands of others took off work to make noise because it was time black folks stopped being wrapped in chains and dropped in fishing ponds. Did they win? Anything? Obviously not. They got a patronizing pat on the back via legislation. A law. Big fooking deal. Fifty years later here we are. Again. Legislating morality is always a failure.
    Change the law, change the politicians, change history if you want. But until we change our minds, nothing changes. Change a mind, change the world. Protests are generally self defeating, even if it looked like you won. But gee, all that fun, teargassed, ass kicked, look mom, I’m on the news! That’s me with the Molotov cocktail for “change”. There ya go, changing minds. Education, which has become a bad word in America, is the answer. What’s the great Dickens bit?

    “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree; but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

    Ignorance is the great common denominator. How scary is that?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The protests I went to had a purpose, a goal. And we won. Each and every time.
    The protests I see these days worldwide seem disorgized and are often unnecessarily violent, without a clear vision. As if protesters are clueless about what they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In yester-years, Jefferson’s sentiment might still apply. When protestors joined as a united entity to chant for change. Can you honestly say that protesting today is, or even could be, as it was 20-50-200 years ago? I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.


  9. Protests are the only way to confront corruption or injustice. Throwing money at it isn’t enough. It’s our right based on the constitution to peacefully protest. Quoting Thomas Jefferson “ there should be a revolution every one hundred years to clear the powers that be of corruption “. We the people …


    1. Protests used to be the primary means of change. Today, as my post proposes, protesting does not instill the change that one would hope. And the fact that there are instigation agents hellbent on countering your change-intent, that basically, protesting is counter productive.
      Better to focus on changing who’s in Congress than throwing stones through shop windows.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. And if they only stayed peaceful… But they don’t. *Somebody* eventually escalates the violence and your peaceful protest, organized with heart and honest intent, gets hijacked by the radicals. Happens every time these days.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That doesn’t mean we will give up our right to peacefully protest and start go fund me’s . This is our Democracy, there are people in power trying to destroy it. Hopefully they be “out” soon. Meanwhile like all democracy’s peaceful protest is right. Do you think MLK was wasting his time?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Perhaps there will be a membership only concept applied to protests. If you haven’t been vetted then you may not join our peaceful protest.
              I’m not sure if such a system would work in eliminating the insurgents that infect such protests, though. However, one can hope.

              Regarding the current political unpleasantness… how did they get into power? Lies, money and foreign corruption of the social internet. Nothing to do with protests.

              MLK? Different time, different tools, different situations. The world’s information channels have devolved, have become polluted since MLK. I’ve watched 86 days of Portland Oregon protests. All the protesters have accomplished is to earn the ire of Oregonians and the police and allow the fascist IdiotInChief an excuse to execute Jackboot secret police empowered suppression. Not quite what MLK would have wanted.

              Hey, thanks for participating. I’d love for Gandhi like disobedience to continue to work. It won’t. Becoming a Rep or Senator in your state will though. You’re well spoken, maybe you can run for office… (smile)


              1. To shorten that four or five panels above into two words – Term Limits.
                It is inexcusable that we focus on 3.5 years of Trumpisms when he is simply out of the closet with political bullshit that 100 years of others have left under the table. There are people who have been in office for 40+ years. I’m sure Lewis was a great man. How long was he there? Exactly what did he get done once ensconced for life? Show me the bill that changed minds and lives. Both sides of the aisle need an enema and term limits are one easy way. You think they’ll vote themselves out office? Don’t hold your breath. Pelosi, McConnell, Shumer, Sanders, Warren, Pence, Rogers, Hoyer, Young, Kaptur …they ALL need to go home. If you haven’t gotten shit done since ’83, get the fuck out. Eight years. Max. Eliminate pork-barrel bill vote-getting, send the lobbyists home. Eight years, thank you for your service, leeches. Go home.


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