PROTESTERS DEMORALISED

Leftoid Jill Sparrow reconsiders the value of protests:

It seemed to me that continuing to organise demonstrations once it had become clear that the events were getting smaller and smaller didn’t achieve that much apart from demoralising those who attended and suggesting to everyone else that hardly anyone opposed the war anymore (even though that’s certainly not the case).

On the other hand, there is an argument – and I have a certain amount of sympathy with it – that it’s always good to get people out on the street. That this very act is radicalising for people. That it gives the Left a chance to raise other issues with those who attend. That a small demo is better than no demo.

But while I sympathise with this attitude, I don’t wholly agree with it. As I said, I’ve certainly got doubts about whether there’s a point to the continuing anti-war rallies …

Surely we don’t want people to associate mass protest with not winning? Or even worse, with not even trying to win?

Too late for that, Jill. At this point, people not only associate leftist protests with losing, they associate them with losers.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/30/2007 at 09:51 AM
    1. It’s disheartening when other people lose interest in your hobbies.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 04 30 at 10:16 AM • permalink

 

    1. Once upon a time, they were interesting, newsworthy, and they were easy to organize, because, due to massive social change that was going on, people were inclined to turn up to any protest that was anti-establishment.

      Once, there would be lots of people you could rightly describe as “mainstream” at protests. As time has gone on, they have seemed more an more like the activity of a loosely organized cluster of fringe subcultures. This is especially true of Melbourne, I think.

      The protest marches of today seem like a historical curiosity, a left-over from the 60’s and 70’s. But they’re less meaningful and interesting than an explicity historical march, such as Anzac Day.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 04 30 at 10:20 AM • permalink

 

    1. Yes, but it’s still fun to make their faces change color by talking back to them…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 04 30 at 10:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. richard mcenroe, you are cruel.  I think that’s why I like you.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 04 30 at 10:52 AM • permalink

 

    1. On the other hand, there is an argument – and I have a certain amount of sympathy with it – that it’s always good to get people out on the street.

      I find that a stink-bomb placed in the mail chute works pretty well.

      “Jill Sparrow” – what a natural lefty name. One would be completely unsurprised to find such a handle associated with all kinds of squishy notions. I think if I were to become a leftist, I’d change my name to something like Hypolite Che Greenboy.

      The link to the article didn’t work for me, so I was curious: when Jill speaks of not wanting to associate mass protest with not winning, does she mean that she’s concerned about the public perception that protestors are seen as not opposing terrorism and militant Islam, or is she worried that ineffectual protests mean that the protestors are not winning their argument? If the former, perhaps she’s not entirely unredeemable. If the latter, then she is the common, or garden variety, leftoid, and can be dismissed from future consideration.

      Posted by paco on 2007 04 30 at 11:00 AM • permalink

 

    1. “mass protest”

      What?  You wouldn’t be having this problem if it was actually a mass protest.

      Posted by kcom on 2007 04 30 at 11:00 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’d give them more cred if they swept the gutters whilst blocking the streets. But no, that’s not THEIR problem. It’s the fascist bastards that run councils that keep streets clean.

      “What do we want?”
      “No taxation without an equitable wealth redistribution plan for the employability-challenged!”
      “When do we want it?”
      “Every second Thursday, credited to our main account and accessible by not later than 9am”

      Repeat…with footy whistles and steel drum accompaniment.

      Posted by CB on 2007 04 30 at 11:04 AM • permalink

 

    1. Yes, now there would be a tactic that might get some notice.  Clean, neat, and orderly protesters cleaned the streets and washed windows in Washington to protest the war…

      Never happen.

      Posted by MarkD on 2007 04 30 at 12:03 PM • permalink

 

    1. Never happen.

      Maybe councils could make it a requirement of legal street protests.

      “The organizers of said protest will ensure that all shop windows are left cleaner than they were at the beginning of the protest, and that the streets employed will be cleared of all debris.”

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 04 30 at 12:52 PM • permalink

 

    1. I find that a stink-bomb placed in the mail chute works pretty well.

      Once in high school, I accidentally dropped and stepped on a vitamin capsule during assembly. Damn near cleared out the auditorium.

      How can protest marching get stale with activists like Emma leading the charge:

      I agree with what people have said about the role of the union rallies, even if they are stage-managed. In Qld, the annual labour day rally is about as stage-managed as it gets, but it has been getting bigger and louder the last few years and it’s the first point of interaction with lots of people new to unions. Me and some other delegates at other ressearch companies are making a big push for a research workers’ contingent in the NUW bloc this year, it will be the first one ever, and we have plans for funny banners like:

      John Howard is a piece of shit:
      Strongly Agree
      Just Agree
      Neither agree nor disagree
      Disagree
      Strongly Disagree

      With a big tick next to strongly agree!

      Anyone whose ever been opinion-polled about the election for the papers would find these lines familiar, and hopefully funny. I think it’s a piece of creative genius.

      Indeed.

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2007 04 30 at 12:57 PM • permalink

 

    1. Once in high school, I accidentally dropped and stepped on a vitamin capsule during assembly. Damn near cleared out the auditorium.

      is it illegal to set off stink bombs in public? Probably so, which is a pity, because such hijinks would go down a treat alongside the hilarious banners planned for the next Labour Day rally.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 04 30 at 01:31 PM • permalink

 

    1. Surely we don’t want people to associate mass protest with not winning? Or even worse, with not even trying to win?

      Is that not the whole point of your “protests”?

      Posted by Major John on 2007 04 30 at 01:39 PM • permalink

 

    1. … and suggesting to everyone else that hardly anyone opposed the war anymore (even though that’s certainly not the case).

      Whew, that pesky reality almost penetrated her stupidity field, but she managed to hit the emergency brain shutoff button in time.

      Posted by PW on 2007 04 30 at 01:48 PM • permalink

 

    1. They just can’t put together a proper demonstration. Hint: at the first link, scroll down about halfway. That’s not a demonstrator:This is a demonstrator.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2007 04 30 at 03:44 PM • permalink

 

    1. Surely we don’t want people to associate mass protest with not winning? Or even worse, with not even trying to win?

      *sniff* Our little girl is finally becoming a woman!

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2007 04 30 at 05:05 PM • permalink

 

    1. That it gives the Left a chance to raise other issues with those who attend.

      Ah, I’d count that as the main reason why people aren’t turning up.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 04 30 at 06:54 PM • permalink

 

    1. I thought a mass protest involved fitting pontoons to PhilCo?

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 04 30 at 08:20 PM • permalink

 

    1. I just loved the link and read the entire article and comments.  It’s just great to see someone growing up at last. I hope Jill’s parents read her blog, they would be so happy.  The urge to protest at university is so strong and it only takes a little maturity to look back on it and for embarrassment to creep in.

      In my day many students were Maoists. I bet they all have red faces now if they take a trip down memory lane.

      Posted by allan on 2007 04 30 at 08:37 PM • permalink

 

    1. #5 “or is she worried that ineffectual protests mean that the protestors are not winning their argument? “

      This is what she means. Militant Islam and terrorism are not elements for consideration at all – it’s all about demonstration as a tactic although she does acknowledge that purpose is the best raison d’etre of protest (to summarise).

      Judging by the types of protests mentioned in subsequent comments (pro-Jihad Jack and pro-David Hicks) much of the purpose seems to be about getting would-be terrorists out of jail.

      Oh, and saving Muslims from attacks.

      Posted by carpefraise on 2007 04 30 at 09:15 PM • permalink

 

    1. #16 I’ve been to a few protests in my time.

      I always enjoyed the atmosphere – that of a left-wing trade fair. People selling left mags, badges, waving banners, odd collections of obscure nutters. Leftist commercialism – loved the irony.

      It was also a good opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t seen since uni.

      Now protests are all about releasing death-pushers and glorifying Hizbollah. Eeech!

      Posted by carpefraise on 2007 04 30 at 09:21 PM • permalink

 

    1. The truly fascinating thing is that they not only consider protests effective, they’ve come around to the notion that protest is the onlyeffective and morally permissible remedy.

      Given problem “A”, the correct response is to march in the streets chanting Slogans and singing Songs, while carrying Signs and Sigils of Awful Portent. (Effigies are an extreme measure, to be employed only in truly dire cases.) Presto! the Problem is on its way to being Solved!

      Then they turn around and accuse “xtianists” of “magical thinking.”

      Regards,
      Ric

      Posted by Ric Locke on 2007 04 30 at 09:43 PM • permalink

 

    1. all about demonstration as a tactic

      That’s exactly what it has always been: a tactic in a political battle. It’s a tactic almost always employed by the left, rather than the right.
      In my opinion, it’s not as effective these days. There have been so many over the years, about so many things. The public are jaded about protests, although the media still seem to think that it’s good (if second rate) copy.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 04 30 at 09:52 PM • permalink

 

    1. Protests are yet another inconvenience in cities where just getting to and from work has become a trial.
      They are an attempt to demonstrate support for a notion, but are more often wankfests for the peer group.
      My advice – get over it.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 05 01 at 08:17 AM • permalink

 

    1. Ernie G—My kingdom for a pin.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 05 01 at 10:51 AM • permalink

 

    1. What they really need is to get all radical and mobilize for mass demonstrations against the futility of mass demonstrations!

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 05 01 at 11:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. What they really need is to get all radical and mobilize for mass demonstrations against the futility of mass demonstrations!

      Hey, I’m down. TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT, IT’S DUMB FOR US TO CONGREGATE!!  TWO BITS, FOUR BITS, SIX BITS, A DOLLAR, ALL FOR DISBANDING , STAND UP AND HOLLER!! HO, HO, HO, HO CHI MINH, LET’S GET OUT FROM UNDER THESE HATS OF TIN!!!

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 01 at 12:47 PM • permalink

 

    1. In John Irving’s novel, “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, the character wonders if all the protests against Vietnam were more a result of fears of being drafted and having to go to war, rather than protests against the war itself. In other words, protesters were motivated more from personal fear than from idealism. The lack of protests against the war in Iraq suggest the same dynamic is still in operation.

      Posted by Orinoco on 2007 05 01 at 07:30 PM • permalink

 

    1. The left gets very indignant about the rent-a-crowd slur. As someone who used to move in those circles, I can assure you that the rent-a-crowd is a reality, to the extent that there are groups of people who are easily persuaded to go to pretty much any rally, if it seems idealistic and left-wing, or conversely anti-war, anti-howard, anti-bush, etc.
      The rent-a-crowd is the ONLY reason that there are protests against the World Economic Forum, as bland and harmless an organization as you can find.
      And how come they hate WEF globalisation, but not United Nations type globalisation?
      Ah, the silliness.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 05 01 at 11:39 PM • permalink

 

    1. “…it’s always good to get people out on the street.”

      I believe the SA and the Commies had the same attitutde, with a bit more vigor to their demonstrating.  It’s curious how so many who live in democracies see violence in the streets (look at the anti-globalization demos and you’ll see plenty of that) as more legitimate than casting votes.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 2007 05 02 at 12:10 AM • permalink

 

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