Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The problem with protests

By Libby

You have to give Stop the War credit for trying but street protests just don't draw the crowds they used to back in the 'old days.' Only hundreds showed up this week in DC. They did better in London and Canadians marked the anniversary of the Iraq invasion with a pretty good turnout, but they were protesting their involvement in Afghanistan. As one one long time organizer in New York put it, in the internet age, people sign petitions on line and think they did their part and of course, without the draft threatening to make them a part of it, the occupations aren't as relevant to young people.

In the end, although internet petitions haven't ended the occupation, you have to wonder if street protests are really an effective tool anymore either. Although a google news search turns up a fair amount of print coverage, if it isn't on teevee, it isn't real to people and the television barely covers the occupations, much less the protests. It's like that old Buddhist koan, if a protest occurs and no TV cameras show up, does it even exist?

But maybe all that's needed is a change of strategy. I wonder if it wouldn't be more effective to start protesting against the television stations that refuse to cover the news? It would be a lot harder to ignore a mass of people who block the newstrucks from leaving the lots...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're reading my mind. Even though they were all notified of the event, the MSM completely ignored the Winter Soldier hearings. Had these been televised it would have been a most powerful anti war message and could have made a real difference. But, no coverage at all. The foreign and online press did a great job, btw.

I suggest online petitions to let ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and the rest know that we are no longer going to watch thier programing and are certainly not going to purchase from their sponsors if they are not going to cover the real news.

5:45:00 PM  
Blogger rockync said...

How about buying a TV station? Or how about the "Video News" on the internet? I'm sure if a large enough group pulled together and each put in a small sum, it could be possible. I don't know that much about this kind of stuff, but I'll bet someone out there does.

6:38:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Contacting the stations doesn't work. There's several blogs that specialize in media criticism that conduct petitions and whatnot, like Media Matters and nothing changes. To some extent, targeting advertisers works better but it's hard to get enough people on board and local afiliates run different ads so it's hard to make a real impact on anything but specific issues. We need a systemic change.

Buying a station I'm afraid isn't going to work either Rocky because they will still own the big ones that most people watch. There's already a lot of internet TV. It comes down to reach and we can't realistically reach as wide as they can.

That's why I think physically holding these demos outside of the stations would be the best strategy. It will be hard to ignore if the protesters are on their doorstep and as I say, it's not real for most people unless it's on TV. I'm thinking a big demo protesting the lack of coverage of the war at all, or even specifically failing to address war wounded, would have the greatest impact.

But it's just a pipe dream. I'm not sure anything really can be done. You're not going to convince most Americans to turn off their TV.

7:04:00 PM  
Blogger Swampcracker said...

When Change Is Not Enough: Seven Steps to Revolution

10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."

Tom Jefferson

"Hey now it's time for you and me
Got a revolution Got to revolution"

Jefferson Airplane

9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Eco, I'm not quite ready to start a revolution yet, but I remain open to the suggestion.

Fogg, stellar quotes. Someone should send that Jefferson quote to SCOTUS.

6:18:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"that Jefferson quote"

Airplane or Thomas?

8:56:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Oh right, they're both Jeffersons aren't they. I was thinking of Tom for SCOTUS, but I do love them both. That was a great Airplane album. One of my favorites.

9:50:00 PM  

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