Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interesting: Why I hate protest marches

Ezra Klein hits it right on the head.

I think it's almost certainly wrong that we're not overwhelmed by the volume of tragedy in the world -- there'd have to be something genuinely wrong with you to be able to absorb the current moment in some coherent way. So what many of us do is pick and choose. But once an issue is selected, there's no real step two. Marching doesn't work. Exhortations to write a letter or shoot an e-mail seem increasingly hoary, particularly as the process is taken over by organized pressure groups able to flood legislators with millions of e-mails. Volunteers are generally misused, and even when a campaign tries to construct a movement out of them, it can backfire, discrediting the whole enterprise (see Dean, Howard, and those $%*^*# orange beanies). The utter inadequacy of contemporary methods of protest and social action has been well established -- it's even been recast as narcisstic.

What to do instead? Let me know if you come with anything.

1 comment:

twestgard said...

I think that's a false choice. Getting people to participate in any way is related to commitment. It builds it, it supports it, and it makes it transferable. If people come to a march, you can hit them up for money and/or a letter. If they write a check, you can invite them to your email list. And on and on. Having just participated in a losing election race, I know how disappointing it can be to see how many people don't come along, but you have to focus on the positive and not wallow in what doesn't work.