Thursday, December 29, 2016


How is that working for you?
You don’t like something and you protest.
Rally or demonstration: Demonstration, rally, etc. without reference to marching or walking in a picket line or standing in a vigil. Reference to speeches, speakers, singing, preaching, often verified by indication of sound equipment of PA and sometimes by a platform or stage. Ordinarily will include worship services, speeches, briefings.
March: Reference to moving from one location to another; to be distinguished from rotating or walking in a circle with picket signs that by definition, constitutes a picket.
Vigil: These are almost always designated as such, although sometimes “silent witness,” and “meditation” are code words; also see candlelight vigil; hunger/fasting vigil; If you find no designations re: vigils, meditations, silent witness, etc., but also no reference to sound systems or to marches, it may well be a vigil. Most vigils have banners, placards, or leaflets so that people passing by, despite silence from participants, can ascertain for what the vigil stands.
Picket: The modal activity is picketing; there may be references to picket line, to informational picketing; holding signs; “carrying signs and walking around in a circle”. Holding signs or placards or banners is not the defining criteria; rather, it is holding or carrying those items and walking a circular route, a phrase sometimes surprisingly found in the permit application.
Civil disobedience: Explicit protest that involves crossing barricade, sit-in of blacks where prohibited, use of “colored” bathrooms, voter registration drives, crossing barricades, tying up phone lines.
Ceremony: These celebrate or protest status transitions ranging from birth, death dates of individuals, organizations or nations, seasons, to re-enlistment or commissioning of military personnel, to the anniversaries of it. These are sometimes referenced by presenting flowers or wreaths commemorating or dedicating or celebrating status transitions or its anniversary; e.g., annual Merchant Marine memorial service; celebrate Chanukah, Easter, birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.);
Dramaturgical demonstration
Motorcade: (Electoral campaign and other issues)
Information distribution: tabling/ petition gathering, lobbying, letter-writing campaign, teach-ins.
Symbolic display: e.g. Menorah, Creche Scene, graffiti, cross burnings, signs, standing displays
Attack by instigators: Ethnic group victim of physical attack, by collective group (not-one-on-one assault, crime, rape). Boundary motivating attack is “other group's identity,” as in gay-bashing, lynching. Can also include verbal attack and/or threats, too.
Riot, melee, mob violence: Large-scale (50+), use of violence by instigators against persons, property, police, or buildings separately or in combination, lasting several hours.
Strike, slow down and sick-ins employee work protest of any kind: Regular airstrike through failure of negotiations, or wildcat airstrike.
Boycott: Organized refusal to buy or use a product or service, rent strikes.
Press conference: If specifically named as such in report, and must be the predominant activity form. Could involve disclosure of information to “educate the public” or influence various decision-makers.
Organization formation announcement or meeting announcement: meeting or press conference to announce the formation of a new organization.
Conflict, attack or clash, no instigator: This includes any boundary conflict in which no instigator can be identified, i.e. black/white conflicts, abortion/anti-abortion conflicts.
Lawsuit: legal maneuver by social movement organization or group.
Sit-ins, letters, riots, hunger strikes, conscientious objector, flag desecration, walkouts, soap boxing, boycotts, lectures, graffiti, occupation, book burning, self sacrifice and many more methods of protest.
Does it work to protest?
This country was built on protest. Unfair taxation, oppression by a standing army, and suppression by the government forced the general public to protest. Was it a rebellion? Was it an act of treason? Was it a revolution?
Once the dust settled people had to decide what to do next. That meant creating a new governmental democracy. That meant declaring the way forward that everyone agreed on.
Of course not everyone agreed on everything.
We even divided again to have a civil war only to be patched up later and still not everyone agreed on everything.
As we grew or aged, whichever is the better definition, we noticed others who agreed with our dislikes and protested to change our culture. The voting right act trying to reconcile the enslavement of people even after a proclamation by the president but still a work in progress. Women decided to go topless to get attention and society adjusted to their demands but still didn’t pay them equally. Gays, who had been underground for years, came out and complained about discrimination of their sexual preferences against all the established religious restrictions.
Protest can bring attention to an issue but can it change majority opinion?
Let us reflect on the Anti-War protest. There always seems to be a war and there always seems to be a movement against the war. Mothers and fathers who protest sending their children off to be shot at because of government whelm.
I personally remember my friends making signs and marching and shouting slogans and going to rallies and even sit-ins to change the flow of body bags coming home. Even the most fanatical would shelter themselves back into a quiet corner to read Tolstoy, Khomyakov, Rozanov, Aksakov, or even Socrates, Jefferson, Gandhi, Marx, and Sartre.
Fill the mind with philosophies of ‘what could be if…’ and many will follow the thread and expand on the thought. We are pretty good at that. We even invented religion.
Back to the point, our friends gather around and get all aroused and are ready to take on an issue they do not like. As the masses grow the group can disrupt traffic patterns, be tear gassed and even shot. If the violence escalates then it is war.
During my recollection of the 60’s protest against the war, I thought the point was people who didn’t know were getting drafted for a reason they didn’t understand and swept up and sent to a place that was foreign to fodder the targets. Others just didn’t want to have to interrupt their fun years to be shot at. The ‘silent majority’ who were our parents and what was referred to ‘middle America’ went blindly behind the propaganda until the body bags piled up with their children and grandchildren.
I knew times had changed when my father grew sideburns. So did Lawrence Welk and John Wayne.
All I can say is beat your drums and shout and scream but keep some restrained against civil disobedience because that solves nothing. After your throat is sore and your feet are tired, then what do you do?
Join all the organizations that promise they will lobby the power mongers to make thing better. Don’t forget to send a check because it is not all volunteer and remember to tell your friends to join too. Does that make you feel better?
The seals are still being clubbed; the whales are still being slaughtered; the nuclear waste still sits cooking; the atmosphere is still getting harder to breathe and the water murkier. Sign that petition and post an awareness of something that is deplorable that logically shouldn’t be and hope for the best. Hope you feel better.
That is my temper tantrum.

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