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Anti-War Protest--Hunh!--What is it good for? (Absolutely nothin'?)

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:02 PM
Original message
Anti-War Protest--Hunh!--What is it good for? (Absolutely nothin'?)
Kos thinks so. I don't know. I didn't attend the protest last weekend, but not because I didn't want to. Au contraire. And I salute every one of you who did attend. You marched for me and my family, whether you knew it or not, and we greatly appreciate that.

But the concern that mass protests do nothing is, unfortunately, a valid one, considering what little effect the *massive* global demonstrations on Feb 15 and March 15 2002 seemed to have on the Bushists and Blairites who were determined to have the war anyway. Of course, the popular tide (which was never too high in the Bushists favor in the first place, nevermind the media's official story) has turned dramatically against them. But did protests have anything to do with that turn? Or did the transparently inept prosecution of the war have more to do with it?

One thing mass protests do is give war opponents and activists a chance to commune. But do they give us power if the media ignore us? What do you think?



http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/9/28/124717/957

Peace protests and the new media environment
by kos
Wed Sep 28th, 2005 at 09:47:17 PDT

I've been critical of peace protests in the past, and I've definitely got nothing good to say about ANSWER. This time, however, I wasn't feeling animosity for last week's protests. I was feeling something akin to apathy. This passage from the Daily Show (via AmericaBlog) kind of sums up one of the reasons why:

Stewart: On Saturday, a 100,000 strong peace march descended on Washington seeking to crystallize America's dissatisfaction with the war into one single idea.
Clip of young male speaker: Peace!
Stewart: Okay.
Clip of male speaker: Justice!
Stewart: (pause) Fine.
Clip of male speaker: Environmental protection!
Stewart: (pause, confused look on face)
Clip of male speaker: No racism!
Stewart: (dumb-founded, and then says in Valley Girl-like voice) Dude! I didn't hike from Oberlin for this.

The lack of focus is maddening, obviously. But my biggest problem with anti-war protests is that they're obsolete. What do they accomplish? Historians still argue about the role Vietnam-era protests had on ending the war (shortened it versus prolonged it). But today, they mean nothing.
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knowbody0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. a gathering of 250,000
with supportive demonstrations in all 50 states and in london. nah, no big deal.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. What do mass demonstrations accomplish, besides moving bodies
It's a question worth thinking about. In the 1960s, they did create auras of movement in the society at large, and the media did notice them. Do they still do that?
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ElectroPrincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Have we NOT beat this horse (to march or not to march with ANSWER?)
to death?!? Even Mr. Ed is "burned out" and "pissed off" - regardless of one's stance.



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Ignoramus Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Nope
We can't give up. Survival is required.
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ElectroPrincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. I concur ... however, I'm tired of discussing kos ad nausea ...
Is this site the new Drudge Report for the "so called New-Way Democrats"? ... I don't visit da place much and don't plan to.
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livetohike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. The anti-war protests serve to show Americans and the world
that not everyone agrees with the war. I know that sounds simplistic.

Any coverage of the protest is good coverage in terms of letting others that are sitting at home thinking "What can I do about it?", know that there are many people out in the streets that disagree with the current situation.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. No, you don't end an occupation with a single, perfect protest. We
need to get in their faces...teach-ins, sit-ins, protests everywhere and daily, on the campuses, every time a senator or congress critter, of either party, shows their face, at every and all fund-raising events, on the street corners and signs in your yard. We must spread the word and increase the noise.
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dretceterini Donating Member (329 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I don't think you realize
How stupid the general public has become. In the last 30-40 years, celebrity has become more important that humanism. Five minutes of coverage on the peace protests, and a half hour on Paris Hilton. :(
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Ignoramus Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Yeah, it's really really difficult
to get through the news pornographers. Yet, we still have to do it, because we have no alternative. We can't give up.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm sorry, but you're wrong friend
The purpose of protesting is manyfold. They are not designed to get our message out to Bush, Blair and other politicians, but to the rest of the population also. They are also used to educate and illuminate the public on that which is being hidden. They also serve the purpose of showing the world that our entire population isn't dumb, violent racsits with a penchant for illegal, immoral wars. In addition, prostests serve as a great outlet for venting the frustrations of the protesters.

All of these reasons and more are why we need mass protests. If we just sit at home and do nothing, then we're letting the bastards get away with it.

Protests have, do and continue to change minds and influence people. Just because you think that they're worthless doesn't mean that they're actually are. And if we don't protest, what is an alternative that you think we should do? Sit behind a computer and type out random screeds on an anonymous political chat board? Like that has really helped matters.

It is the public spectacle of a mass protest that is most important, and there is no other way for us to convey just how massive the opposition to this war is. When you come up with an alternative that accomplishes the same effect, great. But until then we have got to continue to march.
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Ignoramus Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. Lack of protests, people abandoning demonstrations, indicate
a lack of opposition to Bush.

It's not a whiz bang thing. A demonstration gets some coverage and enters the public's awareness some. Massive frequent demonstrations would result in more coverage and enter the public's awareness more.

A demonstration is better than no demonstration.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #6
27. I was just thinking about the number and diffusion of anti-war happenings
in the 1960s. They picked up steam as the war progressed, and finally, they were happening, it seemed, all the time and all over the place. Universities were much, much more at the center of the foment--probably because the protestors had something very real at stake in the war.
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judy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. I went to the march (in San Francisco)
not because I thought it would make an impression on Bushco, but because:
1 - It makes me feel better, to be walking with 50,000 to 100,000 like minded people, and to shout anti-Bush slogans along with them.
2 - It might make an impression on our Democratically elected representatives, that maybe there is an anti-war constituency after all.

The Jon Stewart clip did not impress me very much. I think there is very little to make fun of here, as all the issues mentioned are linked.
Peace, Justice, Environmental Protection, No racism...So what? These are all casualties of Greed and Corporate Fascism. No problem there for me.
He also can make fun of Cindy Sheehan all he wants, what is there to be made fun of? Exposing hypocrisy and disingenuous lying is much funnier than showing a courageous mother do what she can to bring dissent to light.
This is not a "there are 2 sides, and you can make fun of both" situation. This is a situation where one side has all the power and abuses the other side without accountability. What's funny about the common folk trying to bring up issues they care about and that are being completely trampled or ignored by the side that's in power?
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knowbody0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. judy
same for me in Seattle. i measure the success by the energy of the protesters and by the response of RW radio heads. the impact is huge.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
30. On one hand, I think as a comedy show the protests were appropriate
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 02:28 PM by deutsey
targets for Jon Stewart. We shouldn't take ourselves so seriously that we can't laugh at some of the silliness of these events. I've been to enough of them to know there are plenty of laughable things that go on at them...my lefty friends and I always make fun of them, in fact (you know, the overly earnest speakers who think because they scream into a microphone VERY LOUDLY they're being really passionate, some of the really obscure causes that are paraded across the platform during these things, "Liberal Standard Time"--or the fact that these events rarely start or end on time, etc.)

On the other hand, though, I think what Stewart did was pretty lame. It's not a stretch at all to link peace, justice, environmentalism, and anti-racism together (a core philosophy underlying these separate aspects can be articulated). The funniest thing Stewart did, imo, was his Jesse Jackson "impression" about the war on ragweed (and that was pretty stupid). I also got the impression that the audience wasn't responding very well, either. Wasn't there a moment where Stewart said something about that, kind of nervously/jokingly?
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
13. Using this argument, 2 wrongs might not make a right, but
they made half a million people feel a hell of a lot better.
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YouthInAsia Donating Member (806 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
15. if the get big enough, and happen OFTEN, then they CANT be ignored
by the media. No, its not gonna affect Bu$hCo but then NOTHING will affect Bu$hCo. They do WHAT THEY WANT.
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lcordero2 Donating Member (832 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
16. He's connected to Dean and Dean is pro-occupation
So I'm not going to lend it the slightest bit of importance.
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
17. Media dilution
I wouldn't have imagined that it would be possible to hide up to a half million people from the broad public, but it seems to happen regularly nowadays.

During Vietnam there were 3 networks and if you wanted televised news, you had to tune in early or late evening for a half-hour broadcast. A segment on any network would reach 10-60% of the viewing public. Nobody commands that kind of audience anymore. Same with general interest print -- coverage in Life or Time would reach most homes. No more. Couple that with the ideological bent of most MSM, and marchers would have to set themselves on fire to enjoy the sort of coverage Vietnam-era protesters had.
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neweurope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
18. A march, any kind of protest will never stop something atrocious. BUT
without the march, without the protest those on top would sell us down the river very quickly.

The march attracts others to us who have been undecided or insecure or uninformed. The march shows those on top that there IS resistance and that it might be better to be a little careful. The march gives everybody participating - and those who'd like to participate but cannot - hope and a sense of "I'm not alone in this". The march shows other countries that it's those on top, not all of the people, who are doing something atrocious, thereby making help from outside a possibility.

The march might win an ally. Who has family, friends, co-workers whom he might speak to.

We are up against something enormous. It would be naive to think that one rallye, no matter how many people are participating, could mean victory.

Even if the mass media completely ignore the rallye: Every march helps. Very much so. But still see it only as one step on the way.

------------------------------

Remember Fallujah

Bush to The Hague!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
19. Burtworm, Not To Personally Diminish The Huge Showing & The
contribution everyone who showed made...

I personally only do local protests, rallies and events.

Among many reasons is it's more visible, easier to go to as a small business owner, and I think more approachable for my neighbors.

They can relate to me to some extent.

I think the main reason, unspoken, for massive protests is to fortify the protestors themselves. To recharge their batteries and give an opportunity to show that they/we are not alone.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. A mass rally is a form of expression, as well as a forum for communion
I know from my own experience that I go when I can because I feel compelled to express my anger (usually it's anger) over something the government has done or is threatening to do. It's not just to recharge my batteries. In fact I find marching exhausting.

But I do want to hear my thoughts being expressed by others. I want to see and be among the like-minded.

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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
20. The protests against the war in 'Nam went on for years.
And, they were discounted as useless because they didn't bring instant peace. They were also attacked by by alleged "liberals" as "too radical", "too divisive", "not focused", etc.

But, they slowly mobilized the majority of Americans against the war.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Did the protests do that, or did the transparency of the war's evil
do that?

It was probably a combination of both. I may be misremembering, but it seems to me the protests were not always nationally coordinated, or centralized. There were some weeks when there might be a demonstration at Columbia, and then one at Madison, then one at Berkeley. The universities actually seem very quiet these days in comparison--unless they're the same sort of hotbeds they were and the media just don't give a shit.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. The protests were just a contributing factor.
The war ended because of 2 other major factors. The American people finally became aware of the price. When they had to reach for their wallets to pay for it, and when their own kids started coming home in caskets.

The other major factor was that the Vietnamese understood that war is about a lot more than bodycounts or tonnage of dropped bombs. They fought the war on all fronts. Politically, internationally, economically, and militarily. And, they kicked America's ass on all those fronts.

But, had there been no protests in this country (and, around the world), what was really going on there would have been safely hidden behind the "Five O'clock Follies" and the politicians would have played it safely "patriotic" and gone along with "stay the course" crap.

Much as most of the politicians are doing now.

The protests are just part of the pressure.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. May there be more and more and more of them.
May the pressure never cease until it breaks the Bushists.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
21. Yeah, it did nothing but help me to re-establish a network of activists
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 01:36 PM by deutsey
in the rural community where I live.

Now, thanks to the interest people had in this march (some of them going to such a thing for the first time), I have a group of volunteers here locally ready to take action on local and national peace issues.

What a fricking waste of time, huh? Maybe we'd all be more effective if we just sat at home and posted on blogs by ourselves.

:sarcasm:
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DistressedAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
23. They Apply Pressure To Politicians And Channge Public Opinion!
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 01:56 PM by DistressedAmerican
That is a hell of a lot more than sitting around bitching about the perceived failings of the event.

I was there. It was focused. Sadly, the C-SPAN coverage really distorted what you and others that did not attend saw.

However, it was the coverage of the event that was the problem. Not the event itself.

We should be writing to C-SPAN about getting better coverage next time around and not eating each other. That is the course of action that can create positive change. The rest is pointless bitching.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. I didn't watch much of the CSPAN coverage.
And I'm not bitching, DA. I approve of mass demonstrations, in fact would like to see more of them. The more, the better. What is needed to end the war is foment, not necessarily calculation.

I'm just raising a question about the tree falling in the forest when not many are there to hear it make a sound. The protest is the tree, in this metaphor, remember; so whether 250,000 or 500,000 marched, it's the ones who didn't even know there was a march whose ears I'm talking about.
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
25. They're good for restoring positive energy to keep up the fight.
It's great to gather together like that every so often.
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