How Protests Work

Say what you will about Black Lives Matter. At least they understand the fundamental fact about protesting: In order to be effective, it has to be disruptive. They didn’t call it a “sit-in” because Dr. King and co. were standing quietly with placards in a special cordoned area, out of sight of racist business-owners and their racist customers. The idea that protests should only happen in certain, legally-sanctioned spaces is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the fact that people choose to abide by such totalitarian regulations. If I want to protest a business or organization, I’m not going to do it three streets away, in an alley, facing a brick wall.

Since Ghandi’s Salt March, the whole point of nonviolent resistance has been the spectacle. Plan something public. Make sure the press will be there. Let the bad guys come and beat the crap out of you. Sit back and watch world opinion force the bad guys to cave to your demands. That’s how it works. That’s how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 got passed. That’s how the British Raj fell. That’s how you get what you want.

That said, if you’re protesting just because your union says you have to, please stay in those cordoned areas. No one cares that labor and management couldn’t come to an agreement over dental plans before October 1st. I gotta get to Cincinnati.

And if you’re a teacher striking during the school year?

Quit your job because you clearly don’t care about it. 

And if you’re a teacher whose union threatens your job if you do not protest during the school year, go outside and picket those jackasses.

This is not Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or Airstrip One. You can protest anyone, anywhere, at any time. And if they don’t let you, sue the bastards. What’s more American than that?


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