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Why Street Protests Fail

Danielle E. Alvarez

Street protests are in. From Bangkok to Caracas, and Madrid to Moscow, these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world’s big cities...

Aerial photos of the anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve. The fervent political energy on the ground is hugely disproportionate to the practical results of these demonstration...

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  • Thomas Lacôte

    Very interesting ! Everybody should think about this topic : how people in a real democraty can effectively express their disagreements or rebel against injustices? I mean it is sad to say than I'm 31 and I haven't voted for more than 10 years although I'm very interested in social, political and economical issues...we have to reinvent the modern revolution :) Together we will always be stronger !!

  • lou suSi

    i love this article

    i've been haunted by the fact that Occupy seemed to come and go ( snap ) just like that, right?

    and even some of these massive street demonstrations and protests destabilize governments and help make much-needed changes start to happen when the old regime gives in or hands over the keys ... but then, and correct me if i'm wrong here ( i hope i'm wrong, too ), what follows seems extremely reminiscent of the hilarious futility expressed in Tenacious D's song 'City Hall' ... The People are only organized enough to bring down the previous and fail to plan to make sure this once in a lifetime ( once in a millennia, century or history even ) finally establishes a clear-cut, smart game plan to keep moving things in a more positive and continually evolving truly democratic ( or even just 'better than before' ) direction

    i think the best point of the article is that organizing The People is a LOT easier now thanks to the social web, but unfortunately that organization of The People fails to get themselves in order and actually organize ( or Design with a capital 'D' ) the actual course to take after the big efforts of getting together in the streets with tents and laptops and vegan food to disrupt and _attempt_ to express outrage while hopefully facilitating both awareness and real, effective change

    so, the effects end with the resulting 'action' being, more often than not, little more than clicktivism or slacktivism ( nicely coined terminology in the article, too — it totally fits the level of 'activity' that is typically implemented, which is a shame )

    i think what really would help — besides planning out and actually Designing ( with a capital 'D' ) what should come about after The Revolution ( or the demonstration or the effort to protest ) — would involve better engagement with &/or by The People, right?

    think about it for a second

    if i knew how to effectively do more than merely vote every so often on rather powerless 'this or that' sort of 'lesser than 2 evil' people or options at the ballots — if we were actually empowered to help make decisions in a more cybernetic / democratic methodological approach — perhaps we wouldn't all be so aggravated by the current state of The State ... because then we would've at least had the opportunity to really democratically participate in the decision-making instead of being involved in THE ILLUSION of free collective participation in our governments

    we need to reDesign all of this

    the government

    the economy

    healthcare

    taxes

    insurance

    energy

    its all broken

    its all been broken for far too long

    but we need to start with Designing and dreaming up new ways to do all of this stuff first, not the other way around

    not at all

    as Occupy went, unless i'm totally missing something here, some news coverage made it to television and other media outlets like the interwebz and newspapers and magazines, but the fad is over and the forces of The People with the approach of camping out like homeless people to inconvenience bankers and businessmen only did just that ... it created some inconvenience

    by comparison, when we look to Egypt, for example, Occupy seemed pretty flimsy, right? yeah, yeah, we get it — we're all upset that we're dealing with the neo-surfdom of the upper / lower classes still, and we're still dealing with the oh so romantic 'taxation with no representation' that made it to the history books as the emotional impetus for the real and original Tea Party and The American Revolution — but we either need to reDesign these failing systems and then overthrow and run things in a more citizen-centric manner that involves real listening and feedback loops to improve things for the 99% ( or maybe the 100%, that'd be nice to have more inclusivity, no? ) or we need to learn how to work it from the inside and empower ourselves via first person participation by The People — we need to hold our sovereign class up there far more accountable moving forward — we need to find out and let other common citizens understand how to become better engaged and involved and help really effect change

    or we can all go back to pitching tents again to remotely update our Facebook statuses on our 4G tablets and smartphones from Occupy 2.0 and continue to live this sad illusion or participation we're so conveniently afforded ( to those that fall for the traps of social webified PR delivery systems that spin things far better than drive things with any sense of vectorial direction and momentum )

    who knows how to begin some better sense of direct participation with our governments?

    we need a plan

    i think we need to pursue both approaches

    Design and plan for the optimal scenario we'd like to live while also better attempting to engage upwards to change the beast from the inside