Tag Archives: protester

An Occupy Wall Street Founder, Provides Advice To Student Protesters

The article by Micah White of Occupy Wall Street provides great advice on movement building and evolution. I’ve had people here in Detroit interested in movement building on new ventures and they’ve seen recent efforts not going so well. The reasons are continued attempts using the same methods. Once you become predictable you are conquerable and become consequentially passed over by the press and people watching it. The efforts to be heard fall short of desired goals.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Normal has never changed anything ever — Stephen Boyle[/pullquote]

Evolving movements must realize that establishing a normal process is what corporate training leads them toward. Corporatizing movements is compromizing why activism happens. We aren’t interested in normal! “Normal has never changed anything ever.” I’ve been saying this for a few years now and each time someone hears it a “lightbulb appears”. Radical change requires radical means and efforts. Guerilla warfare is an example and how the Americas won the Revolutionary War leading to independence from English regime. Much of America has lost its luster, there is little gleam in the eye of those here wishing for change. The only way it’ll happen is moving beyond those influences we hold sacred (and reliable). Relying on something is where we are losing it. We’re forgetting how to produce on our own. Community building has to learn that doing different shouldn’t be shunned but needs to be embraced as the evolutionary path needed. Getting involved in the evolution means listening and doing. Being outspoken and responsible at the same time.

As one of the original co-creators of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I’ve watched student protests sweep across campuses in Cape Town,MissouriLondon and Los Angeles with a growing sense of optimism. The history of protest suggests that students are often the first to sense the opportunity for revolutionary change.

I suspect that the new wave of campus protests could be the foreshock to the global social movement that activists have been hoping for since the end of Occupy. To increase the odds, here is some advice to student protesters, based on the lessons from my time with Occupy.

First, never protest the same way twice. The birth of a new movement is exciting. But the effectiveness of a protest diminishes if the same tactic is used repeatedly. Once the occupation tactic stopped working in the face of police crackdowns and the onset of winter weather, Occupy Wall Street stopped existing.

Read more at Popular Resistance: An Occupy Wall Street Founder, Provides Advice To Student Protesters

Clarification: PROTECTORS not protesters

There are some fine points in how people relate to the activities of those whom are engaged in social justice. Unfortunately many people are listening to the mainstream media news calling people protesters. When protesters are active on negative conditions it creates a double negative, leading to a positive intent. Those approving of negative conditions are deserving of protest when awareness does not lead to creating a solution.

Can we go through some definitions — Protester1)protester. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protester

pro·test (prə-tĕst′, prō-, prō′tĕst′)

v. pro·test·ed, pro·test·ing, pro·tests
v.tr.

  1. a. To express a strong objection to (something): protest a job assignment.
    b. To participate in a public demonstration in opposition to (something): Thousands protested the election fraud. See Synonyms at object.
  2. To promise or affirm earnestly, as after being doubted: “He continually protested his profound respect” (Frank Norris).
  3. Law To declare an objection and reservation of rights of (a claim being made) while taking an action that would otherwise imply consent or agreement.
  4. Archaic To proclaim or make known: “unrough youths that even now / Protest their first of manhood” (Shakespeare).
v.intr.

  1. a. To express a strong objection.
    b. To participate in a public demonstration in opposition to something.
  2. To make an earnest avowal or affirmation.
n. (prō′tĕst′)

  1. A formal declaration of disapproval or objection issued by a concerned person, group, or organization.
  2. A public demonstration or organized effort to show disapproval about something, especially a governmental policy or practice.
  3. Law A declaration of objection and reservation of rights, made when action would otherwise imply consent or agreement: payment under protest.

[Middle English protesten, from Old French protester, from Latin prōtestārī : prō-, forth; see testari in Indo-European roots).]

pro′test′er n.
pro·test′ing·ly adv.

Protector

In contrast the definition for protector2)protector. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protector:

pro·tec·tor

also pro·tect·er  (prə-tĕk′tər)

n.

  1. One who protects; a guardian.
  2. A device that protects; a guard.
  3. Protector
    a. A person who rules a kingdom during the minority of a sovereign.
    b. The head of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 to 1659.

pro·tec′tor·al adj.
pro·tec′tor·ship′ n.

Contrast in Terms

The contrast is fairly obvious with protester carrying negative weight and protector seen as benevolent (in terms of our social constructs). However when our society has suffered egregious harm from those assumed to be protectors through the passage of laws, enforcing policy / procedures that cause suffering to the public ~ the need for guardians of the public interest is needed. 

Ready To Protect by Alais Clay
Stephen Boyle speaking at March Against Monsanto rally 2013-10-12.

Stephen Boyle speaking at March Against Monsanto rally 2013-10-12

How we act as protectors is by listening to the public as peers seeking to assist. We research the issues. We bring the voices of those not heard up through rallies and in what we write. We seek mainstream media coverage, we rally and organize. We realize many of those channels are controlled by the companies and government that is profiting from business continuity.

Industrial Capitalism and It’s Waste

Marathon DHOUP 2014-06-18

Marathon DHOUP 2014-06-18

We’ve seen Detroit and SouthEast Michigan targeted for industrial capitalism, and there really hasn’t been any relief offered by those who claim to protect. Our region of the State of Michigan has the most pollution, including the 3rd “dirtiest zip code” in the nation 48217. Industry upon industry emitting into a toxic soup of air and water pollution has made it difficult to point a finger at where the problem lies. It truly does lie with the policies of environmental regulators who continue to allow nonattainment areas to exist with new Permits To Install (usually adding pollution). If you head to the bottom of the Michigan chart on this Green Book from the EPA you’ll see Sulfur Dioxide in Wayne County has not been within limits the entire monitoring period since 1992 on the chart. IMG_0883Sulfur dioxide in concentration or over an extended time burns the skin. When it mixes with water it creates sulfuric acid. There are a number of environmental justice groups here and they are doing their best to be protectors, however harm still heads our way destroying the health of families and environment now and into the future. When you speak negatively about negative conditions – you’re stating a positive.

We’d like to see solutions in our dialogue, but first it is going to take mainstream media and our government (failing to be protectors) correcting the language used around the public PROTECTORS and guardians of our commons — the air, water, food, shelter, and education we need. There is a healing process involved and it shows up when perspectives are shared, heard, understood and taken into account.

References   [ + ]

1. protester. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protester
2. protector. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 15 2015 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/protector