One of the biggest protests in the history of US took place last month, it was a movement that caused people to come out in march in over 600 cities. There is a perception that making protests count is difficult – and yes – there are moments during a march that you think “How is this going to make a difference?”
I see three purposes for protests.
- It helps set a new cultural narrative for a macro code of behaviour. In other words, you are spreading a specific way of thinking; i.e. inclusion, anti-discrimination, peace etc. This has a great impact on how people create dialogue around certain issues and it has the potential to sway people with contradictory narratives.
- It creates acknowledgement of an issue. This is especially important when the protest is to highlight the plight of a marginalised group such as BLM, Women March, Dakota Pipeline or Muslim Ban. It tells those that are suffering, we see you, we acknowledge you and we support you. This is psychologically very important for those groups that are targeted as they can feel less alienated, supported and included. People can be traumatised further when they feel ignored, these marches are a way of extending your hand in support.
- It communicates the will of the people. The Civil Rights Movement was about changes in law, but those changes of law would not have been possible without the physical display of the protests. It told the government that a section of the American population had had enough and that the mistreatment of African Americans was incorrect. Now, we are seeing that protests are causing CEO’s to stand up against the Muslim ban, it is caused senators to say no to the appointment of Betsy DeVos, it has caused politicians to speak up, it made Nordstrom stop selling Trump brands, and its forcing CEO’s to think their alliance to the current administration.
Given that THECUBE’s community is quite diverse and socially driven, it was no surprise to learn that a good portion went out to protest in the Women’s March. We asked them to give us their reasons for protesting.
I don’t know yet what the alternatives are, but Trump’s administration is for sure one massive step backwards in efforts of progressing humanity. Sustained micro level resistance is important, but the march would be the first indication of this sentiment and physical participation was key to its success. – JiaXuan Hon (Black Winged Creatives)
It was about the continuing to shout the argument that hasn’t been resolved in thousands of years, that all people are born equal. It was about bringing more and new people to the table to continue the fight against weakness, insecurity, bigotry, racism and cowardice. Josh Artus (The Centric Lab )
Because I needed to know that I wasn’t alone, and that my optimism about humanity and the world wasn’t crazy. Alexander Knapp (AKC Global)
I marched in solidarity with anyone who has ever been mistreated and not seen their perpetrator punished. People who have been sexually assaulted, racially abused, suffered homophobia, mocked for any kind of disability or difference and just had to ‘live with it’. There’s a bully in the playground and he needs to know everyone who isn’t in his gross little gang is watching him and we’re ready to fight back together. – Sarah Bunter ( Bunter Casting )
I marched for everyone who did, everyone who not and for my young nieces who I want not to be afraid to stand tall and say – I’m a girl, I can, and I’m important. – Jonny Weston ( It’s Like This )
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THECUBE is a coworking space established in East London in 2009. We started as a response to the financial crisis of 2008, we thought that people would want a place to start a business given that financial certainty had been proven a myth. As we started in a heightened political state, we started a tradition of discussion and social movements. Sadly, we were only at the beginning of the social unrest, now we questioning our role again given the current political crisis. We have been asked by our members to support the exchange of knowledge and give voice to different social movements. We have focused our roundtable series “Brainplay” to reflect our times.