Why Protest Is Important

Throughout history, change and justice on a large scale have been achieved through protest. The Boston Tea Party is lauded, the protests for workers’ rights are the only reason we have laws protecting workers, and it’s why we have an eight-hour workday. Extensive protest is the reason condoms are widely available,

Today, more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of just how terrible the world is, and, more importantly, how good the world could be without greed, racism, sexism, etc. For those of us who want things to change, which is, hopefully, most of us, there aren’t a great deal of options. Voting can theoretically keep power out of the hands of those who would misuse it, but, if America’s current ruling party is any indication, that clearly is not a working system. Voting might lead to a just and ethical society, but it won’t do that anytime soon, and it won’t do that without money being removed from the equation. So, aside from giving up and only thinking of ourselves, or running away to start a commune, there’s only one option left: Protest.

There’s a lot of propaganda, particularly when discussing demonstrations related to issues of race, that paint a picture of protest being violent. Riots, looting, attacking police, these are all blown out of proportion to demonize human beings for merely wanting those in charge to acknowledge their human rights. Let’s get one thing straight; protest is not violent. Mass incarceration that inordinately targets people of color is violent. Electing a sexist chauvinist and probable serial rapist to the highest office in the country is violent. Silencing the voices of Native Americans fighting to protect their water is violent. Selling the water supply for Flint, Michigan to Nestlé and standing by as that decision kills people is violent. Paying your workers a pittance while you have enough money and resources to literally eradicate world hunger is violence.

Protest is simply the point at which the people who’ve been beaten down have had enough. Protest is people saying “Hey, could you please stop killing us” to the government. It is literally the least violent form of radical change. One could argue that full-scale revolution (in many countries) is the only way to achieve a healthier society. As that is quite violent, we’ve opted to include a nicer way for people to join together and fight the forces that oppress them. And that’s protest.

America, through a mixture of corporate action, racism, interfering with the media, and literal assassination, has done quite a good job of making people hate protests (and unions!) But our literal country is founded on protesting and revolting (violently) against taxation without representation, something Puerto Rico is receiving from America this very moment.

Listen, I’m not saying we should start a revolution. I’m just pointing out how important protest is to justice. And I really think the ludicrously wealthy and powerful figures in our country should be grateful we’re unionizing and protesting, because the alternative is dragging them from their houses and preparing a guillotine. If that idea shocks you, yet you’re fine with those same people buying a tenth yacht, while the people around you who work every day barely have enough money to eat, their propaganda has been successful.

And check out the hashtag #MLKalsosaid on Twitter. You might learn something new about him.

Image Sources 1,2,3