Monday, March 17, 2014

OPINION - Getting their Attention

So you've decided that you don't like the current structure of things... Your country isn't being run the way you think it should be. What do you do?

First let's look at what they SAY you should do. They say you should join your local political party which DOES support your view, and work hard to push that party's views - perhaps even become the nation's leader. This is the proper, official way to do things.

But there's a problem with that. Even aside from the theories of rigged voting and political favoritism, the party who wins is often the party with the most money. When you can afford billboards, flyers, letter box drops, TV ad campaigns, etc, every day during the entire election campaign, then you are much more likely to get noticed and get voted for. How do these candidates get this money? Corporate sponsorship. In this way, it is these corporations which get to - after a fashion - select the nation's leaders, and I guarantee they'll choose the ones which benefit their financial interests.

Many people realise this, of course, and so they resort to the next level of action - protesting.

This can be effective, but it is a thin line that protestors must walk. A protest which is too calm - just a bunch of people gathering and giving speeches to one another, such as the recent March in March throughout Australia - will do nothing, and can be swept under the rug by local media (which is often controlled or filtered by the government), whereas a protest which is too aggressive - rioting and battles with police - makes the agenda of the protest be cast in a negative light, and can actually be detrimental to the cause in the long term.

An effective protest is one which forces the views of the protesters to be communicated to the right people, while at the same time not devolving into anything negative, such as violence or destruction.

How can this be done? Organization, planning and discipline.

If a protest - even one manned by thousands, or tens of thousands - merely sits around having a chat and a sing-song, then it will get nothing accomplished other than a sense of self satisfaction. However, a group ten thousand or more strong barricading a shopping mall, or denying people access or egress from a parliamentary building, or blocking up a major roadway... That gets attention. That cannot be ignored.

This sort of thing, however, can often devolve into a violent protest, or rioting. This is something that should not happen unless violence is used against you - and only then to defend yourself, your rights and your fellow protestors. Preventing a riot requires discipline, leadership and organization. Pure, unadulterated communication so that everyone involved knows what is at stake, what they are to do and how long they are to do it for, because I guarantee you, when a protest group that large shuts down a major facility, the police will show - and when an armed minority is faced with an unarmed minority, they will use force multipliers to disperse them.

When performing an organized protest in this way, you are essentially holding a major facility or convenience hostage until your demands are met, and the established powers will not stand for this, and so force will be applied in the form of arrests, water cannons, teargas, rubber bullets and more. This is where the discipline comes in. Conviction of your beliefs. Most countries have the benefit of having law enforcement who won't actively start shooting into crowds of people, and you can use this to your advantage.

If you look at it from an objective point of view, when a large group of people is calling for something from their government, and the response is to send armed police with force multipliers, then that is the government saying "we will not listen to you".

So what are you willing to do when that happens? How great is your conviction, really? If you're going to protest, and enough people agree with you, then someone must do it. You eventually break them, or they break you. Which will it be?

- CumQuaT

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