Are public protests useful?

SnowdenOrganized resistance in the form of demonstrations seem to be raising awareness of issues that have long persisted, not only in America, but around the world to varying degrees.

I’ve said before, a better mousetrap will beat any form of organized resistance or demonstration. Create something that performs better than what people have and eventually, they’ll adopt it.

Anger-fueled demonstrations, as we are seeing, are supremely easy to infiltrate, confuse and dilute. We’re seeing that today with nearly every BLM protest. Many report there are more people out there screaming and hollering for the purpose of screaming and hollering than there are people demonstrating effectively.

That’s why we’re seeing a lot of push back.

Yes, some people, leaders mostly, are coming out claiming they’ll fix things. But how many times have we heard that, especially from political leaders?

Far better to create something better than what we have, then figure out a way to implement it so people can see it can do better. Then you don’t have to complain, you don’t have to push against anything. You just offer the better idea, show it works and over time, more people will start adopting it.

Back during the Occupy Wall Street heyday, Edward Snowden agreed that civil disobedience doesn’t really work. I think his words are as true today. So here’s what he said back then in The Nation:

Edward Snowden: I believe strongly that Occupy Wall Street had such limits because the local authorities were able to enforce, basically in our imaginations, an image of what proper civil disobedience is—one that is simply ineffective. All those people who went out missed work, didn’t get paid. Those were individuals who were already feeling the effects of inequality, so they didn’t have a lot to lose. And then the individuals who were louder, more disruptive and, in many ways, more effective at drawing attention to their concerns were immediately castigated by authorities. They were cordoned off, pepper-sprayed, thrown in jail.

That’s what we’re seeing today too:

The Nation: But you think Occupy nonetheless had an impact?

Snowden: It had an impact on consciousness. It was not effective in realizing change. But too often we forget that social and political movements don’t happen overnight. They don’t bring change immediately—you have to build a critical mass of understanding of the issues. But getting inequality out there into the consciousness was important. All these political pundits now talking about the 2014 and 2016 elections are talking about inequality.

There’s a better way. We are doing it at Copiosis.

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