On Effectiveness of Protests

I find it very interesting that many commentators, including on the left, such as Kyle Kulinski, believe that peaceful protest is more effective than rioting. He cites a study, which has one extremely critical flaw. It is necessary to know one critical aspect of protest, which the alt-right was very knowledgeable about. It must be recognized that the alt-right knows more than the left might think they do, and they used that in Charlottesville. There’s an easy argument against the notion of peaceful protest. I will be deconstructing several talking points used by the mainstream and the corporate media.

Historical Examples

Handout against MLK from 1965.

Liberals, conservatives, and police officers like to say that peaceful protest is best, and they try to sugarcoat the civil rights movement in order to do that. There’s an easy counterargument to that. In 1968, when Martin Luther King was assassinated, there were riots in 110 cities sustained for over a month. The wave of unrest that swept the country was so great that on the 6th day, Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968. And people say that the March on Washington was more effective. That’s a fallacious argument for many reasons.

Martin Luther King was always under fire for peaceful protesting. When there exists a ruling class that controls the means of mass media and news, they will always manipulate it to fit their conversation. As the handout on the right shows you, even when MLK protested peacefully, he was still accused of instigating riots. There will never be a just way to protest.

Before MLK’s death, too, there was the Long, Hot Summer Race Riots, during 1967, in which there were 159 race riots across the country. Again, after a month, The Kerner Commission was established, to examine the cause of these riots. It cited economic inequality, a white-oriented media, and failed social service programs as some of the reasons. Its 426-report became a bestseller. You can read it here:

Kerner Commission Report

The example of Colin Kaepernick can also be an example of this. He peacefully kneeled during the national anthem and was blasted from both the center and the right. There is no way to peacefully protest for the ruling class. They will always find a way to criticize any way of protest. From a historical perspective, there is no such thing as peaceful protest, as there is always some way in which it is violent in the eyes of the ruling class.

Media Coverage & Controlling the Conversation

An argument used by many “leftist” advocates, liberals, conservatives, and the like, is that peaceful protest will always make the centrists turn to favor you. That is a lie, a complete one, and it is very easy to see through it.

Media coverage bias as claimed by liberals follows this logic: Peacefully protest, and that makes the media and all the centrists that watch it turn to your favor. Riot, and the media will paint you in a very negative fashion. However, one critical element that this argument misses is that it does not require the media to report on it. If you riot, such as in Minneapolis, there will undoubtedly be media coverage of it, whether negative or positive. So much so that 54% of the country now says that burning the 3rd precinct was justified.

If you riot, if you cause damage to government property, if you actually disrupt like a protest is meant to, you control the conversation. You force the media to look at what you are doing, and give is coverage. Whether they do it in a positive or negative fashion does not necessarily matter. What does is that people know that it is happening and care.

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