Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Danger of Protesting

The right to protest is one of the advantages of democracy, and one that can and is abused at times.

Protests are a regular news item these days, and the latest is the Occupy protests around the world. Some people may say the protesters take things a bit too far, and so it seems do the authorities, taking into account the pepper spray incident in the USA.

Political activists will at times try to encourage civil disobedience to further their cause, especially when it appears that the establishment are paying no attention to their demands. At the extreme level, it can topple a government or split a nation.

But therein lies the danger. It is one thing to carry out a coup, but then you have to pick up the pieces. Added to that are the expectations of those who supported the action. They want results, and fast. Failure to recover the situation can simply reignite the protests, as we have seen in Egypt, or even kill off further actions as people lose interest.

Any protest absolutely must have rock solid organisation and planning behind it, with contingency plans well rehearsed and effective. Control is essential. For a political protest, that requires some heavyweight leaders with the influence to direct and control the protest.

Why this article? Recently, some commentators elsewhere have been pushing for a campaign of such action against an organisation, without really considering three things:

1. Can they gather sufficient support.
2. Have the consequences of any such action been considered.
3. Secrecy.

Let's say that none of the above points have been thought through; rather a few individuals with very strong views are wanting action against this organisation. Now while the reason for this protest action could be considered valid, the proposed method of delivery is wrong, and bordering on illegality.

The volume of support is simply not there, and that leaves these protestors isolated. That makes them vulnerable should the appropriate authorities ever decide to take positive action against them.

Secondly, the results of their action would almost certainly be counter-productive to their root cause, and be of considerable embarrassment to those whom they support.

Thirdly, the protest is likely to stall before it even starts, since they are openly discussing their plans on public forums.

It may be that some of those involved are reading this, and they will realise what I am talking about. Probably unlikely but in case they are, here's a small piece of advice: try getting a professional to plan and organise a protest instead of allowing your emotions to control your actions.

Protesting can produce some surprising results. But it can also play right into the hands of those whom you oppose if you get it wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Well said.

    Now why is it that I'm immediately thinking of an article on a website elsewhere that I didn't actually read?

    Think I'll have to have a read of it now, and the subsequent comments in particular ;0)