Do political protests really change anything? | The Tylt
Do political protests really change anything?
Whether you think the street protests accomplish anything depends on how you define goals. If success equals getting more people to the polls, an analysis by economists from Harvard University and Stockholm University finds that protests do have a major influence on politics:
"Research shows that protest does not work because big crowds send a signal to policy-makers—rather, it’s because protests get people politically activated."
"Behind massive street demonstrations there is rarely a well-oiled and more-permanent organization capable of following up on protesters’ demands and undertaking the complex, face-to-face, and dull political work that produces real change in government."
At Seeker, Robert S. Eshelman makes an excellent point. If public protests are so pointless, why have legislatures in five states put forth proposals to criminalize them?
But those who are pro-protest argue they do help build movements and connect activists. And you can't underestimate their capacity to inspire people:
Ask almost anyone who attended the March on Washington in August 1963, and to this day they'll be able to tell you exactly what it felt like. Good protest events have an almost religious effect on people, charging their batteries and inspiring them to get up and fight again another day.