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Depends. If you get two million in the streets of DC blockading streets until Congress passes their demands, then the protest would be effective.
The problem with the Iraq antiwar protests is the groups organizing them have often have conflicting goals. Sure, they want to stop the war but the primary goal is to recruit for their little party. And you can’t build a genuine mass organization that way because by definition, moderates will never have any real say in what happens.
If it’s a bandh (blockade) of the transportation system, it’s not protest anymore.
Thinking it is while sitting on those streets could result in tragic consequences.
“Depends. If you get two million in the streets of DC blockading streets until Congress passes their demands, then the protest would be effective.”
Ummmm…no. That would be perceived as a threat to overthrow the government, which, in a sense, it would be. They would send in the Army, as they did with the Bonus Marchers, and people would die except faster and in larger numbers than in the 1930’s.
This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 3/10/2010, at The Unreligious Right
Whether an mass action such as blocking the streets of DC with millions of people would be successful depends on just one thing.
What would the police / military do?
As ‘Anatomy of Revolution” by Crane Brinton points out, the only thing absolutely necessary for the success of a revolution is that the military, at the very least, does nothing. If they join you, so much the better. But they must not seriously oppose you.
If you could get two million in DC to blockade the streets on an ongoing basis then, almost by definition, the protest would have gone mainstream and have mass support.
PS I agree with your basic point, that street marches and rallies have little effect now, except to preach to the choir.
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