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Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’

I confess to being (pleasantly) surprised; I was too skeptical.

The protests that began with the killing of George Floyd seem to be defying the historical pattern for street action. As I write (morning of June 23, 2020), they have neither fizzled out nor launched a self-defeating backlash. Thousands of whites, many with their children, have joined the protests in towns large and small across the country. Clear majorities of Americans have told pollsters that they agree with the concerns of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters. Major institutional leaders, including heads of major corporations, have rushed to acknowledge racism and to take a virtual, sometimes a literal, knee in solidarity–even the NFL. And there appear to be some successes beyond charges against specific officers on the horizon.

Why have these protests have done so well so far in broadening their appeal when so many other takings to the street–Occupy Wall Street, anti-Iraq War, anti-Vietnam War, the 1968 Chicago convention clashes, the ghetto “rebellions” of the ‘60s, and so on–did not? And what are their chances for bringing significant change?

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More on Occupy

Last week’s post on the OWS Movement, “Occupy! Now What?,” got more than the usual attention – in part perhaps because it was re-posted on The Berkeley Blog just about the time that the police roughed up defenders of the tents at the campus occupation. The interest led me to re-check my notions about the effectiveness of street protests in modern America; the result of that quick review follows. (I am no expert on social movements, but do provide a handful of links at the bottom of this post.)

Oakland (Christian Sci. Mon.)

As of the morning of November 15, with encampments around the nation being cleared, it seems that the movement is dissolving; maybe this discussion is now just an academic exercise. Even were the encampments or similar street action to return, the Occupy movement – righteous as it is on the central issues – faces major hurdles beyond the disarray of the camps themselves.

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