Friday, June 21, 2013

Six Rules on Public Protests for Facebook Commentariat

1. DO judge a popular protest by the merits of its demands - not by political alignment. The attempt to impose a political "party alignment" on a popular protest (such as anti-corruption, sri lankan issue or rape protests) makes no sense because the protesters are public, and they may have different affiliations. What matters is their public demands.
2. Do NOT insult any substantial protest by saying "media created it". Media has no capability in manufacturing news with such a massive conspiracy in which thousands of people participate. You are stupid if you think NDTV is filling buses with protesters to get TRP ratings. That is not how media works.
3. Do NOT ask protesters why they are not protesting something else. For example, asking the Delhi rape protesters why they are not protesting rapes in Kashmir is absurd for many reasons. a) That they did not protest something does not mean they agree with it. b) Protests about one issue may actually help other issues and c) Protesters are individuals who feel excited about something. It is not some collective conspiracy.
4. Do NOT ask, after the protests die down why they died down. They died down because all public protests die down at some point. This should be common sense, public has jobs and cannot be out in the streets fighting 24 hours.
5. Do NOT ask, AFTER the protests what they accomplished. That they came out and fought means something. That is the case for anti-corruption or Delhi rape protests.
6. Do NOT look at one individual who shows up in some stage and try to make the entire protest about that person. This is what Arundhathi Roy and Gail Omvedt tried to do for the Anti-corruption struggle; and the Manmohan Singh government did for the Koodankulam protesters. As writer Jeyamohan said, popular protests are usually big tents - they cannot turn away people we don't like, sitting in our couch at home. Do not fall into smear tactics.

If a movement has demands, and the demands are reasonable, then support it. If not, do not support it. All else are distractions.

1 comment:

Mannu said...

Nice post. It applies to people in general, not just the Facebook Commentariat , as the heading says.