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Protests  ~  Manifestations

Currently, there are massive global protests about our reliance on fossil fuels and the fossil fuel economy. 

What is your opinion of protesting? 

Do you think it effects change or does it just annoy people?

 

Présentement, il y de grandes démonstrations à l'échelle mondiale contre notre dépendance 
sur les combustibles fossiles et l'économie basée sur les combustibles fossiles.

Quelle est votre opinion sur les manifestations? 

Pensez-vous qu'elles mènent à des changements ou bien est-ce qu'elles importunent les gens?



Duane Short
Belleville, IL USA
August 12, 2006
Protesting is often not just an option, it is a must. Having one's facts right and ready really annoy's the powers that be and there is no such thing as "simply annoying the powers that be." Nothing happens until the powers that be are annoyed. Status quo is the typical destiny of comfortable powers that be. Experience has shown me and all seasoned protestors if polite, intelligent appeals to powers that be are ignored one has no choice but to raise the volume... TO WHATEVER LEVEL IS REQUIRED to elicit meaningful dialogue. Not until one is acknowledged can one's ideas be granted fair consideration. At this point, progress can be made. 
Jurgen Teuwen, Bay of Islands, NS
July 15, 2003
Protest? Yes. 
Marches, demonstrations do have their place, but are often counter productive in as much as they tend to annoy and alienate the unconvinced. 

The most effective (and genuine) form of protest I can think of is to vote with one's wallet. Simply refuse to buy any product or service you deem undesirable. 

In this manner you get to cast a very effective vote on a daily basis and you can be sure that industry - and politics - are paying very close attention to what is, or is not, being pushed past the check-outs.

Mahatma Ghandi showed us how to protest effectively: 
"Be the change you want to see in the world" 


Lizzy
UK
Oct. 29, 2002
I do think that they work, they get opinions across and it is a way for everyday people to communicate with the government. Although I do think that protests should be brought to small areas as well as people in villages and small towns do not really hear with the events or connect with them. 
In relation to feminism which I myself would take an active part in, I think people need to realize that it is the smaller areas that hold the most produce towards others and need the most change. I do of course realize that it is hard to achieve everything, and that people are doing what they can. 

Robynn Moody
Youth for
Environmental
Action,
Bridgewater, NS
Nov. 21, 2001
I, too, feel that protest has an important role in social change; however, as stated before, protesting against fossil fuels without a clearly layed out viable alternative of what you are also protesting for, is not an effective strategy. Protest is not only important in large numbers in big cities, but local solidarity actions in smaller towns (like Wolfville or Bridgewater) are critical to 'put a face' on the movement or action. Instead of letting the mainstream media usurp the power to create the image they want to of the movement-this forces people to realize that their neighbor, too, not just a stereotype that the media has created, is seriously concerned about the issues at hand.
Terry Mulcahy
Albuquerque,
New Mexico
Feb. 28, 2001
Well, as someone who spent too much time in protests from 1968 to 1980, I'd say that protests are sometimes useful. I don't think a protest against fossil fuels would be useful. A protest FOR other fuel and/or power sources would be more useful, as a protest is essentially an educational function. People see a protest on the news, maybe 10 seconds of it, and don't come away from that very changed. I think working with your union, neighborhood association, or local political parties is a more useful activity, but takes a long-term commitment. Resolutions can be
passed, motions made; City and State governments can be contacted by such groups, and told about alternatives. I think education, coupled with organizing activity of any kind is key to meaningful change.

Terry Mulcahy
Sydney, NS
Jan. 5, 2001
My guess is that the majority may not get the point. Most retails consumers are anxious about the upward price increases of fossil fuels and the effects this may have on their budgets and their jobs.
Many are dependent on fossil fuels for home heat and basic transportation needs. Cities are set-up so that a car is a necessity to go to work, buy food and supplies
at reasonable prices (access to shopping malls, residential areas, and work areas.) Few dwellings, as compared to the whole, maximize even the most modest amount of renewable heat sources (i.e. solar)
It is the irony of our "wired" times that we can commune electronically, but 
most are dependent on a fossil fuel powered vehicle (powered at the gas pump or from an electric hook-up via a coal fired electric generation plant for gas-electric hybrid car).
There may be great value in promoting alternatives. For example, devise a plan to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 50% of a Maritime city over a ten year period. Select the environmentally worst city (fossil fuel consumption and pollution output) in the Maritimes and suggest ways to make it an environmentally friendly city over the same ten year period.

Susanna Fuller
Nova Scotia,
Jan. 5, 2001
In response to your questions on protesting, I thought back to my own experiences. Protesting has to be seen from two sides - from those that are involved and from those that are spectators (voluntary or otherwise). If people feel strongly enough about an issue that they can take to the streets, hold signs and shout slogans - then the issue is one of importance on a social and emotional level. The act of protesting at the very least, gives people the sense that they can do something. 
Public protests are media- magnets and this is often the way that issues are brought into the public eye and can then be debated through public discourse. The idea that protests are "annoying" comes from people who have never been so upset by something that they really want to do something about it. I am not all that comfortable protesting, but I have done it on occasions when it appears to be the only outlet in attempting to achieve justice. While I believe that it is important to work from within to change what ever it is we see as unjust, without public awareness and support for an issue, things rarely change. Protesting is a valuable performance in freedom of speech and expression. Protests often make people feel 
uncomfortable - and those protesting are often labeled as some "ist", be it feminist, environmentalist, socialist, communist, etc. This then brings the protest away from the issue and into societal critique. Protests should be used wisely and 
strategically and not simply for media attention. Protests can be fun and educational and in this western society of too much television, and reality-escaping electronic media, protests can help us realize the true issues that affect human society and 
can also help bring people together in a highly conscious way. There will always be those who think that protesting is a rude form of public outcry that is anarchist and refusing to participate in the institutional mode of reform. But without protests, 
there would be no revolutions. 

Steve Hart
Nova Scotia
Jan 5, 2001
Of course protests work.  They also don't work. 
It depends on the organizers, the issues, the articulation of the issues, whether there is a goal that is clear, the social conditions, timing, and many other issues. 
They also annoy people but that is often the intent or an unavoidable consequence of a necessary action. Who is annoyed? Why? What kind of education is going on in the process?
The Vietnam War protests were small, "annoying", fringe, and fragmented in the beginning. The anti-nuclear bomb movement went through a similar process. Both of these grew into mass and popular movements which allowed for a multitude of voices and actions and became forces that the world and individual governments had to reckon with. 
It is not the protests as such that should be questioned but the form, the goals, and the leadership. Social change has not happened without protest. Are they appropriate for the level of consciousness of those witnessing them? Do they educate and move others to act? If there is no growth, there must be a questioning of what has been done, as well as the ideas that are being discussed and the way they are being communicated.

John Pearce,
Transport 2000
Atlantic.
Dartmouth, NS
Jan 5, 2001
I believe that "protests" should take the form of letters to the media,
well-informed opinion articles in media and environmental publications, and
meetings with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.
These protests will be most likely to make a credible impact on the "silent
majority".

David Wimberly
Jan 5, 2001
I strongly believe that protesting is useful and effects change. I have
experienced this repeatedly. But it certainly is not easy.

The PEI Pie
Brigade
Jan 5, 2001
Those who commit the crime get the cream!
That's why Fronk Loy got smeared in the Hague!
The pie is the limit!

Leighton Steele
Mount Saint
Vincent University
23 dec, 2000
Les manifs sensibilisent les politiciens et le grand public à des questions
dont souvent ils comprennent mal l'envergure. Quand la cause est bonne, il
faut se manifester!

Protests raise awareness both among politicians and the public concerning
poorly understood issues. When it is the right cause, it never hurts to
protest!

Benoit Renaud,
Halifax, NS
Dec. 22, 2000

 

I think demonstrations can work very well at certain conditions.
Their political statements must be clear and understandable for most people.
They should be big enough to make clear that many people agree with the
message.  They should be rooted in a growing and organized movement and have a long term perspective. Otherwise, governments and other authorities can just
take a day off and wait for the protest to dissolve itself.  In other words, a demo by itself can't do much, but a protest movement without demonstrations or other visible displays of strength in numbers is just lobbying and is likely to be ineffective and recuperated by the authorities it lobbies.  They have the money and the powerful institutions.  We have our numbers and our ability to reason and to organize.
These basic strategic notions have been right for centuries and are still right. I could give tons of examples of that. Lets just mentions the global protest against the WTO culminating in the demonstrations in Seattle a year ago. We won. There is no millennium round and the WTO officials are still trying to figure out what hit them.

Ramona Ryan
Dalhousie University, 
Halifax, NS
Dec. 22, 2000
Protests are necessary for raising consciousness. Annoying people is bound to happen. People don't feel comfortable with change, but if change is necessary, then uncomfortable situations have to evolve.
I think one thing for protesters to keep in mind is that they are operating on their beliefs and that all beliefs, even those of opposing systems, are honourable. It's imperative for people to act on their beliefs, otherwise they are hypocrites. However, this applies to all, and should be kept in mind when protests occur. 
We, as protesters, are there to change systems we do not believe in. We are not there to demean and judge others. 
I believe, if we speak from our observations as opposed to our judgments, we would have more change, and it would be more gentle.

Larry Hughes, PhD
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
Dec. 22, 2000
Where are these "massive global protests about our reliance on fossil fuels"?  
If you want to see examples of massive protests, look at France and Britain during the summer when the price of fuel went up [and up]. In France it was the fishing industry then the farmers that brought the country to a halt. Soon after, the trucking lobby in the UK put pressure on the government to cut fuel taxes.  In both cases, the green lobby was silent [see articles in The Guardian in late August].  Yes, there were protests at The Hague, but these were minor compared to the exposure the fuel price protests received in the media.

Chan N.
No. 19, 2000
"To protest or not" depends on how you define the term "Protest". Does your 
protest mean taking to the streets in thousands (possibly millions), picketing outside the oil companies, or disrupting business of the oil companies & government oil agencies?  If these are the protests you are talking about, I quit and shall no further part in it.
What we need is the silent, committed but effective protests such as: giving up your car-use public transportation bicycle or even walk! Refrain  from overusing of heating & electricity. Switch to cleaner technologies. If  only people are committed enough, then the demand for oil will plunge the oily *&^% to hell!  We need not protest like outlaws. Refrain from using oil/gasoline is the best form of protest.

Alex Scott
Environment &
Technology
Journalist  
Litlington, Cambridgeshire.
U.K. 
Nov 16, 2000
Two forms of protesting:  
1. Get out there and wave your flag in a protest--great way of communicating via media (ie: TV - that people think there is a real problem.) 
Without the demo everyone can think the same and no one including governments consider it as worth dealing with. Today more than ever protesting is so important.
 2. Consumer protest --silent but deadly. Every company works on its bottom line. If a company eg. Certain gas companies are ethically at the bottom of  the barrel -  avoiding buying their products will hurt the CEO and his team and make them do something about it. Particularly with a letter to him to indicate your actions & why. 

Greta Doucet
N.B.
Nov 16, 2000
I don't come from privilege. I'm a small village Acadian whose father was a fisherman. I believe in peaceful ways of changing things, if at all  possible. I think 
I understand your frustration, and I could be wrong about  strategies. But nevertheless, if we want a world of quality we have to  create in quality. 
We can make a difference!!!!

Karen Flaherty
Nov. 16, 200
If politicians don't feel public is interested they won't do much of anything unless it's in their own self-interest. Here in US, it's supposed to be the government OF the People, BY the People and FOR the People. If the People don't stand up and speak out, and in the streets is about the only way the media will cover and amplify the voice of people. It does change things, and if you think otherwise, you are being
duped. The powers that be only hope people will be quiet and obedient or so 
cynical that they don't think one person can make a difference, when it is about the only thing that ever has.

John Jacobs
Nov. 15, 2000
Protesting is an essential part of pushing for social and economic change.  For many (e.g. people with low incomes) it is the only means of influencing the world around them.  Protesting is for many empowering.  I hate to think where we would be now, if people had not protested in the past. 
Uma Bharati, Gujarat, India
Nov. 15, 2000
Protests, if informed by issues touching one's livelihoods, should have a space in
civil society. Fossil fuel based economy, the main pillar of today's economy, will affect the future of humanity, and in that sense it is very important to raise questions about it, and suggest alternatives.

Veena Gokhale
Nov. 15, 2000
I think protests get media attention. They also helps group feel and show some solidarity. Are empowering in that way. Disadvantages: bad and negative media coverage which may also bias some people against the cause (and in fact does!)  
I think protests are still important on the whole but they must be coupled with public education and outreach - important to get the messages out more personally and via media that distort less (alternate media, workshops, fairs, websites, etc.)

Neil Beckingham
Perth WA
Nov. 15, 2000
I think it is important that people are protesting as it seems to be pushing governments to take a harder look at their energy policies. The Australian public is often a little apathetic on many issues including energy use (and abuse) and hence the efforts into renewable over here is moving slowly.
Peter Espeut,
Jamaica, 
West Indies
Nov. 15, 2000
I think protests annoy people in the vicinity of the protests, but I also think they influence policymakers (viz. Seattle) which make them important.

Win Hayes
Nov. 15, 2000
I don't think protests annoy many -- developing alternatives which are
economically viable will be more successful at affecting change

Robert Wilson
Nov. 15, 2000
You should all embrace poverty.

Beth McLaughlin
Nov. 15, 2000
I think protests are one way among many to make our voices heard.
 

Alan Sloan
Nov. 15, 2000
In the UK there are protests about the high tax on fuel (!), two months ago a few hundred (mostly truckers and farmers) protestors brought delivery of petrol and diesel to retail garages to a standstill, support was high. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered a budget with minor concessions, a freeze on most fuel duty with a promise of reductions on low sulphur types coming onto the forecourts shortly. A repeat performance, a slow drive into London today by truckers is attracting far less public support.
Certainly the shortsightedness of the protesters in this case annoys me intensely, though by stopping the flow of fossil fuels they certainly illustrated the extent of our dependence. My own feeling of the reactions of the wider public is that what support there is for the truckers is poorly informed and certainly likely to evaporate if the media were to raise the level of debate (into the strategic implications of fossil fuel dependence etc.)

Michael Neuman
Nov. 15, 2000
It depends what the makeup of the "protest" is. I do not believe it always has to be mass demonstration. In fact, that type of protest is self defeating in addressing global warming to some extent, due to the fossil fuel burning required in transport to the protest cites.  I believe there are many other forms of protest that can be more effective, and less environmentally costly, than mass demonstrations. Here are just a few. The only limit to the number of these available is the imagination:
1) Not paying taxes. Henry David Thoreau's "civil disobedience" (1850) to not pay his taxes landed him in the local jail, but he maintained his personal integrity in not paying taxes to a government that approved of slavery. 
2) Boycotting work.
3) Writing letters of protest.
4) Petitions.
5) Uncomfortable telephone calls (uncomfortable to receiver).
6) Nasty letters to newspapers.
7) Boycotting buying products.
8) Sending emails.

Paul O'Hara
Nov. 15, 2000
If you come from privilege, you can afford to be annoyed!!


Greta Doucet
New Brunswick
Nov. 14, 2000
I prefer educating, educating - educating: in a positive manner. For example I would love to really understand the alternatives such as Solar heating, wind power, etc. Let's make it user friendly, lots of visuals and first person accounts of usage. I truly believe that scare tactics have the opposite effect of what our intentions are. When people are overwhelmed and scared they tune off and don't listen. This comes from someone with long experience in Mental Health and parenting. You scare them, they crawl in their shell.
Alejandra Herranz, Argentina
Nov. 14, 2000
Instead of protesting, people should change their habits and attitudes to tend to sustainable consumption. Some of the protesters are users of fossil fuels (they drive by car, they take buses, they sail on powered-fuel boats...). 
Do I think it effects change or does it just annoy people?  Both. It annoys people, but also when you protest in a laud voice, you are showing to other that there is something wrong going on.

Lubomir Nondek, Prague, 
Czech Republic

Nov. 14, 2000
I very much agree with Roger McKenzie that alternative technological solutions are needed, among others nuclear power. On the other hand, we must use energy in more efficient way.  Any hysterical, irrational and violent street protests like those in Prague during recent IMF/World Bank Conference would cause more harm than good. We need rational discussion. 
Personally, I am skeptical that humanity will mitigate global warming, nobody wants to bear costs related to reduction of GHGs emissions... Nobody want to pay more for power, heat or gasoline - especially in USA. 

 

Dr. Michael J.
Cohen, Director
Institute of Global
Education
Integrated Ecology/Project NatureConnnect

Nov. 14, 2000


The secrets of educating and counseling with nature help the human race survive the destructiveness of the human race.- Albert Schweitzer

Our nature-separated "brainwashing" influences the way we experience most things, including our sense of self. Our estrangement disconnects our psyche from its origins and nurturance in ecosystems. This numbs 53 natural senses that we inherit. They would normally enable us to relate more intelligently and responsibly. As the state of the world presently shows, numb makes dumb with respect to living in balance. - John Burroughs

To our loss, reconnecting with nature is suspect in our nature-conquering society. It is seldom encouraged, often disparaged. Yet most people have had at least one significant nature connected experience. Somewhere deep within us we each know its value.  "At root, ecology is an erotic attitude of closeness, relatedness and care. We have made it into a rational/activist project and lost sight of its heart." 
- Thomas Moore

"Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people."
- Albert Einstein

Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja, 
Islamabad Pakistan

Nov. 14, 2000

... to our experience at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), 
it certainly effects change with annoyance to those who 
resist change for whatever reasons/vested interests.


Vinnie Hodges
Liberia

Nov. 14, 2000
There should be alternatives. My problem with the protest is that I am from a third world country that will never develop alternatives in this generation. Protesting is fine but what happens to my country--Liberia, where it is difficult to get a gallon of gas to get to work, needless say developing alternative fuel? Just to feed the hungry mouths it is hard for the Government due to poor management of resources. For us in third world like Liberia, I think our protest with your help should be to curb 
corruption. 

Cecil Bothwell
Black Mountain, NC
Nov. 14, 2000

I think protesting can have some good effect, but it should be carefully targeted 
and NO ONE SHOULD DRIVE TO A PROTEST ABOUT FOSSIL FUEL.


pratyush
Nov. 14, 2000

Yes, protest always sparks future changes
by raising awareness, creating pressure groups etc.


James Arvanitakis
Campaign Director
AID/WATCH
Nov. 13, 2000
I think that protesting is a valuable form of campaigning. Without the protestors on the streets, those inside negotiating on behalf of the protestors have less to negotiate with. The strength of the current protest movement is that it is diverse... it includes environmentalists, religious groups, human rights groups, unions and students. Non-violent direct action has a long history of success. I think it is important that
we continue to use this as one of many tools for ensuring we achieve change.

Lena Brook
Walnut Creek, CA
Nov. 13, 2000
In my opinion, it affects change by bringing a voice to the issue. The more 
protests, the more attention the issue gets from mainstream media which increases its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. it may certainly annoy people, but I think
it is worth it.

Cindie L. Smith
Nov. 10, 2000
Any form of peaceful protest alleviates the feeling of helplessness and gives the public something active to work toward. Marches, petitions, rallies - 
they are all great awareness tools. 

Allison Connell
Nov. 10, 2000
Yes we should protest because action has been much too slow. 
 

Wendy Keats
Nov 10, 2000

Protesting is simply a forum for being heard. Unfortunately, and all too often, our policy makers don't listen until we gather "en mass". When properly led, group protests are healthy and help bring issues to the forefront. They also help others across the nation to know that they are not alone in their concerns. We don't all have the opportunity to get actively involved and often find ourselves wondering if others share our concerns about a particular issue. When groups protest - we are confirmed in our own beliefs and the media attention opens the door for us to raise the issue in our own communities.
On the other side of the coin, we need to be careful about group protests. "Mob mentality" can easily become unleashed and unfortunate incidents occur. Protests need to be well planned with clear objectives and boundaries. Those organizing the protest need to have clear statements of what they want to see changed and why, and they need to have a representative who can clearly articulate these messages to the media.
As we're seeing in recent events, policy makers would love to see protests banned or at least removed from under their noses. If they get their way, we move one step closer to losing our democracy. 

Al Geddry
Nov 10, 2000
I believe demonstrations do serve a purpose provided they are timely, well attended, have a very specific focus and are well organized. A few people waving placards will not do it. Even if somewhat disruptive to the public, demonstrations can have a positive impact on both opinion makers and politicians.
Rob Walker
Alma NB

Nov 10, 2000
Yes, peaceful public protests do create awareness and influence public 
opinion (particularly when they are covered by the mass media). There will 
always be a certain number of people (often a majority) who are satisfied 
with the status quo and who do not care to get involved or who are annoyed 
by protest actions. We cannot let the complacent or hostile elements of our 
population prevent us from developing an environmentally-friendly society.

Jason Blanch
Nappan Project
Amherst NS
Nov 10, 2000
To protest injustice is to live, to have soul. To do nothing is to support
the injustice. The annoying thing is that people are paralyzed by the
belief that protesting can not affect change. What else ever has?


Brenda Kelley Sustainable Development, Bathurst 
Nov. 9, 2000
I am pleased to hear that our efforts to awaken humanity's understanding of the deadly situation we are facing is finally beginning to work. I am pleased to hear my people speak. I commend them on their spirit and encourage them to continue to listen to Mother Earth as she speaks to them in the wind and as they hear her cries from the North . She tells them that she is with them always even until the end of her days .  

Sarah Shima
Falls Brook Centre
Nov 9, 2000
Good question! I think when well organized, protests can be extremely effective. The bulk of the protesters must be people who truly care about the issue and who are well informed. People out for the fun of it, present the opposite effect
required. 

 

Gary_Hitch
Canada
Nov. 8, 2000

   The more public protests there are the faster government will sit up and take notice. They might even realize that fossil fuels are not an infinite resource even though they're treated that way.  If people can get that step done then the rest is just a matter of time.  Smart fossil fuel-based companies are already researching alternatives so as not to left out in the cold when the world starts buying heavily into alternative energies. The demand will grow accordingly and the prices then begin to fall.  It's going to take some time but it can be done if public involvement grows
from a low grumble to a load 'we're not gonna' take anymore'.  The question then will be - is it too late?
--------------
  Plus il y aura des démonstrations publiques plus les gouvernements vont se
réveiller rapidement. Ils pourraient même se rendre compte que les combustibles fossiles ne sont pas une ressource infinie quoiqu'ils soient traités ainsi.  Si on réussi cet étape alors le reste est juste une question de temps.  Les compagnies de productions pétrolières qui sont intelligentes recherchent déjà des solutions et altenatives afin de ne pas être abadonnées lorsque le monde commencera à acheter des énergies alternativesde façon massive. La demande croîtra en conséquence et les prix commenceront alors à tomber.  Cela va prendre un certain temps mais pourrait tout de même être fait si la participation publique augement d'un bas grognement à un retentissant 'c'est y est - c'est assez!'.   La question alors sera - il est- il trop tard?

 

Anne,
Manitoba Eco-Network
Nov. 8, 2000

My view is that protesting is a valid part of the spectrum of public
participation. (As long as its non-violent - I don't think there's any call for violence of any kind). Yes, it may annoy some people -- thought must be given to what it is that a group is trying to achieve. It might not be the best strategy in some situations, but in others it may provide a much needed boost to public awareness.
My favourite kind of protesting is street theatre. It can convey a powerful
message in a non-threatening way. 


Sabin Legerer
Quebec, Quebec
8 novembre 2000
Tout depend sur la person a qui tu posses la question. je pense que sa
importunent les corporations et les governement, mais les corporation ne sont pas des personnes et les governement c'est les governement. et la dans les vrais gens on a les cyniques et on a ceux qui sont conscient de se que les corporation et les governement font a la planet. donc tout depend.

 

 

Pierre Loiselle
November 9, 2000

Protesting has been, and still is an integral part for people to engage in the democratic process. As many people have realized, there is only a minimal response at best, to getting corporations and governments to listen to the voice of people through other conventional means (petitions, and so forth).
   It has been through the use of political protest that history has been transformed (although history books tend to downplay this). A few examples include the success of the labour movement in achieving the 8-hour work day, social programming, and minimum wage standards. The civil rights movement would not have occurred without direct actions and community mobilizations. Oppressed peoples who fought against colonization by outside forces used political protest (ie: India and Britain). Although this barely skims the surface of the history of political protest, I hope that it illustrates the importance of it historically.
   Does it just annoy people? It depends what people you're talking about. People who believe that the way our society is organized is actually quite fair and equitable, that environmental degradation isn't really an issue, etc... yeah, people who understand our world in this respect will likely find that protest is annoying. They may believe that people who are angry at the death and destruction being committed in our name are just whining complainers. Much of these attitudes have been formed by misinformation in the corporate media about the nature of protests, and the impact of globalization on all people.
   The 'progressive' elements of our society have been fought for and won by the voices of many people using political protest. The state has always used the corporate media, police & military forces, and other means to suppress dissent. Because of the potential effectiveness of mass demonstrations, general strikes, and direct actions, we are led to believe that these are not the avenues to try to achieve social change. We are encouraged to follow the bureaucratic, state sponsored guidelines. These days, many people buy into these ideas that have been rammed down our throats. The events in Seattle were a turning point for North America. It was a beautiful way to ring in the new Millennium. Finally, the people of the so-called 1st world are standing in solidarity with the people of the rest of the world and saying: Enough is Enough! It's about time that we took responsibility for what governments and corporations are doing globally, and join together to try to change this. Seattle, Washington, Windsor, Melbourne, Prague...everywhere the transnationals try to meet, they are being opposed. It is a monumental phenomenon in the history of humanity.
   This April, the FTAA is meeting in Quebec City, and the eyes of the world will be watching. I hope that the people of the Maritimes will be taking a stand with those from across the country and the rest of the world to protest the barbarous nature of globalization. I hope to see a lot of us vote with our feet, and march up to Quebec and try to stop these trade agreements from becoming a reality.

Louis McMillan
Victoria, BC
November 9, 2000
I believe such activities simply annoys the powers to be. As long as the 
Government and large companies keep looking at their profit ledger, no 
protest which may take money from them will have much effect.

 

 

 

Roger McKenzie, Saint John, N.B.
Nov 8, 2000

As a society, we have become massively dependent on the use of energy for our
way of life. Life would be a misery for many of us without it. One has only to remember the ice storm of two years ago to realize how dependent we have all become on energy. However, it should be perfectly possible to reduce dependence on fossil fuels - in fact we should do so with some urgency as they will eventually become exhausted. It is quite worrying to think of what will happen as fossil fuels become more scarce and so more expensive. There may even be wars over the dwindling reserves unless some alternative is developed. One potential solution is to strongly encourage conservation and to promote the use of hydrogen - encourage the development of the "hydrogen economy". Nuclear power would be a major part of this solution!
Protests are usually carried out by a very small group of society (in relative terms). The problem is usually that protesters do not have a clear understanding of the problem. Also many individual protesters protest many different aspects of social concerns - for example some protestors protested the spruce budworm, the Point Lepreau Construction and the seal hunt - the same individuals! To me, this reduces their credibility as they become "professional protestors". Nonetheless, some lawful protest is often necessary to draw attention of the public and their politicians to the "down side" of many of society's activities. If protesting is carried out intelligently, it helps to effect desirable change. If it is unintelligently conducted, it antagonizes intelligent people.  

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