Protest in the News
There are two dominant themes in the media coverage of the Idle No More protest movement. First, protest is ineffective. It accomplishes nothing. Second, Idle No More has already accomplished everything it can reasonably hope to accomplish. The demands of the movement have already been met.
These two obviously contradictory ideas often appear in the same editorial.
If protest accomplishes nothing, then how has Idle No More accomplished its goals? If Idle No More has accomplished its goals, then how does protest accomplish nothing?
The message from the media is clear: Go home. Let the politicians sort things out. The business of Canada is no business of the people.
We can learn something from looking at the past. Today, Occupy is held up by the media as definitive proof that popular protest accomplishes nothing, but last year, the message was the same. Go home. Let the politicians sort things out. The business of Bay Street is no business of the people. Occupy was told it had already achieved its goals. The anti-war movement of the last decade was held up as proof that protest accomplishes nothing.
During the Arab Spring, the message was the same. During the Quebec student strikes, the message was the same. Even during the Russian Revolution of 1917, the newspapers declared that protest would accomplish nothing and the demands of the workers had already been met.
Whatever the strength of your movement, the message from the media will be the same. They will always tell you to go home. Because protest is a threat. Because protest does work. Protest turns to direct action and together they say, in the clearest language, that ours are not polite requests but demands. Our voices will be heard.