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[P]
Distributed Protest

By simul in Op-Ed
Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 07:51:16 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The purpose of a protest is, ostensibly, to attract attention to an issue.


When I went to the June 23rd protest against Bush and his abuse of the office of President, I held up a provocative sign, "Why did Bush block the investigation of the 9/11 attacks?" The protest was large and loud - as it should be. A few thousand people showed up, but many of them could not find a place to stand in the pens that were set aside for the protest.

After the protest, I walked to Bryant park - with my sign - and noticed that I got a lot more attention as a "lone-protestor". People came up to me and asked questions. Everyone in sight plainly read my sign, and many people asked me to turn it - so they could get a better view.

It dawned on me that another way to protest is for everyone to simply carry a sign on the street, on a designated day. That way more people will see the message. Imagine how powerful it would be that when you went to work, or to the shops, saw a person carrying a sign on every block, no matter where you looked and as far as you went.

For those of you familiar with networking, it's analogous a D-DOS versus a DOS attack... provably a more powerful method, even with comparable bandwidth. An excellent and pertinent article on the decentralized coordination of large groups can be found here.

To comply with the law and make a stronger message there are several simple rules:

  1. Leave your house within a precise time, and bring a sign to an area, possibly with limits, that's convenient to you.
  2. If you see another protestor nearby, acknowledge them and move on.
  3. Avoid police. Lower your sign or walk away when told to. Raise it up again when you are out of the contended area. Persistent avoidance makes the mob, as a whole, impossible to stop.
  4. Use cardboard, foam-core or paper signs only. Art supply stores sell cardboard tubes suitable to use instead of sticks. Police officers can legally confiscate signs with sticks, claiming that they are potential weapons.
  5. Respond to requests for more information with clear answers or a printed flyer.

What's critical about this form of media is the timing. Anyone can wear a t-shirt and make very little impact. However, when very large groups of people wear them on the same day, it has a deeper resonance. Powerful media has impact in its distinction from the background noise of everyday life. Since people wear t-shirts all the time, they aren't as powerful as signs, and so they require a higher density.

Other ideas for making the protest work. Not necessary, but useful.

  • Stick to crowded areas. This one is obvious. Distributed protests only work in busy metro areas, or malls, etc. Also, nighttime is fine for a vigil or rally, but not for a distributed protest.
  • If you insist on using t-shirt mobs, use a site like cafepress.com to have a T-shirt drive. After you have enough buyers, email all the buyers and ask them to wear the T-shirt on the same day and in the same place. You will need a much shorter timeline and a 3-5 times higher density for this to be effective, so make sure your venue is small enough. For example, 500 people wearing the same t-shirt showing up at a mall at the same time.
  • You can create a radius, like "Manhattan Only". However you want to make sure the radius allows for 6 or-so protestors per square block. Click here for a protest density and map calculator.
  • Unlike traditional rallies, which are very effective for other reasons, a distributed protest is more effective as a long-term media campaign. You are better off running a 30-minute protest each day from 6pm until 6:30pm for 8 days in a row, rather than having 1 protest for 4 hours.
  • Hand-drawn signs and creative slogans make a big impact on viewers, by creating a diverse, penetrating message. Here's an excellent FAQ on sign-making. Please note that cardboard tubes are not optional anymore in most states.
  • Be clear about your agenda. Ask that protestors stick to it. But don't stop fellow protestors and knock their efforts if they seem to be off-topic.
  • Use viral emails to organize large protests in a short amount of time. All emails should contain a request to forward them on to at least 3 other friends.
Distributed protests are the political manifestations of flash mobs and the physical expression of the force of universal publishing that the Internet has given us. They represent the ability of the common man to present media using the same level of sophistication and organization previously available only to those in power. Regardless of what political agenda you stand for, they have the potential to be a new tool in the arsenal of the concerned citizen.

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Poll
Distributed Protests
o I don't care about protests. 16%
o It's been done before, and failed miserably. 3%
o It's been done before, and it works. 9%
o I'd like to see one. 62%
o I'm organizing one now. 1%
o Isn't this the same as flash-mobs? 7%

Votes: 95
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o here
o cafepress. com
o here [2]
o excellent FAQ
o flash mobs
o Also by simul


Display: Sort:
Distributed Protest | 102 comments (88 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Some more ideas (4.00 / 8) (#2)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 02:40:13 PM EST

  • Make your sign short and easy to read
  • Print your sign on paper that is sticky on the back
  • Instead of carrying your sign, try sticking it to the back of your car
  • Drive around

Political action through bumper stickers and tshirts. Unheard of!

Play 囲碁

Driving one is very cool for non-metro areas (none / 0) (#3)
by simul on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 02:42:26 PM EST

no one has a car in new york... where i live... so i never thought of it....

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Driving with a sign works (5.00 / 3) (#16)
by czth on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 04:25:26 PM EST

When I was going to school in Waterloo, I remember seeing a vehicle (Jeep of some sort?) several times with a sign on the back reading:

We will never buy another vehicle from Bustard Chrysler.

Now, regardless of what happened, whether this guy was wronged or not, I'll bet it was damned effective. I wasn't in town all that much and as I said I saw it several times. And yes, Bustard Chrysler is a real dealership. I wonder how much custom they lost because of one irritated guy with a sign? Unless there was a huge price difference or other compelling reason to go to Bustard, many people might reason that if this guy was upset enough to drive around with a sign on his car, that it might be worth checking out other dealers first - which would quite likely lose them sales.

And really, there's not a single thing they (Bustard) could do about it: this guy is just stating his personal view, and the sign's on his property, and isn't offensive or otherwise illegal and is cheap to replace if anything should "happen" to it.

czth

[ Parent ]

Perfect example of drive-aroundv version (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by localroger on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 07:27:35 PM EST

This guy via Metafilter.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]
cool idea... (4.40 / 5) (#6)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 03:05:28 PM EST

But I have an issue...

Avoid police. Put down your sign or walk away when told to.

Um... why? Are there laws somewhere against carrying a sign? Provided you don't give the cops an excuse to arrest you, keep you sign un-obstructive, and stay on public property (does that exist anymore?) I can't see why the police would be a problem...


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

you do no good resisting a cop by yourself (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by simul on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 03:10:37 PM EST

you do more good just going wherever they want you to go and continuing your protest.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
yeah, I know... (none / 0) (#15)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 04:12:13 PM EST

perhaps I'm being naive, but I really can't see the cops in my city actually caring...

That was my point.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

what city? (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by simul on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 05:41:05 PM EST

in new york they now harass you if you do anything unusual. i got prodded with a nightstick for trying to balance myself on a fence. these guys got hustled off the street for trying to strike up conversation

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
geeze... (none / 0) (#22)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 05:49:53 PM EST

land of the free, I guess huh? :-)

I live in Vancouver... I offered a cop some of my beer once and he just laughed... I was too chicken to do it with pot, but I'd be willing to bet the reaction would be the same.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

We offered Strawberry Jam (none / 0) (#31)
by tzanger on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 08:25:00 PM EST

to a pair of officers writing a report for a minor fender-bender my wife had.  Obviously they could not accept it on duty but IIRC one of them came back after his shift was over...  it's good stuff.

[ Parent ]
Dog (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by Mick Strider on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 10:28:27 PM EST

I once gave a bowl of water to a police dog, and he (she?) drank it. As long as we're covering donations we've made to the police I thought I'd mention it.

[ Parent ]
so... you're a facist, police state supporter [nt] (none / 0) (#59)
by simul on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 02:15:03 PM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by Mick Strider on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 11:03:51 PM EST

If a thirsty dog is involved, yes.

[ Parent ]
Shame on you (none / 0) (#79)
by Eater on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 03:49:36 PM EST

Attempting to bribe a police dog in order to smuggle dangerous, youth-destroying drugs across the border, are we?

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Not Really the Cops Fault (none / 0) (#62)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 03:12:05 PM EST

Most of that moronic stuff comes straight from city hall. I have a freind who is NYPD, they are constantly getting beat over the head about enforcing stupid "quality of life" B.S.  Believe me most of the cops would much rather be out catching real criminals then rousting you for balancing on a fence... but if the don't enforce that stuff then they get disciplined.

[ Parent ]
"Just following orders" (none / 0) (#66)
by rkh on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 06:26:54 PM EST

You're right, they are told to act that way, but since when was "I was just following orders" an acceptable excuse for anything?

[ Parent ]
let me tell you a little bit about capitalism.. (5.00 / 2) (#72)
by Mizuno Ami on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 02:25:25 AM EST

Who would you rather please? The person keeping you fed and a roof over your head, or some random person?

It's a rather poor analogy, but when you work at a fast food restuarant, you realize that no matter how many people you piss off by asking if they want their sandwiches in biggie sized combos, you're just impressing your boss and setting yourself up for a raise. In the end, I'd rather have my manager happy with me than the customer happy with me.

I'll guarantee that a customer's never going to write on one of those comment cards that being annoying and trying to upsell directly conflicts with the almighty Dave's three golden rules for being nice, and I'll bet that someone who's getting harassed by the cops isn't going to take the time to write to his congressman or city hall to get something done. If he's like about 60% of the people out there, he probably won't even bother voting.



[ Parent ]
Capitalism and government don't mix (none / 0) (#83)
by squigly on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 05:53:35 AM EST

The police shouldn't have the same attitude as fast food restaurant staff.  Fast food workers work there because they want money (generally).  

The police should choose their job because they want to serve the public.  The fact that they are defending the public's right to protest should be a the reason they get praise.  

[ Parent ]

Whats the alternative? (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 11:23:03 AM EST

The only alternative is to let individual policeman decide which laws they want to enforce.
Believe me you don't want that either. That way is rife for abuse....that way leads to "I don't think mugging should be a crime when it's commited against people with black hair".

A policemans job is to enforce the law fairly AS IT IS WRITTEN BY THE LEGISLATURE and AS IT IS INTERPRETED BY THE LOCAL ADMINISTRATION.

It's NOT a beat cops job to determine whether the law is just or unjust or how to interpret it. They are neither equiped to do that NOR ARE THEY DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC like the elected officials that do make those calls.

AS long as the laws in general are moraly just..... and in GENERAL they are in the U.S. despite problems with some specific ones..... then there is nothing ethicly wrong with being a cop and following orders even if you believe some of your orders are B.S.

Frankly I'd rather have cops out there to catch murderers and rapists then not have any cops because people aren't willing to deign to subjugate thier own beliefs to hassle some-one climbing a fence even if they think it's B.S.
It's not like he shot you in the back of the head or anything.

You have a problem with being hassled while protesting....take it up with the people actualy responsible for making that call... the legislature and the mayors office. Don't blame the beat cops for doing thier job. They don't have anymore say about it then you do.

[ Parent ]

I hope ... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by teece on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 02:19:20 PM EST

... This guy just likes to avoid the police in general.

The day an American has to avoid the police because he is carrying a sign is a pretty fucking sad day.

If that is required to not get harrassed today, then this little experiment in democracy called America has really taken a wrong turn somewhere. I mean it is the very first ammendment, for crying out loud. If the government really feels comfortable trampling that one this blatantly, what respect for any of our rights can they have?

Hopefully if one were to do this, one wouldn't not need to avoid the police

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

I'm torn (2.33 / 6) (#8)
by RyoCokey on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 03:37:56 PM EST

I'd tell you to take your article elsewhere, but would it be Slashdot or Indymedia?



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
finally.. (4.50 / 4) (#10)
by Suppafly on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 03:43:04 PM EST

a purpose for those stupid flash mobs..
---
Playstation Sucks.
Nice. (4.42 / 7) (#14)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 04:10:02 PM EST

For some purposes, though, traditional "crowds chanting slogans" protests are more useful.

For example, you need a whole bunch of organised people to stop a bunch of supposedly pro-democracy government ministers getting to a dinner with a Chinese general. (To pull an example out of the air at random, heh.)

Also, big protests have an indefinable presence that not only gets your message across, but revitalises and empowers the people doing the protesting. It feels good to stand outside Parliament in a crowd of 10,000 shouting "(what do we want)Land Rights! (when do we want them)Now!"
More right-wing assholes should try it.

It's true that right-wingers do protest occasionally, of course. Two examples I can think of are anti-abortionists and Fred Nile's little band of dedicated Mardi Gras protesters, the poor things, who regularly go there, holding their "God loves you anyway" signs and get called party poopers for their trouble.

But right-wingers never get the really big protests. They have political rallies instead, the poor bastards.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

True, but.... (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by simul on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 04:28:37 PM EST

It's fun, it's been done. It barely makes the news anymore.

If 10000 protestors organized into a distributed protest showed up at midtown manhattan at noon, they would completely smother the entire area. You would have an average of 10 protestors within easy viewing distance at all times - no matter where you went.

It's all in the math.

Tweak: A lunch hour, ask 2000 people to spend their lunch hour walking into a random public eating areas, shouting a single phrase and then leaving quickly. There are only 1000 popular luncheries in mid/downtown. If the average protestor visits 5 places each hour, then nearly every person getting lunch will hear 5-10 wacky shouts each from different people during his lunch hour. More crowded places will naturally attract more protestors.

There are other cool tweaks that can be used.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

meat space DOS (2.66 / 3) (#41)
by fhotg on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 04:07:16 AM EST

Ask 100 people to come to an arbitrary airport and lock themelves in the toilets, for 2 hours, at peak time.

Have another couple of people call the police to complain about people urinating in public outside the building.

Have fun.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

( | ) ;) (nt) (none / 0) (#46)
by simul on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 08:44:30 AM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
right-wing protestors (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Delirium on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 04:27:25 AM EST

Occasionally the entertainment industry brings out some large groups of right-wing protestors. For example, Marilyn Manson used to fairly regularly draw decent-sized crowds of picketers to his shows, especially in some areas of the country.

[ Parent ]
right-wing activism (none / 0) (#98)
by tps12 on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 10:31:14 AM EST

See: lynchin'

[ Parent ]
example of persistence over volume (4.50 / 4) (#21)
by simul on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 05:43:33 PM EST

2 people who got 11 news writeups, including national papers and TV interviews... for carrying a sign.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
You forgot a couple of points. (3.14 / 14) (#23)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 06:28:37 PM EST

-Be naive and assume you are changing the world.
-Avoid real politics where actual changes are really made.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
what are "real" politics? (4.66 / 3) (#45)
by simul on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 08:42:40 AM EST

collecting donations and running for a local office?

voting?

politically motivated performance art?

following in the footsteps of the civil rights movement?

(hint: answer is *all of he above*)


Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

What about (none / 0) (#86)
by nebbish on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 09:52:06 AM EST

The civil rights movement? The anti colonial movements?

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Looks like a useful trick. (4.50 / 4) (#24)
by mjfgates on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 06:48:15 PM EST

Obviously this doesn't replace the traditional "five billion people on the Capitol steps" type of protest, but then airplanes didn't replace cars either.

been done before (3.20 / 5) (#29)
by Rahaan on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 07:44:23 PM EST

albeit in a different context.  It's called "advertising."


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
It's been done (2.80 / 5) (#33)
by godix on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 09:27:28 PM EST

and I doubt most people know what "John 3:16" refers to much less what the passage actually says no matter how many times they see if at a sports game. People who hate Bush will like you and people who love Bush will hate you, but most people will just cross the street muttering 'fucking homeless loonies and their signs'.

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
A link to the verse (none / 0) (#58)
by FeersumAsura on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:59:44 PM EST

Link
==
It didn't work the first time.
[ Parent ]
Try this one in a church or similar (none / 0) (#69)
by artis on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 09:59:37 PM EST

Genesis 19:8
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
My favorite (none / 0) (#70)
by godix on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 10:10:15 PM EST

Psalms 137:9

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
[ Parent ]
Leviticus 22:24 (none / 0) (#87)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 11:14:37 AM EST

I used to hold that particular sign at all the mandatory public school pep rallies I was forced to attend.

The NKJ versions are too vague, however, the NIV renders it correctly.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#88)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 11:17:05 AM EST

Offering your daughters to the gay men is always a good idea. Of course, you don't see this particular behavior being advocated as righteous, either.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
How to REALLY "do" a Protest (1.75 / 4) (#34)
by thelizman on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 09:30:42 PM EST

Troll 'em
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Bad Link (none / 0) (#36)
by RyoCokey on Thu Jul 31, 2003 at 11:39:29 PM EST

I think.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
Yep (none / 0) (#48)
by thelizman on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 09:42:03 AM EST

...it was.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure if that would work (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by morkeleb on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:12:10 AM EST

There was a guy at my school who was
naked save a sandwich board sign that said something about finding love through christ, and all the assholes that couldn't find love were going to burn in hell, walking around
shouting quotes from Revelations and belting out church hymnals.  He didn't even create a ripple.
The Nation of Islam guys got more attention than he did.   Everyone just walked around him like water in a river passing over a stone.<br><br>
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
sounds like a S.E.P. field... (n/t) (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by fishling on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:59:37 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Reason (3.00 / 3) (#43)
by greenrd on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 05:21:27 AM EST

There was a guy at my school who was naked save a sandwich board sign that said something about finding love through christ, and all the assholes that couldn't find love were going to burn in hell, walking around shouting quotes from Revelations and belting out church hymnals. He didn't even create a ripple.

Could that have been because he was an obvious fruitcake, do you think?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

A lone protestor.. (4.66 / 3) (#44)
by Kwil on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 06:02:39 AM EST

..is also known as a loonie, and can be written off.

The strength of this comes from the multiple people all with the same type of sign.  If on every block you see someone with a sign about the same issue, have you been invaded by loonies, or might there be something to their issue?

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Recommended Reading (4.83 / 6) (#39)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 02:41:19 AM EST

I found this in a paperback book in a used bookstore just today. I bought it for $3.00. The same book also included Walden.

I think Civil Disobedience should be easy for anyone to find, because the bookstore I went to was just a little one, and had two copies at the same price.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Quite easy (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by rhdntd on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 11:28:14 AM EST

In fact ...

-- 
"book chicks really seem to like anal"
  — Lady 3Jane
[ Parent ]
Better still... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by skyknight on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 12:52:10 PM EST

Why buy it from a small, local bookstore with anonymous cash when you could purchase it from a huge, database driven corporation with your heavily networked and highly traceable credit card information? Don't you want to be on the list? Think of all the tax payer money you are wasting by unnecessarily straining the resources of the Total (er, I mean Terrorist) Information Awareness program. Why do you hate America? ;-)



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Nopes (none / 0) (#65)
by LilDebbie on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 05:04:07 PM EST

Protestors are too big of pussies for that. They're doing it so they can impress upon women that they're politically minded and care about stuff (though lacking the honesty to say they care about poon). The reason things like assembly pens exist is because the protesters are willing to go into them. If they really gave a shat, they would say, "fuck it" and go where they're not supposed to and get arrested for it like real dissidents.

Also, Walden rocks my fucking world. Big prop to the HDT.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Ugh. -1, Distributed Idiocy (3.11 / 9) (#40)
by Kasreyn on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 02:54:14 AM EST

Idiotic title.

but many of them could not find a place to stand in the pens that were set aside for the protest.

Umm... this part scares me so much, it's not even funny. So long, right to freedom of assembly. Sure was nice having you around.

Avoid police.

Then what do you do if you're protesting against the police? Say, against police violence, or racial discrimination in pullovers? Wouldn't you want to picket the police headquarters? Or is it impossible to protest the actions of law enforcement any more?

...use a site like cafepress.com to have a T-shirt drive.

Not a good idea. Cafepress is officially Evil, Bad, and Wrong.

But don't stop fellow protestors and knock their efforts if they seem to be off-topic.

Silly. Nothing hurts your message more than the confusion and uncertainty this can cause. Make the message clear to your protestors: this is the precise message we are sending. If you want to shout something else, feel free. Just don't claim to be affiliated with us. We will publicly disavow you.

Use viral emails to organize large protests in a short amount of time.

Since the sort of idealist who actually goes to protests is likely to be offended by email spam, I doubt this will help.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
designated protest thread (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by ethereal on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:40:16 PM EST

but many of them could not find a place to stand in the pens that were set aside for the protest.

Umm... this part scares me so much, it's not even funny. So long, right to freedom of assembly. Sure was nice having you around.

There is actually a court case involving this working its way up at the moment. A protester outside of an airport where the President was landing was arrested for not moving to the "designated protest site", while other non-protesting onlookers weren't moved. He was singled out not for safety reasons, but for the content of his sign. The whole "designated protest area" seems blatantly contradictory to the First Amendment to me; I think there's something wrong with treating another citizen, even a somewhat important one, like royalty.

I saw this a few times on TV during the most recent war. A "Support the troops" rally on both sides of a busy road (and often in the road) somewhere in Tennessee is OK, even though there were plenty of little kids dodging cars. But an anti-war rally in a major metropolitan area showed rally-goers being herded basically like cattle "for their own safety". Guess which group looked more appealing on TV, more like a group that you'd want to identify with?

I won't get into some of the other media bias that was evident in that five minute clip, which I believe was shown on MSNBC.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

protest the police all you want (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by simul on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:12:52 PM EST

just don't stand in an easy-to-arrest clump of people.

it's as dumb as a bunch of soldiers standing in a row and firing in synch....

gueriila protest techniques are now our only recourse

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Um...your analogy is false. (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by ostersc on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 09:20:29 AM EST

A D-DOS is not a bunch of computers all over the place targeting some random machines all over the place. Just as a DOS is not a bunch of locally located machines targeting a single machine. Re-evaluate the definitions. Scott

Analogy expertly clarified (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by simul on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:27:39 PM EST

A DDOS (dist protest) uses a distributed set of message generators. The purpose in the distribution is to use their diversity (all over the place) to evade being easily shut down, and to commandeer more bandwidth (viewers). The attack (protest) is not targeted to a specific vulnerability (the media), but rather directly at the public (bandwidth).

A DOS (standard protest) uses a single set of message generators (a rally), whose purpose is to target a specific vulnerability (attract media attention)... but they often get shut down (put in pens) because they are an easy target for a firewall (police).

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Fuck protesters (2.09 / 21) (#49)
by Lenny on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 10:11:32 AM EST

Protesting is nothing more than public whining. Do something real in the political process. Don't make people late for work. Don't force cities to spend millions of dollars on babysitters. Run for office. Vote for someone with similar views. Oh, they didn't get elected and now you want to cause a stir because your candidate didn't win? Too fucking bad. Thats the political process. Deal with it.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
Protesting != public whining (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by edo on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 10:47:54 AM EST

> Protesting is nothing more than public whining.

Tell that to Rosa Parks.
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

OK (1.00 / 3) (#55)
by Lenny on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:11:31 PM EST

Rosa, if you're reading this: Protesting is public whining!


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
public whining is our right (nt) (5.00 / 5) (#61)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 02:29:36 PM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
so is sucking your thumb...so what? (nt) (1.00 / 2) (#63)
by Lenny on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 04:14:59 PM EST


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
so... (none / 0) (#64)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 04:29:47 PM EST

They don't need to "Deal with it" as you put it.

BTW, sucking you thumb is not a "right".

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

well if you put it that way... (1.00 / 1) (#67)
by Lenny on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 07:01:07 PM EST

Governments only restrict our freedom. Everything they do and their entire concept is to control and restrict freedom. So for the government to "grant rights" that already existed is really a silly notion.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
um.. no... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 07:19:02 PM EST

Under a constitutional system (a la USA), they certainly DO "grant rights". The underlying principle of the is that a citizen doesn't have any rights unless the government has granted them (whereas they become entrenched), hence the numerous ammendments to, an existance of the constitution. (Basically, unless it's protected, you can't say you have a "right" to do it.)

Systems based on "common law", such as the British one, work in the opposite way, which, as you state, is to assume that a citizen can do anything until told otherwise by which ever specific law limits behaviour. (Basically, you have the "right" to do whatever you want until someone makes a law saying you can't.)

These are two very distinct ways of treating citizen's rights, however, one can extend the benefits/disadvantages of either only when you understand those differences.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

no (4.00 / 3) (#73)
by felixrayman on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 05:50:25 AM EST

The US government does not grant rights. It acknowledges them. My rights are motherfucking inalienable. No tea for you.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
the right to protest outside police pens (none / 0) (#96)
by simul on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:10:09 PM EST

however...

is not mutherfucking inalienable...

unless you consider prison an acceptable form oc alternate protest (which many have)

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

that's half backwards (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Aug 03, 2003 at 03:32:51 AM EST

The US Constitution doesn't add rights to people. Rather, it subtracts them from the government. For example:

Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech.

The amendment abolishing slavery was worded in such a way that it doesn't create a right to be free so much as it gives the government a new ability, the ability to prohibit slavery. People already had a right to be free, the amendment just gave the government a mandate to protect that right.

It doesn't give women the right to vote, rather it prevents government from denying women the [already extant, but now enforced] right to vote: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

And so on. One could argue that this is merely a syntactic trick and that the constitution is, actually granting rights... except for this one clause:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

Whining is good (5.00 / 2) (#82)
by squigly on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 05:25:02 AM EST

Protesting is nothing more than public whining

Yep.  So is posting on discussion forums, so is writing to a newspaper.  Whining is a mechanism to spread a message.

Don't force cities to spend millions of dollars on babysitters.

Why not?  Its our right to do so.  

Run for office.

Based on a single issue?  You won't get a lot of votes.  Or a lot of funding since nobody will back a no-hoper single issue candidate.

Vote for someone with similar views.

What if nobody running has similar views, or any opinion on the matter at all?

Oh, they didn't get elected and now you want to cause a stir because your candidate didn't win?

The point is to make people start thinking about the issue.  If they haven't heard about the problem in the first place, they will not form an opinion, the polititians will not develop a policiy for or against it, and there isn't actually going to be anyonbe to vote for.  If people are delayed, they'll want to know why they were delayed.  They find out why there was a protest, and form an opinion.  Eventually they'll forgive the protesters for the delay, and may well agree with them.  

[ Parent ]

whining can be good, if you're a hungry baby (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by Lenny on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 01:44:00 PM EST

Yep. So is posting on discussion forums, so is writing to a newspaper. Whining is a mechanism to spread a message.
Umm...yeah...you wish. Protesting is public whining. Whining to politicians. Elected politicians. Politicians that are doing the job that they were elected to do. Posting on a discussion forum is simple dialog between a few people who choose to join in. Protesting forces cities to pay millions of dollars and hurts businesses and makes people late for work and destroys property and the list goes on and on. What I am doing will cause no inconvenience to anyone.

Don't force cities to spend millions of dollars on babysitters. Why not? Its our right to do so.
Because its stupid and wasteful. Doing something constructive and beneficial for the city would accomplish a lot more.

Based on a single issue? You won't get a lot of votes. Or a lot of funding since nobody will back a no-hoper single issue candidate.
Based on however many issues you want. If you want to effect change, drop the cardboard, or the moltov cocktail, stop being a whining attention whore and do something positive.

What if nobody running has similar views, or any opinion on the matter at all?
Then move to a country that has a true democracy in which every person has an equal say in every fucking matter conceivable. If you don't like the system, improve it or get the fuck out and find a place that has what you want. Don't try to force your opinion, that no one else cares about, on the majority.

If people are delayed, they'll want to know why they were delayed. They find out why there was a protest, and form an opinion. Eventually they'll forgive the protesters for the delay, and may well agree with them.
Oh sure, some poor bastard dies in an ambulance because some fucktards are whining about globalization, but I'm sure his family will understand. They may learn to forgive the fucktards, even though their father/brother/son died due to some fucktards can't get over the fact that capitalism is the most effective form of economy on the planet. Yeah, they'll be sure to rally behind the cause...

Or maybe some guy gets fired for being late. He'll just go back to the protest. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

How would you like to be an hour late to work for a rally fighting rape laws? Or maybe a protest in favor of decriminalizing murder?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Whing works (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by squigly on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 05:50:32 PM EST

Hungry babies get fed.

Protesting forces cities to pay millions of dollars and hurts businesses

So do most things that happen in a city.  

and makes people late for work

Gosh, my heart bleeds.  Late for work!?  How will the world recover?  

and destroys property

no, vandalism destroys property.  Protesters shouldn't commit vandalism.  Any decent protest will not cause any permanent damage.

and the list goes on and on.

Yep.  They also help support the local restaurants, gice struggling journalists something to write about, provide an alternative and interesting day out for all the participants.  

What I am doing will cause no inconvenience to anyone.

That's true, but no elected politicians are going to notice.

Based on however many issues you want. If you want to effect change, drop the cardboard, or the moltov cocktail, stop being a whining attention whore and do something positive.

You make it sound so easy.  I could run for office - That would involve getting people to vote for me.  I'd need to start campaigning.  This will mean I have to make an extremely substantial commitment to doing something, rather than simply turning up to show my support.  I may feel strongly about a matter, but not enough to give up all my spare time for it.  

A protest shows the people who are in power, or want to get into power that there is a strong feeling of support for a subject.  They may not have realised that there was such a lot of support before.  

Oh sure, some poor bastard dies in an ambulance because some fucktards are whining about globalization, but I'm sure his family will understand. They may learn to forgive the fucktards, even though their father/brother/son died due to some fucktards can't get over the fact that capitalism is the most effective form of economy on the planet. Yeah, they'll be sure to rally behind the cause...

Does this happen on a regular basis?  

And who cares whether capitalism is the most effective form of economy?  That's almost a tautology.  The point is that there's more to the running the country than keeping the economy going.   Environmentalism is considerably better for the environment, and socialism is better for social improvements.  Communism results in lower poverty, and fascism keeps the crime rate down.

Or maybe some guy gets fired for being late. He'll just go back to the protest. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

If his position is so shaky that he gets fired even though he has a valid reason, then they were just waiting for a reason to get rid of him.  

How would you like to be an hour late to work for a rally fighting rape laws? Or maybe a protest in favor of decriminalizing murder?

Wouldn't worry me too much.  I'd be annoyed for the rest of the day, and put in the extra hour over the next couple of weeks.  7 minutes of extra work a day for two weeks isn't going to kill me.  If they feel its worth protesting about it, then the least I could do is try to understand their position.  

[ Parent ]

You are protesting about protesting n/t (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by brain in a jar on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 08:09:09 AM EST


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Amendment 1, US Constitution: (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by awgsilyari on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 02:36:42 PM EST

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In short, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

You did read the part you bolded didn't you? (4.00 / 3) (#95)
by Grognard on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 09:17:28 AM EST

the operative words being "peaceably to assemble".

When throngs of people block streets or sidewalks, impede traffic, etc. they are impinging on the rights of others - intentionally.  That contravenes the "peaceable" part of the amendment.  There is no right to force others to pay attention to you.


[ Parent ]

Tell it to Rosa Parks [n/t] (none / 0) (#101)
by Josh A on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:13:09 PM EST


---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Bypass the media (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by wumpus on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 12:47:02 PM EST

Seems to me that the primary virtue of this type of thing is to bypass the media. If you have a message (an obvious one, anti-media consolidation) that the media would simply edit "your" protest to whatever goals they may have, a standard protest will not work.

I suspect that the most usefull thing that such a protester could do is to talk to people passing by and convince them that you are perfectly sane, and that reasonable people have your opinion. Once they realize that such people exist, and have views wildly different from the talking heads they are used to, thought might actually happen (actually I suspect that the selection process will cause you to spend most of your time "preaching to the choir", but there is always hope.

The best a crowd can be is to chant "on message" slogans and mostly be seen by each other. Anybody passing through will typically avoid the area and only hear the medias slant on the protest. A distributed protest would allow far more people to encounter the protest, and allow the protester to convey the message without any intermediary.

The real question is what is the difference between a "distributed protest" and doing the "John 9:16" thing along the road? I suspect that its mostly "cool points" for the "protester" to claim "I was at the distributed protest against Ashcroft this weekend", and the biggest problem is that its too easy to fake it. Anybody who really believes that it makes a difference will be steadily working at it to fit their own schedule, not a "distributed protest" schedule".

Wumpus

I walked 5 blocks from the June 23rd protest... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by simul on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 01:07:00 PM EST

As little as 5 blocks away from a very large protest... 9 out of 10 people were cluesless as to why the "traffic was bad" around there.

It never made the news, and no one reported it...except for indymedia and whatreallyhappened and similar sites.

Our media can't be trusted to report political information anymore.

In fact there's a very sad site called "the protest that never happened" that has picures of it.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

This is a wonderful Idea, but.... (4.50 / 4) (#74)
by Wah on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 01:27:57 PM EST

...you need to work on the protocol a little bit.

A suggestion, one of the first thing protestors do when they meet (at random, on the edges of a distributed partern) is synchornize their watches.   And at various previously determined 'exact same moments', they do the same rally cry, screaming, alone in the city, the exact same thing.

Now, you have a perfectly sane looking person, who seems they are 'lost' from some protest somewhere, yelling a protest chant at the top of their lungs.

And there are people doing it on very nearly every street corner in the city at the same time.

If an 'agent' is between $home within 3 minutes of #nextyell, they must find the nearest corner, occupied or not.  And chime in.

This is with the assumption that a protest, and therefore a distributed protest, has both a visual and aural element.  Speech includes yelling.  In public.  All by yourself.  On a street corner.

Then you chill for 15 to N minutes and act like the perfectly normal person you are.  Doing the regular talking to people in a normal voice thing.

Later, all of a sudden, you start screaming again.

I'm thinking NYC on Oct 18.  Or maybe Halloween.

Anybody wanna play?
--
kewpie

How about Sep 13th as a Part of the ... (none / 0) (#75)
by simul on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 01:46:55 PM EST

Cool tweak!

So.....for a verbal protest.

1. Get rid of signs.

2. Use birthday months to divide people into NW/SW/NE/SE corners of each street.

3. Pick some thing that a large number of people, both left and right wing, can agree on.... Like a protest against the WTO's corporate globilization and human rights violations? Any other ideas?

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

What's the link for the 13th. (none / 0) (#76)
by Wah on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 01:57:31 PM EST

1.  Why get rid of the signs?  Sights and Sounds, more media = betta, IMHO.

2.  Sounds pretty complicated, especially in someplace like Boston, where even 'street corner' is a misnomer, much less any sort of respect for NESW directions.  Let the chaos organize it.  Sounds silly, but if you go with something like, 'pick a fairly open street corner with good traffic in down/uptown $city.  If there's someone else there, synchronize watches, chat for a bit, and decide if you need to spread out.' seems to cover the basics.  

3.  Hehe, this is the hard part.  Perhaps a theme of 'I don't like the direction this country is headed because of 'X'.  By selecting a small number of related topic in the initial protest organization period, you can let the power of forwarded email, cell phones (and other internet curiousities) select the participants.  What to say would flow from relating those points together.  Signs and personal conversation are, of course, a free for all.
--
kewpie
[ Parent ]

Excellent (none / 0) (#78)
by simul on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 02:26:56 PM EST

1. OK, but we remind people to lower signs during the "act casual" and "meet/coordinate" phases.

2.I absolutely agree. A bit of chaos is good. More general statements will actually lead to a more even distribution over time. and protestors will be easily recognized, since ehy will all be holding leaflets and/or signs.

3. Very nice. I'm all for letting people pick their own statements.... But it would sound WAY more powerful if you had slogans lined up to the minutes..... Everyone breaking into the same chant is impacting. Depends on who is organizing it. I've been trying to pitch internationalanswer.org to promote a dist-WTO protest.... so fixed slogans would work for them.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

delay over the weekend (none / 0) (#90)
by Wah on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 01:42:55 PM EST

1.  Sounds fine, I don't think it would need to be quite so micro-managed.  For most of the protests I've been too, it was really just a matter of showing up.  Every level of complexity you add will confuse/turn off more people, at least in my short experience.

The rest sounds all right.   I think it's an interesting idea, but would take a core of 100-200 dedicated volunteers who 'get it' to organize, I would think.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

OK, here's a detailed one, opinion please... (none / 0) (#77)
by simul on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 02:07:01 PM EST

Preparation for each agent:

-Obtains 16 copies of the specified leaflet.
-Memorizes 4 specified 4-5 word chants.
-Synchronize watches to http://www.time.gov

By X:00pm, agents must be in place:

-Report to the streetcorner, nearest to his house north of 34th, south of 50th, east of 8th ave, and west of 2nd st.
-Exact corner breakdown:
- Jan, Feb, Mar: Northwest
- Apr, May, Jun: Northeast
- Jul, Aug, Sep: Southwest
- Oct, Nov, Dec: Southeast
-If there are police on your corner, choose another one at random.
-If your corner is too crowded, choose another one at random.
-Act casual

X:00 - Chant #1, hand out 4 leaflets, stop after 1 minute, walk 1 block closer to the center
X:15 - Chant #2, hand out 4 leaflets, stop after 1 minute, walk 1 block closer to the center
X:30 - Chant #3, hand out 4 leaflets, stop after 1 minute, walk 1 block closer to the center
X:45 - Chant #4, hand out 4 leaflets, stop after 1 minute, walk 1 block closer to the center

Head home....this days protest is over.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

PROTEST (3.00 / 3) (#81)
by ZIGGY RHODES on Sun Aug 03, 2003 at 11:15:38 PM EST

I OPT FOR SPRAY PAINTING IT ON A SIDE WALK NEAR AN INTERSECTION......THEY WILL READ IT AS THEY WAIT TO CROSS.............
..................................ThE wOrLd HaS gOnE tO hElL aNd I gOt lEfT aT tHe BuS sToP.....................................
works... but better if... (none / 0) (#99)
by simul on Wed Aug 27, 2003 at 09:36:13 AM EST

20 people spray painted 10 corners each within a 2 hour period.

*The power is in coordination and timing.*



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

too IBMish... [mt] (none / 0) (#102)
by kpaul on Fri May 28, 2004 at 09:23:47 PM EST


2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]
apathy (4.00 / 2) (#84)
by gr00vey on Mon Aug 04, 2003 at 06:10:29 AM EST

This is a good idea, but most US citizens are apathetic as hell. What would be nice would be a non-destructive way to wake people the fuck up.

cardboard tube samurai (none / 0) (#94)
by nr1 on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 08:18:25 AM EST

who says cardboard tubes are harmless?

Cardboard and Steel
1 2 3 4 5 6


DISTPRO links (none / 0) (#100)
by simul on Thu Oct 02, 2003 at 11:57:35 AM EST

Swarming is the future of protesting: flashprotest.org

Using flash mobs in protests: indymedia.org

A nicely designed Apple dist-pro: wired.com

WTO ideas: democraticunderground.com

Postmodern anarchy: netweed.com

Another bright idea: slashdot.org

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks

Distributed Protest | 102 comments (88 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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