Peaceful protest is more successful than violent protest

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03 Oct 2020 22:44 - 03 Oct 2020 22:44 #355017 by Edan
An interesting article I read on the BBC website this evening called How many people does it take to oust a political leader?

To summarise, a political scientist studied protests in dictatorships to determine how successful protests were.

Her results were that currently 9/10 violent protests fail, compared to 2/3 peaceful protests, but that the success rate of protest is declining;
On average 3.5% of the population is needed for a protest to be successful; and
Non violence resistance is the most comment form of resistance.

Any thoughts?

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04 Oct 2020 01:03 #355022 by Carlos.Martinez3
www.nonviolent-conflict.org/resource/198...f-nonviolent-action/


That has to be one of my favriot links so far.

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04 Oct 2020 10:35 - 04 Oct 2020 11:39 #355040 by OB1Shinobi
On the one hand, people who set buildings on fire deserve to go to prison. On the other hand, nothing ever changed when athletes took a knee in peaceful protest. And thats just America, how should the citizens of Hong Kong resist China? Peacefully? Violently? Can either approach be successful?

Interesting topic. Thought provoking articles. Thank you.

People are complicated.
Last edit: 04 Oct 2020 11:39 by OB1Shinobi.
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04 Oct 2020 17:09 - 04 Oct 2020 17:10 #355047 by Edan
Peaceful protest in democracies (or countries that appear to be democracies) is more difficult to judge I think... Changing the political party in control of a democracy involves voting for the most part, which is not the case in dictatorships. Perhaps the success of peaceful protest in democracies could be judged by the result of who is voted next in power. I suspect that the result of the current presidential vote in the US will be judged in a similar way.

Violent protest tends to turn opinions against the protestors, which is probably why some try to change peaceful protests into violent ones (or that appear to be violent ones).

What bothered me more in the article, is the fact that the success rate of protest is declining. Not by much, it seems, but with internet and communications control perhaps other methods of communication between protestors needs to be considered.

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05 Oct 2020 12:55 #355069 by rugadd
How society exists is a direct reflection of who lives in it and what they believe. Patience and belief are all it takes, but that can be a very long time. Many who see a need for change would not live to play under those trees, and so must teach the children and have faith in a better day they will not live to see.

Or stand up and demand change now, as if that somehow makes people instantly become different people. Second to that, remove the trouble makers: but who the trouble makers are depends on who you ask.

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05 Oct 2020 19:45 #355080 by ZealotX
There are a lot of variables here to consider. There have been non-violent protests in America for decades. And a lot of people feel like those protests have been a waste of time. One of the real questions has to do with the opposition and how well they can ignore the protestors or call out their own counter-protest.

In the US, many of the protests only got attention because of something bad happening at the protest. But an athlete... being told to "shut up and dribble" is not only dismissive and disrespectful, but extremely condescending. Imagine if you were working at a drive through and you heard your favorite band playing in someone's car and when you told the driver that they said "shut up and make my sandwich".

It means "we value you as an entertainer. Entertain us. We don't care about you or your life outside of that."

When the opposition is very strong you can protest for years and no one will care. The people in power will see you if they choose to see you but they'll only care as much as they are afraid of you actually gaining enough support to be a detriment to their lives. If you cannot make them pay, then you simply don't have the leverage to do anything.

The reason why some protests turn violent (not talking about cases where violence comes from counter protest or from independent bad faith actors) is because they want to remind society that they do have something to lose so they should care about the protest.

However, it's human nature to also get defensive, to reject provocations and threats. So it's kind of like, they need to do enough so that message permeates the thick skin of society's consciousness, but not so much that they damage the branding/marketing power of the protest. Because the main thing is that you need the protest to go viral. It doesn't matter if a person in power doesn't care if enough of their voters/supporters do.
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06 Oct 2020 02:42 - 06 Oct 2020 02:44 #355093 by Adder
The future is not written in short acts of protest, that is what history is full of, the future is in the sustained change such that it becomes considered adopted. Think about what is lasting change, and do that. So it sorta makes sense that peaceful protest has the best batting average. If not for being less likely to be irrational or underlying some other hidden threat.

As the big guy is bigger now than ever before, while the little guys is pretty much the same. The mechanisms which give the little guy the feeling of more power are just representative of systems which give the big guy even more a boost in their already bigger power.

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There is the possibliity that the global systems of wealth have moved past the point where popular uprisings, peaceful or otherwise, simply don't have the power they did in the past. The transnational sharing of wealth might insulate the systems of power such that disturbances merely shift the wealth away from an area to a more stable area. The era of nation states might have slipped away, and replaced with corporate structures of government and banking relationships. Because people have been doing this for thousands of years, but that which they fought only ever changed, and continued to only grown bigger.

That might seem daunting, but I'd say it depends on what level of change people are expecting.... you cannot change how people think by telling them they are wrong, you do it by showing them a better way. It is easy to confuse the two because they are related, but they have distinctly different effects. And we can change things locally, but going to a bigger scopes probably reduces the chance of influencing change more and more, and more so than ever before.

This might appear to be mitigated by infotech multimedia increasing the speed and reach of group dynamics and actions - but that might only be a transitional phase between the evolution of the dominant financial systems as they increase in power. Remebering how an entity has to mitigate the risk from unknowns to avoid suprise and losing control, the danger of organized action directly against something bigger and more powerful, is that its reaction will likely not be proportional. The age of individuals bearing arms to control its government is probably long gone, and has just been replaced with individuals bearing arms against each other while the government ensures its larger stakeholders remain shielded from what they consider shocks - not what the people consider shocks. In the end it might just be people burning down their own houses as a form of protest, almost for sympathy, because its not going to have much other chance of changing the problem. If they aren't capable of self sacrifice, or they realized it didnt work, then they'll burn other peoples houses. But still, its not addressing the problem, just escalating the instabliity to speak to an audience. If that is the intent, then it may succeed but not without repurcussions from those effected of course which may or may not make their problem worse. But if it is not the intent, then it's making their problem worse IMO as the larger systems look at what every level is productive at, and structure accordingly. Which means then people start to consider what will shock 'them' who abandon them in their time of turmoil (self inflicted or otherwise), and its then that again, the authorities escalate the level of response if not abandon entirely. The only difference is that the depth of insulation authorities have has increased, and so to their fluidity. They need us less, because there is so many of us. So while terrorists, and to a lesser extent guerrila movements, have a range of options available to them, it's still reliant on short term gains by the use of suprise and always ends up bad for them because they don't have the capacity to confront the bigger objective on equal terms, not anymore anyway. As individuals we need to focus on our own conduct so not to be hypocritical, as groups we need to be less confrontational to increase our dynamic, and as communities we need to develop functional relationships with industry so that governments value us as more than bit part. That is if the protest is for change, rather than for attention. If it's just for attention then its gotta realize its not going to be able to control how its perceived, and as such a peaceful one will better manage this than a violent one.

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Last edit: 06 Oct 2020 02:44 by Adder.
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14 Oct 2020 18:07 #355333 by TheDude
While most protests "fail" insofar as they don't accomplish their stated intended goal, how effective are they at convincing people to think a certain way about something? And how effective are they at spreading awareness?

I am from the US, so I can only confidently talk about the movements I'm familiar with. Not all of them have been pleasant. The Westboro Baptist Church was relatively unknown until they started protesting funerals and spewing homophobic rhetoric loudly at people. Over time the United States has become more secular and has given more legal rights to LGBT people. Has the WBC failed? It is far more well-known than when it first began due to their protests and counter-protests. It is likely that they have secured more funding from people who share their ideals than they otherwise would have.

So-called "pro-life" protesters have been extremely active for decades. They have a large political presence in the US, but they appear to have less and less support over time. They have funding, but like the WBC their public image hasn't been very good in general. And in terms of policy, they've accomplished very little in recent years. Have pro-life protests failed?

Black Lives Matter has gained massive success in terms of donations, awareness, and public acceptance. Yet the movement hasn't achieved the kinds of reforms they support which are necessary to improve the lives of black Americans. Some politicians do pay them lip-service, but nothing concrete has come out of it. Has BLM succeeded or failed?

I think that there are different measures by which we can say that a protest has succeeded or failed. Major policy change is the most relevant, since it is the most impactful, but other measures are not without merit. With increased funding, awareness, and support, an organization can pursue better means of changing what they see as social problems -- for better or worse. Sometimes those changes aren't dramatic. Most of the time they are very small and only marginally improve (or harm) situations, but those marginal changes add up over time. I don't think anyone would deny that we have made some progress in treating people equally in the US, but we unfortunately haven't reached a point of complete racial equality either. Still, I don't think it would be right to say that the civil rights protests of the 60's were failures. They succeeded in many areas and by many metrics.

Also, we should consider the degree to which different protests are actually different protests. The 2020 protests in the US could be considered a natural extension of the civil rights era protests. Do we consider them the same, or different protests? There may be a protests in Minneapolis one day, and then the next day, and then the next, ad nauseum, all about the same thing. Are they the same protest or different protests? Was the Occupy movement a protest or a series of protests? Depending on how these terms are defined, the success rate is bound to change.
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27 Jan 2021 15:44 #358093 by ZealotX
Considering recent events I thought it would also be wise to say that the success of a violent protest may be hidden somewhat because when you show other people how far you're willing to go, you also have the potential of pulling others with or against you.

On one hand... storming of the castle may have made no sense and looked like a failed coup. But it also showed Republicans and Donald Trump, how far a representative number of the base were willing to go. Some people who went were embarrassed but a lot of people were proud and couldn't wait to brag/incriminate themselves. No doubt this will help radicalize others who think going that far is necessary for change because nothing else, for them, seems to be working. But they are so far to the extreme that there's not typically enough support for the agenda. But boldly stated, their agenda starts being more digestible to other people on their side because they have the same thoughts but didn't know how widespread those thoughts were.

But its hard for people to feel wrong when so many others are with them. So people got carried with the current.

Of course it was poorly organized and clearly the mob didn't exactly know what the plan was supposed to be. So there's still the threat of them being mobilized by someone who is good at organization and who is simply smarter. I always thought the conspiracy theories of Q anon suggested teenagers were involved and that it was more of a prank in the early beginning. But getting that many people to believe something so strongly even though it sounded that ridiculous? If people don't learn a lesson from this there is a chance of this happening again in the future in a worse way.
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