Street Protests don’t Make Real Political Change

Moisés Naím wrote in an Atlantic article, “Why Street Protests Don’t Work,” that although street protests are “in,” using similar camping and media campaigns against the 1%, “massive marches, scant results.”[i] Exceptions were the overthrow of the governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Ukraine and discussion of inequality. The problem is it’s easy to use social media clicktivism to attract crowds that gathered in Occupy movements in nearly 2,600 cities, but an organization is required to do the “dull political work” that changes governments. In most cases this means working with political parties. Street protest movements are rarely successful, agrees UC Berkeley Sociology professor Claude Fischer.[ii] Those that achieve their goals, as the Civil Right Movement did, are characterized by “strong organization, discipline, defined goals, and a clear strategy to attain those goals—all features seemingly lacking in Occupy.”

[i] Moisés Naím, “Why Street Protests Don’t Work,” The Atlantic, April 7, 2014.

[ii] Claude Fischer, “Occupy! Now What?,” Made in America, November 8, 2011.


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