The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Why protesting works

Editor in chief Brian Donovan (The DVC Inquirer)

We all heard in elementary school and throughout our lives about the civil rights movement and how Martin Luther King Jr. “had a dream.”

About how our slave owning, manifest destined “founding fathers” rose against tyranny to liberate the property owning, 21-year-old white males from the British Crown.

Our society in general celebrates the brave actions of those who stood in defiance against the status quo of the past (especially when these narratives are convenient to maintain the current status quo) and shun those who question the status quo today.

Human rights activist and slave abolitionist Frederick Douglas once said, “Without struggle there is no justice.” He also added that “power concedes nothing without a demand.”

Would women continue to have an increasingly equal role in our society if the feminist movement and the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s didn’t push the boundaries of social norms during the time but instead waited for legislation to come?

Nearly all the rights and privileges we have came from class struggle, not from campaign slogans of “change we can believe in.”

The 8-hour work day, paid overtime, collective bargaining, workers compensation; none of these would exist if workers did nothing but complained about their working conditions.

For every insecure power tripping cop who is going to get an adrenaline rush from swinging clubs while getting overtime pay and guaranteed retirement benefits, please take note of this reality.

However, I should note that protesting only works if there is force behind it. Whether that force is economic or cultural, it needs to persist over weeks and months to be effective. The Arab Spring and the Occupy movement are perfect examples of persistence while the March-in-March is a good example of “venting some steam” for one day.

According to, to protest is to express or declare objection, disapproval or dissent, often in opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid.

This definition is flawed as throughout history, the entire purpose of protesting has been for the people to enact change, not wait for someone else to do the change for them.

Politicians of the status quo in this country have historically conceded after an appeal to their self-interest. Whether that self-interest is financial or purely for political survival, they will bend if the conditions exist and the right amount of pressure is applied.

Don’t just demand change. Instead, become that change and seize the power from the establishment. Protesting works, apathy doesn’t.

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About the Contributor
Brian Donovan
Brian Donovan, Editor-in-chief
Editor-in-chief, spring 2012. Staff member, spring and fall 2011.

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Why protesting works