A stop on the circuit.


A sad little truth about our generation is that our liberal protests suck. We have no idea what we’re doing.

80% of the people at any given march will be making puppets, juggling, having a cook-out, selling zen videos … just playing around. Another 10% will be the sad 64 year old men who started "marching for justice" forty years ago, have tenure, and haven’t seen the outside of a Peace Action or a classroom since. Then 5% or so are the actual organizers of the actual protest with a specific goal in mind.

I dare you to get in the middle of one of these and figure out what that is, btw. You will be asked to sign about 50 petitions, get yelled at about oil, mineral water, prisoner’s rights, marijuana, the G8, the Iraq War, local agriculture, The Fact That No Person Is Illegal, alternative medicine, carbon offsets … mostly you will be asked to sign and buy things. These protests aren’t political action, they’re a lifestyle carnival. Jamba Juice, a division of Nestle’, will have a tent set up. Doing great blended-grass-and-sugar business with the Revolutionaries who need a cooldown between drum circles, seminars, and t-shirt shopping.

But none of this would be any fun without the Anarchists. That last 5%. The same 20 white kids in tight jeans, snot-catching bandanas, and jackets that were countercultural back before Rancid left California. Their purpose is to break things and bait the police.

Then, when some poor shlub’s pet shop has its display window caved in (take that, Corporate Power!), there can be footage of the police attacking the crowd, trying to disperse it to get at the Pleather Power Punks. They never do, of course. Those kids are young and move fast. The old hippies and tourists take a pummeling for them.

Once the groups that want it have footage of this American Fascism, and all the bracelets have been sold, and the time on the parade permit runs out, everyone packs up and goes home. It’s an operation with all the banal consistency of a state fair. And does nothing to change our dialouge.

Actually, that was an insult to state fairs.

Vote Democrat this year until the lever falls off. Despite and not because of this nonsense.

3 thoughts on “A stop on the circuit.”

  1. Don’t ever sign any petitions. I went to an equal rights march and made the mistake of signing one, after that for a period of time my mailbox was inundated with gay porn and dating sites. You are right about everything being commercialized, including counter-culture. Look at the packaged rebellion that they sell at Hot Topic or your local comic book store. You know what’s really rebellious? Studying math and computer science very seriously! Wearing pocket-protectors and 2 inch thick glasses proudly! Thinking creatively without drugs! Defiling the corpse of Ronald Reagan…What?

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