Just putting your feet to pavement can make a difference. In a world where clicktivism has become the norm, an absent minded e-signature in protest, making your presence felt is more powerful than ever. The Women’s March sweeping the world in anti-Trump fervour is more than just a goldmine for sassy signs. Or the Keep Sydney Open rally just merely an excuse to dance in the streets without curfew. In a time more uncertain than ever where fundamental rights are coming into question, you can feel every step amongst a movement.
#1 Rebels Bring About Change
It’s often maligned as a hippie pursuit, but rebellion is a force to be reckoned with. Rather than quoting Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jnr or Nelson Mandela, I look to the stars. “Rebellions are built on hope” says Jyn Erso in the new instalment of Star Wars, Rogue One. No matter it’s the words of a crafty screenwriter, the have resonance. And if the films we watch religiously, the action stars we idolise or the cause based narratives of modern cinema have taught us anything, it’s listen up.
It’s a slow, progressive change but it’s ever more effectual than doing nothing.
#2 Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Whether Twitter trolls or lofty liberals quipping away at 140 characters a piece, insults hurled at the establishment are all but ignored. Like graffiti blasted with high power hose the words washed away, letter by letter. Protesting a erratic misogynist, an environment ravaging pipeline, an adult curfew, inhumane asylum seeker policies, victim blaming or just plain old rights at a base level, no simple solution exists.
But to mobilise an effective movement, a viral current of people leaving their laptops and taking to the streets, speaks volumes. More than your Facebook status that’s for sure.
#3 There’s Power In Numbers
People are scared. That’s how 2016, quite possibly one of the worst years on record, came to pass. A year where fear got the better of us. And when I say us, I really don’t mean you or I. Even any of my Facebook friends, because let’s face it they all agree with me. But a wider people. Your old-timer aunt, your rural cousin or the redundant worker left to face the world without hope. Short of exile, taking yourself to a commune where the churn of the outside world need not worry you, those people have the power to change your life.
With every disenchanted vote for Brexit, Trump or complete radio silence letting the government bulldoze and ignore laws without community concern. Protest quantifies that, demonstrating en masse a discontent for the system. And it’s this power in numbers we need to wield more than ever. Go forth and congregate.
#4 Protest Unites People
If you’ve never been to a rally, you may think of this one lightly. But if you’ve been in the thick of protest, felt the fevered steps and the rallied cried, you’ll know just what I’m talking about. That spark, that common tether tying you and your marching mates together for a cause. You may only share a smile or a compliment on that crafty placard, but it’s important moving forward.
For a generation empowered by experience over things, support is no longer buying that Livestrong bracelet. It’s letting your steps do the talking. Together.
#5 Express Yourself Politically
You don’t have to brandish your party affiliation to fight for a cause. It’s not just Greenies, Lefties or whatever nickname is doing the rounds, it’s all kinds of people that care. If Q&A has taught us anything it’s the need for expression, a requirement for issues to be heard. Not to say you can’t have an opinion without shouting it loudly, but even the right to an opinion deserves to be protested. As seen recently with police legal efforts to shut down peaceful protest against the lockout laws in Sydney.
Without expression we’re left at the whim of larger interests, caged in by the agenda of the moment. And with the opposition rumbling ever louder we need to march for ourselves.
Image source: Allure Media, ABC, Keep Sydney Open, WV Gazette, Metro UK, SMH.