Thursday, October 20, 2016

Smart Protests

Source: The Daily
This post is (OBVIOUSLY) inspired by the recent protest but I also thought it would also be a good follow-up post for my Fees Must Fall post, and maybe, just maybe it will change the direction that protests are taking (and if I may dare to dream) change the way that people protest in the future.

So I dared to use Google definitions (at least that’s what I think it’s called), and said Google defines protests as “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something” and strikes “a refusal to work, organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer” so obviously the two are not synonymous (and yes, I googled the definition of synonymous as well, just to be sure). If you have read my blog at least once you know that this is about to be followed-up by a rant that might (or might not be) constructive, and I think the pictures below are the essence of this ‘rant’.
Source: Grazia Dialy

The first picture is of Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo, Antoinet Sithole running beside them. The the second picture was taken last year at UKZN during the Fees Must Fall protests. There a few things that are wrong with the pictures: the brutality, the looming death (in the one), the hopelessness and helplessness (I could go on for a few years, but you get the point) but one that I think we need to address in the time difference. Some forty years later we are still using the same methods to protest the actions and policies of the powers that be, and received with the same brutality as we did forty years ago! Forty years ago it worked, it was an effective and efficient way to protest whatever you were protesting because everything was so dependent on manual labour. I saw a quote by Emma Goldman the other day about voting, it said “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”. And I think the same can be said about protests, the only time that the needs of or the demands of the protesters are addressed and met is when the whole world has decided to take action against whoever is in power.

Evidence of this is the FMF (Fees Must Fall) protests last year. Half the population was criticizing and condemning the students that were part of the protests. Until Universities in the United States, Europe and wherever-else started hash tagging FMFSA, and making public statements about how FMF movement is a worthy movement and how it’s all for a worthwhile cause. Only then did people start taking action. Marikana was officially declared a massacre, people died fighting to get a decent pay, others injured and valuable time lost. Were their demands met? NO! because the Marikana strikes had not made it to the rest of the world and the rest of the world had not managed to guilt trip the powers that be.

I won’t go into the conversation about whether or not I agree with violence because I obviously don’t (I’m not a dumb-dumb now am I? well at least we assume I’m not). Do I agree with disruptions? I can’t say for fear of prosecution. But if you were to have a shower moment with yourself right now (where you strip yourself bare and are honest with yourself). Do you really think that the powers that be would do anything if students were to walk up and down the streets of Stellenbosch singing “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”? Would actions be taken to realize free quality education within our lifetime? Somehow I really don’t think so. At the beginning of this whole struggle (if I may call it that), protests were peaceful, students sang struggle songs and shared bread (I’m kidding I don’t know if they shared bread). But did anything get done? It took mobilizing of all of South Africa (parents included) to get no increment in fees. Students shouldn’t have to protest every year to get the government and whoever else is in charge to make a solid commitment to realizing free education.

The solution to this running-in-circles-trying-to get-people-to-listen should come to an end. Of the million (at the very least) students that are protesting I am certain that there is enough brain power to protest digitally. Digital protesting meaning occupying digital spaces. Instead of occupying the admin building, occupy the admin building’s Wi-Fi or occupy the company’s/university’s servers, at least this is my interpretation of it. No damage is done to the property but temporarily you MAKE THE POWERS THAT BE LISTEN! Everyone is severely reliant on the digital space so that’s where protests should be focused, because people evidently listen once they have something to lose and when you hold that something in your hand, only then are you declared worthy of being listened to.

Is digital protesting illegal in South Africa? I don’t know, if it is go back to that quote by Emma Goldman. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here (gestures at triple chin) seeing blood all over the place when people are demanding to have their voices heard. The brutality and blood we are seeing with the FMF movement needs come to an end and I think the solution to the brutality is digital protests, smart protest.

I may be way off with my thoughts here, are there are other ways we can facilitate smart protests? Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to Stellies Afro Chick.
Peace Out.

EoR (End of Rant).

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