Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Protesters

After observing protests in the DC area for the last few years I have formed the following opinions. The modern day protest is really more of a social gathering rather than it is an instrument of change. I'm not against it (except when they block traffic), most protests remind me of Mardi Gras without floats. You can be part of a group. Your encouraged to show your creativity -- think way-cool hats and subtle signs. Your get to show off your individuality - think white guy's with dreadlocks, pink hair... You get to be brave - yelling at the cops. Finally you get to dabble in being anti-establishment - breaking the windows out of the Gap after you got a Venti Caffé Late from the Starbuck's next door!

But how do you get a protest off the ground and how do you get people to turn out?

  • The professional protesters are the brains of the operation, they organize and coordinate - they are the people who love causes. They use the web and messaging effectively, and manage the media. They are really good at mobilizing people, but it takes.... feet on the ground.
  • Next are the true believers in a cause, they are the grunts who make it happen, make signs, and get the word out. They recruit the worker bees.
  • The worker-bees (I call them the want-to-bees) who are willing to take orders from the true believers. They are like the guys who hold the balloons down in the Macy's parade. They are the ones most likely to be arrested, they do the hard work of chaining themselves together, getting a face full of pepper spray, and spend the night in jail.
  • The rest - the overwhelming majority of attendees to a protest are there because... quite simply they think they might get LUCKY!

Yes you know what I'm talking about. What is the one thing that would make 5 college guys drive all night in a 87 Toyota from Ohio to DC binging on Beer, Red Bull, and Taco Bell Gorditas..... the chance of meeting easy protest chicks. If you impress the right person - you might just score! Lets face it that's better odds than most college guys have on any given weekend, and beats the hell out of studying for a Calculus III test! You disagree - how many great protest have ever been held during football season! Or at an all boys prep school? I rest my case.

So finally we have it! The central force binding the electrons of the protest universe is the protest chick, they are the nucleus! Think of all the big ones, there were always women on the forefront! Here's why...
  1. They are approachable women - you have something in common - the "cause"
  2. No Barbies - you might actually have a chance -- not too many cheer leaders carrying signs against globalization!
  3. The what the hell factor - you'll never see them again so what the hell its worth a try
  4. Its one heck of a good story - the girls at the protest were so wild! (You head it here first "Girls Gone Wild Protest edition")
One thing that puzzles me is, why do the protest chicks show up? I think many of them are from local colleges vs. the out of town guys. All I can figure is they are believers in the cause, but they must like the attention of getting hit on by semi-grungy guys from out of state drinking Red Bull!

Next time you see a good protest: WTO, IMF.... look around I dare you!


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