The ineffectiveness of symbolic mass protest

Shoky on the 4Chan DDoS attack on MPAA and how such acts, like mass anti-war protests, have little actual impact upon the targets, The protesters can hand-slap that they sure showed them – but in reality, not much changed.

A DDoS is, unless its targeting more critical backend servers – email, calendars, security (physical and non), etc – the attack is akin to graffiti on the the office building, or paint on the White House, or standing outside the court so no one can enter. (But leaving all the critical backdoors untouched.)

The parallels the plight of traditional mass protest as well. If the protest is to accomplish anything, it’s got to break the law, and transition into an insurgency-style organization. If this shift is mishandled, there’s a good chance the backlash will destroy the organization (or participants). A big part of this is gaining funding to get the snowball you need.

If its handled well”¦. you’re an insurgency.

I helped organize many anti-Iraq War protests, some of which drew hundreds of thousands. Mostly we got ignored by the media and had no effect on policy. Different tactics are indeed needed.

In such protests two things need to be watched.

a) Does the group leading it have ulterior motives? In this case the answer was Yes. The controlling group primarily used the anti-war front group as a way to recruit for their party. But you can’t do both. A group that blocks moderates and non-ideologues from having any say or power can never be a truly mass organization.

b) Watch your base. Because maybe it’s not really there. Once Obama got elected, the anti-war protests fizzled. Apparently most protesters were anti-Bush, not anti-war, with war being ok as long as your side is in power.