Thursday, January 31, 2002

They're going to tango for debt relief! That's right - anti-globalization protesters will sway and swoon the souls of the plutocrats by making fuzzy bunny paper-mâché dolls, singing old, hackneyed, and boring protest songs, and by dancing the tango at New York's Finest Riot Control, Inc. It makes me sick. It really does - heartsick, because there are, believe it or not, valid issues that the anti-globalization movement has been raising. Development is a two-edged sword. It isn't a bad two-edged sword - it just ought to be used more like a scalpel than an abattoir. The rotating knives.... But this kind of protest is self-indulgent vanity. A bunch of teenie-tweenie-boppers (yeah, I'm 26, shut up.) go out into the streets outside major media event, what Dan Boorstin calls "a pseudo-event," to leverage the press coverage of that event. Yeah, social protest theory, mobilization strategies, march, blah, blah, blah, parsnip. The only problem is that it doesn't work anymore. Oh, it works on the Olympian minority of righteously pissed-off 'progressives' who hyperventilate themselves into a tumor. It works on the Spartacists. It works on the people who read Z-Mag for its incisive political criticism. But it doesn't perform the crucial function of any social mobilization event - it doesn't move the majority onto the side of the protesters. This isn't Selma, 1963. This isn't even Chicago '68. God help me, it isn't even Little Rock 1991. It is, for want of a better comparison, 'Cape Canaveral 1996,' where the protesters go and protest an abstract thing and look vaguely stupid and gratuitously offensive. You don't get sympathy that way! You don't ride the wave of popular inevitability! You just look dumb and tedious. And you're costing the city overtime. Do some grassroots organizing, guys, and some honest policy research, and find smarter short-slogans to spout. Because Waltzing to the Waldorf does no fucking good at all.

No comments: