[Marxism] Re: "People just don't go into the streets"

Tony Hartin tony.hartin at physics.ox.ac.uk
Thu Aug 3 02:41:38 MDT 2006

Sayan wrote:

>Unfortunately, all these  demonstrations seem to be turning the rest of the
>people off rather than drawing them in. The spring  immigrant  marches led
>to an significant anti-immigrant backlash. The New Republic reported last
>October that, in a poll of onlookers who saw an anti-war march passing by,
>while 9% said that seeing the march had made them more opposed to the war,
>10% said that seeing it had made them more _supportive_ of the war. Thus,
>arguably the marches and demonstrations are having the opposite effect than
>intended, which means that the marchers/demonstrators are being seen as
>fringe, scary people by many, which is why they are turning people off.

The polarisation you describe is not necessarily a bad thing. It is the 
effect of any mass mobilisation. Marching gives one a sense of 
confidence and threatens the powers that be. Unfortunately that 
confidence fades quickly in the absence of any follow-up. What we really 
need to do is persuade the extra 9% that we need to do more than just march.

Mass marches today don't  seem to have the same resonance as those of 
35-40 years ago (I was only conscious as a child then). I suspect its 
because we don't have the same level of workers struggle which can 
sustain confidence on our side. I remember back in the "good old days" 
if the boss looked at you the wrong way, everyone would go out on strike 
until the boss apologised on his/her(usually his) knees and gave 
everyone a pay rise - well thats how it seemed to me. Thats the sort of 
confidence we need to regain. Then you will find that 1/2 of the 10% 
will change sides and you wont care about the 1/2.

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