Successful once, protestors may hesitate to return to the streets

“Protests that swept across the Middle East and North Africa could mark more of an isolated occurrence than a permanent rise of people power in the region”.
I have written – based on my personal experience – an article Demonstrations have hardly success”

Professors Adam Meirowitz and Joshua Tucker reached about the same conclusion based on a theoretical model – I prefer practical experiences for such theories.
They write “Why do people who take on the considerable costs and risks of protesting to change the type of government in their country sometimes stay off the streets when the new government turns out to be just as bad—or worse? The answer we came up with is that maybe they learned something”.  See the original article

I agree but I have seen that it is caused mostly by lack of successes and the arising disappointment. The actions of the Arab Spring were very costly and did not comply with the basic rule in actions that damage to the 99% must be minimal and pressure on the 1% maximal.

The article continues: ”Generally, your willingness to absorb the cost of protesting in the face of failure is going to diminish over time. You have two choices: absorb the costs and go to the streets or just walk around unhappy. After enough bad governments, it’s just easier to stay home and be unhappy.”

Even fairly successful Movements tend to wither away in a few years. When the power of the 99% is not permanently increased then practice supports the idea that if citizens get rid of one bad government only to get another bad one, it is easy to think that protest is futile. How many times will citizens protest (which can be quite costly) only to find out they are still no better off?”

The new regimes in the Arab countries are hardly better than the old ones. The Orange Revolution in 2005 in Ukraine that swept away a corrupt leader could not be repeated in 2010 when the same leader returned to power. The intermediate government had not brought enough improvement.

The lesson learned should be that street actions are too costly and do not achieve the wanted result and people will not take to the streets anymore. So a new kind of actions is needed that directly attack the power of the top without endangering the position of the 99%. That is what I am writing about.

Street actions in the centre of towns only undermine the position of some leaders. Most leaders remain on their privileged position knowing they never  will be pressured. These invisible leaders soon absorb new leaders who will act in the same way as the old ones, giving in the first place attention to bringing more benefits to the top (the 1%) at the cost of the life of the 99%. They care for it that money (for themselves) continues to rule the world and that not all people will be considered having the same status.

Joost van Steenis


About Joost van Steenis

My latest book "How to make Revolution, developing the Fourth People's Power", can be downloaded for free from my site It contains new ideas how to take the money and power away from the most powerful people, the elite. It strives to get a new society in which not money is the pivotal point of all discussions but the idea that all people have the same status. New action means are introduced to reach this paradigm shift (a revolution) that concentrate on direct actions in the living sphere of the elite.
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3 Responses to Successful once, protestors may hesitate to return to the streets

  1. Pingback: Complaining and crying out loud | downwithelite

  2. Pingback: Actions of the past have not changed the world | downwithelite

  3. Pingback: Guns and demonstrations, nobody listens | downwithelite

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