Resistance is forcing leaders to take different decisions. Protest is asking and begging them to change decisions. Resistance is part of a revolution that wants change, protest is part of a revolt that shows the dissatisfaction of the 99%.
Resistance challenges the power, protest appeals to the conscience of leaders.
When a country is occupied by a foreign power protest is senseless. Authorities do not listen to protests and the only way to achieve something is by resistance. In Western democracies protest can have some success but not when it concerns important subjects. When a lot of money (for the 1% and their lackeys) is involved protests fall on deaf ears. The Anti-Nuclear Movement, actions against fracking or against genetically modified food were not very successful. Efforts to restrict the use of cars because it uses too much precious materials and fossil energy are failing. Withdrawing support for regimes that suppress the own population (and the lack of support for freedom movements in those countries) is also nearly without positive result. Human Rights are unimportant when trade agreements are discussed. Money stands first and not the interests of the 99%. Protest actions give maybe some power to action leaders who want to be embedded in the political game but do not change the life of rank and file activists. This is in contradiction to the idea that all people have the same status.
When money is involved different actions are necessary. Money has an increasing influence on decisions and protests have become superfluous. From about 1960 to 1985 protest movements had still some successes. Actions in 1968 in France (in The Netherlands the Provo Movement) changed a little bit the attitude of leaders but after a few years the elite regained control and the power to amass money became even greater than before.
The Squatter’s Movement gave thousands of young people a payable living place but squatting became outlawed and the problem how young people could live independently was not solved. The anti-WTO demonstrations of ten years ago were massive but the undisturbed leaders of the WTO just went on.
After 1985 movements ceased to exist and the successes of protest actions became smaller and smaller. The 99% understood that protests did not achieve anything anymore and withdrew from the action world. Action leaders however continued to ask and beg political leaders to change decisions. They had not learned from the past that protest actions are almost useless. The powerful 1% were never challenged in their extravagant life and bankers who caused the crisis (for their own benefit) kept their lucrative jobs. Action leaders could not make the step from protest to resistance and blocked all progress in action methods.
The successes of protests have been meagre. Demonstrations ended in fights with the police, strikes could not prevent that the wealth, income and power gap grew tremendously. The 1% were never disturbed in their privileged living sphere.
Some activists still think that elected representatives (but most top-people are not elected) care for the interests of the 99%. When the dominant position of power, money and greedy rich persons is not undermined actions will be in vain. Some people call the demonstrations about ten years ago against the WTO a success but I saw only hurt and imprisoned activists while the train with powerful people continued its planned course. After the big demonstrations in Seattle and Milan the movement lost its momentum. The 99% realised that these actions were not the right way.
Protests failed to bring fundamental change, militant resistance is needed. Even when leaders give in to some demands their position is never challenged. Nearly all actions are in town centres where leaders never come. The goal of protests is to inform fellow-people and not to change society or to remove failing leaders. In resistance we point our arrows at powerful people to weaken their control.
In some demonstrations protesters were forced to fight though fighting belongs to resistance. Therefore many action leaders reject any street fighting, it is contradictory to their idea that you only may beg politicians to change decisions. Fighting should however not take place with the police but with those faulty leaders that enrich themselves by disregarding the interests of the 99%. “We have to attack the enemy where the army cannot be used”. (Marat)
To get a Humane World protest is not sufficient. Wrong actions are carried out around wrong subjects. Most actions are guided by the idea that elections may give change. “Politics is a game played by people with power. By elections you are asked to choose sides in false conflicts. We are given the illusion of choice but as long as those in power do not lose their control, the choice we made only influences our life and not the life of the people in power.”
Even a superficial analysis reveals that through the ages greedy rich people ruled the world. Despite natural catastrophes, revolutions, uprisings, revolts, wars, technical inventions, etc. elites continued to rule, revitalised by new members who accepted the rules of the top layers of society. The motivation of the 1% remained the possession of more money than people down under. Money rules the world!
Money has never been an item in protest actions. The system should change but nothing was said about the super-rich who can use any system for their own benefit. New systems produce new greedy leaders. Colonies disappeared but new indigenous leaders resemble the old colonial rulers. Communism disappeared but old leaders remain on top and form a common front with the former enemy. The French or the American Revolution gave new impulses to society but a small group of rich and greedy leaders still cared in the first place for their own well-being.
We need resistance against the dictatorial role of money and against people who amass money for their own benefit. All problems are caused by the 1% and money.
Participation in actions, the number of strikes and the interest in elections is dwindling. Even the crisis did not stimulate the 99%. They grumbled, became more dissatisfied but remained at home. Rich leaders who caused the crisis are still on top. Without pressure from below they continue to reap the fruits from their financial manipulations. Temporary successes of protests without a greater goal of changing society are not sufficient to secure the freedom and well-being of the 99%. Resistance inspires to great deeds.
When we dream about a Humane World actions that do not contribute to getting that world have to be abandoned. Resistance should replace protest.
Joost van Steenis