Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Protest, What Have You Done For Me Lately?

On February 15th 2003, 15 million people across 60 countries marched the streets to stops the war against Iraq. It was the largest protest in human history.

Five days later, the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad.

A few years later, the world sank into an economic recession. Some people blamed Wall Street and set up camp in the heart of New York’s business district. 800 cities across the globe joined in the fight against corporate greed.

But US policies remained unchanged.

Then arrives Trump’s 2017 inauguration. The following weekend millions of people got together to send the president a message about women’s rights. The handmade signs were good. The pink pussy hats were better.

All the big cities—Washington, New York, Paris, London—were reminding the real estate tycoon that he’s going to have to earn his room in the White House.

When Monday came, the Trump administration and the rest of the world got to work as if nothing had happened.    

Which raises the question: Does a protest do more than demand change or is taking to the streets merely a political high that makes us feel good?

History provides the answer in the form of the civil-rights movement.

Starting in the mid 50s, protestors successfully wiped out public segregation and discrimination in the workplace by the mid 60s.

How did civil-rights movements succeed where modern demonstrations fail?

Dedication. The boycott against the bus company who kicked out Rosa Parks lasted 381 days.

Strategy. Organisers prepared 325 cars to drive busless activists to work.

And connections with the Man. Bobby Kennedy, U.S. attorney general and brother of the sitting president, put the army in charge of keeping the protestor’s sound system running.

While the idea of being heroes for a weekend feels good, showing up and shaking your fist at the sky isn’t going to cut it.

Creating change costs effort.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach