Do Protests Work?

Yes, but those who yell the loudest will probably be cut the least!

Dan Walters: Protesters can’t alter fiscal facts


49 Responses to “Do Protests Work?”

  1. 1 mike March 25, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    Protests seem to get a lot of coverage in the news, but I don’t see much happening for all of their efforts. There is no money in the state budget and all the yelling isn’t going to make it magically appear. People are going to have to accept the fact that this problem won’t be solved overnight. Increasing taxes isn’t going to help and they haven’t given any other concrete ideas to enable people to keep their jobs. Yelling doesn’t help anyone.

  2. 2 Hannah Mac Dula March 25, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    The narrator’s opinion came across as strong while reading this article. However, it also gave readers a bleak outlook on our economy in the short run. I was surprised at how blunt the author was, claiming that although protectors can holler all they want, there is no “pain-free” fix to the economy. He actually comes across as telling readers that we cannot do anything to make the situation better without having painful trade-offs. We are paying for the mistakes that generations before us had committed. Reading this article makes me feel more conscious of our day to day lives and I suddenly realize why parents and teachers of mine commend students of my generation for sticking in there and trying to get a good education amid the frustration even though it is a situation we are growing up with. What other choices do we have?

  3. 3 Kaleen Scott March 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    It’s sad that students are having to protest due to budget cuts and increased fees. I don’t understand where the government thinks students are going to get the money? So many of us are already taking out students loans hoping to pay them back after graduating and finding a good job, but sometime even that wasn’t enough. And now, even with a degree, you have people educated people working at fast food restaurants trying to make ends meat simply because no one is hiring.

  4. 4 Christopher Henderson (101) March 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    I think protests are successful when they are meant to inform the public of what they are fighting for. Protesting directly to a group of law makers or government officials isn’t likely to change anything but when you protest and inform hundreds or more people about your cause, the word gets out and it spreads and that’s when those law makers or government officials are likely to move. The thing is, most of the state is informed and fighting against the cuts but still nothing is happening. I think something more than the legislature and the governor getting a move on is necessary; we need a new governor that is going to take things in the right direction for the state. I think student loans are a bad idea because many people are still paying them off well into their thirties and forties, but many people are being forced to take them because of their desire to get a degree. That’s sad.

  5. 5 Alma Tenorio March 31, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I have always contemplated the effectiveness of protests. It seems as if without protests, the people could not share their opinions and have them known by others. The idea of a protest is too inform, to educate others about topics most may not know about. Protests are to show support for those who feel that they don’t have a voice. In regards to the effectiveness to propose changes, that is a different story. As the articles states, it is difficult to see changes take effect immediately. Changes are seldom seen happening because they do take a while to happen. We must take history as an example. Did the apartheid change take effect? Obviously not right away, but it did after a while. Protesters must never give up.

  6. 6 Amanda Herrera April 2, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    Although this article is basically saying that protests are not working I still think it is necessary to take this action. If people did not protest then they would be passive. A passive character also leads the person to think “what if”. For example, “what if I had voiced my opinion?”. At least with protesting the person knows that they did all they could, did the best the could, and tried. These thoughts going through a person’s mind helps them from being regret-free. Therefore, although protesting may not always work at least opinions are voiced and people are showing an active voice.

  7. 7 Meaghan Madgett April 4, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    In my opinion I do not think protests work. I feel that yes, they do give you the power to voice your opinion because of our first amendment freedom of speech, but yelling and creating riots creates problems in our world. Although, they do work in some cases. It helps others use their minds and get involved in society on what they believe and if it works more power to you.

  8. 8 Jesus Zavala April 5, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    I do believe that protests do work. If done in large groups, it will get the media’s attention and it could attract a wider range of supporters. By protesting, people can let their voice be heard about events that to them need to be corrected. Protests are the initiative to change a law or policy because it lets those in the government find out that there are problems to be fixed.

  9. 9 Azusa Mori April 6, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    It might be true that it is hard for us to change the current situation such as government trying to cut back on expenses of education and reducing the number of jobs, but we have to do something to appeal our demands for public and government. Recent newspapers often cover many pages about people protesting against government policy, such as college students protesting at school so I think protesting is working to catch more people’s attention even though enough improvements cannot be seen.

  10. 10 Jennifer DaRosa April 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    i don’t really think that protests cause much change. They bring awareness and press to the situation but that’s pretty much it. If there are no funds and no ways to fix a problem than yelling about it won’t do anything. If there was a way to fix it i’m sure there would be people fixing it. Complaining won’t do anything to bring about real progress and change. If people want to see a change they need to be more active in trying to find a means and way to make it happen.

  11. 11 Scott Billeci April 7, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    They work for the protesters, but not necessarily for the cause. I’m not knocking the fact that they are irrelevant or not worth the words, but they do hold allot of emotion and I think when people join together to hear voices, sometimes that can be bigger than making a change. Most of the time (unless its union protests) they are going to be more a media thing than a difference in policy.

  12. 12 Rachel Maher April 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    I feel that protesting has no effect at all. I feel that whatever is being protested on is already decided on and protesting will have no effect at all. I believe the only effect protesting has is reasurrance for the protester that they at least tried to do something. I Feel for a change to be done more then just protesting needs to happen.

  13. 13 Lorena Rodegeb April 8, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    First off I’d like to say it’s very unfortunate that we as students have to suffer for the mistakes of others and the poor management of funds. Second, while protesting may not change anything, I do think it’s better than doing nothing at all. Even though protesting sometimes causes some sensationalized media attention I do think that it creates awareness and acknowledges public concern. So many when there is money to be spent and an opportunity for change those people’s voices and opinions will be taken into consideration.

  14. 14 Anthony Azevedo April 11, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Protest don’t work anymore but they used too. I can’t remember the last time a protest worked. Protest is only outlet for people to get out anger. If people were not allowed to protest then shooting death would increase. The fact is everything is about profit!

  15. 15 Amanda Chow April 13, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    From what I read in the article it seems that they think protest not very effective in more cases, and is this is probably true in most cases. Americans though have the right of freedom of speech, and if certain people think should be protested then let them. Everyone naturally has different opinions, and it is not always a bad thing to listen to these opinions. Even if a protest does not necessarily work at least the people tried. I think that it is sometimes better to be active then idle.

  16. 16 Ryan Moura April 15, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    I personally feel that protests work in that they open the eyes of the media and people surrounding the issue. The main point of a protest is to shock and awe, and when done in the right manner people can get their point across in a constructive manner. When people want change it is hard to remain calm, but when done in the right way it can help to move people and be active.

  17. 17 Ryan Haley April 19, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    There are always protests somewhere in the world because there are so many problems. Many protests are successful but the key is defining success. People in the US obviously want to see change, not just at the California State schools but all across the states. Our economy is deep in debt and there is no easy way to solve our slump. People are frustrated, as we all should be, and everyone has an outlet to express their frustrations. The students protesting the budget are frustrated because they are paying more money for fewer classes. While students would overall really want the budget cuts to be changed I think that overall they want their voices to be heard. Perhaps the protests can not immediately change things, or even make our debt go away, but these protests are successful. They are successful to many because they are telling the government their opinion. Their unhappiness with the situation will let the government know that they should still be looking at the numbers, still looking for other ways to help the situation. Protests are also to show more people across the nation things that they may have not known before such as pork barrel spending and other things. So one thing is correct, the protesters can’t change the deficit however, they can help people keep thinking of what to do in the future and have the government on their heels.

  18. 18 Kelsea Jimenez April 20, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    If protests didn’t work then they wouldn’t be a publicized as they are now. Even though things may not change over night, people that form protests will have their voices heard through the media and other forms of communication. Its sad that there has to be these many protests for education budgets, but something must be done and students are making a change by forming these protest groups. The more groups formed then the more voices will be heard and therefore, more changes will hopefully occur. Like Ryan said, these protests are only helping people see what needs to be done in the future and will hopefully learn a lesson from what is going on.

  19. 19 EconConsumer April 24, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    Protests do work! It makes those who are unwilling to listen to your side have no choice but to listen. Someone has to address the situation. It peaks an interest to those not even interested. It makes people stop and think hey, what’s going on. Sometimes we are so busy in our lives we are not aware whats going on around us. The protests are in your face, by chanting, carrying signs, in large groups. Protests spark an interest to the cause. I believe it is very effective. Just look at UC Berkeley they are known to their protests and its effective. Power to the people!

  20. 20 David Colin Sorenson April 30, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Bad publicity is publicity. If anything it helps the companies being protested. It gives them more attention then they had. I also feel that protests don’t work. Most people in high places that make a decision tend to stick with it as long as they can. Ignorance is an adjective that can be portrayed to a lot of the leaders in society.

  21. 21 Karla Martinez May 1, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    I have always believed that protesting is not very productive when it comes to changing fiscal policy. Politicians are always aware of the number of people that will be affected by their decisions, and seeing a number of these people together outside a capital building is not likely to surprise them. When it comes to fiscal policy someone is always going to be affected, it just depends on if your interests are more or less relevant in the types of decisions being made. I think the way that people can be heard more is by voting, rather than by holding up banners. The only times that protesting may be productive is if it reaches the attentions of the media, then it might be worthwile to protest.

  22. 22 Evan Schlinkert May 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Like Meaghan said I don’t feel that protest really work, yes they give you a voice and allow you to exercise your freedom of speech but in the end many protesters don’t get what they want. A lot of the time it seems that protest only creates more drama, and more problems in the world. Because of this I don’t feel that protests are the best solution to many problems.

  23. 23 Ana Ahnen May 2, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    I think it depends on what type of protests are going on. If there is a small protest with people with signs, I don’t think it would work. This is because when there is a small percentage of workers from a corporation protesting, it is easy for them to be ignored. Other protests when a large amount of workers go on strike or refuse to conform to their company’s policies, protests can be effective. I think the only way a protest will work is if the protesters affect the company they are protesting in a large way. A company is much more likely to bend their rules for protesters if their profits are in jeopardy.

  24. 24 Tiffany Hagewood May 2, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Money doesn’t grow on trees. Sure I’m all for the support of California teachers and fellow college students but I too don’t see what all the commotion is really going to accomplish. Sure they’re out there getting their voices heard and story publicized. But when there’s no money out there and the state and federal governments are up to their ears in debt, I don’t think anything is going to change. Like Walter’s says more tax increases are politically impossible!

    I also have to agree with Dan Walter’s on his following quote, “It would take a decade of record-high economic growth to wipe out job losses from this recession.” This is very true and although we’re all so consumed with the present problems, we need to take a deep breath and calm ourselves. The economy will eventually bounce back and will reach an equilibrium like it has numerous times throughout history. Imagine living through the Great Depression, I’m sure many American’s suffering through it were hopeless. It’s going to take time for everything to balance out and it may take another 5 years before California colleges go back to the way they used to be. Instead of complaining, we’re going to have to face the fact that it may take us an extra year to complete all of our required courses. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear me complain about it every once in awhile! 🙂

  25. 25 angel May 2, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Protest are meant to inform the public that a group of people disagree with something. There is a need to be listened and fight for what we believed is correct. Of course, that doesn’t mean that is always going to work but at least you didn’t just give up.
    Budget cuts are a good reason to protest.

  26. 26 Anna Hernandez May 3, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Agree. Protests do nothing these days. During the Civil Rights movement, voices were heard but took time. Today, freedom is not on the line nor are lives (these are the two main reasons for protesting). If these reasons do not exist, then protesting cannot stop a war, shut down a restaurant, or help improve our financial situation. Only time can improve the situation but I do admire the fact that people are not afraid to voice their opinion, which for many is very hard to do.

  27. 27 Jessica Opperman May 3, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Protesting in my opinion does not help solve the problems they are yelling an making a scene about. Protesting does bring attention to the issue but it isn’t always good attention. Instead of marching on the streets people should be trying to figure out ways to solve the problem not just scream about it.

  28. 28 Angelina Hlavaty May 4, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    We should go back to the 50’s and do not protests but sit-ins. Yet I doubt even that can cure us out of this recession. In many ways I believe there is little that any law or politician can do to try and fix our economical problems. In many ways it is just up to consumer spending and luck that our economy can fluctuate and rise up. It blows my mind that protesting is what we have to do to get the message out sometimes. I really feel like our voices aren’t heard. Even if they are, nothing really the general public can do.

  29. 29 Melissa Moylan May 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Protests don’t really work because the government cant magically come up with money. Also, yelling and screaming does not help anyone. Depending on the issue, sometimes a crowd can make a difference, but when it comes to budget decisions, protesting doesn’t really help.

  30. 30 nicholas joy May 9, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    protest may not be the best technique for fixing a problem , but it is the best for calling attention to our cause. The meer fact that this article was written shows how a protect can be affective. The two groups must sit and talk though cause through mediation, is the only way to insure peoples needs are met on all sides.

  31. 31 Nolan Huddleston May 11, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    Protests do not help the cause at all. Yes, the protesters get on the news but really nothing gets done. In fact, they just look like idiots. If there is no money in the budget then what do these people think they are helping? If they really want to help a cause then they should donate money to it themselves. Protesters need to think about what else they can do instead of yelling and making fools of themselves.

  32. 32 Joey V May 12, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    In my opinion protests dont usually work. Like the above comments said, they get a lot of news coverage and hype, however it usually leads to more problems. For instance, the tree in Berkley. Many people stayed in the historic tree for a long time. Now the construction crew could have cut down hundreds of trees while those people saved the one. Sometimes they are just based on principle rather than effect. It would take a huge portion of people to overcome the problem without makng such a large commotion. When people invest all of their time in protesting, they slack on thier job and all the problems they cause is a waste of tax payers money.

  33. 33 Nick Baumann May 13, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    This article does well to highlight the fact that the state absolutely has to cut funds. People can protest all they want to try and win back money for their causes or programs, but the simple fact is that some of them will just have to deal with it. The state simply does not have the money to support extra spending anymore. In fact, it barely has the money to support normal spending anymore. It’s stupid to demand the governor and the legislature find a solution when there is no solution to find. We need to ride out the storm, and offer support for their actions when needed and appropriate.

  34. 34 Floyd Aranzazu May 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Protests do work. They inspire others who know how to take initiative into the system so they can make change. They are just the beginning.

  35. 35 Nhi Ho May 15, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    There have always been protests throughout history, so students are just trying to get their voice hear instead of doing nothing. Of course, the final decision is still up to the governor. However, students protesting show that education budget cuts has a huge impact on the students. I also agree that reality is reality, we are in a recession, so a budget cut is necessary.

  36. 36 Matthew Jaber May 16, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Although protesting seems like it doesnt always work. It definitely draws a lot of attention.The more groups formed then the more voices will be heard and therefore, more changes will hopefully occur. People are frustrated, as we all should be, and everyone has an outlet to express their frustrations.

  37. 37 Erik Rasmussen May 17, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Protests work in some cases, at least if the outcome they are protesting for is reasonable. It’s no surprise that everyone wants more money for our school systems, where that money comes from is real problem. Most government official just want to impose more taxes but that will cause an uproar as well. Protesting medicare didn’t do much even though many people opposed it. They need to legalize marijuana, tax it, legalize hard working immigrants and tax them as well. Protesting in the long run can only change things that have a feasible way of working out.

  38. 38 amos mccray-goldsmith May 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    the true power of protests are the fact that they can get so much media coverage. if it is big enough it can be picked up by the national news and from there all of america can then take a stance on it. but protest only show that you have flexed your might and as such the protesters will normally be appeased in some way. but it will never entirely fix a budget problem and those cuts will just be handed off to someone else. it never quite fixes the problem.

  39. 39 Caitlin K May 17, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    The article takes the opinion that protests are not very effective, and I would agree. People in our country are granted the freedom of speech and some abuse that right just because they like to hear themselves talk. Protest will bring awareness to an issue, that many may never have known was an issue; that alone may spark change. But whether or not protest works, in the case of these college students, it does not not. Chances are there is more to what goes into the decisions made by the government, than is released to the public. I certainly don’t think that everyone in politics is in it for the good of the people, but I do think that just by protesting something you don’t like is the best plan of action. If you want change, come up with some ideas about how to make that happen; stop whining and complaining, if you yourself see no other way.

  40. 40 Jamie B May 17, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    I find protests annoying, but thats the point. Anyone can pout and complain about ‘unfair treatment’ and make signs and march around chanting. I think that the protests that are effective are the ones that have good leadership and organization. But most protests are not conducted this way and are a way of whining until they get the attention of management.

  41. 41 Luke Napier May 17, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Protesting certain issues is a worthy causes is very admirable, but in reality it does not do much for those involved. It may let people be aware of something that they never thought possible, but most do not take advantage of some harsh realities. Another issue of protesting is that the spark that these people are trying to portray may be taken wrong. It is nice to see that people are inspired to do right, but it must be done so in the right manner. Protesting may not always work, but it can make many more aware.

  42. 42 Ibrahim Jamil May 17, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    What good does protesting do when there is no room to compromise. I understand worker fears but when there is no money in the economy then there is no room for negotiation. Employers are stuck between a fight between its workers and managing to make them happy. No one wins in a recession. Cooperations prospered in the past and led to worker happiness and efficiency. Now, with no money available and huge budget cuts, workers must be thankful that they still have jobs. This is not the time to complain and demand,. It is a time to accept and fix.

  43. 43 Trella Chrisco May 18, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Protesting is the only thing that people have agaisnt the government besides voting. But to get an idea heard is important if one wants it to grow. I believe that many people do not see protesting as a positive thing. It has to work, protesting is one thing that the people have.

  44. 44 Colette Whitney May 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I agree with some of the above comments. I believe that smaller protests are more for the person to express their feelings and surround themselves with others that have the same view. All of the protesters main purpose is to get their word our and fight for what they think is right. I do believe that some protests are affective. For example, gay marriage. I feel if the gay community and its supporters did not protest as much as they do we would not be as close to legalizing it as we are. When their is a large enough population of people that are upset about something, people will listen and try to change it to the best of their ability. Even though the given article says that protests will not work, im sure that the government is trying all that they can to fix it. When there is enough people that are upset, people will take account of the problems and work on them. So I say protest away.

  45. 45 Kyle Barraclough May 18, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I have no faith in protests. I believe protests are just an expression of voice but they are still not heard. However, having a protest just causes more controversy. Yes there is an occasional successful protest but the succession rate is so low I feel like they are hopeless. It helps others use their minds and get involved in society on what they believe but it just gives these people a false sense of power.

  46. 46 Justin Castro May 18, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    It is unfortunate that students are forced to protest budget cuts in order to get what they want out of their school. I am confused where the government thinks these they are going to get all the money. So many people are already on financial aid and student loans that this is only going to further worsen debt. Nowadays, even a degree doesn’t guarantee you a high paying job. It is so difficult to find a job, and with no one hiring in today’s economy these problems do not look to be reversed any time soon.

  47. 47 Ji Young Yoo (Macro) May 18, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    The article is right to point out that protests cannot be a solution to the serious budget crisis. As the article points out, there are “no pain-free fixes” to the budget problem. It is time for politicians to stop looking for politically safe ways to avoid the problem but take drastic measures to address it. I believe a few brave legislators should overcome the fear of public outrage and take a first step toward fiscal responsibility. If increasing taxes is out of picture, making budget cuts should be considered the only way.

  48. 48 Nick Pasquale May 18, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    I dont think that protests work, because there are budget cuts that are made because the economy is low on money. The government knows that everybody is unhappy with all of the budget cuts, and I dont think that protests are going to help change their minds or help improve the economy.

  49. 49 Amber Davenport May 19, 2010 at 6:15 AM

    Protests are good for one thing, media coverage. In politics, there is always going to be a group of people who are not happy with what is going on, its a fact of life. They cant please everyone. Protests just bring light to these issues and allow an outlet for the distressed to share their anger. Protests aren’t always peaceful, and can cause a lot of damage, but it is a constitution protected right for people to protest, so protest on.

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