Go the IR protesters today! Really wish I had dragged my ass into town to join the estimated 175,000 people who marched. It raises some interesting questions about what kind of dissent is most popular and/or useful. Should I be sitting here writing articles and working on issues which provide a commentary or perspective on current issues, or am I better to get out there and protest?
I've done plenty of rallies, and I never mind a good march. There is a warm fuzzy feeling you get from standing alongside people who are just as outraged as you are, especially when compared to the vacuum effect of writing at your computer or yelling at a newspaper; sometimes it's easy to feel isolated when the majority of people around you seem to be 'going with the flow' rather than standing up for what they believe in. But is that the only purpose for a rally? Anti-war rallies were greeted with Howard's public statements that protesting would not change the government's directions over Iraq, and it's hard to image they will feel any different over IR rallies. So why do we do it? There was a really good article on Vibewire about this a little while ago. It promoted a lot of debate on the site.
I tend to think that any change comes through education - the more information in the public arena which offers debate/reflection on otherwise narrow issues the better. It's why I'm more a publisher than an activist (although obviously that's a form of activism in itself), and why I'm here at my computer rather than in the streets. Or maybe I'm just kidding myself and neither way will really provide change. Although I don't think that's true. My politics have been formed by finding alternative media sources (and people) who are prepared to tell me more facts than a government propaganda campaign. By finding journalists, authors and publications which I 'trust' I have been able to form my own opinions. I hope that by writing, editing and supporting alternative media I help keep those roads open for other people who want to do the same.