4 years ago5,000+ Views
The "umbrellas protest" that started this summer in Hong Kong, seem to follow the same pattern as of those which took place in several places around the world in 2011, and most notably, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in the US. This kind of protests start as something that voices the social and personal concerns of passionate young people, and seem to get the support of large parts of the older population at first. But then comes a firm, uncompromising response from the government, backed by a PR campaign that portrays the protesters as left winged anarchists with a childish attitude. This government response gradually weaken the mainstream's support for the protest, eventually laving it without any apparent social or political achievements. That is what seem to happen, but is it really so? do Occupy style protests, really achieve nothing? One of the things that characterizes these protests, is that the protesters don't make too many concrete demands, and focus instead on demanding a more general, "change of the system". This fact is often used by government speakers as a proof for the "childish attitude" of the protesters, but in fact, it is the secret of how they actually succeed in a rather tacit manner. They do not succeed trough some kind of immediate achievements, but by sparking a graduate but notable change in the minds of people. Many of the people that support the protest at first and then stop supporting it while presenting an attitude of, "these things never work", may have still changed their approach to their own lives and became more socially conscious. They become more willing to question authority and to stand for their rights, even if it is on a smaller, more casual scale, such as when negotiating the price with a cars dealer. In this sense, Occupy protests are a huge success, that already have a large global impact.
I think that it's hard to say whether or not they "work" as they certainly don't cause any huge changes in the moment, but I do think they bring issues to the forefront of news and people's minds, and also show that even if the movements "concrete demands" are few, that people really care about what happens in regards to that issue. So yes and no/
Always starts big and then finishes small