14/6/2020 0 Comments
On turning up
Would you turn up at a protest even if you knew it wouldn’t be instrumental in bringing about the change the protest was calling for? Agnes Callard set a twitter poll for this question and I was surprised at how many people said yes, they would still protest, even though I had answered yes myself. I did have to think about the question before answering, but what I thought was that I would turn up to a protest even if I didn’t believe it would be instrumental in bringing about change in the same way that I would turn up to a funeral even if I didn’t believe it would bring anyone back to life. I turned up at the Black Lives Matter protest in Wellington today to express support for the protestors in America. But I do think protests are instrumental acts as well as expressive gestures, instrumental because they are expressive. They aren’t essays or arguments, and perhaps no one is going to change their minds about an issue by watching a protest, but protests are watched, they get on the news, they are talked about, and that means the issues they raise are talked about, and become what politicians are asked to address, and what opinion pieces cover, and what people are going to be thinking about when they decide who to elect to parliament. Perhaps the most important audience for the protests though is the audience of the protestors themselves, the audience for the chants they - we - are chanting, the audience for the speeches and the karakia and the haka and the stories, as we come together and become an audience.
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These are paragraphs without essays or books to go in.