Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mass protests. Why not in the US?

Referring to Deb's comment on the Cacerolazo...

"Can you imagine college students in our country even thinking that the government would consider free education? And then uniting to protest, and gaining support from the general public? You are truly living in a different world."

We keep wondering about that... Nationwide protests of this magnitude in the US certainly hasn't happened in my lifetime. I think part of the difference in much of Latin America is that power is much more centralized. The President has much greater role in making policy than perhaps in the US, where power is more decentralized between Federal and state governments. I also think that the individualism and passiveness of the US discourages mass popular movements or protests. Perhaps more people in the US feel as if they are making a difference through volunteering or working at nonprofits. Or maybe the US is just more accustomed to protesting at the voting booth. I don't know, but the practice of protesting en masse - with both its positive and negative consequences - is alive and well in Chile.

1 comment:

  1. I used to be much darker, especially when Reagan was president, and we did march then. Marches still happen, but they are smaller, partly because they see the hypocrisy of flying to Washington DC to protest global warming! There are many people volunteering, I believe the numbers are there, but conservatives has gotten smarter, and groups like the Tea Party have figured out how to use rhetoric to make it sound like the rich are victimized. It may be the rest of world is now showing us how freedom really works.