Issues in demonstrations

When we throw a demonstration, who is the intended audience?

Is it a media event?  (Doesn’t being a media event alone tend to channel things toward small, snappy-looking groups instead of building mass-coordination between many people?)

Is it meant to reach the public bystanders wherever we march?  The pedestrians, the motorists, or both?

Is the demonstration meant to impress or intimidate the politicians?  (If so, can they even see us?  Are we hoping they see us in person or just hear about it over the news?)

Are we trying to re-energize ourselves, and give isolated participants a sense of our collective strength?

Is it one of these?  All of these?  Some and not others, which combination?

And of course, the big question – is our demonstration actually geared to effectively reach our intended targets?

If we want to be seen by pedestrians, are we friendly and welcoming to them, or do we seem threatening and menacing?  Is the activist milieu from a different demographic than the people who are witnessing us?

Do we have a sharp presentation, or do we look like a waddling blob?

Is our chanting sensitive to the context?

Do we chant “We are the 99%” when there’s only five of us?  When we chant “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!” do the people who witness us feel like they are part of the “us” and they are taking over the street with us, or do they feel like the activist Left just forcefully seized what was previously everybody’s street?

Is anyone else annoyed that there are about ten different socialists newspapers circulating at every demonstration?  Even worse, when you try to sell one, do you find yourself completely foiled by the fact that the entire place is covered in free copies of People’s Weekly World?

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