I realised today that I’ve become utterly cynical about peaceful mass street protests. I haven’t given up on direct democracy yet – I think elected powerholders can be swayed noticeably, at least sometimes, by so many people contacting them that they get really afraid of losing enough votes to effectively lose their job. Ironically though, I think it might actually work a little bit more often on companies (provided they have retail business to lose) – apparently money is power appealing, or at least scarier to lose, than power.
But people marching through the streets in their thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands, millions – they attract some media attention, usually. Mostly currently directed either to police tactics or the violent handful (if there is one and they are only a handful) in the UK at least. They make people feel good about themselves and that their cause is achieving something. And then generally the politicians targeted don’t really do anything in response (except perhaps close the windows and hire some musicians to compete with the noise). Street protests, I now bitterly feel, lead to action usually only when they turn ugly; when people are dragged out of tents or tear-gassed or start lobbing stones and Molotov cocktails.
Does this have anything to do with music? I’m not sure. But it does suggest that people are not straightforwardly powerful – that even in a highly demotic, head-counting society like mine at the moment, they may set out to do something in massive numbers and not achieve it if they went about it the wrong way.
It’s all very well networking furiously and attracting attention with eye-catching activities like, er, blogging daily. But it only actually helps with old-fashioned hard cash (and sadly my food isn’t payable in WordPress followers!) when you can get those contacts to do something that helps you get to paid activities of whatever sort. And that something probably isn’t marching on Westminster to demand government arts funding for blues violists …