Protesting Changes Through History

A picture of Gandhi who was the leader of the civil rights moment in India.

Photo Couresty of Wikipeata

A picture of Gandhi who was the leader of the civil rights moment in India.

Ellie Walter-Goodspeed, Bussiness Manger

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On September 16, in 1932 Gandhi started his six day fast in protest of Britain’s idea to separate voting rights based on India’s caste system. Caste is a belief in India’s society which divides Hindus into stiff hierarchical groups based on work and duty.  Gandhi did not want further separation between the classes by not giving the lowest class proper political representation. His fast prompted the British government to reach an agreement, therefore ending his fast.

Gandhi’s actions worked, but is protesting still a viable way to change people’s minds and viewpoints? People have gathered all over the world to protest women’s issues, race issues, political issues and more.

According to a study done by Harvard, Cambridge, and MIT, “The main results show that political protests affect policy making and voting behavior. For policy making, we find that incumbent representatives vote more conservatively when there are large protests in their district”. In other words, the more people willing to protest and speak their mind, the more influence on representatives’ decision making according to this study.

People like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have lead movements that will be remembered for years to come. Just two men were able to lead masses of people to send one unified message. This poses a new challenge in society today, the book Assembly (Oxford) written by Michael Hardt and Antoion Negri who are both political philosophers. They address this, “Gone are the days, on the one hand, when a political vanguard could successfully take power in the name of the masses”.

The main point of protesting is to bring light to an issue that people see as unfair, or wrong. If it is handled incorrectly can have the inverse affect on people. Driving them away from the intended message.

In a report written by Omar Wasow a Professor of Politics at Princeton, he says, “ Nonviolent black-led protests played a critical role in tilting the national political agenda towards civil rights and black-led resistance that included violence contributed to outcomes directly in opposition to the policy preferences of the protesters”.

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Protesting Changes Through History