Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flash mobs as tools of protest

Ohio is using social media to organize protests. From the Columbus Dispatch:
Echoing its "flash mob" protest last week at a Bob Evans restaurant, ProgressOhio struck again today at Huntington Bank's 41 S. High St. headquarters. The Columbus-based liberal advocacy group organized the protest, in which about 50 people gathered outside the bank to sing a politically-charged parody of Hang On Sloopy. Another representative of ProgressOhio said they choose to use a "flash mob" style of protest because it is a positive way to demonstrate their frustrations.
John Nichols of the Nation noticed Ohio's will to resist Republican community-busting, too:
Opponents of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s push to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights—as part of a national push by newly-elected Republican governors to silence opposition to their cuts in funding for public education and services — needed to collect 231,000 valid signatures to force a referendum that would override anti-labor legislation enacted by Kasich and his allies. With petitions carrying 1,298,301 signatures packed in 1,500 boxes carried by a semi-truck, organizers of the “We Are Ohio” campaign and thousands of their allies marched to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office in Columbus Wednesday — one day before the deadline—to file the paperwork necessary to force a November vote on overturning Ohio Senate Bill 5 and Kasich’s attack on labor rights. Ohio does not have a recall provision. But it does allow citizens to force a vote on legislation recently passed by the legislature. The Ohio petition drive, which began a statewide phenomenon, has yielded the largest number of signatures ever gathered in the state’s history. In fact, the almost 1.3 million signatures filed Wednesday represents one of the most remarkable examples of petitioning for the redress of grievances—and of popular democracy—in American history.
If Democrats wanted to bring teaching moments to young people disheartened by powerlessness in the political process, bringing a flash mob to disrupt traffic during rush hour or to the end of a shift at an arms manufacturer or like EarthFirst! plans for megaloads destined for the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings or at the Montana-Dakota generating plant in Rapid City, anyplace where younger voters could have their consciousness raised about how the consequences of capitalism impact the Earth, maybe we could make sure they are registered to vote.

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