Re: [sixties-l] Value of street demos

From: Ted Morgan (
Date: Sun Sep 03 2000 - 20:01:17 CUT

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    Richard Waddell makes several good point in his comment on my earlier post re.
    getting a 'radical message' across in the media --the importance of cultivating
    and informing reporter contacts, the need to plan carefully, focus on a clear
    message, etc. Yes all have been problematic for protest movements (i..e, they
    have often fallen short). My point, however, has to do with the media content
    itself. How many article can one find in mass media that contain what might
    legitimately be called radical --i.e.. system-critical content? Whether about
    protest or not? And then, with protests and the imperative of drama, visuals,
    etc. to get noticed by media, these characteristics (i.e., what make the stories
    'newsworthy' invariable supplant any radical content. I'm just trying to point
    out that it is hugely problematic, and I haven't seen many successes! I'm open
    to examples being sent my way....

    Ted Morgan

    Richard Waddell wrote:

    > Ted Morgan wrote:
    > >... But, the
    > real problem, as I see it, is >that demonstrations that are trying to
    > articulate a radical critique --a
    > critique >of the system which encompasses media, legislatures, & elections--
    > find that the >media are closed off to that point of view, to a radical
    > critique.
    > Mainstream >media are no more capable of comprehending truly radical
    > criticism, than they >are of disassociating from & ignoring market
    > imperatives. That's why we see so >many articles on the recent LA-Philly
    > demonstrations that, well, just don't 'get >it,' that are asking 'what DO
    > these people want?' [And of course, that other side >of the media --very much
    > market driven-- is riveted by the various manifestations >of the "alien other"
    > represented in the 'bizarre' behaviors, attire, etc. (and, >yes, age) of
    > protesters.
    > >So, it's a very tough dilemma.
    > Is it really so tough? Our points of contact with the media are reporters.
    > Our strategy, then, should be to help reporters do their work. They need
    > our guidance and want it. (I was not among the demonstrators, but have
    > empathy for some of their goals (as I understand them), and I find it easier
    > to use the first-person perspective)
    > snip....

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