On Saturday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” CUNY professor Frances Fox Piven laid out what she considers to be a successful protest movement, in particular regarding the “I Can’t Breathe” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” movements reacting to the grand jury decisions of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.
“One thing I think that we have to recognize, and I have a sense that a lot of the activists now do recognize that is that movements are not one big explosion,” she said. “That they take place. They unfold over time. And they take somewhat different forms and different locals with different participants. But movements are long-term phenomena. They’re not just a burst. And so that’s one thing that’s very, very important.”
“Another thing that I think that this movement, and I think it is a movement, that this movement knows, is that movements are not just slogans,” Piven continued. “They’re not just parades. They’re not just marches. They’re not just yelling. That movements really have to, in a sense, cause trouble so the society resonates to some extent with the grievances, demands and hopes of the movement. So the movements are not easy, either for the participants or for the people around who have to suffer the blocked highways or whatever it is. Which is, by the way, one of the reasons that it’s so important for the sympathizers of the movement to speak out, to be loud, to come to the defense of the movement and to echo the hopes of the movement.”
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