Non-Disruptive Protests Over Disruptive Protests Essay

Non-Disruptive Protests Over Disruptive Protests

When people form a social movement, they do so with a particular goal in mind. The goal is meant to bring about change or to resist change in certain circumstances. Social movements take two forms: disruptive and non-disruptive protests. In his article Social Movement Tactics, Organizational Change, and the Spread of African-American Studies, Fabio Rojas illustrates how non-disruptive protests are more effective in bringing about change than disruptive protests. Rojas uses data collected during the era when social movements advocated for African-American Studies programs to be included in institutions. According to him, the major reason non-disruptive protests were more effective is that they were able to drum up the support of sympathetic administrators who were in a better position to enact reforms and bring about organizational change. He also illustrates that non-disruptive protests contribute more to the spread of change as it facilitates mimicry more. I agree with Rojas that non-disruptive protests are more effective in bringing about change than disruptive. Below are two major reasons why.

For a social movement to succeed in its goal, it needs social support. The support can come from those whom the change directly affects or third parties who feel It is important to help the social movement achieve its goal. From what I have observed, a non-violent protest garners more support compared to a violent protest. I would be more inclined to participate in a non-disruptive protest than in a disruptive protest. There is a low propensity that people will take part in a protest that is likely to hurt them. Non-disruptive protests facilitate loyalty shifts even from those who are part of the institution that is facing the protests. On the other hand, disruptive protest can result in third parties siding against the protesters as they believe they are inflicting damage. Social support is also important as it allows third parties to defend protesters even when they do not agree with what they have to say.

The other reason why I believe non-disruptive protests are more effective is they are more organized compared to disruptive protests as those involved take a calmer approach to bring about change. Those involved in non-disruptive protests tend to have a long-term strategy on how they will go about bringing change. For example, they could have marches and rallies that educate people on why the change they are advocating for is important. In turn, it facilitates social support, which, as we have already seen, plays a key role in the success of a social movement. On the other hand, it can be quite difficult to execute a long-term plan for disruptive protests. If workers decide to participate in a sit-in protest, the organization may decide to take measures against them. As a result, some of the protesters may decide to step away from it to avoid inflicting damage to their lives. When many protesters quit the movement, its strength waivers, and its structure becomes disrupted.

In conclusion, it can be argued that disruptive protests may yield some success, but this success is mostly short term. Based on the reasons provided above, they do little to expand the movement’s larger objective when a long-term plan is involved. Non-disruptive protests are more organized and garner more social support, and this more often than not allows them to grow, and they are then able to effect change in the long term

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