It’s easy to feel disappointed with humanity when protests seem to regularly “fail”. The Dakota pipeline protests were ignored by Trump, days after the Woman’s March abortion laws were drawn into question, the mass of people protesting outside airports in America and across the world seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Austria banned headscarves and everyone was too focused on Trump to care. Black Lives Matter seems to have no effect on the racial brutality of the police force in the states. When you look at the data it feels like protests don’t work, that the far right is winning in this political war. The gap between the two sides is growing, and we feel so far from each other we have to yell to be heard.
Some people have told me they thought the woman’s march was pointless because it lacked a clear aim. I’ve had friends mock the student protest on the piazza last Monday joking that Trump was hardly going to listen to a handful of English students, but I think that is fundamentally misunderstanding the purpose of these protests.
The gap between the two sides is growing, and we feel so far from each other we have to yell to be heard
We did not protest in the piazza to stop Trump, we protest to show all the students who are affected by his ban that they are not alone. The Woman’s March unified woman globally, it was an entire gender voicing their anger and forcing people to listen. Protests do not always cause change, but they do unite like-minded people, they give them a voice and they empower those who are suffering by showing them they are by no means alone.
But we need to keep on campaigning; we cannot allow ourselves to be disheartened by these losses because activism is the long game. Change unfortunately takes far too long and we have to endure to see it through. It is through political action, activism, campaigns and protest that we can slowly eradicate the prejudice, injustice and ignorance that runs our world.
But we need to keep on campaigning; we cannot allow ourselves to be disheartened
I admire those who run for Sabbatical positions, whether they win or not, because they’re putting themselves into the thankless job of trying to improve reality. The SU may sometimes appear mockable for their political stance but at least they are trying to make positive change. Free education is an admirable cause, trans-inclusivity is a human right and campaigning from within a political system, student or otherwise, can create genuine change.
We need to keep campaigning. We need to show that oppression will not succeed and that we will not injustice continue and whilst politics is disheartening, disappointed and sometimes just a little bit shit right now, I’m proud to be alive at a time where the wronged will not be silenced.