antiwar movement on npr

NPR has run an article on the disappearance of the antiwar movement. A few choice clips:

At least since the stormy 1960s, whenever America has gotten involved in deadly combat on foreign soil, large crowds of peace-promoting citizens have gathered in Washington and other cities to demonstrate against war.

It happened in 2007, when tens of thousands congregated on the National Mall and heard actors Sean Penn, Jane Fonda and Danny Glover speak out against President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. It happened in 1991, when throngs rallied against U.S. involvement in the first Gulf War. And it has happened more than a dozen other times since the March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam in 1965.

Now, despite the U.S. military’s concurrent and costly entanglements, the National Mall is quiet and the streets of Washington are pretty much protester-free.

The lack of noise and the apparent nonchalance raises the question: Where have all the protesters gone?

A citation to my own research:

To buttress his assertions, Boaz cites a recently published study of anti-war protesters. The research was conducted by Michael Heaney of the University of Michigan and Fabio Rojas of Indiana University. It concludes that the anti-war movement in America evaporated because Democrats — inspired to protest by their anti-Republican feelings — stopped protesting once the Democratic Party achieved success in Congress in 2006 and then in the White House in 2008.

“As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan,” Heaney, an assistant professor of organizational studies and political science, said in a news release. “The anti-war movement should have been furious at Obama’s ‘betrayal’ and reinvigorated its protest activity.”

Instead, Heaney continued, “attendance at anti-war rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the anti-war movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.”

Check it out.

Update: There’s also a Wall Street Journal take on the article as well. Read it here. Keep an eye out for a brief write up in the print edition.


Written by fabiorojas

April 17, 2011 at 12:49 am

4 Responses

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  1. No link…


    Naadir Jeewa

    April 17, 2011 at 1:12 am

  2. Thanks, it’s fixed.



    April 17, 2011 at 3:36 am

  3. I am reminded of an example that Jeff Pfeffer used in one of his early org theory books. Women were protesting on Berkeley’s campus and the regents didn’t like the publicity the university was getting. They responded by creating a “Women’s Studies” department. This gave the protesters a voice within the system but it also meant that they were competing for budget with all the other departments. All protesting stopped and not much else changed…



    April 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

  4. @RussCoff: Yes, I’ve heard that something similar happened with the creation of black studies departments. I believe that someone may have written a book about that recently, but I can’t recall who.


    Michael T. Heaney

    April 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

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