party in the street: not! michael heaney explains why we have small protests
My good friend and collaborator Michael T. Heaney has a nice article in the Monkey Cage, the political science blog of the Washington Post. He explains why we see small protests at the 2016 RNC:
In fact, the protests at this year’s RNC are considerably smaller than we’ve seen at recent conventions.
The answer is not a newfound love of Donald Trump among social activists. The story is about organization — or rather, the lack of it.
Here’s who was protesting in Cleveland
The groups interested in protest failed to forge a broad, unifying coalition that could bring together protesters in coordinated opposition. My survey research of activists on the ground at the convention (conducted with the assistance of students at the University of Michigan and Kent State University) shows that they were fragmented in a series of smaller coalitions that staged modestly sized events.
Earlier waves of protest were more organized:
By contrast, in 2004 and 2008, seasoned antiwar organizers brought together various elements of the left and staged impressive rallies outside the Republican conventions. As Fabio Rojas and I explain in our recent book, “Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11,” the antiwar movement was able to identify themes that unified various faction of the left, both locally and nationally. For example, hundreds of thousands of people marched past Madison Square Garden during the 2004 RNC with the theme of “the world says no to the Bush agenda.” Although this rally was planned byUnited for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) — an antiwar coalition founded in 2002 — it was able to work closely with leaders of many other left-leaning social movements.
Read the whole thing!