Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Take a Walk

        Marches and rallies are common tactics used within social movements. Though Graeber mentions in Direct Action that marches and rallies tend to not bring about change themselves, they do have a place as a means of protest. He uses the example of the march on Washington prior to Martin Luther King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech, which has become a symbol for the "culmination of years of struggle, involving boycotts, sit-ins, and every sort of civil disobedi­ence and direct action... it was that march and rally that stuck in the popular imagination"(Graeber 2009: 363). He goes on further to explain that this claiming of the spot light by one charismatic individual after local activists anonymously organizing a multitude of other events is what anarchists tend to object to. Anarchists also find rallies and marches to be the opposite of direct action as they are primarily legal forms of protest and thus require the acknowledgement of the state to organize the events. Aside from these quibbles over the usefulness, purpose and effectiveness of marches they are still used as one of the many diverse tactics employed during a single action.

      SlutWalk itself is a good example of the effectiveness of a march to further the message and goals of a social movement. Though SlutWalk uses other a few other avenues to get its point across, it is primarily an organization which marches to raise awareness. If people had not marched in streets across the globe proclaiming to be a SlutWalk, those who were not aware of the prevalence of victim blaming in our society may not ever have been engaged. Because of marches like SlutWalk, this movement for women's sexual freedom has more support and certainly more awareness generated by the media coverage it has received.

Courtesy of Graeme Davis

References Consulted:

Graeber, David.
     2009. Direct Action: An Ethnography. AK Press. Zine Library.

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