Demonstrations of Concern: ‘People-Power’

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6421.htm)

The population needs to be able to raise issues on an impromptu basis and to exert ‘people-power’ directly upon its politicians (who should represent people who may differ from them in ethnicity or political views):

  • People should have access to a politician who represents them and who should be prepared to take up issues on their behalf. Some former congressional staffers published a guide on how to use politicians effectively, based on successful Tea Party tactics, called Indivisible: A Practical Guide For Resisting The Trump Agenda.
  • People can make their views known by letters to newspapers or by blogging on the Internet.
  • They can sign petitions.
  • They can step up the pressure by participating in demonstrations. For example, protests in Cairo ultimately unseated President Hosni Mubarak – as described in a BBC article entitled Tahrir Square’s place in Egypt’s history.
  • Protests can turn into riots, such as the poll-tax riots which led to the toppling of Margaret Thatcher; the BBC published a retrospective article on these, entitled 1990: Violence flares in poll tax demonstration.

As noted later in this chapter, direct popular pressure is one of the ways of communicating with politicians to ask for changes in governance (