The Folly of Protesting for the Sake of Protesting

College campuses around the nation seem to be seething over with despair and frustration. Nearly everywhere student organizations are banding together to display their angst for the world to see.

My own peers hosted a protest just about two weeks ago. One of the organizers and speakers asked if I would show my support. My first question was ‘What exactly is this protest against?’ His response…’Love Trump’s hate.’ This quickly solicited a whole host of follow up questions and subtle critiques.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am concerned with the social and political ramifications of Trump’s ideology, but these protests that are seemingly against nothing need to stop. The fact of the matter is, as unfortunate as we may find it, Trump is going to take office come January. We should actually all be wishing him good health and what not because Pence far more reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine than our orange commander-in-chief, but I digress.

One of my favorite academic writers, Guy Standing, has a wonderful quote in his paper The Precariat and Class Struggle in which he describes the emergence of a new social class, the precariat, that I fear many of us will find ourselves a part of.

“The flames of struggle quickly expire in futile days of protest if all the struggle is about is being against what is happening.”

If a protest does not have a clear list of concerns and demands then it is going to fail. Movements cannot be sustained by vague mission statements not to mention the kind of perception generated in the public when confronted with protests of this nature.

I am not derailing protesting in general. It is our right and sometimes even our duty to so. What I am asking is that we only protest when our goal is clear. My fear is that by the time Millennials and Precarians mature and develop plans to address our real, growing concerns, the public will have already written us off. Protesting without a goal this early in the game is a disservice to our greater, formulating cause.