Category: Protest: Past & Present

Pink Triangle Legacies: Holocaust Memory and International Gay Rights Activism

In the twenty-first century, it’s hard to imagine a social movement without hashtags. Social media has influenced issues ranging from local elections to global geopolitics (just ask anyone involved in the Arab Spring), and hashtags have become forms of communication and customizable symbols representing specific movements. But what about social protests in a pre-Internet age?… Read more →

The Campaign to Confront Nixon and End the War in Indochina

Now that Trump has been installed as President, many Americans are turning to history for inspiration in resisting his agenda. I suggest that a little-known group, the Indochina Peace campaign, an antiwar organization founded by Tom Hayden, actress and activist Jane Fonda, and others may offer a model and strategy. As much of the work on… Read more →

“Save Changes”: Telling Stories of Disability Protest

At first, it was a simple case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” as I worked with WikiEducation Foundation to teach a methods course in which students created disability history content. But the more I learned, the more it became clear that we were engaging in multiple forms of protest, especially once I… Read more →

UK Squatters’ Fight for Decent Housing

The topic of squatting — living in or using a dwelling without the owner’s permission — often elicits condemnation from the well-housed, confusion or fear from those who consider modern civilized life to revolve around a stable and secure home, and a general attitude that only dirty hippies would resort to essentially living illegally and… Read more →

From “Sip-in” to the Hairpin Drop Heard Round the World, Protests Can Work

Do protests work? Certainly they can make the participants feel that rather than passively accepting injustice they are doing something about it. But do they actually create change, or do they just enrage the opposition, which traditionally paints protestors as the equivalent of spoiled brats in mid-tantrum? While protests can be little more than acts… Read more →

The Anti-Vaccine Movement, Bad Science, and the Rise of Fake News

Fake news was one of the biggest news stories following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. From climate change to abortion, health care to international relations, formerly fringe information hubs like Breitbart took on unprecedented mainstream importance. Could it be that a sizeable chunk of Americans were more persuaded by conspiracy theories and political rumor than… Read more →

Love and Rage

On November 2, 1992, members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) carried a dead body through the streets of Manhattan. The deceased was Mark Fisher, a gay man and AIDS activist who had died from complications of the disease he spent his last years fighting. His was the first political funeral staged… Read more →

“Your Presence Has Brought the Attention of the World”: Native American Protest and the Media

On December 4, 2016, Native American water protectors won a major battle against what they call the “black snake” — the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Department of the Army announced that the oil pipeline, which would pass near the source of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s drinking water, would not be drilled under a… Read more →

Bans, Boycotts, and Brawls: The 1970s West Virginia Textbook Controversy

To find tensions in American society, look at K-12 textbooks. Not in them, but in the debates they bring to the fore. In the wake of the Donald Trump victory and right-wing populism, the protests in Kanawha County, West Virginia from 1974-5 are worth learning about. At the Kanawha County Board of Education meeting on… Read more →

Liberty Poles and Popular Protest in the Founding Era

As the Trump presidency begins, many Americans are considering how to oppose the harmful federal legislation that will likely follow his taking office. Some are bent on revamping the Democratic Party in the hopes of creating a robust opposition at the state and local levels, and retaking Congress in two years’ time. But others fear… Read more →