The Power of Protests


In times of turmoil, despite our best efforts to be involved and make a difference, it’s easy to wonder, Are we doing enough to make a difference? A new study by researchers at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania set out to ask a similar question: do public protests make a difference? The answer was a distinct, unwavering “Yes.”

The researchers considered data from the past 30 years, looking at movements on both sides of the political spectrum, from the Tea Party protests in 2010 to the Women’s March and other progressive protests in the last few years. What they found was that protests changed the results of important votes, highlighting key issues and drawing voters out to make themselves heard.

While this effect works on both sides of the spectrum, the type of protest has a significant impact on results. According to Fast Company, another study by Robb Willer of Stanford, among others, “finds that violent protests can lead people to think poorly of the protesters.” Thus, a key element in the success of a political protest is being nonviolent. With nonviolence, protesters can clearly convey the ideas they are representing and win the respect of both opponents and potential supporters alike.

To read more about this study, check out the article at Fast Company.