It's easy to get disillusioned with mass protest. Did it stop the invasion of Iraq? Has it ended the war against Afghanistan? Is the current "occupation" of Wall Street really likely to end the power of the bankers and overthrow capitalism?
But a recent interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might shed a little light on the subject for those with a negative view:
"The question is," Williams asked, "what made you think [as an ACLU lawyer arguing a case before the Supreme Court] you could get the court to overrule over a century of precedent (regarding women's rights)?"So there you have it, from the mouth of a Supreme Court Justice. Here, she's talking about the effect of the people, as expressed through mass movements, on the Supreme Court, but precisely the same thing is true of Congress. It is the people who make change, not the Court and not the Congress.
"The times," Ginsburg said. "The court is a reactive institution. It's never at the forefront of social change. There's always a movement in society that's pushing the court. By 1970, the women's movement was revived, not just in the United States, but all over the world. It was an issue that people cared about."
Stay in the streets!