On Indirect Action: Twitter, Protest and Presence
What does it mean to participate in a protest from afar? In the past, I’ve argued, quite strongly, that a protest is only an event in the moment, that its importance resides within those participating, for its recording somehow diminishes its presence and vitality, leaving it open to easy misinterpretation, dissection, repurposing and, most often, vigorous dismissal. It has also always seemed to me that underlying the trenchant and lengthy debates within activist movements over the use of direct action, is a disagreement over how to experience the moment of protest. Though such debates often characterize themselves as being about drawing attention to issues, how best to intervene in systems of power without replicating them and so on, what seems equally important to all sides is how to be there, to actually be there, in front of the police, or at the site, or in front of the cameras, and what to do with one’s body in that time and space….
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