The Problem with Progressive Protests

I’ve organized quite a few protests over the last few years. Around issues of climate change, racial justice, gun control, immigration reform. And I’ve attended and provided support to a lot more. Over time, I noticed a pattern. Regardless of the cause, regardless of which organization is in charge, almost all of them followed this pattern:

  1. Something happens which provokes justifiable outrage among progressives.

To be clear, I’ve followed this pattern as much as anyone else. And I think there is a time and place for this model of activism or some variation of it. But it’s being overused, and on the whole, I don’t think it’s working. There have to be some alternatives. I don’t claim to have the answers. But I would really like to be a part of a conversation around this.

For more on this, see my “Open Letter to My Activist Friends”.

Originally published at on April 1, 2021.

John Halstead is the author of the book *Another End of the World is Possible*. Find out more at

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