I was talking to a university student this morning about why more people don't turn out for peaceful protests against the Bush administration's policies and the War in Iraq. She brought up an interesting point that should be considered by those organizations involved in conceiving these events. Over half of the people in our coutnry are middle class or lower class. They can't AFFORD to leave work in order to attend a protest for risk of losing their jobs should they do so. As a result, the current protest population is composed largely of upper-class whites.
The protests organized for today have asked people to "stand down" and leave their jobs in order to attend an event. My suggestion to progessive organizations who are frustrated by low turnout: In planning your events, think "inclusive". How do you help those who WANT to particpate do so, given the fact that many of them are near the poverty level and cannot just "take off from work" any time they like. More candle-light vigils perhaps? More weekend protests? Or perhaps a whole NEW kind of protest devised specifically to ENCOURAGE the inclusion of these Americans?
Progressive organizations are doing a fairly good job of talking about the problems of the middle class and the poor. But they have been sorely lacking in policies and actions to help them. The middle and lower classes of this country have traditionally been the base of progressive organizations. But, due to neglect, they have become disinfranchised.
Thanks to the policies of the Bush regime, more middle class Americans are falling into the lower class, while the divide between the wealthy and the middle class is widening at an alarming rate. Progressive organizations must both address these concerns in their policies and find ways to help these forgotten citizens become engaged in the progressive movement. If they can find a way to do so, their efforts will be rewarded significantly.