One of the favorite epithets NetRooteviks love to throw around is: "This isn't the '60s anymore! Demonstrations don't work! Give it up!" when people take to the streets. This has become the standard, almost rote response of the NetRoots whenever Americans take to the streets for any reason, though when the good folks in Wisconsin took to the streets and occupied public property (like the Capitol in Madison) for weeks on end, the NetRoots scolds sat on their hands fearful of saying anything too outré about the people in the streets freezing their nuts off in protest.
Of course all the marching and chanting and carrying signs and all the occupations of public property that went on and are still going on through the Midwest did not stop the Walkers and the Kasichs and their ilk from ramming through their programs of restricted rights and slashed budgets for the masses (while heaping favors on the High and the Mighty) in Legislature after Legislature. By now, much of it is "settled law," and even if the Rightist bums who are doing this are eventually thrown out of office (a big IF), their programs, restrictions, and slashed budgets will continue on for the most part.
The demonstrations demonstrated two things: the People are pissed. And they are all but powerless.
NetRooteviks, of course, believe that the People are just 'doing it wrong'. The correct way to oppose the Man is to write a superabundance of furious blog posts and tweets, fill elected officials' inboxes with endless streams of sternly worded emails, and back candidates who flatter your ego.
Except for the fact that that doesn't work either, it sounds all modern and wireless and shit, and it is certainly less... physically challenging (shall we say) than getting out in the streets with signs and giant puppets and other icky 'protest' things like silly chants. Hey hey, ho ho... What do we want... when do we want it...
The sorry fact is that protest from the left doesn't work (in this country), no matter how it's done.
Netrootevik 'gaming' is equally as ineffective as marching and carrying signs. Our Rulers decoupled from the masses quite some time ago, and these days, they really do not care what the People think or want. They love the attention they get from the NetRoots as much as they thrive on the hatred of those in the streets. But they don't care -- at all -- what either marginal interest group "wants."
They believe they don't have to.
And for the most part, they are right. The High and the Mighty can pretty much do what they want -- as long as it fits with the Rightist program of the Government's Stakeholders and Owners. That's all that's necessary.
What absolutely cannot be done under any circumstances is changing the Government's direction toward actually recognizing and serving the Public Interest.
NetRooteviks assembling in Minneapolis may rail and rage all they want about the Imperial White House and its horrible policies. They may keen their laments about the loss of civil liberties, the indifference of Congress, the continuing looting of the Lesser People by the MOTUs, and on and on, but it will have no effect on the Ruling Class.
So they announce their goal is to get their candidates inside the Palace Gates and run things.
How's that working out?
Actually, their real goal is the same as all other institutional interests: Self-Perpetuation. And what that means in context is to ineffectively rail and rage against The Powers That Be -- forever.
Those who march and carry signs may be just as ineffective, but they don't do what they do (for the most part) in order to advance their own careers or to raise their own profiles, nor do they do it to raise money for their online business ventures. They don't do it to perpetuate their chosen form of activism, either. They do it to actually force -- or at least influence -- necessary changes in and by Government.
In other words, the ineffectiveness of the NetRoots and Demonstrators may be similar but the motivation is quite different.
No, this is not the '60s anymore, but so what? The 1960's did not invent the public protest march, nor were marches that much more effective then than they are now. The changes that came about due to the liberationist and communitarian activism of the 1960's happened because of cultural and social factors that no one and no one interest caused or controlled.
The NetRoots wants changes that it cannot quite articulate, and it is no more unified in interest or motivation than any previous activists were.
Right now, nothing at all works to alter the demands of our Governing Class. They are operating completely independently of the People, and they like it like that.
What we can do about it has yet to be discovered -- or rediscovered as the case may be.