Document Type


Publication Date



The thesis of this paper is a simple generalization: To the extent that social protest draws attention to its form rather than to the grievance it seeks to redress, it is likely to be unproductive. I add a quick qualification. In offering this generalization, I am assuming that the protester is genuine in seeking to redress one or more grievances and that he is not using the grievance as a subterfuge to pick a fight. If the purpose of the protest is in fact to provoke a repressive response, then, of course, my generalization is inapplicable.

We obviously have a "more-or-less" proposition before us. A protest may succeed even though there is some objection to its form. But when concern over the mode of protest blots out concern over the condition protested against, the protester has obviously failed.


Law | Law and Politics | Law and Society


Originally published in 1:1 Iustitia 16 (1973).