Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Terry Riley Guest Blog: Do Demonstrations Work?
This is a guest blog from Albuquerque activist Terry Riley.
Do demonstrations work? I listened to Elliot Adams on Sunday at the Pentagon for Peace presentation at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Silver SE in Albuquerque. Elliot is the past president of Veterans for Peace. He feels that though we have not stopped the Iraq war/occupation or the Afghanistan war/occupation we have extremely likely prevented a pre-emptive attack on Iran. Now, that is really quite an accomplishment! We have likely also had an impact on how the military industrial complex has conducted themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, though it is hard to imagine that it could be much worse.
Locally, here in Albuquerque there was a recent demonstration in response to a young mother who is dying of an extremely rare disease. The reason for the demonstration was that her insurance company, Presbyterian Health Care, had chosen to stop providing a (extremely expensive) medicine that was giving her relief even though her insurance premiums have always been paid. The demonstration was held in front of Presbyterian Hospital on a Sunday afternoon and, in addition to this action, many people e-mailed the head of Presbyterian Health Care in support of Kendra.
Yesterday the Albuquerque Journal had a front page article announcing that Presbyterian Health Care has begun providing that medicine for her again. There are many details and certainly many influences to Presbyterian's decision, but I believe that the demonstration and the e-mails applied pressure in support of Kendra.
I believe that demonstrations do work. Demonstrations are not the only avenue to take but they are a necessary part of a strong campaign to support or oppose an important issue. Please consider this when you read the next request for people to come out and stand in the streets. We do matter, we do affect the outcome. We do need more people to join us so that our issues are acted on more quickly, please join us, we have a world to save, environmental issues, military issues, healthcare issues, etc.
This is a guest blog by Terry Riley. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Direct Action Organizing. Hallmark of the 60s and 70s - get back to it. It works.
Posted by: suz | Oct 13, 2009 12:40:55 PM
It can work, but only if the issue of the demonstration is very focused. I can't stand those ANSWER type demos where every cause under the sun including many crazy ones are pushed.
Posted by: Old Dem | Oct 13, 2009 2:10:10 PM
Presbyterian is a local business. The front page news story helped to bring people into the loop, and Kendra has now said that while she did get the med, there are a lot of others who have not been "allowed."
Presbyterian is all about their bottom line.
I'm glad they turned around.
I hope people will be paying attention to local politics, now that there is a new mayor in town.
The guy has no mandate for big change, so pay attention. We may need some demonstrations at City Hall/City Council.
Posted by: bg | Oct 13, 2009 9:22:34 PM