By Ted Rall, Counterpunch
Your opinion doesn’t matter—not by itself. No matter how heartfelt or important to you personally, your thoughts about Gaza or legal weed or the war on skinny jeans don’t mean anything merely because they reside inside your brain.
Your opinion matters only if you express it. Expression of an opinion doesn’t change anything unless it’s done effectively. Opinions expressed en masse, alongside others who share your views, are more likely to effect change—but that’s not enough to move the needle. What changes policy, what improves lives for the foreseeable future, what makes history on a radical scale, is a sustained mass movement that expresses an opinion so aggressively that the ruling classes are forced to change course or risk losing their power and privilege to revolutionary overthrow.
American liberals and leftists have strong opinions on a variety of issues. But they express them on the couch or online rather than in the streets, where it matters. On the rare occasion when we venture into the public sphere, our protests are usually sporadic and unsustained, like the annual anti-Trump women’s marches with the pink pussy hats or militantly nonviolent, like the antiwar protests leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Neither had any effect. Leftie demonstrations rarely assume the dangerous character required to scare the powers that be: violent, or nonviolent while brandishing a credible threat of violence.