The Big Story Blog

3 things about social movements and protests

Posted at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics

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(MPR Photo/Rupa Shenoy)

Interesting day for protest movements. The newest statue in Washington celebrates America's greatest non-violent protester. The "Occupy" protest movement celebrates its one month anniversary today.
In Yemen, non-violent protesters are met with bullets.

Wells Fargo Bank, castigated by protesters for excess profits, was punished by investors today, losing more than 8 percent of its stock value, after announcing record quarterly profits. It wasn't good enough.

Here are some other things we learned today chasing stories on protests and protest movements.

1.) Democrats see an opening. The anti-Wall Street themes in the "Occupy" protests around the country may be creating a campaign theme for Democrats. That's increasingly true nationally and as close as western Wisconsin.

2.) "The First Amendment is not absolute." The not-profit reporting group ProPublica offered a good lesson on First Amendment protections and at what point they don't protect protesters in the street. "Government can make reasonable stipulations about the time, place and manner a peaceable protest can take place, as long as those restrictions are applied in a content-neutral way."

3.) Hearts and minds are hard to shift. It wasn't scientific at all, but we got about 20 responses today from Minnesotans in MPR's Public Insight Network talking about the protests. We asked specifically if people had changed their views about Occupy Minnesota or the protests generally since they began.

What did you learn today about protests and social movements that we should know about? Post below or drop us a line.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.