Two recent stories from Ukraine (where else?) have prompted me to write down my opinions about street protest. In Kiev, people were offered 130-150,- HRN ($5,- USD) per hour of protest “against payed protests”, and they failed to get paid. In Odessa, people were offered a staggering 1000,- HRN per hour, and when they turned up on the main square there was nobody to greet them. You might be feeling a bit of a schadenfreude now but I will tell you why you should always demand compensation for your time in the cold.
- Street protests are more often than not organised in service of entities with resources that your poor ass will never see. Take for instance the Maidan, initially organised by Mustafa Nayem, a known grant eater. Mustafa is getting paid by the United States, and the European Union. The Maidan also had sponsorship of the oligarchs, those guys are billionaires. And you don’t even get your 150,- HRN?
- Protests are usually to the benefit of a small clique of puppet masters that you have no relation to. At the end of the day, the puppet masters, and the leaders of the protests will reap the benefits, and you will either have fond memories, or a lifetime injury. In fact, if the risks are greater, you should demand much more than the measly 150,- HRN, which in my opinion is a pisstake.
Let me give you an example. When the USSR stopped supporting the Social Bloc countries, the Czechoslovak secret service let Václav Havel out of jail in May 1989. For several months the latter organised the opposition, which came out on 17 November. Some of the secret service guys, and members of the nomenklatura, went on to become very rich. Many people who protested, in many cases against the party and the secret service, had their heads cracked.
- A street protest is an illusion. Its purpose is to create a semblance of popular support, where there may not be any. The latter is certainly true of the various types of “masovka” that we see in Ukraine in the run up to the presidential elections. People should be realistic, most of the favourites are very rich people with even richer people and entities behind them, it’s not immoral to ask for compensation.
So, the moral of the story is, never sell your ass short! Demand payment! Demand payment in advance! Know that you may be there because you believe in the bullshit but the organisers are getting paid.