While you are reading JoTo MoJo, history is being written in North Dakota, specifically on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where representatives from scores of tribes are protesting the Dakota Access pipeline as it is encroaching on native lands.
We are seeing history in the making right now in North Dakota as native Americans seek to uphold their traditions and treaties that have been violated time after time. This time however, the vast power of social media is being employed – in other words, the whole world is watching how this will turn out. This is protest public relations at its finest, acting for the good of the people and the land which they inhabit.
Protest PR has very deep roots, you might even say grassroots! Grassroots makes use of the groundswell of people in a given area or across a particular category involving them in a political cause or struggle. Its purpose is to create a collective action from the bottom-up rather than a top-down. The basic idea is to increase mass participation in the cause and display strength by numbers.
Public opinion itself encompasses the needs and wants of most the populace. This collective opinion aka public opinion goes back to the works of John Locke, “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” which identified the importance of public opinion in politics, written in 1689.
President James Madison iterated that in order for a government to be democratic, it is essential to have a strong and knowledgeable citizenry. Public opinion can be defined then as a guide to a democratic government. Protest PR evolves when the citizens of a “democratic” government would not be getting their way.
There is a flipside and perhaps evil side to all this, when the mass media works to manipulate public opinion. The results are not always what you think they will be. The public often sees through these shams (and are not always the “sheeple”) they are thought to be by the powers that be: Read Mass Media Manipulates Public Opinion
We can go back in our Wayback Machine to perhaps what was the first well-known instance of protest PR when a group of renegade nobles took on a less that popular king. Of course, I am talking about the root of democracy itself, the Magna Carta – the Great Charter of Liberties – was an agreement made by King John to make peace between this rather unpopular king (John) and a group of rebel barons in 1215.
Like I said, protest PR has very deep roots, indeed.