Here are some more examples of effective protests:
Not to mention hundreds of protests against Indian mascots that succeeded in getting them changed.
We hear complaints such as the one I came across all the time. "Why are you wasting time protesting? Don't you have anything better to do? Get a life." Or worse, "Indians are playing the race card. They enjoy being professional victims. They don't care about the issues, they're only promoting themselves."
This posting is for the idiots who don't understand that protests work. I.e., who don't know anything about US history before, say, the Reagan era.
Studies prove protests work
Here's a paper that summarizes studies on how well protests work:
Amplifying Public Opinion: The Policy Impact of the U.S. Environmental Movement
By Jon Agnone
Here's a 2007 posting that discusses Agnone's study and the bogus arguments offered for not protesting:
Gore Says Yes On Protests: Study Shows Effectiveness
Our government and corporate America would love nothing more than for us to buy their myths used to deter us from protesting. They say that protest is only used by a few extremist wackos who engage in violence. The truth is that if we unilaterally reject this effective political action, the "few" who will continue to use it will be our government and corporate America. The truth is that our police engage in more violence at protests than most protesters, except that violence is called legitimate. They say that protesters are the fringe elements of society. The truth is that photographs in a video below show that protests since the Iraq war commenced involved members of all ages from our families. They say that "normal channels" should be used in lieu of protest. The truth is that studies show that protests--both during civil rights movement and now--are more effective than traditional channels.
One reason is that normal channels are biased in favor of the powerful and protesters generally champion causes of those not with power. Another reason is that our government (and Bush is a master here) engages in conduct that accomplishes the twin goals of weakening or destroying normal channels while also deterring Americans from engaging in political action. They say that normal channels are preferred over protest, which they claim is ineffective. Historical successes and empirical data show this claim to be false.
More evidence that protests work
The Gore posting also offers an overview on the effectiveness of protests:
That the effectiveness of direct action can still be debated strains credulity. The success of Gandhi's campaigns in India during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement should have settled the question. Since the beginning of the modern environmental movement, the campaigns against nuclear power, to save ancient forests, to achieve a global ban on high-seas drift net fishing and open dumping have all incorporated significant direct action components. The American experience is teeming with nonviolent direct action. One of the most famous direct actions ever, the Boston Tea Party is patriotically taught in school. Most of the world's democracies have been created by acts of conscience against the state.
Historically, protest has been instrumental in forcing the introduction of freedoms that we now take for granted, such as "the ending of slavery, extension of the franchise, curtailing ruthless aspects of the exploitation of labour and extending rights to women and minorities."
Corporations constantly protest government
Another posting hits this point home:
Protest in a liberal democracy
By Brian Martin
Now tens of thousands of people have marched to protest Arizona's racist laws. Arizona hasn't repealed the laws yet, but politicians are complaining about the protests and the accompanying boycott. The economic pinch is hurting, which suggests the protests are working.
Really, we could go on and on listing protests that worked. Tea Party protests effectively weakened the push for a government option in healthcare reform. Wall Street protests effectively weakened the push for renewed financial regulations. Oil company protests have effectively weakened drilling regulations by claiming they'd be too expensive to implement. Etc., etc., etc.
The short answer to the title question is yes, protests work. Duh. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an ignorant twit.
For more on the subject, see Protesting Stereotypes = Cop-Out?, Not Enough Good Native News?, and Bitchin' and Moanin'. For more on the subject in general, see Why Does Rob Keep Criticizing?