‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man

We have recently seen people take to the streets in Kiev, in Mexico City, in Bishkek, in Tashkent, in Beirut. Sometimes they have been effective. More often, they have not. Whether the demonstrations aimed to overthrow a tyrant or merely attempted to question the legitimacy of a recent election, they had one thing in common: they terrified the powers that be. Americans, liberal bloggers most certainly included, tend to see street protests through the lens of the Vietnam era demonstrations. There seems to be something emerging, almost a consensus among bloggers like Jane Hamsher, Chris Bowers, and Markos Moulitsas, that street protests no longer have the same impact that they had in the Vietnam era. There is a surface merit to this analysis. For example, it’s impossible to picture George W. Bush inviting student radicals into the White House, as Nixon did on August 5, 1970. It’s impossible to picture Bush going down to the Lincoln Memorial to talk to the protesters, as Nixon did after Kent State. And it’s true that the media expends very little energy covering street protests, downplays the numbers, emphasizes the most unpopular participants, and prefers to cover non-stories like Terri Schiavo or Lindsay Lohan.

Hunter S. Thompson talked about the emerging campus radical movement in a 1965 article for The Nation.

The new campus radical has a cause, a multipronged attack on as many fronts as necessary: if not civil rights, then foreign policy or structural deprivation in domestic poverty pockets. Injustice is the demon, and the idea is to bust it.

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