Protesters inside city council meeting

Turner on the Need for Disruptive Protest

A Los Angeles Times column about recent clashes between L.A. public officials and protesters cited David C. Turner, assistant professor of social welfare. Scandals have enveloped City Hall, with three former council members facing federal corruption charges and continuing fallout from a leaked recording of a racist conversation among city leaders. In response, members of the public have been loud, aggressive and disruptive, and high-ranking officials have openly condemned their detractors. Turner said it’s a deeply troubling sign when elected leaders or their supporters attack their constituents and critics. All protest is by nature confrontational and no social movement has ever succeeded without violating the rules of decorum, he noted. “There’s always this dichotomy drawn between those who protest nicely versus those who are disruptive or confrontational,” Turner said. “But if you study social movements, you know that they need one another. Real change doesn’t happen without both.”

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