Charlotte’s Protest Questions

Response to First ‘To Know How You Stand 2.0’ Session by Charlotte Thomas

It’s obvious when we arrive on Sunday that we haven’t stopped thinking since the audition. We all have questions that led to more questions. We return to most of them, on paper, in recordings, games, exercises and snippets of performance.

Should anyone be allowed to protest anywhere?
Can we separate protest from violence?
What does protest mean within a historically progressive setting such as a university?
Shouldn’t universities be supporting protest?
How has the relationship between the university institution and its students developed?
Why aren’t more people listening?
Are students less politically active now?
Who defines protest or protesters?
When people don’t see themselves as protesters but are branded with the label, what is the effect?
Clearly it’s a term that is loaded with connotations but what if they’re inaccurate?
How can we change that?
Can we equate different types or instances of protest without there being a danger to the plurality of the participants?
What even is protest nowadays – what counts?
What does it look like and who does it?
Does it matter if nobody knows about it?
Can it work?
What if there’s no face to it -how do we view internet campaigns as a form of protest?
Does it matter that people know what they’re fighting for or is their participation enough?
Some forms of protest can be dangerous, can we have free-speech when there are so many everyday injustices that are not protested for fear of retribution?
Can and should people care about issues that don’t affect them personally?
How much do protest and solidarity rely on personal relevance and experience?

Injustice is a physical experience, so is protest. How does it feel in our stomachs and in our throats and in our spines to have a voice? Paying attention to our breathing and our feet, our rhythm. Becoming aware of the bodily manifestations of anger and hope and bravery and success and confusion and fear. We all want to speak. We all speak seriously. Joke seriously. Jaded. Whose vocabulary can speak our bodies. Watching each other claw to do justice to our feelings.
Why do we follow without objection? Adrenalin energy solidarity conformity. Charismatic leaders have us star-jumping spinning out of breath. Who will defy them? Cat or mouse or maze?  What if that’s what’s expected?

If we could map each other’s needs on our bodies would we still endanger one another?

Shoulders ache. Questions about specifics about Warwick about narratives about facts about history on this week’s margins and scrap paper.