There’s no shortage of causes spurring activists to organize a protest event these days. Oilsands, feminism, Aboriginal gripes, LGBTQ rights… name a social issue, and chances are there’s a willing audience ready to rally.

“I’m the type of person to go to a rally protesting the opening of an envelope,” exclaimed one giddy activist.

However well-intentioned these events are, activists are finally admitting that the essence of their messages are getting lost among crowds who assemble for less socially-conscientious reasons, from socializing and showing off their particular wares to sharing vegan recipes and simply trying to get laid.

“I first showed up at a Durfur rally several years ago,” indicated one dreadlocked participant, while wiping his nose on the sleeve of his hemp shirt. “I thought a Darfur was a breed of alpaca, and that the protest was organized to save that animal. But so what? I ran into a couple young chicks in tie-dyed shirts and took them home for a threesome. I’ve been to many of these things since, and my shagging track record’s pretty good!”

Protest events also serve as an instant audience for music hacks to be heard. “I can’t get a gig anywhere in town,” noted one tone-deaf folkie, trying to tune his guitar on the steps of the Legislature at one rally. “But I can get hundreds of pairs of ears to check out my latest stuff when I start singing my anti-establishment tunes. And sometimes, they’ll even pass the hat around for me!”

“Like, ummm, you know, I get to express myself here and, ummmm, like, show the world that it’s all about my art,” added one ditzy performance artist. “It’s a rush for me to have everyone, like, ummm…  see me wrap myself into my own little creative world and show off what I’m all about, you know?”

Others have equally narcissistic motives, as evidenced at numerous ECAWAR demonstrations held outside the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, where pet owner love to show off their animals in little jerseys emblazoned with anti-war slogans. At a woman’s rally held at the Alberta Legislature Jan. 21, a day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, several young women seems more eager to display their pink “vagina caps” they knitted for the occasion.

However, leftists aren’t the only contingents distorting their causes. Rallies against the NDP carbon tax, Muslim immigration and other “Nannystate” initiatives have long been fronts for addition revenue streams facilitated by right-wing operations. It’s not uncommon for online rabble-rousers like Rebel Media to sell books, paraphernalia and pass around collection buckets to obliging and gullible participants at such events.

“I remember Rebel Media hosting an anti-carbon tax rally in Calgary,” noted one anonymous observer. “And their leader, Ezra Levant, showed up in a limo. That’s when I lost faith in those guys; people like him are just taking advantage of us minions.”

However, most of these protesters seem oblivious to the cash grab. “I’m a hell-raiser at heart and it’s too expensive to hang out at my favourite watering hole all the time,” noted one burly participant in a Make Alberta Great Again ball cap. “Going to these things gives me a chance to bash the brains out of any hippies who try to crash them.”

Activists are frustrated over how their ideas get swept under the rug and buried in a sea of pretentions that have little to do with their purpose.

“I remember putting together a pot rally downtown last year,” noted one burned-out activist. “I was encouraging the crowd to do a Tibetan chant to see if we could levitate City Hall. Instead, some of them broke into “Kumbaya” or “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead. There was no coordination between any of them. It was like the whole thing went up in smoke!”

A veteran of these gatherings offered one solution, however.

“Maybe they should invest in a decent sound system so that everyone can hear them,” he said. “Those cheap PAs are so tinny and feed back a lot, while megaphones are simply irritating to my ears. Why not start there?”

 

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