Big Issue Vendor

What’s the best way to protest in an age of disinformation?

The ground is constantly shifting and fake news is king, so we asked some protesting veterans about our new age of protest

The European election looks set to be a protest vote. Depending on your side, in Britain this protest will come because of a denial of the democratic mandate resulting in the refusal to implement the Brexit referendum decision, or alternatively, because the ongoing push for Brexit at any cost is one that could ultimately cause massive economic and social damage.

Across Europe, this vote looks set to rupture former orthodoxies. The old language of self-identity – left, right, centrist, conservative – has been rendered almost obsolete. The populist right is gaining, frequently driven by elite interests masquerading as the voice of the formerly trammelled dispossessed. The shape of the EU legislature could be very odd within weeks.

There is a febrile atmosphere around. And lies and disinformation move in great unseen subterranean webs, like a sort of supranational Japanese knotweed that can spring forth in great clumps doing untold damage to what a heartbeat ago felt like the soundest of foundations.

And milkshake. Who knew that milkshake would become the weapon of choice in the new onstreet culture war, a sweet lactose refusal to buy snakeoil from the hucksters.

But what next? In Britain, so far, we can protest. While there are some ongoing online tropes that mean anybody challenging abuse can be labelled unpatriotic or some sort of enemy of the people, we don’t yet get thrown into jail for standing up. That said, there is an increasingly emboldened gang of self-congratulatory toe-rag misogynists online and off, so what can we do?

Schoolkids showed that taking to the streets gets their voices heard in the battle to fight climate change, a battle nobody can ignore. But onstreet protests may not be something everybody can do.

After the election, as the plates keep shifting and the angles change, what is the way to protest? How can voices cut through? Read on to find out…

Peter Pomerantsev: ‘The language of protest is appropriated by the far right’

Mark Millar: ‘Protesting online is nothing that the government fear’

Billy Bragg: ‘We have to stand and fight on veracity’

Gina Miller: ‘I call myself a transparency campaigner’

How vendor Nick Cuthbert was thrown into the heart of a protest