“Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success, namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.”
- Wendell Berry.If success means the preservation of the status quo (as it often implied by discourse surrounding the term "sustainability"), then this is both impossible (philosophically and pragmatically) and undesirable. Yet if success is feeling good amount myself while the world burns, then this is a failure to connect with the plight of my fellow creatures. Berry points to something else as success: the preservation of spiritual qualities that cannot otherwise be preserved. This implies a "push" rather than "pull" reading of protest; protest is not performed in order to pursue an as yet unrealised objective ahead of me, but is the expression of qualities of heart and spirit which cannot hope to be preserved without protest.
Protest is thus spiritually conservative.