Grassroots movement

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A grassroots movement is one which uses the people in a given district, region, or community as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations use collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level. Grassroots movements are associated with bottom-up, rather than top-down decision making, and are considered more natural or spontaneous than more traditional power structures. Grassroots movements, using self-organization, encourage community members to contribute by taking responsibility and action for their community. Grassroots movements utilize a variety of strategies from fundraising and registering voters, to simply encouraging political conversation. Goals of specific movements vary and change, but the movements are consistent in their focus on increasing mass participation in politics.



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  • What gives me hope? It's the movements. Movements often start with a courageous act of resistance. These are not isolated acts. They are inspired by past movements. And they inspire future ones.
    • Amy Goodman Introduction, Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016)
  • Look at today’s politicians... keen to be viewed as the virile leaders of their respective countries; eager to inflate their image by harming migrants and refugees, the most vulnerable in society. If there is courage in that, I fail to see it. Authoritarian leaders, or elected leaders inclined toward it, are bullies, deceivers, selfish cowards. If they are growing in number it is because (with exceptions) many other politicians are mediocre... focused on their own image... too afraid to stand up... If we do not change course quickly, we will inevitably encounter an incident where that first domino is tipped—triggering a sequence of unstoppable events that will mark the end of our time on this tiny planet... My hope lies in... the leaders of communities and social movements, big and small, who are willing to forfeit everything—including their lives—in defence of human rights. Their valour is unalloyed; it is selfless. There is no discretion or weakness here. They represent the best of us... There are grassroots leaders of movements against discrimination and inequalities in every region… the real store of moral courage and leadership among us... What if 100m or more people marched around the world in protest at what it is we now see: the ineptitude, selfishness, the cruelties and the threats to our collective well-being? ...This has never been done before; but if we did do it, it might just deliver a sort of shock therapy to those dangerous or useless politicians who now threaten humanity.
  • Sunrise did not stumble into success. Officially launched in April 2017, Sunrise grew out of earlier activism around the fossil fuel divestment movement... What they ended up with was a decentralized organization that tackles climate change and economic inequality together, emphasizes grassroots organizing and nonviolent direct action, and is not afraid of getting some people arrested. Salaries are based on what staff tell the organization they need to support themselves, and the strength of their network is largely through young volunteers based in hubs around the country, rallied via online organizing and group video calls, now regularly numbering in the hundreds. It’s a formulation that builds on recent social movements like and the push for divestment, Occupy, the Movement for Black Lives, as well as other examples from history.

See also

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