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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- Fighting oppression is more effective through smaller, more individual grassroots movements, activists told Penn students Monday at a Perry World House panel to celebrate International Women's Day earlier this month. Four speakers from around the world discussed their personal experiences working to fight sexual violence and harassment and shared their own stories as women's rights activists involved with various grassroots movements.
- The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, unfolding around the world as I write these words, will likely be remembered as an epochal shift. [...] We hear news of significant numbers of people refusing to work, taking wildcat labor action, and demanding their right to live in radical ways. In some places, the underhoused are seizing vacant homes. We are discovering, against the upside-down capitalist value paradigm which has enriched the few at the expense of the many, whose labor is truly valuable: care, service, and frontline public sector workers. There has been a proliferation of grassroots radical demands for policies of care and solidarity not only as emergency measures, but in perpetuity.
- Max Haiven, No return to normal: for a post-pandemic liberation (March 23, 2020), ROAR Magazine
- 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.
- After the election of George McGovern in 1972 as a peace candidate—I should say his election to the nomination of the Democratic Party, the party changed the rules to steeply tilt that playing field, creating superdelegates and Super Tuesdays that make it very hard for a grassroots campaign to prevail. And over the years, the party has allowed principled candidates to be seen and heard, but has, at the end of the day, sabotaged them in one way or the other, often through fear campaigns and smear campaigns...
- 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 350.org and the push for divestment, Occupy, the Movement for Black Lives, as well as other examples from history.
- Tate Williams in Sunrise Movement is Shaking Up the Climate Debate, Inside Philanthrophy (7 January 2019)
- Action research
- Collective responsibility
- Common good
- Direct action
- Mutual aid (organization theory)
- Organizational theory
- Social justice