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Social movements are a type of group action. They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. In other words, they carry out, resist or undo a social change.
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- The United States has always been a nation at odds with its professed aspirations of equality and justice for all—from the genocide of original inhabitants to slavery to military aggression abroad. But there have been periods in our history when courageous social movements have made significant advances. We must learn from those who’ve gone before us as we strive to build a movement that can tackle today’s injustices—and help all of us survive.
- Far too often movements revert to a position in which membership and joint political work are based on a necessarily similar history of oppression—but this is too much like identity politics. Instead, I am suggesting here that the process of movement building be rooted not in our shared history or identity but in our shared marginal relationship to dominant power that normalizes, legitimizes, and privileges.
- Cathy J. Cohen, "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?" Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (Duke University Press: 2005), p. 43
- Movements don't just fall out of the sky fully formed. ... Movements aren't built by waiting for the struggle to develop and build itself--it's based on what we do today.
- Unity isn't established by ignoring the differences between different groups, but by persuading everyone to take all the different struggles seriously. That needs to be in the front of our minds now--to organize as broad a movement as possible as we move forward.
- Social movements for global democracy and justice should try not only to build on and create global legal and regulatory institutions, but also to expand possibilities for transnational association and public spheres.
- Iris Marion Young, Inclusion and Democracy (2000), Ch. 7: Self-Determination and Global Democracy