Social Movements Essay

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Social Movements Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2175

  • Pages: 9

Social Movements

The black struggle for civil rights are tracing their origins back to the arrival of the first Africans in America and also to their work in manufacturing firms, plantations and homes of Americans Taylor, (2000). The civil rights were born as labour movements to fight for the alienated immigrants to have equal rights in America. Since then these movements in the United States have been primarily considered as nonviolent movements that struggle to bring equality and full civil rights for all the American people under the American laws.

Most of these movements had long lasting impacts in tactics and increased social and legal acceptance of the civil rights movements because they brought abilities the exposure of the existing and persistent racism and its cost. The American civil rights movement has been made up of many movements though these movements have always been referred to as struggles between 1945 and 1970s. Many movements were initiated but they did not achieve much in terms of political legal social and economic liberations.

This was due to their inability to mobilize people to join in their struggle for liberation. However there were two civil rights movements that achieved greater success and can be considered to be the most effective groups. In this case effectiveness of a movement would be defined as; the ability of a movement to mobilize people to join in its activities it’s capacity to make fundamental changes and it’s ability to leave behind legacies in cases of decline or when banned from operating in a state.

The civil rights movements that achieved these were the NAACR and UNIA both which had their headquarters in the US and had large support from blacks and social democrats of white origin. The most effective civil rights movement in the USA in the 20th century was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This was and still is the most influential movement in the USA. A large group of people but from different races founded it on November 12 1909.

The founding fathers of NAACP included DUBOIS and Ida Wells-Barnet who were African Americans, Henry Moskowitz (A Jew). Mary White Orrington (white) Oswald Carrison Villad (German born white) and William English Walling (white son of former slave owning family: In 1905 Du Bois advocated for a meeting in a Canadian hotel some meters from Niagara tells, to discuss the challenges facing “people of color”. People of color were the then used to refer to the blacks in America.

32 prominent African American people attended the meeting and this movement was called the Niagara movement. A year later, the whites that were against racism joined the Du Bois team. The Niagara movement then approached some 60 prominent Americans of the day to ensure that they broaden its membership to be more effective and have larger scope. It then changed from Niagara falls movement to NAACP in 1910 and the name was formerly adopted in may 30, 1910.

NAACP was more viable reliable influential and diverse organization due to its mission. The mission of NAACP according to Mann (2000) was to promote equality of rights and to evaluate cost or value of racial prejudice among American citizens, to secure for the “colored people” importance suffering, to advocate for their interests, to increase their ability and opportunities for securing education for the children, justice in the courts, employment with accordance to their ability and complete equality before the American law.

As Mann (2006) argues in his book; Katrina’s Legacy, he has identified the black-led movements to be more important than man-made disasters of Katrina as very important and significant to the possibilities of controlling imperialistic and capitalistic ways of life. They are also very vital in the transformation of a destructors and unstable imperialism and white supremacy. From Mann’s argument it is therefore very obvious that NAACP was effective in terms of democratic vision, ability to mobilize more members and ability to eradicate the racial prejudice.

NAACP through Jim Crow’s states that were meant to legalize racial discrimination and by 1913s the people of color would go to the notes and any other restricted areas. NAACP’s president and board members were on in 1913 to oppose president5 Woodrow Wilson’s introduction of racial discrimination and segregation in the federal government policy. To be more effective the NAACP is having four departments within if; the department of education, legal office, health department and the local departments based in member colleges and towns. The legal department is entitled to legal maters.

If facieses court cases with broad importance to minorities for instance, handles legal matters pertaining to systematic racial discrimination in employment, educational institutions, health institutions and recreational institutions. It is also entitled to pursuit legal cases involving government discrimination. The health division is endowed with the responsibility of advancing proper health care for minorities through public policy inanities and education. Through education the minorities are reminded about their rights to health care and all the legal frameworks that guides medical services and practitioners.

The NAACP is having a Bureau in Washington DC which is responsible for lobbying for the US government. While the education department works in all the member states to improve the quality of education offered a t several atate4 and local levels. The local youth and college department are responsible for the organization of activities for individual members. In terms of mobilization of members NAACP has been able to recruit very many individuals since its initiation in the early 1900s.

The headquarters of NAACP is based in Baltimore Maryland with regional offices in states of Texas, California, Georgia, New York, Missouri and Michigan. The regional offices are supposed to coordinate the efforts of state conferences and any other included within the region. 64 members board of directors runs NAACP with each coming from the member states. The Board elects their president and chief executive office for the organization, under the leadership of a chairperson of the board. Currently NAACP is approximately 400,000 people, this includes paying and non-paying members.

The main political achievement of NAACP was its National Voter Fund to launch a major get-out-the vote offensive during the 200 US presidential elections. This saw about 10. 5 million African Americans cast their ballots in the presidential elections, a number which was estimated to be 1 million more people than four years before. This achievement was greatly credited by the international observers and they congratulated NAACP for playing a very important role in handling the Ai-Gore states as Michigan and Pennsylvania where elections were close.

In the late 1970s Marcus Garvey found black liberation movement to fight against the oppressive rules against the blacks and non-blacks in Diasporas. Garvey’s movement was considered the most original innovative and important of all the movements of late 19th century. This movement was geared towards the struggle for black and African liberation and it provided a very powerful inspirations and valuable teachings for black and non-black member in the Caribbean countries. In early 1900s Garvey moved into the US and started an extremely successful movement known as The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

Thousands of UNIA chapters developed in the four continents, because it was viewed, as would be new and successful road to cultural, economic, political and social liberation for blacks and African nations. As NAACP, UNIA also proved very effective in liberation of the blacks through initiating several organizations and groups. The black women association was initiated to fight against racial prejudice among black women and was to advocate for their civil rights in the society. The musical group was aimed at fighting for the rights of the black musicians who had interest in the music industry.

It opposed the limits set for the black musicians and called for participations from the ghettos to the gypsies and anybody who had interest and abilities. UNIA saw the initiation of the African Orthodox Church to carter for religious needs of the Africans. This saw the end of discrimination in the then missionary churches in Africa. To ensure that all the blacks and Africans got access to proper and reliable medical services the movement initiated ‘The Back Nurses’ Association to offer medical services needed by members of UNIA.

Further on UNIA was able to initiate an internationally distributed newspaper ‘The Negro’ throughout the world. This was a means of education to the blacks stressing on self-reliance and critical evaluation of the books written by the whites about Africa and the blacks. The newspaper would also correct the overcritisism of the black movement and instead unveil the scenes of the whites associated with lynching of blacks. UNIA also developed black economic corporations for example the famous ‘Black Star Lines’ shipping company.

Several ships were bought for this company and it was intended to bring back the Africans who were interested in going back to their original homeland. However during the period between 1920 and 1923 UNIA was faced with a decline because the US government for alleged fraud in the international transactions involving the ‘Black Star Lines’ imprisoned Marcus. Other African nations like Liberia refused to accept the blacks from Europe and the US. The movement also suffered persecutions from imperialists and capitalist governments.

However UNIA is not dead as it would be for the US government it’s legacy still lives on to this century. Scholars like Mann (2000) are still advocating for the reinforcement of the historical perspectives, which are deeply rooted in centuries of struggle by black liberation. Mann thinks that capitalism, colonialism and imperialism have devastated environment and human lives, so struggle by the oppressed and the colonized is the main tool for liberation which in turn is the key to building new, more just, ecologically-sound and humane society.

Though Garvey was jailed and later on released and deported to Jamaica his movement for the blacks UNIA still had great influence in the US. There are some movements that owe their origin to UNIA for example The Black Muslims Association and Neo-Garveyist Movements. He inspired numerous African leaders to fight for colonial liberation. For instance the first Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah appreciated the self-reliance calls made by Garvey in his books. Kenya’s first president who was a revolutionary leader Jimo Kenyatta was also inspired by Garvey’s works, Kenyata’s renown labour activist Tom Mboya also borrowed ideas from Garvey.

On any occasions of independence attained in Africa scholars like Malcolm X would link it to Garvey’s colonial liberation. Malcolm argues that any independence attained kept the spirit of Garvey alive. UNIA’s legacy still lives on as all sided and the largest black movement with totality of cultural, political, economic and spiritual liberation. It is also the movement that achieved greatest strength internationalism, with membership of more than 25 nations with local chapters in each member country.

UNIA also had approximately 2,000 delegates from all over the world. NAACP and UNIA were both civil rights organizations aimed at working on behalf of the African Americans and the blacks to fight for their rights. NAACP retained the name ‘Color People’ in accordance with the tradition of the last surviving users that is the few colored people still found in the US. UNIA on the other hand had advocated for self-reliance and critical analysis and evaluation of the literature by white people.

The movement was virtually fighting for black liberations in issues related to land ownership, reparations, full democratic rights and the right of self-surficiency. Therefore it can be said that both NAACP and UNIA played a very important and significant role in black liberation because both contributed to the racial prejudice and disintegration as well as colonialism that were oppressive to the blacks. NAACP is still very vital in advocating for changes in the contemporary society. For instance it opposed election of president W Bush associating him with racism and other oppressions towards African Americans.

President Robert Mugabe is still keeping the spirit of Garvey burning by insisting on a self-reliant Zimbabwe and he has locked out all the international aids to his people. It’s therefore evident that NAACP and UNIA have largely contributed to major radical changes in US. References Erick Mann (2006) Katrina’s Legacy; White Racism And Black Reconstruction In New Orleans and Gulf Coast, Frontlines Press, Los Angels. Jonathan B, Clevance Taylor, (ed) (2000), Civil Rights Since 1787;A Reader On The Black Struggle, NYU, Press, New York.

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Social Movements Essay

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Social Movements Essay
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  • University/College:
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  • Words: 1041

  • Pages: 4

Social Movements

Social movements are created by groups of people who are connected through their shared interest of affecting social change. The United States of America was founded a social movement. Colonists used rallies, boycotting goods, violence, and protest to break away from England’s monarchy and create their democracy. It could be said that US democratic agency is a product of protest. As Donna Lieberman would agree, that democratic agency thrives when the people have the right to voice their opinions. A significant amount of social movements go on in the United States. I feel that our right to exercise freedom of speech is what creates social change.

The United States was founded by revolution and continued to have social movements to bring fourth much needed change. This is demonstrated through events like Shay’s rebellion, the civil war, the civil rights movements, suffrage and feminist movements, prohibition, Vietnam war backlash and LBGTQ movement. The United States democracy is for the people, by the people which is translated as the people hold the power of the country. The people have the right of speech, press, religion and petition according to the first ten amendments. This is significant because when the constitution was being created there were individual who spoke up in favor of giving freedom to the citizens. The founders of the country knew that making the laws of land flexible was in the only way to keep the citizens from revolting like the colonists did to English rule.

It was this dissent that created changes in the drafting of the Constitution. The first amendment is the right of speech, press, religion and petition. By being the first amendment it stresses the importance of opinion and gives the right of expressing difference. Democracy is then fueled by the first amendment because freedom of protest, speech, press and religion is how the government creates changes of policy. For example, Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in favor segregated public facilities under the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Fifty Eight years later, the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Educated overturned “separate but equal” and paved the way for desegregation of schools and other institutions. This is only one example but there are hundreds in through history. Events like Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat or individuals representing the 99% occupying Zuccotti Park are catalysts of social change and strengthens the democratic process.

Donna Lieberman says that, ” what is vital for democracy is the freedom to protest. Only when everyone has the right to speak out can a democracy thrive.” This point seems to be evident because if the people of a democracy cannot voice the opinion how could the officials know how to represent and govern in accordance with the values and needs of the people. It was the voice of Harvey Milk that gave attention to the rights of the gay community and changed a tiny portion of San Francisco legislation. Sadly, even the assassination of Milk represents opposition to the change but, also strengthens the LBGTQ community goal of political involvement and rights as citizens.

Voices of the people move the government hand on creating policies that affect the country. When women rallied together for the right to vote, it caused the government to give it to them. Albeit, the government does not always listen to the people. For instance, President Bush met opposition when he decided to invaded Iraq. Some Americans believed that because of the 911 tragedy war was necessary and others believed it was unnecessary loss of lives. Regrettably war was the outcome but this gave way for the upcoming politicians to use the anti-war sentiments to get votes.

Dissent why democracy works because it creates change of laws or change of political party. Donna Lieberman argues that, “And the test of our democracy is the protection we offer not to the protests we like, but how we treat those we find offensive – be they the Nazis in Skokie or the Klan.” This is a valid point because the first amendment gives every individual the right to speech, press, religion, and petition. Any violation of the first amendment is unjust. By letting both sides express their opinion it allows people to come to their own conclusion about what it good for change.

It would not be fair for only one side to be heard. Case in point, the south was allowed to voice their opinion about the rights of blacks via de-jure segregation but, it was the voice of African Americans could not be muted and this created equal rights legislation. “All First Amendment exercises – those that “work” and those that don’t – have shaped our history, made it better, and are crucial to how we come to understand ourselves as a people.”
The hateful voices of West Boro Baptist church are needed to understand and gauge the importance of LBGTQ rights. Offensive protests are useful in gaining numbers in support of the defensive. Offensive protests allow people to pick a side and start pushing for changes.

Offensive protests should be allowed because it is a first amendment right. I do believe that protests whether offensive or not are the reason there are social movements. If there was not dissent how then could society move forward. Society would not be able to change. It would be stuck, it would not be the advanced society we know today. We will still have slavery, women would have no rights, children would be working in sweatshops, and homosexuals would be mass murdered. By seeing opposition, it gives rise to stronger social activism and changes for the country. It allows the government to be run for the people by the people which is the true meaning of democracy. In retrospection, it makes the country know where it comes from and maybe not to where it is heading but, it shows us that our voices can determine where we go from here.

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Social Movements Essay

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Social Movements Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2585

  • Pages: 10

Social Movements

All societies undergo changes. In some cases these may be gradual, i.e., spread over a long period of time. In others they may be rapid. Social change, as we know by now, does not take place merely by chance or due to some factors predetermined by fate. There are several forces operating simultaneously in society, which bring about change. Some of these may be external to social institutions. Changes caused by a change in the economy or the production relations are one such instance. At the same time, there are change- producing agents inside a society as well. Social movements are one of these internal forces, which contribute to changes.

A social movement is defined as “sustained collective action” over time. * Such action is often directed against the state and takes the form of demanding changes in state policy or practice. * Such collective action is often marked by organisation. Spontaneous, disorganised protest cannot be called a social movement. * This organisation may include a leadership and a structure that defines how the members relate to one another, make decisions and carry them out. Those participating in a social movement have shared objectives and ideologies. * The social movements are designed to promote change or resist change in the society in which the attempt is made. So collective attempt may be to alter, inaugurate, supplant, restore or reinstate all or some aspects of the social order.

In the recent literature, a distinction is often made between old and new social movements. This distinction is often stipulated on the ground that while old social movements are generally class-based and concerned with issues of economic redistribution, the new social movements (NSMs) are commonly a feature of post-industrial or “postmodern” societies. They are not narrowly caste based and generally raise questions like ecological protection and climate change or hitherto neglected issues of gender, justice, sexuality etc. However this distinction is neither precise nor universally valid. Old social movements were class based such as working class movements and peasant movements or anti-colonial movements.

NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (NSMs) New social movements are the products of a post-industrial social formation where the welfare state had made classic forms of exploitation and deprivation obsolete but where modern society created new forms of alienation. These movements demonstrated that class had become redundant as organising form of social identity and action. Some of the recent movements particularly in and after the 1960s in Europe such as peace movement, ecological movement, women’s movement etc. are called ‘new’ social movement. In India, enormous increase of middle class and in student population as well as a surge of political activism in the 1970s and 1980s engendered a new phenomenon, described as new social movements.

These movements revolve around the issue of identity – dalit, adivasi, women, human rights, environment etc. They are called ‘new’ social movements because they have raised the issues related to identity and autonomy which are non-class issues and do not confront with the state. Issues that animate NSMs are less concerned with economic production and redistribution than with removal of corruption, protection of environment, provision of civic utilities, gender equality and child rights, employment , rights of the most vulnerable and marginalised section of population like those living in hilly and forest areas and victims of big dams. Good governance and human rights generally are other areas where NSMs are much in evidence.

Characteristics of New Social Movements are described below:

1. The New Social Movements (NSM) are not directing their collective action to state power. They are concerned with individual and collective morality. Individual membership or participation and motivation in all sorts of social movements contain a strong moral component and defensive concern with justice in the social and world order. These movements are primarily social and are more concerned with cultural sphere and mobilisation of civil society on socio-cultural issues than with the political issues like seizure of power.

2. The new social movements are not class–based. They are multi-class. In fact, they do not subscribe to the theory that society is divided on class line and the classes are antagonistic. The new social movements are either ethnic or nationalist and plural. Women’s movement is an example. NSMs are not concerned for the benefit of one class or group. They are concerned for the good of every one irrespective of class.

3. The new social movements are confined to and concerned with civil society. NSMs raise the issue of the ‘self-defence’ of the community and society against the increasing expansion of the state apparatuses: agencies of surveillance and social control.

4. NSMs are not around economic issues of land, wages or property. They are primarily concerned with self- identity and autonomy of an individual and community against the state, market and social institutions. Therefore, dalit movement for dignity and adivasis movement for their autonomy are treated as NSM.

5. These movements tend to focus on single issues, transient questions, regional and local issues and even sectional interests (which are aimed towards narrow identities than larger objective interests) for this reason they are often called “micro movements”. they catch on the long felt needs of locals and masses at the disempowered grassroots in the top heavy political and economic systems of India.

6. NSM organisations tend to be segmented, diffuse and decentralised.

7. New social movements tend to focus on issues that cross national boundaries, and hence they become internationalist. Environmental movements, LGBT Movement are examples of NSMs that transcend international borders. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and New Social Movements on the national and Global planes have flourished as never before.

Various New social Movements in India

Environmental Movement The Indian environmental movement is critical of the colonial model of development pursued by the post–colonial state. The post–independent state failed to build up a development agenda based on the needs of the people and continued to advocate the modern capitalist agenda which led to the destruction of environment, poverty and marginalisation of rural communities. The environmental movement in India advocated the ideology of ‘environmentalism of the poor’.

It not only critised modern developmentalism but also strongly advocated the revival of traditional ‘self –sufficient village economy’. The environmentalist stated that local communities were best suited to conserve natural resources as their survival depended in the sustainable use of such resources. A significant characteristic of environmental movements in India is that they have mainly involved the women, the poor and disadvantaged masses who have been directly affected by or are victims of environmental degradation.

Thus, these movements are primarily political expressions of the struggle of local communities and people who are victims of environmental degradation or abuse of resources. The origin of modern environmentalism and environmental movements in India can be ascribed to the Chipko movement in the central Himalayan region. Chipko as a spontaneous movement started in the early 70s and got organized under the able leadership of Sunderlal Bahuguna. It was ignited by the opposition of the people of the Tehri-Garhwal region to the felling of trees by outside contractors. In the Himalayan regions, forests form an indispensable source of livelihood for the tribal population living there. Chipko literally means ‘hugging’ the trees.

The movement articulated the concerns of forest-based communities such as depletion of forests, erosion of soil and consequent landslides, drying up of local streams and other water resources and shortages of fuel and fodder for domestic consumption. It also fought against the construction of the Tehri dam which threatened the eviction of around 25,000 hilly residents. Though the movement has not succeeded in all its endeavours, it has achieved some commendable victories.

Getting ban on felling trees above an altitude of 1000m and forcing the government to announce certain forest areas as protected regions are some of the successes of the movement. Chipko, being a non-violent resistance movement, embodies the Gandhian spirit of struggle. Chipko movement inspired green cover movements elsewhere in the country, the most important being the Appiko movement in the Western Ghats against the over-felling of trees and covering forest lands with commercial trees replacing the natural ones. Like the Chipko, the Appiko movement revived the Gandhian way of protest and mobilisation for sustainable society in which there is a balance between man and nature.

The other popular movements of importance in India, which have environmental protection as one of their objectives, relate to major dams. Notable among them are Tehri Dam, Silent Valley Project and Narmada Valley Projects. In fact, the most popular movement in the environmental history of India is the movement against the Narmada River Valley Project called Narmada Bachao Andolan. Though the movement started as early as late 1970s, along with the clearance of the project, it received momentum only during late 1980s. To start with, this movement was cantered around the issue of human rights. Due to improper implementation of the rehabilitation programmes by the State the human rights activists have become the articulators of anti-dam protests.

Their demands included complete stopping of the dam, resettlement and rehabilitation benefits to the oustees. These demands were aptly supported by environmentalists who oppose construction of large dams for ecological reasons. The movement, however, gained wider public attention with mobilization and organization of oustees (mostly tribals ) and the joining of the eminent social workers like Baba Amte, Sunderlal Bahuguna and Medha Patkar. Though its wider public attention is due to its coverage (impact) in three states, the most notable feature of this movement is the international support it has received.

The campaign forced international financial agencies like World Bank and USAID to withdraw funding for the project. While this Gandhian movement could not stop the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, it did force the states concerned- Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh- to address the issue of rehabilitation of the displaced more seriously than before. Thus environmental and ecological movements became prominent in India since the 1970s.The issues raised by them concern all sections of society in varying degrees. These issues are also related to people’s dignity, environmental rights and their decision-making rights on the issues concerning them.

Women’s Movement Throughout the period after independence the prevailing view was that development, industrialization and economic growth would deliver the results as they had been seen elsewhere in the developed world; all would be beneficiaries of development, women included. This soon proved not to hold true in the Indian society. A report from the Committee on the Status of Women in India released in 1974 showed that not only had the conditions for women in India not improved, for many women, especially the poor, the conditions had worsened. Gender differences had become greater in political participation, education, health and employment.

The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the growth of numerous women’s groups that took up issues such as dowry deaths, bride burning, rape and sati and focused on violence against women. They stressed the sexual oppression of women in a way previous reform or feminist groups had never done. Some of the earliest autonomous women’s groups were the Progressive Organization of Women (POW, Hyderabad), the Forum Against Rape (now redefined as Forum Against Oppression of Women), Stree Sangharsh and Samata (Delhi). Among the first campaigns that women’s groups took up was the struggle against rape in 1980. This was triggered by the judgment of the Supreme Court to acquit two policemen who were accused of raping a minor tribal girl, Mathura, despite the fact that the High Court had indicted them.

This led to country- wide demonstrations. Several other rape cases became part of this campaign that culminated after several years of protest in Government agreeing to change the existing rape law. The amended law was enacted in 1983 after long discussions with women’s groups. The POW in Hyderabad organized new and fresh protests against dowry. In the late 1970s, Delhi became the focus of the movement against dowry and the violence inflicted on women in the marital home. Groups, which took up the campaign, included ‘Stree Sangharsh’ and ‘Mahila Dakshita Samiti’. Later, a joint front called the ‘Dahej Virodhi Chetna Mandal’ (organization for creating consciousness against dowry) was formed under whose umbrella a large number of organizations worked. The anti-dowry campaign attempted to bring social pressure to bear on offenders so that they would be isolated in the community in which they lived. Women’s organizations also succeeded in getting the dowry law changed.

There were several campaigns in the eighties relating to women’s rights. Among them was a campaign, in 1985, in support of the Supreme Court judgment in the divorce case where Shah Bano, a Muslim woman, had petitioned the Court for maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Act and the Court granted her demand. The orthodox Muslims, however, protested against interference with their personal law. In 1986, the government introduced the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights in Divorce) Bill denying Muslim women redress under Section 125. Women’s associations protested against this outside Parliament. The Committee of the Status of Women also stated in its report that seats should be reserved for women in municipalities, and proposed that panchayats should include women to secure a minimum percentage of female participation.

In 1993 this was adopted nationally when the Constitution Act 1992 (73rd Amendment) and The Constitution Act 1992 (74th Amendment) were passed, relating reservations for women to panchayats and municipalities. One-third of seats in all panchayats and municipalities nationwide, as well as one-third of the position of being chairpersons in the bodies, were reserved for women .The reservations acts were passed without any opposition in the Parliament, and with only a minor debate. However, the bill on Women’s reservation in Parliament has not yet been passed. Over the years it has become clear that changing laws alone means little unless there is a will to implement them and unless there is education and literacy which makes women aware of their rights and allows them to exercise them effectively.

It was this realization that has led the women’s movement to take up, in a more concerted manner, programmes of legal literacy and education, gender sensitization of textbooks and media. The issues today are sexual harassment at the work place, the violence of development, caste and communal violence, lobbying for increased political participation of women in the highest levels of decision-making, etc. The success of the women’s movement has not been in the number of women appointed to office or in the number of laws passed but in the fact that it has brought about a new consciousness on the entire question of women in Indian society.

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Social Movements Essay

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Social Movements Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 420

  • Pages: 2

Social Movements

It appears that as the civil rights movement was developing in the 1960s other minority groups were joining the cause. The American Indians were one of these groups. One specific account of this movement was captured by an article in the New York Times. An American Indian woman living in New York started pushing for the responsible use of traditional Indian customs. She started to organize and promote these traditional customs in an effort to bring the American Indians together. At the heart of her movement she promoted the building of a central facility where American Indians could meet and further organize (J.K, 1968).

Another significant event was taken place during this period that directly related to the civil rights movement. A testament to the contributions of the American Indians was being recognized at the American Museum. A special dedication was established to show the traditions and early beginnings of the American Indians. This dedication was just another example of the changing times and the new appreciation for other cultures. Along with the new exhibit, American Indians were beginning to find their way into mainstream society. Their unique styles and practices had become well known in the culture and were seen in many fashion statements (New York Times, 1966).

While the identity of the American Indian may have seen resurgence during this time there were also many elements of prejudice still seen in mainstream media. Indians being portrayed as drunkards and always in need of white assistance was common in some popular shows. These stereotypes only amplified the issues American Indians were having in establishing themselves as a significant part of American culture. Issues with stereotypes and how minority groups were being portrayed in the media had been previously established in the civil rights movement but they only represented African Americans and Puerto Ricans. The move to include the American Indian population only reestablishes how necessary the civil rights movement was (R.E., 1968).

References
By, J. K. (1968, Sep 18). The american indian: Part of city, and yet . . New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/118351072?accountid=35812 New indian hall opens at american museum. (1966, May 24). New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/117044919?accountid=35812 By, R. E. (1968, Mar 22). American indian group accuses several media of discrimination. New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/118214039?accountid=35812

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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 419

  • Pages: 2

Social Movements

Social movements refer to organized activity that encourages or discourages social change (Macionis 2002).  Perhaps, this is the most important type of collective behavior because they are deliberately organized and often the effects are lasting on the society.

In today’s world, social movements occur frequently as compare to the past.  Because the pre-industrial society is characterized by a tight bound in tradition, social movements at that time are rare.  However, the industrial society, social movements developed around a wide range of public issues because of the diverse subcultures and countercultures.  In today’s society, almost every important public issue gives rise to social movement favoring change and an opposing countermovement resisting it ( Lo 1982; Meyer & Staggenborg 1996).

In the previous years, sociologists have identified that social movements depend not only on structure of political power and on material basis but also on cultural symbols.  According to Mc Adam (1996), people in any particular situation are likely to mobilize to form a social movement only to the extent that they develop “ shared understandings of the world that legitimate and motivate collective action”.

Partly, mobilization depends on a sense of injustice.  This is suggested by deprivation theory.  But in addition, people must come to believe that they cannot effectively respond to their situation by acting individually.  Furthermore, as social movements create a sense of community that generate strong feelings and direct this emotional energy into emotional action and as they make symbols, they gain strength.

As mentioned- along Sproul Plaza there are a variety of students and participants in social movements displaying symbols, posters and signs of social movements in which they are either directly involved, or which they indirectly support through their membership in groups associated with some social movement or cause.  These symbols indirectly or directly used by the students or the “protest communities” aided in stirring up discussion of issues.

Basically, the cultural theoretical approach on social movements explains that not just material resources are required but also cultural symbols form the foundation of social movements.  However, powerful symbols such as symbols representing ideas about patriotism, respect for leaders and flags perpetuates the status quo.  In short, the culture theory links movement’s success to symbols that unite and mobilize individuals.

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