8 Stages of Successful Social Movements

(ref: Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership by Berit Lakey, George Lakey, Rod Napier, Janice Robinson)

Bill MoyerBill Moyer, a United States social change activist, developed a strategic model for waging successful nonviolent social movements in the late 1970s. This model is called the Movement Action Plan (MAP). Here is a summary of this model as described by George Lakey, the founder and retired executive director of Training for Change.

Stage One: Business as Usual
In this stage, relatively few people care about the issue. Small groups are formed to support each other. The objective is to get people to start thinking about the issue and start spreading the word. Small action projects may be taken on in this stage.

Stage Two: Failure of Established Channels
The general public is unaware of the injustice and largely uninterested in learning about the issue. The public is thinking (or hoping) that established structures are taking care of the problem. “Surely the government is watching out for the safety of our ground water.” “Surely, corporations know which chemicals are safe and unsafe and are already ensuring that workers and the public are not being exposed to the unsafe ones.” In this stage, small groups research the issue and the victims of the injustice. They may sue government agencies or corporations and will usually lose. Nevertheless, these actions are a necessary exercise in building public awareness.  Stage Two polls will show 15% to 20% of public opinion leaning towards the change.
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20 Quotes from the Nonviolent Resistance Front

(ref: After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien)

Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday is October 2nd. In honor of him, the United Nations in 2007 adopted this day to be International Day of Nonviolence. Here are some quotes from leaders in nonviolent resistance that inspire me.

  1. Nonviolence is an intensely active force when properly understood and used. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  2. If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  3. The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  4. If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone, will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  5. I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving in. – Rosa Parks (1913-2005) Continue reading