According to Doug McAdam and David Snow, a social movement is:
“a collectivity acting with some degree of organization and continuity outside of institutional channels for the purpose of promoting or resisting change in the group, society, or world order of which it is a part.”
Doug McAdam and David Snow, eds., Social Movements: Readings on Their Emergence, Mobilization, and Dynamics (Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company, 1997), xviii.
Bill Moyer (1933- 2002) was an activist engaged in movements for civil rights, peace and the environment for 40 years. Initially trained as an engineer, Bill was introduced to the philosophy and practice of nonviolence by Quaker friends, completed a degree in social work and became involved in campaigns for civil rights and housing integration, working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other leaders of the Southern Christian Leader’s Conference during the summer of1966.
Over the next decade, Bill would be involved in SCLC's Poor People's Campaign in Washington (1968), nonviolent blockades of arms shipments to Bangladesh (1971) and to Vietnam (1972), support for the AIM Indians occupying a trading post in Wounded Knee (1973) and a nuclear power plant blockade at Seabrook, New Hampshire (1977).
It was during the nonviolent blockade of the Seabrook nuclear plant, which involved the participation of more than 1400 individuals, that Moyer recognized the need for social change activists to understand the dynamics behind movement success, and in particular, to address the contradiction that activists often perceive the normal signs of campaign progress as signs of failure. The Movement Action Plan (MAP) is one of the tools developed by Bill to achieve this end, and has been used to train hundreds of activists, most notably in Australia, Canada and across Europe.
Bill Moyer died in October 2002. The year before his death, he published (with JoAnn McAllister, Mary Lou Finley and Steve Soifer) Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements. Published by New Society Publishers, this book develops Moyer’s models and offers numerous case-studies and examples. We highly recommend it!
Spirit House Project uses the arts, research, education, action, and spirituality to bring diverse peoples together to work for racial, economic, and social justice, as well as for spiritual maturity.
Featured Physical Archives
Marquette University has acquired a large collection of FBI files on US right-wing organizations and individuals. The files were released under the federal Freedom of Information Act to researcher Ernie Lazar. The Lazar Collection is also ONLINE!
The goal of the website is to provide online linkages to a variety of existing and new transatlantic resources for the study of social movements that seek to expand or restrict access to full democratic human rights for all people. The mission is to illuminate the relationship of hierarchies of race, gender, and class to societal conflicts, especially those involving social movement organizations and their specific ideologies, frames, and narratives.
This website is sponsored by a group of scholars in the United States and Europe for the purpose of providing reliable resources for scholars, researchers, students, journalists, and organizers for human rights as defined by various international documents and United Nations declarations.
The Social Movement Study Website is an independent collaborative non-profit endeavor that receives no funding from governments or partisan political organizations.
The global human rights movement challenges the
systems, structures, and institutions that create, defend, and extend
oppression and repression in a society.
“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” --Frederick Douglass
“There Is No Hierarchy of Oppressions.”
"The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion." --
Democracy is not a specific set of institutions but a process that requires dissent.
Democracy is a process that assumes the majority of people,
given enough accurate information, the ability to participate in a free and open public debate,
and can vote without intimidation, reach constructive decisions that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty, protect our freedoms, extend equality, and defend democracy.
Without dissent there is no progress in a society: Dissent is Essential