Importance of Social Movements

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How the Protest Cycle of the 1960s Influenced the Social Movements of Today

Social movement can be defined as a complicated set of numerous actions by a number of different collective actors who are focusing on some very wide objective or issue. Such activities affect every individual as those involved respond to the actions they have seen from others. For instance, people are able to copy what happened in the protest cycle of the 1960s into the present social movements. This idea of social movement is directly related to the widespread recognition of cycles and collective conflict. In social movement, certain activities affect other activities (Goodwin, & Jasper, 2004). Actions are not just inaccessible, independent reactions on external economic or political situation, but a single action alters the possibilities of subsequent actions. This clearly explains why the protest cycle of the 1960s has influenced the social movements of today. For instance, they external political or economic actions did not end but continues up to the present actions.

Such movements were not considered as a stable steam, but a collection of bursts of actions each pushed by tactical innovations. People used various innovations to improve the features of the protest cycle which occurred in 1960s. For instance, they have adopted the use of social media to carry out their social movements. Such ideas were present, but could not be put into use because it had not been given a second thought. During this period, people used to gather and move in a group while protesting. However, this has currently changed as social media has proved to be more effective in organizing protest actions. The present social movements are thought to have interacted with the social policy advancements of the 1960s (Tilly, & Wood, 2013). This interaction has led to a single social movement affecting other subsequent protest actions.

The influence of the protest cycle of the 1960s on the social movements of today can also be explained through “tactical diffusion.” This has made the previous social movement spillover to the present social movements. “Tactical diffusion” is important to the evolution of protest actions since is distributed actions across time or space. Therefore, the protest cycle of the 1960s has been distributed over time or space thus providing a better view of how the previous protests have influenced the present ones. Cycles of social movements came from an inflationary spiral, protest groups while this period battled for supremacy and increasingly radical activities are required to obtain disruptive impact (Tilly, & Wood, 2013). The battle for supremacy was carried forward to the current social movements where the leaders have been giving out power to the coming generation. Their rules are also not maintained with some necessary changes being made with the increased developments.

To get the real understanding of how the protest cycle of the 1960s had an influence the current social movements, it is important to agree that the transition is not easy, but very vital. The present movements come up when the entire frequency of the protest cycle of the 1960s diffused into the population (Goodwin, & Jasper, 2004). This made the protesters become more violent than before. This was also based on the fact that there was an increase in the ratio of violent activities to that of non-violent activities. According to various views of authors, social movement does not have clear-cut starting points and endings. Their source can always be traced back in the ancient protest cycle. After they appeared to have faded, they always continued to function at lower levels hence their existence would be felt. The growth of social movement is always dictated by the activities of its opponents and bystanders.

The civil rights movement has changed the way people were treated in America for championing the rights of everybody in America regardless of the race, gender or color. After independence, many activists began to advocate for social change in America. The activists demanded equal treatment for all American regardless of their origin or color and that facilitated the urge to abolish racism in America (Tilly, & Wood, 2013). For their hard work, they were able to break the social barriers in American paving way for equal representation of both black and white. The fruits of that movement can be seen in the recent years when the American elected the first black African to become their president. The election of president Obama was seen as a true democracy and social equality not only in American but to the entire world.

The growth of early social activism in the early 1960s, in America has made many American join the middle class hence improving their standard of living. The change in the class has facilitated the increment of national product of the U.S. and the gross national product have increased to over 250%  paving way for better health care and living conditions for all and has made many American  better off financial in the current periods (Tilly, & Wood, 2013).

The youth movements of the early 1960s have played an important role in modern social lives. Many young adults and children nowadays spend more time in school and are more affluent than the previous generation and this has led to a faster transition of childhood to adulthood in the modern days. In the early years, only 20% of the Americans graduated from high school and most of the teenagers were full-time workers. In the recent time, however, nearly 75% of the students graduated from high school showing a massive increment in the modern social life. The modern colleges and universities have teamed up with students to solve the social injustices created by the past regimes and students have an obligation and freedom to question the moral and spiritual health of the nation which could not have happened in the past (Tilly, & Wood, 2013).

The civil rights movement of the 1960s headed by Martin Luther King, Jr, that originated among the black Americans. The black Americans were to sit in the back of public buses while the white sat on the forefront. The black were racially discriminated and segregated to the extent that not to share restaurants, hotels, schools or rooms with the whites. The black were paid peanuts and employments were hard to come by. However, the movement brought an end to all those injustices and in the current days people are equal and American has tried to reduce the racial discrimination and segregation paving way for free and democratic nation for all the citizens. The 1965 bill passed by the congress in 1965, has been one of the remarkable for blacks in America, the bill suspended the Voting Rights Act that was used to disqualified blacks from voting in a national election hence giving right to every citizen to participate in an election (Goodwin, & Jasper, 2004).

The student movement of the early 1960s that comprises majorly the white college students worked primarily to fight poverty, racism, increase student rights, and the end of Vietnam War. They demanded participatory democracy in America where everybody could be given chance to give his/her opinion on matters relating to political space, economic trends, and social questions without victimization. The movement led to a participatory nation and more democratic country and further diffusing power to people not only to the elite but also to the commoners (Tilly, & Wood, 2013).

The antiwar movement, that become a mass crusade in America where the elites and the non-elites, the poor and the rich came together to protest the Vietnam War. The demonstrations that were held in various parts of U.S. made the government change its policies on American foreign policy and that of the Vietnam War that subsequently led to the peace in Vietnam after the abolition of the cold war. That has led to more cordial relationships between the American the Russia countries hence ending the cold war.

How might a social movement convert public concern about an issue into cultural changes and public policies that address larger issues affecting both local and global levels of living?

The first step in this study is the need to understand what social movements are. A social movement is basically an organized group of individuals who, using their abilities and skills (the human power), can work together to get things done. A social movement is when individuals get together and organize themselves with a major aim of getting something done. Having a look at the world around, there are many groups of people who come together with a major objective of making things happen. For example, family groups can organize weddings and picnics; hockey groups can or.............


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