Organization and Development for Progressive Social Change
Organization and Development for Progressive Social Change
Organizing a large chunk population based on a concrete social, religious, or economic issue can bring breakthrough changes. During the course of time, people in different parts of the world has recognized that if they want to bring a major changes in the social fabric of the society, the collective power of the societal members is of sheer significance. The recent Arab Spring is the major example in this case. The segment of the world, which was ruled by a selected set of rulers for many decades was suddenly challenge by the society and it brought about gigantic changes around the region. The organization for some cause can be done to make the world a more peaceful place and the same can done in an effort to suppress a particular group of people (Pyles, 2009). While both kind social struggles exist in the society but progressive organizing revolves around the notion of making our society a peaceful and equal place for all. The idea of progressive organizing gives immense significance to the joint struggle of people. The massive struggle from a large segment of population helps put up pressure on the ruling class that can be threatened by the idea of losing their leadership position. The organizing and development helps create progressive social change and it can address myriad social issues. These kinds of organizations synergize the individual efforts and bring about a collective social force to create social changes.
The organization of people in a community can be due to both cases. The first cause of such organization can be based on the notion of synergizing the personal effort of individuals to make this society more peaceful and tolerate. The underlying reason of such movement can be any cause it does not endeavor to give a particular group some rights by compromising the rights of some other groups. In American history, the African American Civil Rights Movement is a successful example of the non-violent struggle by the black community to get their equal rights. The Black American traces their roots from the century old practice of selling labors from West Africa to various parts of the world. The Black initially became part of the American society as they were brought as slaves from Africa and Caribbean region. For the large chunk of the era, they were not even considered like human beings. Although, they were living in United States but they were never given the power of being a legal citizen of the country. Since they were not the citizens of the country, they did not receive any sort of social or economic benefit. For this purpose of getting their rights, they started to mobilize their population and the first breakthrough they receive was during the tenure of Abraham Lincoln when he launched the Emancipation Act. This Act made the African American as the legal citizens of United States (Shdaimah, 2009).
While the Black became citizens of the land but still they were treated like a second-class segment of population. The doctrine of “Equal but Separate” promoted the notion that black should have separate public spaces, separate churches, and separate educational institutes. This doctrine was one of the most discriminatory law that completely rejected the idea of an inclusive society, which is heavily rooted on the system of meritocracy. This law became a common ground for the social organization of the black population. One of the most significant actions that resulted in the major social organization of the black population was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A woman who was part of the social organization for the population of the black was travelling in a bus and during the same time a white woman got inside and asked the black woman to surrender her seat. When the black woman resisted as it was her basic right, she was threatened by police and was taken into custody just because of the fact that she did not surrender her seat to the white woman. This incident erupted a national boycott from the black community against the Montgomery Bus Service. The major breakthrough in the history of the black community was the million march of Washington in 1963, which showed the massive support from the American population to give equal rights to the African Americans. Due to the major struggle by the Black, the government was convinced to bring the Civil Rights Act 1964 that gave the African American a full status of an American citizen.
Accomplishing Social Change through Organizing and Development Efforts
Visibility is one of the most important factors that can help bring about change. Of course, the collective thought of a major chunk of population is comparatively stronger than the demand of a single individual. This is particularly relevant in the country that practice democracy as the major powerhouse of such systems is not the ruling class, but the public. This is not only relevant in case of democracy, but it has major significance in dictatorships as well. We have successful example of the recent Arab Spring, where the major nations were ruled by decades old dictators. Still in those parts of the world organizing and development efforts worked.
People with disabilities consist of around 15% of the population and they are one of the biggest minority groups in the world that has the least education and economic achievements. There are a number of Western countries that practice the notion of an inclusive society, where people with disabilities have the same socio-economic status. This equality was not received instantly, but is a result of massive struggle from them (Milkman, 2010). The major movements in this case include the movement of Independent Living. The basic notion behind this movement was the fact that people with disabilities were usually considered a burden on the society and an object of pity. Since they were considered like ill bodies, the major focus of the governments was through their rehabilitation. While myriad people with disabilities had extraordinary skills, they were restricted by the society due to various physical and attitudinal barriers. No public spaces, workplaces, and recreational centers were physically built in a way that promoted the access of people with disabilities. Even if the person with disabilities was somehow able to surpass the physical barriers, he or she was restricted by the attitudinal barriers by society (McNeese, 2007). The society had a sympathetic attitude towards people with disabilities and they never believed that these individuals could also work like other non-disabled population. This restricted the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities.
Why People must Organize?
Organization of the strength of individuals from the community helps synergize the individual efforts of people. Bringing about social changes require the strength to reach out the ruling class of the society. This ruling class will never consider the seriousness of the issue if they are not convinced of the idea that this is the collective demand of a number of such individuals. It has been historically observed that people are reluctant to change themselves. The same concept is further intensifies in case of a bureaucratic control. Changing something challenges the social fabric of the society and bringing people out of their comfort zones (Alessio, 2011). Even if the ruling class is convinced with the idea that this social change is beneficial for the society but they are still reluctant to go out of their comfort zones. For this reason, the collective effort of people in organizing themselves is necessary to give the impression to the ruling class that if they do not address this social issue, their very existence can be at stake.
The Iranian Revolution is a significant in this case. The population of Iran was controlled by the Shah of Iran for a number of centuries when it was finally collapsed in 1979 by the efforts of Imam Khomeini. The Shah of Iran was a liberal ruler with a heavy tilt towards the Western powers. The citizens of Iran have historically developed an innate feeling that the western powers are primarily threatening to their religious and social values. For this reason, they were heavily conscious about the intentions of the Shah of Iran. This concern took stronghold when the Shah of Iran went to celebrate the festival of their thousands of years old ruler, Cyrus. This celebration was preferred over the major Islamic festival in the country. The major segment of the population was shattered about this decision from the Shah and joined the movement by Imam Khomeini and they collapsed the centuries old empire of the Shah.
Shared Characteristics of Variety of Approaches to Progressive Organizing
The major shared characteristic of the progressive organizing is the notion that all are initiated by a clear problem in the society that needs action. All approaches are based on the idea that a social change is possible through mobilizing the population for putting pressure. Some of these approaches include Social Action, Civic Organizing, Social Planning, Community Building, Women Centered, and Consensus Organizing (Buono, 2010). All these progressive organizing are based on the idea that a group should not bring about a social change by oppressive the rights of another group of the population. For example, the Germany-based organization called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) is a far right anti-Muslim group that has initiated a movement against the Muslims around the world. The basic demand of this group is to change the German immigration rules that restrict the Muslims’ population in Europe. This group managed to gather a large demonstration after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. The basic idea of this campaign was to develop an anti-Islam discourse, so numerous laws can be enacted to restrict the Islamisation of Europe. While this kind of movement can also considered an organizing but it cannot be termed as Progressive Organizing. The basic notion behind this fact is that this group claims to get their rights by restricted the rights of another group. The idea of progressive organizing cannot go against a large segment of population based on the acts of few people.
The massive struggle from a large segment of population helps put up pressure on the ruling class that can be threatened by the idea of losing their leadership position. The organizing and development helps create progressive social change and it can address myriad social issues. The underlying reason of such movement can be any cause it does not endeavor to give a particular group some rights by compromising the rights of some other groups. The major shared characteristic of the progressive organizing is the notion that all are initiated by a clear problem in the society that needs action. All approaches are based on the idea that a social change is possible through mobilizing the population for putting pressure. The collective thought of a major chunk of population is comparatively stronger than the demand of a single individual. This is particularly relevant in the country that practice democracy as the major powerhouse of such systems is not the ruling class, but the public. This is not only relevant in case of democracy, but it has major significance in dictatorships as well.
Alessio, J. (2011). Social problems and inequality social responsibility through progressive sociology. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate.
Buono, R. (2010). Social change, resistance and social practices. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
McNeese, T. (2007). The progressive movement: Advocating social change. New York: Chelsea House.
Milkman, R. (2010). Working for justice the L.A. model of organizing and advocacy. Ithaca: ILR Press/Cornell University Press.
Pyles, L. (2009). Progressive community organizing: A critical approach for a globalizing world. New York: Routledge.
Shdaimah, C. (2009). Negotiating justice: Progressive lawyering, low-income clients, and the quest for social change. New York: New York University Press.