social movements stages


Social movements are composed of many sub-goals and sub-movements, each in their own Movement Action Plan stage. Strategies and tactics are different for each sub-movement, according to the MAP stage each is in. There are eight structured stages that have been proven to achieve results and have high statistical success rates. Each movement should be moved through the stages and each sub-movement should be advanced through the same eight stages with each sub-movement focusing on a specific goal, civil rights, human rights….etc.  All of the sub-movements should promote the same paradigm, review policy, change….etc.


During the process the target audience must be convinced three times:

1.  That there is indeed a problem that needs to be looked at (stage 4)

2.  To oppose current conditions and policies (stages 4, 6, 7)

3.  To understand and want the alternatives being offered. (stages 6, 7)


A critical social problem exists that violates widely held beliefs and values in any way shape or form which results in a group of individuals being ostracised or held in contempt for their beliefs or values. This social problem is supported by powerholders and stakeholders whose ‘official policies’ on the surface are seen to support the widely held values, but whose ‘operating policies’ violate those very same values. The general public are unaware of the extent of the problem and the effect it has on those who are being marginalised by the powerholders due to misrepresentation and lack of evidence based values being widely available or easily obtainable and therefore support the powerholders. This enables the powerholders to push their policies and procedures without fear of retaliation from those they would have you believe are the majority and whose interests they have at the heart of all they stand for.


Many new opposition groups use official channels, courts, government offices, commisioning bodies, hearings, regional forums….etc to prove that they don’t work. There are numerous public platforms, virtual and otherwise, that are widely used to discuss and formulate ways of collating information to support this stage of action. The more you use these avenues of information gathering, the more diverse a voice your action group will be and the more depth and weight will be behind your proposed plan of action. Become experts in what it is you are focusing on changing, research, speak to those who have first hand experience of the issue at hand.


If you have been effective in your plan of action so far, you will begin to notice a gathering momentum of support. Recognition of the highlighted issue and the potential victims of the injustice you are highlighting will begin to be seen by the general public, they will start to realise that there are people being harmed or misrepresented by the powerholders policies. They will start ot see faces of real people and become aware of real struggles and real casualties. More active local groups will start to form in other areas and a movement will begin to rise out of the discontent. In order to maintain this momentum connections to pre-existing institutions and networks must be openly advertised and made freely available to any new or progressing group. An average of 20-30% of the general public opposes powerholder policies, no matter what the policy entails. These are an asset, find them and utilise them. Hold peaceful demonstrations, put on events where you call the powerholders in for consultation with the information you have gathered against them, hold them accountable for their actions.


A trigger event must be put in place to raise awareness locally. Utilising all local support that you have tapped into and to show the public that conditions and policies are in fact in violation of widely held values and belief systems. This trigger event must be folowed through with a rigourous course of action, which may be supported by all other action groups of similar standing up and down the country. This in effect puts the issue or problem on the social agenda, and a new social movement will start to grow, raising awareness and giving clarity around the underlying issues faced by the initial group of misrepresented and demonised individuals. Here your issues will now be gaining momentum and the precentage of those who support your cause within your community would possibly reach 40% opposing current legi8slasion and policies.


This has been a stumbling block for many social movements, goals are seen as being unachieved, powerholders are adamant and remain unchanged, numbers begin to drop at meetings or events. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, burnout..etc begin to set in, the movement may seem set to collapse and there may be the emergence of the negative rebel from the ranks, you must make sure that the views of the select few who emerge as negative rebels within your ranks are recognised as not carryinf the views of the majority and are voicing an opinion and not a strategic collective voice. . Remind yourself here why you began this campaign in the first place, remind yourself of your motives and more importantly remind yourself of the alternative if you choose to give up. Remember that by now there are people out there who may be looking to you for the results they have been hoping for and ast very least the recognition that there is injustice happening within their communities.


By now you will find that the majority of general public who have an interest in the issues you are highlighting will, if you have based your campaign on evidence based research and backed your every move with fact and hard hitting realities that cannot be ignored nor covered up, are sympathetic to your present conditions and are now more in favour of opposing the powerholders policies. Show how the policies if not challenged will effect the local communityand various other sectors of society. Involve mainstream citizens and institutions in highlighting and addressing the problem. Ensure that your problem is put on the political agenda, promote alternatives, counter each new powerholders strategy. One of the key elements that powerholders use in their strategies are to demonise all resistance to any policy or strategy they are pushing. They will use all they can at their disposal to promote fear of the alternative and to project a negative view of activism. Promote a paradigm shift, not just reforms. Be prepared to give a little so aim your sights high. Re-trigger events that raised awareness with new information that has been gathered revisit step four with a new revitalised approach and new supporting information to highlight via new events. Relight the momentum and refuel the publics interest in your cause. Dispel the perceptions of failure that may have previously taken their toll or seemed to from the outset. Ensure your followers or members that you are still working towards your proposed goal and that you are still achieving results.


The end result within the community that you represent and therefore on a national scale through the power of networking will be that you have a majority of those who oppose policies and proceedures and no longer fear the alternative, many powerholders will split off and change their stance or position. You are now in the end game process. Policies will be reviewed and changed locally as it will now be clear that it is more expensive and with high risk of damage to individuals within the community, and the community itself, to continue with old policies, powerholders will be forced to review and look at a more plausable alternative. Some will be voted out of their position of power, some will conform with consultion to meet the needs of the now majority and new policies and laws will be looked at with the involvement of those who have diplomatically worked at building an alternative which benefits all sectors of the community. Powerholders will still attempt to make minimal reform but hte movement must at all times maintain the need for complete overhaul on the basis of the majoritys demand for social change.


Extend you successes, continue to fight for success where you came up short. Where you were successful maintain by following through with more productive avenues to explore based on the basis of success that you have now attained. Find ways of improving your status and always incorporate new and innovative policies to keep up the standard of provision that you so passionately fought for, be prepared to oppose attempts at backlash and always move to promote a paradigm shift. Always be sure to recognise and celebrate any successes so far. More public events to raise awareness of change and to invite suggestions as to how to support the changes. Always be open to general public views and try to incorporate those who would show your struggle support. And always be ready to consult with those who would oppose to discuss the how, why and what’s of their issues. Always remember the needs of your community are ever changing but the underlying principles will never change.

Once you have acheived all you have set out to do review your position and look at ways it can be improved. Never rest on your laurels.  Somethings may be easily achieved and others may mean setting up sub-groups which are specifically set up to address a specific issue. These stages of change are proven to work over time and are guidlines to success. Most of all always remember….NEVER GIVE UP!!!



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