KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

"People Power" at work in Paraguay and India

Two articles below highlight important components making for successful use of people power: 
  • utilized colorful marches, art, theater, music, and poetry as expressions of resistance.
  • youth have led 
  • people have organized to make the resistance global.
  • We have to begin to plant another model of democracy,
  • 5th Pillar regularly conducts free trainings on how to use the Right to Information Act.
  • an official will often not go through with an act of corruption if they sense that a citizen is even slightly intent on exposing corrupt activities

PARAGUAY
Rain or shine, every Thursday in Asunción, Paraguay, activists gather to protest the right-wing government of Federico Franco which came to power in a June 22 parliamentary coup against left-leaning president Fernando Lugo. . . .

The resistance to the coup is dispersed around the country and typically involves small urban protests (largely in Asunción) that have utilized colorful marches, art, theater, music, and poetry as expressions of resistance. Notably, youth have led much of the organizing in this movement, and social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter have played a key role in bringing people together against the coup government.

.....Outside the nation’s landlocked borders, the waves of Paraguayan migrants whose numbers have skyrocketed in the last eight years are also mobilizing against Franco’s coup. Castillo said, “These people have organized to make the resistance global. Outside of the country, this is the international face against the coup.”.....

.....Such renewed political awareness has manifested itself in various ways. According to Muñoz, the coup proved that the 1992 constitution was worthless, as it was manipulated by politicians who used it to conduct an illegitimate parliamentary coup. “And so the people say ‘No!’ We have to begin to plant another model of democracy, another model of society, and people are already talking about organizing a national constitutional assembly where we can discuss these issues.” . . . . .“There is an urgent need now,” she said, “to develop stronger mechanisms which guarantee that the rights of the citizens are not violated... We are moving toward this, we’re discussing a new paradigm.”

INDIA
.....In the early 2000s a nonviolent movement for government transparency won a significant victory when the Right to Information Act was passed in 2005. Since then organizers have continued advancing the cause by winning additional smaller victories along the way.

5th Pillar regularly conducts free trainings on how to use the Right to Information Act. It only takes a single three-hour session for citizens to learn about the new rights granted to them under RTI. They also learn how to write letters requesting government documents, and how to sign RTI petitions. Anand says that this has been a very effective tool because an official will often not go through with an act of corruption if they sense that a citizen is even slightly intent on exposing corrupt activities via public documents. Also, evidence of past instances can be identified at any time in the future by citizens looking for discrepancies in the public records.

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