An Exploratory Sidetrack While Researching Social Movements

I love what I do.

I mean the big picture “DO.”

Sometimes, like anyone, I get side-tracked, frustrated or both. I worry about things or imagine how things “could” turn out if we don’t pay attention to things.

I have been reading about Movements. Actually researching them, why they emerge, how they work and evolve, the impacts they have. I am exploring the various types of Movements: Alternative Movements, Redemptive Movements, Reformist Movements and Revolutionary Movements as per David Aberle (1964).

social-movement-logoI believe in Movements. I am intrigued by them and to be honest want to turn my research and investigation into a presentation/workshop, perhaps more, for Tamarack’s learning community. And I will continue to do that, but I got sidetracked today.

I was thinking about how many Movements there are, how everything and anything appears to have Movement-potential these days. Not only do we have today the Human Rights Movement or the Labour Movement or the dozens and dozens of other Movements that have changed — and are changing the world, we also have the Anti-Lady Gaga Movement, the Go-Topless Movement and countless renditions of “Buy My <insert your product here> Movement.

Websites abound that promise me – promise us – the Seven Steps to Building a Movement or the Three Strategies for Creating a Movement. I can learn how to use a Movement to build my brand. So many recipes, it’s a bit unnerving. So many easy (apparently) to follow formulas in the Social Movement Laboratory.

I worry that the word, “Movement,” will become generic or watered down and so common place that one day while waiting on the phone with my cellphone provider or my bank or my utility company or even the government, I will hear that same woman’s voice offer a new, crystal clear though dispassionate message.

“I have a dream. I have a dream that one day you will realize just how important you are to our Movement. Your call may be recorded. Please continue to hold.”

Fortunately or unfortunately (it depends on your perspective), a  lot of buttons will have to be pushed to even get that far.

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