Social Change/Community Organizing

Social Change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social
order of a society. Social change may include
changes in nature, social institutions, social
behaviors, or social relations.
Social Justice
Social justice is the ability people have to realize
their potential in the society where they live.
• "Social justice" is generally used to refer to a
set of institutions which will enable people to
lead a fulfilling life and be active contributors
to their community.
Community Organizing
Community organizing is a process where people who
live in proximity to each other come together into an
organization that acts in their shared self-interest.
• Community organizers generally assume that social
change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle
in order to generate collective power for the
• A core goal of community organizing is to
generate durable power for an organization
representing the community, allowing it to influence
key decision-makers on a range of issues over time.
Grassroots Organizing
Grassroots organizing builds community groups
from scratch, developing new leadership where
none existed and organizing the unorganized.
• It is a values based process where people are
brought together to act in the interest of their
communities and the common good.
Direct Action
Direct action occurs when a group of people
take an action which is intended to reveal an
existing problem, highlight an alternative, or
demonstrate a possible solution to a social
Non-violent Direct Action
Non-violent direct action is a tactical approach
that involves finding ways to achieve our goals
without harming people.
• Also called nonviolent resistance, it is the
practice of achieving goals through symbolic
protests, civil disobedience, economic or
political non-cooperation, satyagraha
(“insistance on truth”), and other methods,
without using violence.
Civil Disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed
refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and
commands of a government, or of an occupying
international power.
Types of Non-Violent Direct Action &
Civil Disobedience
• Sitting in intersections/ Locking
• Sit-ins, Kiss-ins, Cough-ins, Dieins
• Banner hangs/Guerilla Art
• Walkouts
• Taking over an office or
• Boycotts
• Protesting
• Referendums
• Refusing to pay taxes
• Camping out in front of a
government building
Giving free food to people in
public places
Labor strikes
Community Policing
Peer Counseling
Worker Cooperatives
Community Gardens
Property Destruction?
Salt March
In 1930 Mahatma Gandhi proposed a
non-violent march protesting the
British Salt Tax.
The Salt Tax essentially made it illegal
to sell or produce salt, allowing a
complete British monopoly. The Salt
Tax made it illegal for workers to freely
collect their own salt from the coasts
of India, making them buy salt they
couldn't really afford.
Ghandi and 78 other protesters set
out to the coast, a 240 mile march, to
harvest their own salt.
The salt march started a series of
protests and boycotts, shutting down
British shops and mills, and becoming
a main trigger for the larger Civil
Disobedience Movement which
eventually led to the liberation of
India from British control.
Starting in 2005, Palestinians in Bil’ in began
protesting a “security fence” or “Apartheid
Separation Wall.”
This wall was being built by the Israeli Defense
Force in order to “prevent Palestinian suicide
bombers from entering into the borders.”
Palestinian villagers of Bil’in saw this fence
encroaching on 60% of their farmland and
property, and every Friday afternoon began
walking up to the fence protesting its creation.
The International Court of Justice deemed the
building of the fence as a violation of
international law because of its over-intrusion
of villagers’ land; however, the IDF would not
stop building.
The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee,
an organization designed to connect Palestinian
residents from different villages, mobilized
people from neighboring villages to join in the
weekly Friday protest.
As years went on, the protests grew, and the
number of people arrested also grew. The IDF
closed Bil’in to all non-Bil’in residents, but that
did not stop the movement from growing.
Finally, in 2011, and after 6 years of weekly
protests, the IDF, after a ruling from Israel’s
Ministry of Defense, began taking the fence
Even today, the “Friday Protest” is a routine
Friday for many Palestinians; people from many
different villages affected from various wall
building and illegal occupations engage in
nonviolent protesting at the site of occupations
and walls.
Friday Protests
Bolivian Water Wars (Multi-Step Strategy)
• In 1999, Bolivia, under increasing pressure from the
World Bank to privatize public goods, sold the
water rights of Cochabamba, one of their largest
cities, to a foreign company called Aguas del Tunari.
• Aguas was allowed to take over all water systems, •
forcing the people to pay up to 40% of their
monthly income for their water bill alone!
• At first, public meetings were held
• As prices continued to rise, a coalition to oppose
the policy emerged under the name La
• In December, La Coordinadora called its first
mobilization-it gave the government a deadline to •
end the contract or they would take action.
• Two months later, when nothing changed, workers
went on strikes and began to block major
• On February 5th the entire city was blockaded.
• The next day the government agreed to freeze rate
• In March La Coordinadora held an unofficial
referendum about Aguas del Tunari’s water
contract. 95% of the people demanded that the
government terminate the contract.
The ‘Last Battle’ began on April 3rd. Protesters
occupied Cochabamba’s main plaza and made
blockades to cut off the main highway and seal off
all roads to the city. The Aguas de Tunari office was
non-violently occupied, and the sign torn down.
Organizations throughout the rest of Bolivia held
protests in solidarity with the people of
The President declared Marshal Law and mass
arrests were made. Police used tear gas, wire
fencing, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.
Over 100,000 Bolivians mobilized for the cause
and the Aguas del Tunari consortium fled the
country in fear of being captured by protesters.
On April 10th La Coordinadora signed an accord
guaranteeing the removal of the Aguas company,
and returning control of water back to the public.

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