Stages of a Successful Social Movement, Bill Moyer

Bill Moyer defined eight stages of successful social movements to mobilize the masses because of the lack of “analytic tools for evaluating and organizing social movements.” His 1987 “Movement Action Plan” believes that power lies with the people and their values. Symbols are useful in informing the people that their values are being violated and giving them hope for change. Building a social movement is like playing chess.

Stage One: Normal times with the elites in power.

Stage Two: Prove that institutions failed

Stage Three: Growing discontent

Stage Four: A trigger event generates civil disobedience, a dramatic nonviolent action campaign, and the social movement takes off

Stage Five: After a year of two, a feeling of powerlessness sets in.

Stage Six: New organization, paradigm, strategy and leadership models to achieve grassroots public support. This requires a switch from “loose” to “empowerment” model of organization.

Stage Seven: Success creates new policies and the central powerholders are defeated.

Stage Eight: Continue the struggle and create new beginnings. Struggle never ends.

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