Portal:Social movements

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Social movements

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Social movements are a type of group action. They are large informal groupings of individuals and/or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change.

Modern Western social movements became possible through education (the wider dissemination of literature), and increased mobility of labor due to the industrialization and urbanization of 19th century societies. It is sometimes argued that the freedom of expression, education and relative economic independence prevalent in the modern Western culture is responsible for the unprecedented number and scope of various contemporary social movements. However others point out that many of the social movements of the last hundred years grew up, like the Mau Mau in Kenya, to oppose Western colonialism. Either way, social movements have been and continue to be closely connected with democratic political systems. Occasionally, social movements have been involved in democratizing nations, but more often they have flourished after democratization. Over the past 200 years, they have become part of a popular and global expression of dissent.

Modern movements often utilize technology. Also the internet was utilized too to mobilize people on a global scale. Adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful movements.

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The anti-nuclear movement is a social movement that opposes the use of various nuclear technologies. Many direct action groups, environmental groups, and professional organisations have identified themselves with the movement at the local, national, and international level. Major anti-nuclear groups include Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

There have been many large anti-nuclear demonstrations and protests. A protest against nuclear power occurred in July 1977 in Bilbao, Spain, with up to 200,000 people in attendance. Following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, an anti-nuclear protest was held in New York City, involving 200,000 people. In 1981, Germany's largest anti-nuclear power demonstration took place to protest against the Brokdorf Nuclear Power Plant west of Hamburg; some 100,000 people came face to face with 10,000 police officers. The largest anti-nuclear protest was held on June 12, 1982, when one million people demonstrated in New York City against nuclear weapons. A 1983 nuclear weapons protest in West Berlin had about 600,000 participants. In May 1986, following the Chernobyl disaster, an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people marched in Rome to protest against the Italian nuclear program.

For many years after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster nuclear power was off the policy agenda in most countries, and the anti-nuclear power movement seemed to have won its case. Some anti-nuclear groups disbanded. More recently, however, following public relations activities by the nuclear industry, and concerns about climate change, nuclear power issues have come back into energy policy discussions in some countries. Anti-nuclear activity has increased but at the same time some environmentalists have adopted a more pro-nuclear stance.

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Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. He has been described as one of the greatest, and most influential, African Americans in history.

After living in a series of foster homes during his childhood, Malcolm X became involved in hustling and other criminal activities in Boston and New York. In 1946, Malcolm X was sentenced to eight to ten years in prison. While in prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam, but left the organization in March 1964.

Malcolm X later became a Sunni Muslim and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, after which he disavowed racism. He traveled extensively throughout Africa and the Middle East. He founded Muslim Mosque, Inc., a religious organization, and the secular, Pan-Africanist, Organization of Afro-American Unity. Less than a year after he left the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was assassinated by three members of the group while giving a speech in New York.

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Anti-globalization protests in Edinburgh during the start of the 31st G8 summit.

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Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp was a peace camp established to protest at nuclear weapons being sited at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. The camp began in September 1981 after a Welsh group called "Women for Life on Earth" arrived at Greenham to protest against the decision of the Government to allow cruise missiles to be based there. The first blockade of the base occurred in May 1982 with 250 women protesting and during which 34 arrests were made. In December 1982, 30,000 Women join hands around the base at the "Embrace the Base" event.

The camp became well known when on 1 April 1983, about 70,000 protesters formed a 14-mile human chain from Greenham to Aldermaston and the ordnance factory at Burghfield. The women's peace camp attracted significant media attention and "prompted the creation of other peace camps at more than a dozen sites in Britain and elsewhere in Europe". Another encircling of the base occurred in Dec 1983, with 50,000 women attending. Sections of the fence were cut and there were hundreds of arrests.

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