Saturday, May 18, 2013

Death of a social movement – beginning of empathy

Why can't you humans get along?

A social movement by definition consists of a number of people organized and coordinated to achieve a collection of goals, which ultimately lead to social change.  Compared to other forms of collective behavior such as protest movements (which lead to social movements) social movements are generally of longer duration.

Throughout history social movements have lead to the maturation of the country.  A social movement thrives on the ability of a progressive community to capitalize on political opportunities and translates into social change.  Philanthropic acts of financial giving, volunteer activity and a shared association of values are the vehicle that drives this change.

There are three factors critical to a successful no kill movement.  Those three factors include political opportunity, organizational capacity, and framing ability.  The movement itself is framed to portray a clear vision and road map needed for this success, identifies the resource commitments needed to clearly articulate the message and a political environment that is conducive for that change.

A reliable model of social change must be able to explain not only the emergence of the vision but the maintenance and development of the humane organizations needed to chart the movements course.

Smart, honest, committed leaders are invaluable to a movements especially as the movement seeks to create new leaders to keep the movement rolling.  Of utmost importance is an articulate and charismatic leader who can eloquently articulate people's concerns and inspire a positive emotional response.

Social movements face an uphill battle simply surviving; let alone achieving substantial and sustainable political change.  In the no kill movement Facebook groups have a myriad of challenges that focus on two specific areas - one being engaging the movement with a vision that all can agree on and effective tactics for bringing about that change.  However, organizations like No Kill Nation with leaders that are weak on tactical thinking few have trouble focusing and researching a movement’s success.  

Some organizations fail simply because they engage in dishonest, disrupted or violent or abusive action in dealing with anticipated dissent.  While on the surface this type of behavior attracts media attention it also tends to alienate supporters who are not interested in a lack of honest transparency or the drama the attention also includes.  Further, new supporters who are attracted to media attention and personal agenda's further drive away the critical support that comes from more moderate or conservative supporters.

Once the movement loses it original base including a high number of shelter reformists and replaces them with a more radical political agenda the movement dies a slow death.  That death can be facilitated by a drop in supporters, a drop in charitable funding and a trend for the movement itself to lose it's focus.

The rise and fall of emerging stars within the movement also greatly effects the speed and direction of the demise.  Emerging stars who focus on organizational resources and a divisively message ultimately train future leaders with the same misguided skills which seals the movements doom.

The no kill movement can not survive with all the divisive infighting WITHIN our ranks.  The leadership of the movement are remiss in understanding that if the message is NOT being accepted from within the ranks who share the same vision.  How do these same leaders expect to convince the power players and political figures who oppose change to bring about this social change?.  The movements massive internal bickering becomes the focus for the movements direction with opposing views unable to understand the concept of compromising on shared values and respectfully articulating the opposing views.

Without that ability to communicate respectfully with groups who are at war social movements like no kill will continue to lose those political battles as was the cases in Memphis, Louisville, Columbus Ga and countless others to follow.

With political stagnation comes the death of a movement.  It is my hope that WE discover our common ground, those things that we both cherish, and move into a period of empathy that demonstrates an understanding of other’s feeling, situation or motives.  An ego driven movement driven by hate never stands the test of time.

What this movement needs now is peace, love and understanding.

Love Drats  

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