White Activists and the Burnout of Activists of Color

By Paul Gorski

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Sustaining Anti-Trump Resistance: Movement Trajectories and Activist Burnout

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an anti-Trump resistance movement began, drawing on much longer-existing movements ranging from the women’s movement to the Black Lives Matter movement to the immigrant rights movement. While Trump resisters are a diverse lot, in general, they are opposed to both Trump’s political agenda and his personal history of racism, capitalist greed, misogyny, and dishonesty. This opposition has taken many forms from Marches (e.g., the Women’s March) to protests and a greater involvement in state and local politics. Throughout this, one of the main questions has been whether and how this resistance can be sustained in the long run:

Many thanks to this great group of contributors.

Steven E. Barkan, University of Maine (essay)
Anna Brown, Saint Peter’s University (essay)
Peter Dreier, Occidental College (essay)
Paul Gorski, George Mason University (essay)
Michael McQuarrie, The London School of Economics (essay)
Lisa M. Martinez, University of Denver (essay)

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Guillermo Trejo

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The Practice of Social Movement Leadership

By Marshall Ganz & Liz McKenna

We were delighted to read the recent essay dialogue on leadership in social movements. The contributions reflect renewed—and much-needed—empirical and theoretical engagement with the topic. Leadership (and leadership development) are key mechanisms by which people transform the individual resources they have into the collective power they need to get what they want. Leadership is thus central to movement efficacy at individual, communal, and institutional levels. Indeed, the most significant measure of social movement “impact” may be less in the accomplishment of short-term campaign outcomes than in the long-term development of the leadership and collective capacity required to achieve institutional change. Continue reading

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Political Participation and Working Class Routines in the Piquetero Movement

Starting in the 1980s, Latin America has experienced an unprecedented wave of democratization. A region with a long history of military dictatorships, human rights violations, and fraudulent elections managed to sustain governments elected by citizens and high levels of political and civil freedoms. Latin American countries continue to struggle with high levels of poverty and inequality, and their governments are not immune to authoritarian attempts. Yet the overall predominance of democracy in this region is a remarkable achievement given its past. Continue reading

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“Will Millennials Turn Your Cause Into a Movement?”: Results from The Millennial Impact Report on How Millennials Shape Movement Success

Since the election of Donald Trump, protests have become increasingly commonplace in the United States, both in the nation’s capital and in towns and cities across the country. This recent wave of mass mobilization has led to growing considerations about how the new political climate might be changing civic engagement, particularly for young people. In June, Phase 1 of the 2017 Millennial Impact Report1 was released. The findings are based on interviews and focus groups with 16 millennials who previously downloaded the report; selecting for youth likely to be engaged. The press release for the report read “Will Millennials Turn Your Cause Into a Movement?” This is a complicated and potentially unanswerable question, but one whose answer could greatly impact movement scholarship. While the report cannot answer the long-standing question of how extensively youth drive social movements, it does offer some insights that are useful and potentially challenging to movement theory. Continue reading

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Comparing Immigrant Political Participation

This year saw numerous episodes of mobilization by immigrants and non-immigrants alike. In Sweden, protesters mobilized against police in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood of Stockholm. Protesters in Cologne, Germany organized against the anti-immigration party, the AfD. London protesters held an event at the U.S. embassy in London against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” And, protesters in the U.S. mobilized against Trump and his administration’s views and positions on immigration with “A Day Without Immigrants.” Continue reading

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The Sanctuary Movement in the Trump Era: Localized Activism in the Face of Barriers to Federal Reform

By Lisa M. Martinez

Before an audience of several hundred people crammed into a Denver-area community center in April 2017, twelve-year-old Luna Vizguerra confidently approached a podium in front of the standing-room only crowd. Through an interpreter, she spoke directly to the few council members present at the event:

“Good evening. I am the daughter of Jeanette Vizguerra. I am here to talk not so much about her sanctuary but sanctuary policy here in Denver. There are people that are afraid to use the word ‘sanctuary’ but we are talking about the effect here in Denver of having these policy changes. We want to talk about what this policy would do to protect immigrants so that they won’t be afraid of the police and what is happening with this new administration. We don’t want children to live in fear, and we want you as elected officials to take your responsibility seriously so this won’t happen” (Colorado People’s Action 2017). Continue reading


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The Mixed Blessing of Donald Trump for Progressive Protest

By Steven E. Barkan

A central task of any social movement is to induce people to participate in movement efforts and to sustain their commitment to the cause once they do start participating. This task is especially important for movements that engage in protest, but it is also necessary for movements that limit themselves to electoral and other conventional political activities. The typical absence of material incentives for joining and participating in a movement makes this task highly necessary and one that occupies the attention of movement organizers. Continue reading

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