Tag Archives: UK

Cross-national gay marriage politics, the courts, and the context of activism

Mobilizing Idea’s recent Essay Dialogue on movements and the courts was inspired in part by the DOMA case on the U.S. Supreme Court docket. In her essay, Martinez discusses the role of the Supreme Court in light of a changing political and cultural context regarding gay marriage. While U.S. states have become increasingly polarized on same-sex marriage (SSM), public opinion appears to have shifted in favor of marriage equality. These environmental shifts may be important for legal mobilization. Drawing from classic sociological theory, Martinez writes that “When activists turn to law and demand legal change, it only works when the cultural conditions and political conditions are out of alignment with law. The law changes to match social beliefs and practices.” As Bua of the Huffington Post claims, “the times they are a ‘changin.’” Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Movements and the Courts

Faith and Society in the UK

By Symon Hill

Last month, four women calmly stood up during evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, walked to the front and chained themselves to the pulpit. They read out a statement about economic injustice and urged the Christian Church to take sides with the poor. Outside, several other activists – myself included – unfurled a banner reading “Throw the moneychangers out of the Temple”.[i]

The actions triggered national media coverage and internet discussion. The messages we received included support, challenges, friendly disagreement and outright abuse. Somebody sent me a tweet threatening to “rip your head off” for not showing “respect” to the church. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Religion and Activism

The View from a UK Student Activist

By Dannie Grufferty

For me, the purpose of activism is to bring about social change. Here in the UK, there is an ongoing debate in the student movement about whether that should be achieved by way of a revolution, or by public policy change.  As a democrat, it is important to contextualise my own views. I believe that here in the UK our activism, our pressure groups, and our social movements should be about change through shaping policy solutions. But that is not my worldview.

I have been fortunate through my involvement with the National Union of Students in the UK to meet students from around the world, including from Swaziland, Egypt, and Libya. Many of them have been and are involved in real and serious struggles to assert their rights against pressures I struggle to comprehend.  Often when I meet these students I am overwhelmed by a feeling of inadequacy.  The challenges that we as students face in the UK pale into insignificance when compared to the struggle for basic freedoms and the threat that these people have faced for merely standing up for what they believe in, which often is not really that radical in itself – just the chance to vote and have a say.   However, this perspective also motivates me to become a better activist for local domestic issues, whilst doing all I can to provide international support and solidarity. Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Student Activism in Social Movements