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How Are Mass Movements and Citizenвђ™s Grassroots Groups Undermined by Government and Elite Democrats?

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Essay title: How Are Mass Movements and Citizenвђ™s Grassroots Groups Undermined by Government and Elite Democrats?

How are mass movements and citizen’s grassroots groups undermined by government and elite democrats?

Democracy and the idea adequate representation is failing in America. Mass movements are the only practical options the populace has left to pry any socially beneficial action out of the U.S. ruling elite. Mass movements have been the power tools used by the well organized American underdog to achieve essential humanitarian reform such as the abolition of slavery, labor reforms, suffrage for women and blacks, equal rights for blacks, women, and gays (for many of whom the struggle continues), and the list goes on. However, the American populous, even with their advantage of numbers, still remains the David in comparison to the Goliath of the wealthy and powerful few. Those mighty few have strong defenses against mass movements ranging from lawsuits filings to lethal force. A knowledge of these defenses is of great value to the people of a movement because it allows them to better plan their attack. What follows is a brief overview of theses defenses.

One of the best defenses that mass movement opponents have is time. Bruce Miroff, professor and chair of political science and the State University of New York—Albany, et al states that “mass movements cannot maintain a fever pitch of activism for long,” Mass movement opponents buy time by appointing investigation committees to look into the issue under protest. These investigations are usually lengthy and result in few reforms. One such investigation is the 1968 Kinsey report, appointed by president Lyndon B. Johnson, in response to the urban riots in Chicago. (279) The investigation lasted at least seven months which is plenty of time for the passion of a movement to subside, thereby eliminating the need for reform.

Another approach of pacifying political passion employed by mass movement opponents is to separate leaders—the fanners of the flame—from the movements by appointing them to research committees. This is particularly effective because it has two anti-movement effects in one: (1) It gives the appearance of significant action without any real results (what Miroff calls “tokenism” [279]) which shuts-up the naive and moderately concerned, and (2) the leaders, one of the five essential ingredients for an effective movement according to Miroff (276), apply their time and energy to bureaucratic negotiations instead of the movement they started in.

When these intellectual, pseudo-appeasement tactics prove not to be enough, the opponents, using their superior and (usually) un-earned power, take off their “nice-person” mask and turn to intimidation, violence, and blackmail—revealing the true Goliath underneath.

They use paper intimidation. This tactic is utilized mainly by large corporations against the individuals of environmentalist movements. The corporations slap, or threaten to slap, environmental protestors with lawsuits charging harassment or violations of property rights (284), forcing them to weigh the importance of their issue against the future of their finances. This technique has acquired a name unique to itself: ironically, SLAPP’s (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

Opponents also intimidate with violence—or the threat of violence. Throughout the history

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