The freedom that Americans enjoy have given rise over the years to a wide variety of social movements, whose agendas are expressed in collective-action and non-conventional tactics in order to make their message heard by the masses.One of the largest collective-action tactics employed in recent years in the United States was launched in the 1990s by African-American men, whose quest for racial equality and fair opportunities in employment, housing, and the like led to the formation of what was billed as The Million Man March, which called upon African American men to assemble en masse in Washington DC on a given date/time to demonstrate not only that they existed as a unified group in large numbers, but also that they wished to be taken seriously and to be given respect in the racially biased United States (Diani, et al).
While critics disputed the actual number of participants in The Million Man March, one fact cannot be denied- the march represented one of the largest collective-action tactics in American history.Recently, a non-conventional tactic was undertaken to make a point in the anti-war movement, which currently opposes the involvement of the US military in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist and mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, set up a campsite near the Texas ranch of President George W. Bush as a way of raising the level of awareness that the war is destroying the lives of average Americans. In the process, Sheehan’s solitary protest has led to many more people joining her in her efforts.This essay has shown how one person or one million can utilize creativity and ambition to make a point and/or raise awareness of a given social movement.
In closing, perhaps the most important point to be remembered is that while many messages are important, so are the messengers that carry them.Works CitedDiani, Mario, and Doug Mcadam, eds. Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action.
Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2003.