A source of inspiration
Throughout history, we might have to thank lots of women and men for having fought for women rights and for being an exceptional source of inspiration; the Parisians, for example, that in front of the Palace of Versailles during the French Revolution were claiming women’s right to vote. Or when on the 8 of May 1857 a group of women workers in New York submitted a proposal to improve their working conditions. We also have to thank the suffragettes in the UK and the feminists of the late 19th century in US, opposed to the legalization of abortion, and so on.
By comparing different campaigns (similar issues) throughout history, we realize that the practices used in civil society for advocating change to decision makers and the way to tackle them haven’t change much over the years. The “outside track” that Paul Hilder defines as one of the two approaches of campaigning(popular mobilizations and social movements which actively involve a wider public in making claims on power) is present in all the campaigns we have mentioned.
For instance, the women’s right to choose campaign in US. I would like to share with you the Huffington post article 21 Inspirational Images Of Women Standing Up For The Right To Choose; it’s a historical review of campaigning for women’s right to choose in US from 1935 to the present. I took some “inspirational” examples.
1967: Birth Control information on New York buses is held up for scrutiny by Marcia Goldstein, the publicity director of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by H. William Tetlow/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1971: Demonstrators demanding a woman’s right to choose march to the U.S. Capitol for a rally seeking repeal of all anti-abortion laws in Washington, D.C., Nov. 20, 1971. On the other side of the Capitol was a demonstration held by those who are against abortion. (AP Photo)
1973: Pro-abortion rights campaigners at a demonstration in favor of abortion in front of the American Hotel in mid-town New York, where the American Medical Association is holding its annual convention. (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)
1974: A reproductive rights demonstration, Pittsburgh, PA, 1974. (Photo by Barbara Freeman/Getty Images)
1986: Pro-abortion rights campaigners at a National March For Women’s Lives in Washington DC, 9th March 1986. (Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)
1999: Protesters organized by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League demonstrate across the street from the hotel in New York where Republican Texas Governor and presidential hopeful George W. Bush appeared at a reception 05 October, 1999. (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
2013: Women hold up signs during a women’s pro-abortion rights rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Source: Huffington Post website, Jan 21, 2015
Although the fact that the same problems have been tackled for years may lead to problems of legitimacy, campaigning in the present has also advantages such as the power of the media and new technologies in supporting mass mobilization (Hilder, Caulier Grice, Lalor: 2013)
After those images, it’s easier to carry on with the fight; a long road lies ahead of us and with examples like the “Black Protest” movement, we are demonstrating we are ready for it.
Liz Hutchins. Friends of the Earth. Campaigning for change: Lessons from History
Nina Bahadour, 2015.21 Inspirational Images Of Women Standing Up For The Right To Choose. The Huffington post.
Paul Hilder, Julier Cautier-Grice, Kate Lalor, 2013. The Young Foundation. Contentious Citizens.