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When I’m not on twitter I spend my life training activists, campaigners and change-makers on how to make effective, strategic and regenerative social change. In movement theory there is a concept of a “movement lifecycle” which I think is really important for ppl to know about rn A graph with X axis as emotional state and y as time. Showin
When looking at movements throughout history they have a typical cycle of energy and activity. Most people think of a movement as existing in its “uprising” and it’s “peak”. These are stages when there’s been a “trigger moment” that kicks of rapid change and attention
There are lots of types of trigger moments but right now are unprecedented times in my lifetime and we are living through a few simultaneously (on different scales) e.g. COVID-19 and global lockdowns, the murder of George Floyd, the reform of the GRA and many more
A movements life cycle doesn’t stay in the peak- it moves into “Contraction” and “evolution” —- these stages of a lifecycle can be wholly demoralising becuase to the people directly affected it feels like no one cares anymore.
Emotional states rise significantly in uprising and peak but collapse quickly when the movement meets its contraction stage. But these moments also lead society into a state of creating a “New Normal” and regrowth for the movement.
And then the cycle continues. All of this to say: it doesn’t make it okay that people care about racism/trans rights/feeding hungry children etc. One week and not the next but it *will* happen and it will take your emotional well-being with it.
It’s also a political strategy of leaders like Trump &Johnson to bombard us with new things to distract or divide us. Trump tweeted about trans ppl being a burden on Healthcare *while* pushing anti-Obamacare policies thru to distract the left&garner support for health segregation
We are seeing that again right now with Trumps and Johnson’s attempts to use trans rights as a distraction from BLM uprisings last weekend. The Black Trans Lives March in NY was a great way to resist that attempt to pit community needs against each other. Back to the lifecycle...
Contraction happens to all social movements. I hope knowing this theory offers some respite;an understanding that this is built into the DNA of how all social movements work so you can plan to take care of yourselves in the inevitable moment it will feel like noone cares anymore
It also might help you focus on what you want to take into “the new normal” while in the uprising & peak - what new people, what demands and what social commitments. What from this moment, should we carry into the future world and what should we leave behind. Let that guide you
Shout out to @AyniTeam @momentum_mvmts @movementnetlab and @NEON_UK if you want to learn more about movement building and theory
And full credit to Movement Netlab @movementnetlab who developed this tool in 2013 movementnetlab.org/movement-cycle/
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