Inspiring stories of social and political activism


  Inspiring stories of social and political activism

You might think that popular movements are only happening in the U.S. and Europe, but there have been inspiring moments of social and political activism all over the world throughout history. 

In India, Gandhi led peaceful protests against British rule to end colonialism in 1947. In Chile, Salvador Allende fought for socialist reform until a military coup ended his presidency in 1973. In Czechoslovakia, Helena Sukova spoke out for individual freedom and human rights as an activist and journalist during the 1960s before being arrested by Soviet troops in 1968. And here at home, Jesse Jackson organized a march across the U.S., starting from Selma to protest racism during 1965-1966.

The above examples show that the power of popular movements can still be seen today, and we think you will enjoy listening to these inspiring stories.

Although we have focused our attention on the U.S.A., we think you might find stories from elsewhere around the world just as interesting...

This collection continues and takes on other themes in each episode including: 
• History of social movements (we are always looking for your suggestions) • Activism in schools • Drug policy reform • Race-related issues • Climate change activism  • Education activism • Civil rights and equality for LGBTQIA people  • Nonviolent protest against dictatorship- like Burma, Cuba, or Iran  • And eco-activism .  • Voting rights, participation and election reform  • And how leaders organize peaceful protest against dictatorships like in Burma, Cuba, or Iran  • And much more ...

The series is hosted by Bill Ayers, an activist for peace and social justice for the last 40 years. The show's producer is Jeremy Earp of the Global Justice Ecology Project. 

The first two episodes of "Eyes on the Prize" are now available to stream online: The first episode looks at the Catholic Worker Movement started by Dorothy Day, and the second focuses on Sojourner Truth. Later episodes will look at more recent social activism.

The show began streaming on January 15, 2014. The series features 15 episodes in its first season. Ayers will host the series, and each episode will feature a discussion of a particular movement while including commentary by guest historians and activists. They also plan to review recent events in the U.S. as they apply to social movements.

Eyes on the Prize is being introduced through a partnership with popular podcast network "The Archive," which hosts shows such as "Radiolab," "This American Life" and "Crimetown." Eyes on the Prize is also available through iTunes and other online outlets such as Stitcher Radio .

"Eyes on the Prize" is created by Jeremy Earp and produced by the Global Justice Ecology Project. It is produced with support from the Ford Foundation, The Archive, and WGBH.

"Eyes on the Prize" began as a program at WGBH Boston Public Television in Fall 2013. The series caught the attention of podcast host and activist Bill Ayers in 2014 when he came across it during his research into former Cuban president Fidel Castro's communist government.

1)  The India Movement started off as a nonviolent campaign movement led by Mahatma Gandhi to end British colonialism. Through his numerous speeches and writings, Gandhi advocated for the idea of satyagraha, or non-violent resistance. 

2)  Salvador Allende was a Chilean physician and politician who was elected President in 1970. He became a symbol of socialist reform in Chile during his presidency until he was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. He died several months later from natural causes.

3)  Helena Sukova was a Czech writer, political activist, and journalist during the 1960s and '70s. In 1968, she was arrested by the Soviet Union for promoting human rights and freedom of speech. However, she was released in 1969 upon the collapse of the USSR.

4)  Jesse Jackson was a civil rights activist and Baptist minister who founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition that helped to gain voting rights for African Americans after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He also mobilized a historic march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama to protest racially motivated violence by police against African Americans.

5)  Advocates of nonviolent direct action believe that people should take action to change their situation when violent means are not available. One very powerful form of nonviolence is hunger striking. Many of the world's most widely known leaders have used this tactic, including Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, and Bobby Sands. 

6)  Strikes are another form of nonviolent direct action. One example was the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts to protest working conditions and child labor.

7)  Civil disobedience is a way that people can take a stand against unjust laws or policies by breaking them publicly to bring attention to their cause. Civil disobedience has been used in the US with notable figures such as Henry David Thoreau refusing to pay his taxes.

8)  Race-related issues have been a major focus of social movements for hundreds of years. Some of the most famous examples include the Civil Rights Movement, both before and after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led it; Chinese anticolonialism; opposition to slavery in the United States; and Indian resistance to colonialism.

9)  Nonviolent protest is another very common form of protest used by social movements today. Perhaps the most well known nonviolent direct action campaigns are those that took place during the civil rights movement in order to end racism against African Americans in America and many countries today, such as South Africa and Brazil. 

10)  Eternal pacifism is the concept of nonviolence that says that one cannot use violence against another person. This often happens during war, when soldiers refuse to carry out orders to kill other people at the order of their superiors.

11)  The U.S. was founded during a nonviolent movement by people who were tired of the tyranny in England and wanted freedom and independence for themselves as well as others in their country. The Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson established this document, which is one of many used to justify independence from Britain.


In the review, I have talked about the most well known and popular social movements in history. From there, you can see that nonviolent means are sometimes required to make change. Furthermore, nonviolence is also a form of protest that is used by social movements all over the world today. When possible, it is your right to take whatever actions you want to express your freedom from oppression and human rights violations. 

If you want more information on how nonviolence can be used effectively in social movements, check out Eyes on the Prize here: https://www.beyondthisfidaystreamingmedia.

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