1. Background The essay deals with continuities (you can think of this like similarities and differences) between forms of organizing SMs in the pre-internet age and in the internet age. We’ve dealt with labour as the dominant form of organizing opposition to perceived injustice and inequality (See Horowitz and Ogmundson articles) up to the 1980s. After this, labour weakens and social movements begin to proliferate on their own. However, new social movements
– contentious social movements, as Tilly calls them – begin to emerge roughly speaking at about the same time that the internet and digital/cellular communication becomes popular. Then, with the arrival of social media platforms, movements begin an enormous growth. I’ve argued in my lectures and discussions of readings that labour unions were seen as the dominant form or organizing against oppression and for social justice. This has now changed due to neoliberalism and other economic and demographic changes.
2. The hypothesis Discuss critically: while labour used to be the broad umbrella category for organizing against excesses of capitalism, it may well be now that technology is the umbrella institution that makes organizing against injustice possible.
3. what to do in the essay
Read and discuss highlights of the articles on labour that we have discussed (See Horowitz in May 25-27; Dadak in June 1-3; and Ogmundson and Doyle in June 8-10) Read and discuss highlights of Rodgers, Protest, Activism and Social Movements Chapters 3 and 8, and articles by Stern and Allagia and Wong for the weeks of June 8-10
Choose issues and quotes that you think best represent the ideas in each of these themes (labour as the dominant organizing agency v technology as the enabler of post-labour movements)
One thing you might find interesting now is to look at the Toronto Police Association (https://www.tpa.ca/) to see how the association, as a labour union, is trying to address perceptions of police violence against racialized minorities and people with mental health difficulties
Evaluate whether there is a continuity (ie are movements now talking about the same thing as movements then did) between the earlier and contemporary modes of organizing social movements.
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