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Social Activism and Social Change Essay Sample

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Social Activism and Social Change Essay Sample


            Whereas social activism refers to social and political activities that human beings carry out under the auspices of a given society so as to realize social dynamism or the ratification of changes in the society in which one lives in, on the other hand, social change refers to mutation of behavioral patterns in vast numbers. It is important that this change remains visible in its sustenance as the cultural behavior or perception shifts from a previously held beliefs and practices, leading to the uphold new and more feasible beliefs.

Thesis Statement                                                                                                  

               The social change views held by Martin Luther, Galderloos, Frank and Graber will always differ since there are sundry ways by which the theme of social activism and change are looked at and esteemed. At the same time, it is true that these views and theories will never marry in totality. This is because the society is made up of a mosaic of interpretation of the human society, with most schools of thoughts being akin to Karl Marx as the father of the Communist Manifesto, and other neo liberal thinkers such as Emile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud.

Views held by Martin Luther King Jr., Galderloos, Frank and Graber on Social Activism and Social Change

            Because human life and culture has always been dynamic, so has there been diversity in which different scholars, thinkers and liberators have come to understand Social Activism and/ or Social Change. It is on this premise that to an extent, there are similarities and differences that exist amongst these different social views.

            According to Martin Luther Jr., social change occurs as a totality of all that is done by men under the auspices of the society. To Martin Luther King Jr., in order for a society to realize positive social change, there has to be the taking of four fundamental steps by the very members of this society. In the first case, the society is to ascertain whether ort not, there are injustices in it. After this, there has to be negotiations on the same, self purification and finally, direct action by the society.

            According to Bernie (2001), Martin Luther King Jr., while divulging on the cause of carrying out direct action, advocates for non violent actions, which may entail peaceful protests and dissemination of public speeches.

            On the other hand, Galderloos seems to court views that are antithetical to those of Martin Luther. This is because; Galderloos repudiates the cause of non violence, positing that non violence has never been of any use in sociopolitical emancipation. Galderloos postulates that even in India, freedom did not come by the austere observation of non violence, but that through pockets of military officers’ activities, for example, like military activities which were carried out by Chandrasekhar.

          Galderloos points out at the Birmingham violence that eventually broke out as the police attempted to thwart the Afro-American demonstrations that had already seen the seizure of the nine block areas as a testimony to the inevitability of war and violence in the unsettling of the politico- economic and social status quo.  According to Galderloos (2001), the violent resistance in Vietnam is the same underpinning that brought into signing the legal draft as the Latinos, blacks and indigenous troops attacked the US army from within and carried out mass sabotage. Galderloos continues that during the German holocaust, majority of Jews were able to flee to freedom as 15,000 Jewish partisans fought the Nazis in the woods.

          It is after these series of events in 1942 to 1943 that Sobibor was closed down, and the crematoriums destroyed by Austwichtz. It is not just that Galderloos sees non violence as a lame way of trying to unsettle the status quo, but also as a racist and deluded exercise.

          On the other hand, Frank sees social change as being propounded by the entertainment sector. Frank sees music, movies, drama and the fashion world as gradually undercutting the social strata of the human society. At the same time, Graber says that it is anarchist anthropology that plays a major role in social change. To this, effect, when the status quo or the status quo ante is against the benevolence of the masses but the bourgeoisie are not interested in reforms, the masses can only emancipate themselves from exploitation by carrying out anarchism or revolution.


            In all theories, there must be similarities and differences. Whereas differences must come in, courtesy of the fact that each individual has a unique way of rationalizing concepts, the similarities must also exist, given the fact that the interpretations are anthropocentric, and as such, also demand explanations that relate to a particular  time and space dimension. All social change theories must therefore share some similarities, given that they share the same phenomena that shape man’s life on day to day basis, and thus needing explanation.

            Nevertheless, it suffices to state that Martin Luther King Jr., Frank and Graber share ideologies that to an extent espouses Marxist ideologies. Martin Luther in the first case rules out the legitimacy of laws that are divorced from the eternal law and natural law. In essence, Martin Luther maintains that the masses or the subjects have no business paying any obligation to laws that are against morality and anthropocentricity (King Jr. 2002).

               In the same wavelength, Galderloos postulates that the staging of non violence antics is a mere effort in futility. Galderloos to this effect means that the masses should only be prepared to stage much more serious antics such as sabotage and internal conflicts. The idea is that there is no individual who owes any obligation to a government that cannot protect the interest and the destiny of its society. This notion is based on political and social views of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau who saw the act of governing as the government entering a social contract with its citizens. To this end, the citizens, cede away the extreme points of their rights, liberties and their substances to this government. On the other end, the government is to accord the citizens, service delivery.

               In a closely contested spectrum, Graber and Gladwell postulate that political scores with the bourgeoisie that is selfishly unreasonable and impervious to positive reforms can only be settled effectively through the staging of anarchical moves. According to Graeber (2001), to this end, the above two concur with Martin Luther and Galderloos that there is no way the masses can remain constitutionally ancillary to a failed state.

               All the above postulations on social change seem to echo the sentiments of Karl Marx. According to Marx and later Marxists such as Friedrich Angels and Rosa Luxemburg, the ruling class or the bourgeoisie will want to control and lord over the masses for posterity. Marxism postulates that the fact that the bourgeoisie controls the means and tools of production, together with the armed forces and the constitution, places the masses at a place whereby the only way by which change can be brought is through the staging of a revolution.

               Karl Marx depicts the above situation by elucidating on the issue by saying that it is the huge pool of wealth, the ability to control the tools and factors of production that the elite are able to ascertain the worth of the labor provided by the masses. To this end, the elite pay the masses wages that are very minimal so that the former can realize profit maximization. The above situation only leads to the formation of two classes, the poor and the rich, and subsequently, class consciousness. It is this class consciousness that simmers into a revolution against the government.

               The situation above is clearly depicted by what was going on during the times of Martin Luther as the American Society was basically a polarization of two divides- the rich and free, against the poor slaves. It is no doubt the reason why Thomas Jefferson pointed out that America was a nation made up of the free and the slave, the poor and the rich but it could no longer continue to exist as such.


               It is therefore easy to see that there are various ways of carrying out social activism, depending on the way that certain goverrnmernt will be relating with its citizens. It is therefore true to say that all the governments that exist must ensure the protection of its citizens’ lives and rights. It is only by championing for the rights of the citizens that an earthly government can be rendered as legitimate.

Works Cited

Bernie, Goetz. The Rise and fall of NY City Crimes. New York: Malcolm Gladwell. 2001.

Galderloos, Peter. The Ineffectiveness of Non Violence. New York: McGraw Hill. 1999.

Graeber, David. Disintegrating the Walls to Social Activism and Change. Chicago: Buttersworth. 2001.

King Jr., Martin Luther. Letters from Birmingham Jail. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 2002.

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