Justice and equality are at the core of American values in society. But many injustices continue to occur in oppressed populations. The Southwest Organizing Project prides itself on fighting injustices and promoting equality. Environmental injustice issues are becoming more prevalent due to a lack of resources and awareness. Social movements are on the rise and fighting harder than ever to save the people and the earth. Movements are ongoing but change over time. With every new generation comes new concerns and availabilities of resources. The fight is never over and must continue to pursue change. It is an ongoing process that is never really over. Throughout this paper, I will analyze how the Southwest Organizing Project and the Water Protectors have shaped their identity, created a culture, and the outcomes of their goals.
Literature Review: — REFERENCES AND ADD MORE FROM BIG QUESTIONS AND READINGS (AT LEAST 1 paragraph) compare and contrast… it will helpwith analysis
Social movements affect the development of culture and identity. Culture is constructed and reconstructed by different groups at different times. Culture influences why people care about a certain issue and why people are mobilized to join a social movement. It creates a sense of community. Culture can be many shared things such as: language, symbolic, norms, values, and beliefs. Organizational form, tactics, and mobilization are in the cultural toolkit. Culture is created to keep movement members interested in the cause and tactics will be dependent on it. Social movements create a change in culture which leads to a policy change. Policy change can create change but it doesn’t guarantee lasting change.
Collective Identities are linked to culture. They are an individual’s: moral, emotional, and cognitive connection with the community. Cultural identities are broken down into three dimensions: identity for empowerment, identity as a goal, and identity as a strategy. Identity framing will influence the mobilization process. Identity empowers people to come together and realize who they are and fight for what they believe in. In order to understand the outcome of a social movement, dynamics and interactions must be accounted for.
But how do movements impact the world? It can be through: policy change, changing norms, changing culture, group solidarity, raising awareness, and forming an identity. Changes in relationships, time, spuriousness and a variety of other factors can cause social movements to form. Spurious variables are caused by cultural drifts, context, emergence of other movements/ counter-movements, political variables, and public opinion. Intra-movement variables are dependent on social capital which exists within ties of other networks. Impacts that are external to the movement can be determined by goal attainment. It’s not just about winning or losing. Everything is just a tiny incremental battle. Maintaining agency, morale, agency, mobilization, and legitimacy are important to keep a movement going. Movements must survive whether it is in the form of a co-opt, organization, idea, or if an institution gains control of the movement. Success will influence the availability of resources, as it can possibly be harmful.
Case Studies: The Southwest Organizing Project and the Water Protectors
The Southwest Organizing Project is a community-based member organization giving community members a voice for social, economic and environmental decisions that affect their daily lives. The Southwest Organizing Project or SWOP brings people together by promoting equality and justice. They advocate for helping oppressed indigenous communities to defend their native rights and fight for environmental justice. Specifically, related to water and other natural resources in their environment against contamination by commercial activities. SWOP continues to focus on building support and mobilizing community members by bringing a diverse group of people together. Similarly, the Water Protector’s initiative looks at protecting the indigenous people’s rights and their land. The Southwest Organizing Project gives people hope and a voice which enables them to fight against companies supported by politicians who profit from destroying the natural resources.
The Southwest Organizing Project prides itself in engaging in game-changing improvements for the people of New Mexico. What makes the organization effective in fighting for the rights of the people is the fact that it combines deep grassroots organizing with voter engagement to accomplish their goals of: environmental reforms, tax fairness and social and environmental justices. This makes up its organizational culture, collective identity and cultural tactics that involve bringing a diverse group of people together in the fight to achieve equality and justice. The Southwest Organizing Project has broken up into subgroups within the organization targeting different types of people. The first subgroup focuses on youth rights, which targets youth to become involved and grow into leaders within the community. The next group is focused on feminism, which targets women. Another group focuses on food justice and targets community members who promote health through initiatives such as gardening and education. The next group focuses on environmental justice that targets people who care about the environment. The last subgroup is Universidad Sin Frontera, that focuses on immigrants and people that want to protect immigrants. Overall, they have many different subgroups within their organization that makes people feel connected to an issue that they care deeply about. It’s very inviting to many groups of people.
Having the ability to mobilize many groups of people, the Southwest Organizing Project has a larger influence when it comes to having effects on and as well as how American culture influences it. For example, the American culture has been plagued with cases of inequality and races that can only be fought effectively by organizations made up of local members. For instance, the Southwest Organizing Project succeeds in fighting for racial and gender equality as well as social and economic justice and how it impacts American culture influences its objectives. They use American cultural tactics such as: utilizing the legal system, using their voices to protest, raise awareness, bringing a diverse group of people together, and utilize the media.
The Southwest Organizing Project has been influenced by the American political dynamics, most importantly the 2016 presidential election due to attacks based on racial rhetoric and lack of focus on environmental issues. The Southwest Organizing Project focused on achieving environmental justice, most importantly helping people of color who were suffering from environmental injustices in their communities. The organization affects the American political dynamics through helping people of New Mexico and other areas to fight against exploitation of their resources or pollution of their environment. One major success achieved by SWOP is that they have fought against the exploitation of the people by corporations mainly interested in extracting resources but not investing in the local communities. Specifically, the organization fought the Santolina, development project that has negative impacts on the community by such draining resources such as water and polluting the air. The Southwest Organizing Project has also influenced global environmental justice campaigns such as protests against the World Trade Organization and many other campaigns. The Water Protectors have also been facing more injustices under the Trump administration due to his lack of environmental concern, which influences both the American and the global political dynamics.
The Southwest Organizing Project has achieved success by networking with other organizations and counter-movements. They have formed connections and participated in the Standing Rock protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the oil pipelines that continue to threaten drinking water supplies for the indigenous tribes in the area. The Water Protectors focus on: protecting water, supporting indigenous youth, support native women, and stay in prayer. Water protectors and other protesters oppose the project under the understanding that it will destroy sacred lands and threaten pollution of Standing Rock’s water, as well as other communities along the way. They have created a culture that brings Native American communities together to protect the land. Their culture brings them together and they use prayer as a tactic considering their shared cultural beliefs. They stand together in protest of the oil pipelines and are utilizing the court system to fight the incarceration of a few protesters who have been labeled as “violent” and “defiant.” The incarceration of the individuals in the movement can be seen as a failure because it ruins the public perception of the social movement.
The culture of the Southwest Organizing Project and the Water Protectors are very similar. They frame their movements using themes of injustice that bring people together creating a culture of diversity. The Southwest Organizing Project identifies themselves as a: racial, justice, gender, environmental, and feminism organization. They use identity for empowerment to help mobilize people and they have many different subgroups within their organization. They also use identity as a goal to give people of color a voice. They consist of people of a diverse group of people in Albuquerque who want to make a positive impact in the world. They emphasize on everyone having a clean and safe living environment. They believe that injustices are planned and that the only way to tackle change effectively is to get to the root of the problem by determining who is paying for particular projects and who these projects benefit.
Similarly, the Water Protectors identify themselves as an environmental and social movement. They use identity for empowerment because it helps them mobilize people from their culture to join their movement. Identity is also used as a strategy to confront the issues that affect their communities and the injustices brought on by the opposing dominant groups. Thousands of individuals from the Native Americans together with their allies gathered in 2016 with the aim of defending the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers from Dakota Access pipeline. After the completion of the project, approximately half a million barrels of crude oil would be transported from Bakken oil fields located in Western North Dakota. Supporters of the project believe that it would provide a safer and cheaper mode of transport for crude oil when compared to truck or rails (Carlin, 2016). However, opponents of the project claim that the route would be a case of environmental racism. This refers to the placing of environmentally dangerous equipment near or in poor communities of color.
The Water Protectors have a flag that represents the Indian American culture. The flag comprises of white, red, black and red colors. Before, the movement commenced its demonstrations it was placed at the top of the flag poles, at the back of the various pick up tracks and at the movement’s individual camps. The flag has a raised fist in the middle as well as a sign of peace. The movement has an elaborate ceremony that comprises of songs, dance and drums. The people presented their donations to the camp’s leader. The ceremonies are often characterized by all night prayers and music as well as the formal presentation of gifts. Moreover, the struggle and demonstrations against Dakota Access Pipelines, the ceremony signified political action. Therefore, Standing Rock ceremony is culturally significant due to the grievances against the North Dakota Project (Elbein, 2017). In addition, the political action within the movement is seen as a chance of learning or revisiting traditions. In this case culture is a shared set of values, beliefs, language, heritage, and it holds symbolic significance.
Goals of social movements will influence the movement outcomes. The Southwest Organizing Project has many ongoing goals and they change with time and new issues of injustice that arise. For example, the movement is focusing on justice for women considering the 11 unresolved murders in Albuquerque of women of color. The group has been working with community leaders and investigating these incidents. The Southwest Organizing Project is a successful social movement organization and has been around for a long time. They are continuously fighting for justice and have identified with many creating a strong culture of activists and resources who maintain the mobilized.
The Water Protectors have one goal which is protecting the water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Their goal is very specific and they may experience a rise and drop effect once their goal has been met or fails. They seem to have a lack of resources, well. This hurts their movement and some people are incarcerated due to their involvement. The Water Protectors are protesting and using legal tactics to save the water. They have been fighting since December 2015 and are still pursuing their goal through means of legal action which has been continuously delayed. The outcome of their success in protecting the water will determine if they have failed or are successful.
Possible Outcomes / Future for CE SMO and Movement
Outcomes of social movements are shaped by many factors. Some of these factors include: type of goal, duration, resilience, resources, unity, and size. The future of the Southwest Organizing Project looks good. Their goals to fight injustice is general and never ending. They use many different nonviolent tactics and have mobilized many people. They have maintained their mass of supporters and their resources. They appeal to many subgroups because they are interested in bringing positive change. Mass participation and unity are key to the ongoing success of a movement. They have won many small battles and are still striving toward the fight of ending injustices. Injustices will never end. New issues are constantly arising and people need their voices heard. Overall, I can see the Southwest Organizing Project sticking around for a long time and they will maintain their success.
The Water Protectors have a very specific goal. They appeal to environmentalists and American Indians which excludes a lot of people in the population. Under the current administration, I believe that this movement will fail at protecting the water. People begin to lose faith when movements take long to achieve their goals. The Water Protectors have also lost some form of legitimacy because many people have deemed them as being violent. In general, non-violent campaigns are more successful and favored by more people. The Water Protectors are not united and have voted their leader out of office, while he only retained 37% of votes. With a goal that will probably not be achieved and people not standing united, the Water Protectors movement will fade away and I believe their movement will completely disappear. Overall, environmental justice issues will constantly arise, I believe this movement has failed. They can learn from their mistakes and create a new social movement organization to help keep people engaged to protect the environment.