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“The Movement Action Plan provides activists with a practical, how-to-do-it analytic tool for evaluating and organizing social movements that are focused on national and international issues, such as nuclear energy and weapons, nonintervention in Central America, civil and human rights, AIDS, democracy and freedom, apartheid, or ecological responsibility.
MAP describes eight stages through which social movements normally progress over a period of years and decades. For each state, MAP describes the role of the public, powerholders, and the movement. It provides organizers with a map of the long road of successful movements, which helps them guide their movement along the way.
Most social movements are not just in one stage. Movements usually have many demands for policy changes, and their efforts for each demand are in a specific stage.
For each of the movement's major demands or goals, MAP enables activists to evaluate the movement and identify which stage it is in; identify successes already achieved; develop effective strategies, tactics, and programs; establish short and long-term goals; and avoid common pitfalls.
Social movements do not fit neatly into MAP's eight stages or move through them in a linear way. Social movements are more dynamic. Movements have a number of different demands, and the effort for each demand is in a different MAP stage. When movements achieve one demand, they focus on achieving other demands that are at earlier stages.
Finally, MAP is only a theoretical model, built from past experience. Real-life social movements will neither fit exactly nor move through the stages linearly, smoothly, or precisely in the manner outlined.
The purpose of MAP is to give activists hope and empowerment, increase the effectiveness of social movements, and reduce the discouragement that often contributes to individual burnout, dropout, and the winding down of social movements."