From the indispensable Black Agenda Report:
- Mass movements have political demands anchored in the deeply shared values of their core constituencies.
- Mass movements look to themselves and their shared values for legitimacy, not to courts, laws or elected officials. A mass movement consciously aims to lead politicians, not to be led by them.
- Mass movements are civilly disobedient, and continually maintain the credible threat of civil disobedience. They inspire and embolden large numbers of ordinarily nonpolitical souls to engage in personally risky behavior in support of the movement's political demands.
- Mass movements are supported by lots of vertical and horizontal communication reinforcing its core values.
- Mass movements capture the energy, enthusiasm and risk taking spirit of youth. Nobody ever heard of a mass movement of old or even middle aged people.
It's an interesting question whether substantial social transformation -- of the type that most readers of this blog would like to see -- is possible at all without a healthy labor movement. Personally I'm inclined to doubt it.