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Civil rights (or pariah) movements





The concept of civil rights in modern times was created by the medieval peace movement when they proclaimed the municipality as a local resident who jointly defended the peace against predatory lords. For a long time, the concept of citizenship was linked to the city. Only with the French Revolution was it linked to the whole country, and from the UN Declaration of Human Rights (a result of the success of labor and anti-colonial movements) one can begin to think of a global citizenship.
On the other hand, the concept of civil rights struggles with major problems, precisely because during the 1800s and 1900s it has been so strongly linked to ”co-ownership in the states”, something that with the hands-off policy of states today seems increasingly dubious.

The demands for universal and equal civil rights were one of the great popular movement themes of the 19th century. They were run by different marginalized groups with different purposes.

On the one hand, the excluded or marginalized in the industrialized countries, mainly workers and women, who tried to break the bourgeoisie’s monopoly on state power. In addition, they fought for a broader concept of citizenship, one that corresponded to the membership of the pre-industrial village, which included social rights. In many countries, they were more or less supported by middle classes who saw themselves pressured by the arrogant demands of power of the upper class.

On another hand, the inhabitants of occupied countries in the South, who tried to break the colonial power’s racist discrimination and oppression. That movement got off to a violent start already in connection with the French Revolution when the slaves in Haiti applied for citizenship. But in general, it was not until 1900 that people in the South began to define their demands as equal rights. Due to the fact that independence soon became an obvious focus in their movements, the demand for a long time tended to be exclusively directed against the North, but as the domestic elites increasingly move the affairs of transnational businesses, civil rights demands are now generally waking up at home as well.

On yet another hand, broad popular alliances in cases where power in a state has been conquered by a small coterie, e.g. the military or a minority party. Often such a coterie can come to power because it is good at playing on conflicts, which is why it is extremely difficult to gather resistance. But when it succeeds, as in Iran in 1978 or in Brazil in 1980-83 or in Eastern Europe in 1989, development will be rapid.

Today, there are four focuses for civil rights movements and movements of the marginalized.
- the traditional defense against state abuse.
- the defense of social rights against business claim for supreme power.
- the defense of the global nature of rights in an increasingly global world, as it i.a. is expressed in the rights of migrant workers and refugees in the places where they happen to be staying.
- requirements of excluded categories for equal rights. This includes above all women, who in themselves have been excluded from public participation in society since the time of the clan system, but who have begun to perceive this as increasingly unbearable as home production disappears. This also includes other groups, e.g. young people and others who are attributed less value due to one or another biological or other peculiarity.

Charles Tilly: Durable inequality, University of California Press 1999
David Gordon, Richard Edwards & Michael Reich: Segmented work, divided workers, University of Cambridge Press 1982

Immanuel Wallerstein: Integration to what? Marginalization from what?

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