Social action and community

Social action is defined as taking action- typically direct action- in order to improve something in your community; usually on a small scale. Social action is typically for people who are downtrodden or don’t have the financial resources to bring their opinions to a wider audience through advertising alone. Some examples of social action include: strikes- like in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher decided to close 20 mines across the country, their were many strikes up and down the country including the now dubbed “battle of Ogreave” which is reported to have had around 10,000 participants. Another example of social action is petitioning. An example of a petition working can be found in the 1990s, where an online petition was put online calling for the film Airborne to be put on DVD, the petition worked and Airborne was released on DVD. A more recent example of a petition becoming incredibly effective in a debate setting is the petition calling for the return of Jeremy Clarkson back to top gear, as of this writing the petition has received nearly a million signatures. Another example of social action is elections. In England we have a general election every 4-5 years, typically the election is used to pick the leader of the country, unfortunately people are becoming disenfranchised with politics, this is shown in our voter turnout of the last 15 years. The UK has gone from a turnout high in 1950- with a turnout of 83.9%- while in the past 15 years our turnout hasn’t gone over 70% – our lowest point being in 2001 where only 59.4% of eligible voters turned out to vote. Another form of social action is charity work. An example of charity work helping the community and effecting social change is comic relief. Where celebrities- including actors, comedians and even politicians- take part in a series of sketches in order to raise money for communities in other countries which desperately need the help. Since its inception it has raised over 1 billion pounds. Social action can have a profoundly – sometimes unnoticed – effect on society. Another example of Social action is demonstrations. An example of demonstrations comes from 4 years ago when a group called Frack off, held demonstrations all across the country in an attempt to stop Fracking in England. .Sometimes it happens on a small scale, and other times it happens on a big scale. An example of social action effecting change on a small scale is the new era estate incident. After months of marching and petitioning 93 families defeated a US real estate investor worth $11. The US investor was forced to sell the houses to a London based charity- whose stated goal is to deliver affordable housing to middle to low income families. An example of a massive change in the social order is the rise of UKIP. What started out as a simple pressure group with a goal of getting out of the EU, has become party with a massive following and an election win under their belt- albeit the election was a European one. Now with two seats won in two by election, UKIP look like a force to be reckoned with heading into the 2015 General Election. There are some groups set up in this country with the designed intent on effecting social change. Most of these groups are legal; and some aren’t. An example of one of these groups is catch 22. Catch 22 has a long and rich history. According to the catch 22 website, the group finds its origins in 1788 when the groups forerunners the philanthropic society was founded- which was founded in the name of preventing vice and misery among the poor. They also sought to “unite the spirit of charity with the principles of trade”. Catch 22 was officially established in 2008 when the crime concern charity merged with Rainer- which had previously merged with the Royal Philanthropic Society in 1997- to form catch 22. Catch 22 is funded and supported by many different groups and bodies, including: working with HSBC to employ more young people, supporting female offenders with Serco, investing in enterprising apprentices with J.P.Morgan and many more. Catch22’s goal seems to be helping people- primarily young people- who have had problems or have made a mistake get a fair shot at life through giving them the tools- such as education and qualification- to forge their own path in life. Another example of a group set up to effect change on a political level is the republican campaign of England. The group was originally created in 1983 by a small group of republicans in London. It became a fully fledged pressure group in 2006 and has been going strong ever since. The aims of Republic are to dismantle the monarchy in favor of an elected head of state. They also seek to create an official constitution for the country of England. They are funded by official members- as it only takes £1 a month to become a member. Due to their lack of exposure it’s fair to say they don’t have a great amount of cash behind them. Community productions is media content created by charities in order to promote themselves and raise moneys. An example of this type of content is the aforementioned comic relief, which airs every year. Of course there are other examples of community media, including advertising over social media- which is often for free to have an account. They also advertise through TV adverts. Social action groups are everywhere and wherever you find inequality, unfairness or injustice, you’re going to find a social group, which opposes said injustice.

http://www.brassmagazine.com/blog/do-online-petitions-work http://www.standard.co.uk/news/celebritynews/jeremy-clarkson-petition-soars-past-one-million-signatures-as-suspended-top-gear-host-warns-protest-never-works-10124676.html www.parliament.uk/voter-engagement-in-the-uk   http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/19/new-era-residents-celebrate-charity-buys-estate-investor http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21614073 http://www.catch-22.org.uk/who-we-are/strategy-2012-2015 https://republic.org.uk/what-we-want

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