Meaning of Social Movements

by Kensuke Kubo

Around the world, a lot of social movements are happening, fighting against those who have power. Recently, in the United States, big social movement happened. In 2011, after occurring the Lehman shock, Wall Street was occupied by young Americans against the US government. The reason why they had such a strong social movement was that US government did not take enough steps to deal with the situation of economy or unemployment people after the Lehman shock. The movement is lasting even now. Participants had their common slogan, “We are the 99 percent” which means that since 1970s, the properties of rich people in top of 1 percent in the US has more and more increasing and expand gap between the 1 percent people and the others. Participants wanted to insist such an opinion to government through the social movements.

But, was this an efficient way to send their opinion? I do not think that it is efficient way to insist that. In the case of such social movements, a lot of people fight with policeman, break something like shops, cars, windows and so on. Of course gathering many opinions is important and become strong to protest someone, but participants do not have to be violent in this case.

In Japan, comparing the world, social movements are not active. Many people think that it is one of the cultures of Japanese which means that Japanese people hesitate to insist their opinion in public and tend to become silent. So, I have never seen this before until last year. But, after the big earthquake and the accident in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant happened, demonstrations are increasing more and more in all over Japan. In this demonstration, participants are gathered by using SNS such as Twitter, Facebook, mixi and so on. People from various generation are doing that, especially young or mother who has children are a lot. When I saw the scene, I noticed that it did not relate between the less social movements and specific cultures if people have to protect something like their future or family. All of the participants of the demonstration are hoping to change something, and it is the common consciousness around the world. Even I attached before that social movements is not an efficient way to insist their opinion, I think it is a good for society to be able to share their opinion.

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