Moment of the whirlwind

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A moment of the whirlwind is a rupture with the normal workings of society resulting in a wave of new activist waters for a cause or movement. At such times, it is useful for a movement to have established a retention plan in order to absorb active supporters. Moments of the whirlwind constitute social crises that can be consciously perpetrated by social movements. -Mark and Paul Engler [1]

Examples of moment of the whirlwind

The Three Mile Island power plant in 1979

  • Just days after the plant had an accident, a previously planned anti-nuclear rally in San Francisco that ordinarily might have attracted hundreds of participants instead drew a crowd of 25,000. [2]

Rosa parks arrest

  • The 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus prompted a community-wide boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, [3]

Wet'suwet'en Raids

  • The violent raids by military and RCMP on Wet'suwet'en land defenders that occured in 2020 can be considered a trigger event, as numerous civil disobedience actions sprung up in solidarity after the incident. [4]

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