Why Some Movements Succeed, and Others Fail

Success Factors

Several factors are attributed to the success of various social movements. Satell (2015) argues that when a social movement has a clear purpose, it is deemed to succeed. He gives an example of Occupy Wall Street in 2011. Despite the movement having a good intention, it failed within a short period. In comparison, the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring were positive. The two had a clear purpose, and therefore, they succeeded.

Second, a social movement should have a genome of shared values that promotes its ideas to the nation. Clear and straightforward slogans related to its followers’ beliefs and values determine the cause (Satell, 2015). Planning is another factor that is the most effective in pushing for change. Finally, creating a social connection is vital for the success of social movements.

Failure Factors

Every time an individual or a group starts a social movement, their main aim is to succeed and produce the most effective result for the movement’s intended purpose. However, this has not always been the case; many movements have failed due to several factors. Morris (2019) notes that several of them have failed since they could not effectively mobilize their followers. In 1943, the FPO movement failed because the movement leaders could not rally Jews well (Morris, 2019).

Examples of Stable Organizations

Amnesty International is a movement that has become stable without much impact on social change. It is involved in ensuring individuals enjoy rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Further, the Livestrong Foundation is another movement that has become stable by selling its apparel and products without creating much social change (Livestrong, n.d). Similarly, causes such as “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” are examples of causes that only sell T-shirts and other emblems without doing much. Such organizations only intend to create awareness about a social issue.


Livestrong (n.d). Our history. Web.

Morris, A. (2019). Social movement theory: Lessons from the sociology of WEB Du Bois. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 24(2), 125-136. Web.

Satell, G. (2015). Why some movements succeed, and others fail. Digital Tonto. Web.

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