It’s up to The People, to turn our upside down world right side up. Find your place in the activism world.
The following non-corporate activist groups, and citizen lobbying groups, are examples of capable organizations that maximize the uplifting efforts of ordinary citizens.
Add your energy to group action synergy. Support. Spread the word. Take action!
UPDATED: October 17, 2021
If Everyone Does a Little…
The political and social action you take depends on your personal resources of time, ability, and money. Do what you’re able to do, whether it’s a little or a lot. YOU are not solely responsible for saving the world. While some of you will be called to leadership, most people contribute in a smaller capacity. And that’s just what we need: an army of foot soldiers that demand progress.
You may join a local activist group. You may support activism over the Internet. You may donate money, protest in the streets, lobby Congress members, or sign online petitions. Whatever you can do, it helps — because millions of people, just like you, are also doing whatever they can.
TIP: If you engage in peaceful protests or acts of civil disobedience, don’t do it alone. Join a group that trains members how to deal with violent interference from the opposition and supports members when they get arrested. There’s safety in numbers, and groups usually exert a greater social and political impact than a lone protester.
Applied Citizen Pressure
Many elected representatives proclaim support for various policies. But what have they actually done to promote a policy, besides give it lip-service? This is where you come in: applied citizen pressure can turn “supporting” lawmakers into serious advocates.
In the following video, Marianne Williamson talks to Sam Daley-Harris about citizen activism. Daley-Harris inspires activists to advance from transactional activism (say, petitions) to transformational activism (say, citizen lobbying).
Climate & Environment Action
Check out these progressive activist groups that fight for climate action and the sustainable use of environmental resources.
350.org – From the website: “350 is building a future that’s just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis.”
Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen lobbyists practice “grassroots advocacy climate [action]… [that is] focused on national policies to address climate change.”
Extinction Rebellion – From the website: “Non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.”
Friends of the Earth – Tagline: “A bold voice for justice and the planet.”
Green Peace International & Green Peace USA – The mission: “Peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”
Natural Resources Defense Council – The mission: “Combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 700 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.”
Sierra Club – From the website: “The most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.”
Sunrise Movement – Tagline: “We are the Climate Revolution.”
Democratic Reform Action
Look at these progressive activist groups that fight for election reforms and governmental improvements that protect and strengthen democracy.
American Promise – The group says it exits “to empower, inspire, and organize Americans to win the 28th Amendment to the Constitution… [to] re-balance our politics and government by putting the rights of individual citizens before the privileges of concentrated money, corporations, unions, political parties, and superPACs.” The group’s actions include writing letters to the editor and citizen lobbying.
Common Cause – From the website: “More than 1 million powerful, fearless, ordinary Americans working together to build a democracy that works for us all.”
Fair Vote – The mission: “A nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.” Fair Vote advocates for Ranked Choice Voting.
National Ranked Choice Voting – Volunteer to start a local chapter, join the social media brigade, or do phone banking and outreach.
Represent.Us – Fighting political corruption. From the website: “We’re uniting Americans to fix our broken political system.”
STAR Voting – An automatic runoff voting system. From the website: “We should be able to vote our conscience, our votes should never be wasted, and our elections should accurately reflect the will of the people.”
Wolf PAC – Fighting for a Constitutional amendment. From the website: “There is an emergency in America. Corruption and special interests have a stranglehold on Congress. We have the solution.”
Social, Human & Civil Rights Action
Check into progressive activist groups that advocate for social, human, and civil rights.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – The mission: “to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.” ACLU tips for writing letters to the editor.
AVAAZ – A super petition site, with a worldwide community. Tagline: “The world in action.”
Catholic Relief Services – “Promotes human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.” CRS University trains college and university students how “to create transformational change” for the global common good.
Civic Courage – Works with the leadership of many organizations to train their members to become citizen lobbyists that “create champions in the media and in Congress for the end of poverty, cleaning up the environment, building local economies and forwarding peace.”
Debt Collective – Tagline: “Alone our debts are a burden. Together they make us powerful.” Mission: a debtors’ union that fights to cancel debts and defend millions of households, “to build a world where college is publicly funded, healthcare is universal and housing is guaranteed for all.”
Civil Rights Corps – From the group’s mission statement: “[We are] dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the United States’ legal system — a system that is built on white supremacy and economic inequality.”
Repairers of the Breach – The mission: “Seeks to build a moral agenda rooted in a framework that uplifts our deepest moral and constitutional values to redeem the heart and soul of our country.” Founded by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber.
Results – End poverty, in the United States and around the world. Get citizen training to become a grassroots lobbyist.
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – The organization states it “is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.”
Southern Poverty Law Center – From the website: “We employ a three-pronged strategy to battle racial and social injustice: Fighting hate, learning for justice, seeking justice.” Home of the “Hate Map” (documentation of active hate groups in the United States).
Roots Action – Tagline: “Connect. Act. Grow.” The mission: “Galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.”
Revive the American anti-war effort. Join one of these progressive activist groups that fight for global peace and an American foreign policy that is based on peace and prosperity.
Code Pink – From the website: “A women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs, and other life-affirming programs.” Men are welcome to join!
Divest from the War Machine – The mission is to “encourage individual investors and our nation’s financial institutions… [to divest] from the U.S. War Machine.”
Friends Committee on National Legislation – Tagline: “Lobbying with Quakers.” Citizen lobbyists meet with Congress Members for peace, justice, and environmental stewardship.
Just Foreign Policy – The mission is exclusively focused on U.S. Foreign policy. From the website: “Dedicated to… mobilizing and organizing the broad majority of Americans who want a foreign policy based on diplomacy, law and cooperation.”
Veterans for Peace – Who they are: “A global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars.”
Win Without War – What it is: “A diverse network of activists and organizations working for a more peaceful, progressive U.S. foreign policy.”
World Beyond War – What is is: “A global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace.” It features “Peace Education,” in the form of books, webinars, and online courses.
Learn More About Activism
Read up on political and social activism. Get the background, the best practices, and inspiration for new ideas.
- The Ralph Nader Reader by Ralph Nader, Barbara Ehrenreich (Foreword)
- Reclaiming Our Democracy 20th Anniversary Edition by Sam Daley-Harris
- Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice by Les Leopold