Two types of demands? | Waging Nonviolence – People-Powered News and Analysis

The question of demands has been contested ever since Occupy Wall Street began last September. Do the Occupiers have any? Should they? Does making demands confer undeserved legitimacy on the powers that be? The word “demand” can mean something different for every ear that hears it. It may be clarifying, therefore, to make a distinction between two different kinds of demands a movement might make, transactional and transformational.

Transactional goals are immediate and concrete achievements that can be won relatively rapidly: saving a home, or reaching agreements with banks about certain reforms. They are changes that take place in the here and now, benchmarks, successes that can propel a movement forward, unifying and sustaining the involvement of participants. Transformational demands, on the other hand, are longer-term, aspirational and transcendent. Continue reading…

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