Introduction

Grassroots Democracy: Social Movements Since the 1960s
(POLI 16/ICS 36)
Nicky González Yuen, Instructor

"I guess the lesson we learned is that there isn’t always power in having numbers; the power is in the organization of the numbers you have."-- Ryan Stroman, De Anza College Student Activist (Spring '04 organizing project)

Welcome! The quote above is indicative of exactly the kind of lesson I want students to learn: how people historically have democratically organized to fight to make their lives and their communities go better. How have they built social movements for peace, equality, racial and social justice, and for an environmentally sustainable world that we can all live in together? And how can these lessons can be applied to our current world?

Now, perhaps more than at any time in the history of our species, we are at a pivotal moment. Will we choose and create a path of sustainability and justice? Or will we let our community and planet be run into chaos and destruction? Here's your chance to understand your choices and your power.

This class is a study in how regular people have used the tools of democratic participation and community organizing to bring about a more just and sustainable world.  We'll start with a study of the 1960s civil rights movement and the movements that flourished in that era, but we will also integrate contemporary movements for environmental sustainability, workers rights, immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, feminism, global peace and more.

Please read the class syllabus for details about the course operates.

I hope you will enjoy this class. Please be in touch with me with any questions or concerns you have.

Nicky González Yuen, Ph.D, JD
Chair, Political Science Dept.
De Anza College

"If a teacher does not involve himself, his values, his commitments, in the course of discussion, why should the students?"-- Paul D. Wellstone, Professor of Political Science, Community Organizer, United States Senator (1944-2002)