Presentation on theme: "MOVEMENTS OF THE DISADVANTAGED: THE INTRIGUING CASE OF VANDU Constance A. Nathanson Columbia University."— Presentation transcript:
MOVEMENTS OF THE DISADVANTAGED: THE INTRIGUING CASE OF VANDU Constance A. Nathanson Columbia University
“The American system creates more openings for social movements to intervene in the policy process than any other liberal democratic political system, and more incentives for even the most skeptical of activists to participate in the mainstream” (Rayside 1998:13).
LIMITATIONS OF U.S SOCIAL MOVEMENTS PRIVILEGE RESOURCES OF AFFLUENT MIDDLE CLASS COLLECTIVE ACTION OPPORTUNITIES OPEN TO ALL IN ABSENCE OF COMMITTED STATE, COLLECTIVE ACTION IS FRAGILE INSTRUMENT FOR CHANGE
CONCENTRATION OF RISK— AND OPPORTUNITY Containment is the policy. A policy of benign neglect. Served a lot of interests. Low income housing was deliberately concentrated in the DTES. There’s always been an influx (of drug users) into that area. No attempt was made to decentralize. There are no low income neighborhoods next door. The DTES is the only low income area in Vancouver. (Provincial Health Officer, B.C.)
LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT SUPPORT Early in the AIDS epidemic, we were able to talk to gay men. There was nothing for injection drug users. We needed to talk to them....[They are the] real grass roots. (MOH, Vancouver)
POLITICAL SUPPORT I was raising [the plight of drug users in the DTES] in Ottawa....Someone in Ottawa who was going to bat for them. You know I sat in the minister’s office and refused to leave until I got a meeting with him, and you know bugged him as much as I could, and he actually became a very sympathetic person. (MP, Vancouver).
OUTSIDER – INSIDER STRATEGY [VANDU’s strategy is to exert] political pressure in all possible venues, primarily at the municipal level [including running for political office]. Other strategies include lawsuits, inviting Health Board members as guests to VANDU meetings, civil disobedience. Also we show up at board meetings of police, health, planning commission, once we discovered that these board meetings were public. Our tactics are confrontational, we play to the media.