Heeding the push from below: How do social movements persuade the rich to listen to the poor?
This article discusses three successful pro-poor social movements: the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement, the Indian wing of the People’s Health Movement and the South African Treatment Action Campaign. These have mobilized poor people to demand access to land, health services and life-saving medical treatment respectively. We show how each group has succeeded not only through building the ‘voice’ of the poor to make forceful demands, but also through facilitating the development of ‘receptive social environments’ in which the rich are willing to take these voices seriously. Community psychologists need to pay more attention to the latter challenge.