Chapter 5. Popular Struggles And Movements

Pressure groups and Movements
• Pressure groups are organisations that attempt to influence government policies. But unlike political parties, pressure groups do not aim to directly control or share political power.
• These organisations are formed when people with common occupations, interests, aspirations or opinions come together to achieve a common objective.
• A movement like an interest group attempts to influence politics rather than directly take part in electoral competition. But unlike interest groups, movements have a loose organisation.
• Their decision-making is more informal and flexible. They rely much more on spontaneous mass participation than an interest group.
• Most of movements are issue-specific movements that seek to achieve a single objective within a limited time frame. Others are more general or generic movements that seek to achieve a broad goal in very long term.

Sectional Interest Groups and Public Interest Groups
• Sectional Interest Groups generally seek to promote interests of a particular section or group of society like, trade unions, business associations. They are sectional because they represent a section of society: workers, employees. Their principal concern is betterment and well-being of their members, not society in general.
• second type of group is known as Promotional Groups or Public Interest Groups. They promote collective rather than selective good. They aim to help groups other than their own members. For example, a group fighting against bonded labour fights not for itself but for those who suffer under such bondage.

Influence on Politics
• Pressure groups and movements exert influence on politics in a variety of ways:
(1) They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activities by carrying out information campaigns, organising meetings, filing petitions.
(2) They often organise protest activities like strikes or disrupt government programmes.
(3) Some persons from pressure groups or movement groups may participate in official bodies and committees that offer advice to government.
• Pressure groups and movements have deepened democracy. Putting pressure on rulers is not an unhealthy activity in a democracy as long as everyone gets this opportunity.

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