Modern Western social movements became possible through education (the wider dissemination of literature), and increased mobility of labor due to the industrialization and urbanization of 19th century societies. It is sometimes argued that the freedom of expression, education and relative economic independence prevalent in the modern Western culture is responsible for the unprecedented number and scope of various contemporary social movements. However others point out that many of the social movements of the last hundred years grew up, like the Mau Mau in Kenya, to oppose Western colonialism. Either way, social movements have been and continue to be closely connected with democraticpolitical systems. Occasionally, social movements have been involved in democratizing nations, but more often they have flourished after democratization. Over the past 200 years, they have become part of a popular and global expression of dissent.
Modern movements often utilize technology. Also the internet was utilized too to mobilize people on a global scale. Adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful movements.
While Marx remained a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas and the ideology of Marxism began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death. This influence gained added impetus with the victory of the Bolsheviks in the Russian October Revolution in 1917, and few parts of the world remained significantly untouched by Marxian ideas in the course of the twentieth century. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming is a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Paul Hawken. The book is about the many non-profit groups and community organizations, dedicated to many different causes, which Hawken calls the “environmental and social justice movement”. Hawken explains that this is a diverse movement with no charismatic leader; that follows no unifying ideology; and which politicians, the public and the media don’t recognise. But, Hawken argues, it has the potential to benefit the planet.
A New York Times reviewer states that Blessed Unrest is "about a movement that no one has noticed, not even the people involved". For this reviewer, the "high point of the book is Hawken’s excellent critique of the chemical industry’s attack on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962", at a time when she was fighting cancer. Hawken also tells the stories of other people who have endured hardship and difficulty as they stood up to large corporations.
21 January 2017: Millions across the US and the world joined the 2017 Women's March to advocate for human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform and more following the election of President Donald Trump (The Independant)