Social movements, social inequality, and public policy

David France’s How to Survive a Plague is an insider’s account of the founding of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and TAG (Treatment Action Group). ACT UP and TAG were crucial in the fight against the spread of HIV in the late 1980s and early 1990s. You can find information on this acclaimed documentary at After watching it, write a commentary where you discuss some social movement issues in scholarly terms. Your commentary must answer the following questions: What are the main goals of ACT UP and TAG? What are the main tactics deployed by both organizations? Do you see any difference between the approach of ACT UP and TAG? Do you believe street/direct action tactics (such as marches, demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, kiss-ins, etc.) should be combined with electoral/policy-making-oriented tactics (such as lobbying, meetings with legislators, etc.)? Why do say so? Don’t forget to refer to the ACT UP/TAG case, but consider whether your answer applies to other social movement campaigns. To complete your journal entry, you must watch the documentary, apply your knowledge in social movements, and exercise your critical thinking skills. You can rely on the readings, discussions, and notes from Class 6 (What Movements Do and Introduction to the Young Lords) and Class 7 (How Movements Do What They Do and Introduction to the Students’ Movement).




Sample Solution