Manifesto—from the Latin manifestus meaning clear, “evident”—is defined bydictionary.com as a “public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.” A Manifesto is a public declaration of ideals, goals or vision that is intended to manifest something, that is to make something happen or come into being: a call to action…a newsociety…a new way of seeing. Manifestos can be political, philosophical, or artistic; they lay out what is important to a person or a group and publically “draw a line in the sand” as to what they believe in and what they will do (and not do). As you think about your manifesto essays, they will differ in length, but this is a piece of persuasive writing, one that presents an argument with supporting statements and claims, some of which will be supported by research. You should write with passion and attempt to inspire as you declare a collective vision or set of ideals—and call for some action to be taken on (a) “Confronting Cultures of Injustice,” and (b) “What Really Matters”.
A Manifesto often contains certain parts; while they are described differently in different sources, these four parts summarize the content of most:
Preamble: An introductory and explanatory statement … that explains the document’s purpose and underlying philosophy”…this establishes what your issue(s) is, why it is important to you and why it needs to be addressed Background: Background or history needed for readers to understand your perspective…this may weave in outside research Discussion of Normative Statements: A set of points that articulate your claims or goals or defining principles… these statements “affirm how things should or ought to be, how to value them, which things are good or bad, which actions are right or wrong” and the discussion of them considers the possible, or likely, social outcomes and impacts of broad adoption (perhaps through an example or illustration)
This is where you make your case—you should not worry about antagonizing people. Simply say why you believe what you believe…and some people will agree, and some will not. Take that stance that what you believe is really the only approach and work from there.
In “making a case,” the normative statements are often accompanied by an explanation that (a) explains the principle, (b) why you adopted it/why it is important to you, and (c) what the implications may be for others (society) adopting it.
Declaration: A concluding declaration that synthesizes the normative statements (and their explanations) in order to lay out a coherent vision statement with a call to action: What should people (or what will you) do as a result of the manifesto? What should people (or what will you) NOT do as a result of it? Make a declaration that reflects what you stand for.
12/14/2017 Writing a Manifesto: 17Fa CPS 400 W2: What Really Matters:Discernment, Conscience, Compassion (Fall 2017)
To help you find examples, the website “1000 manifestos” (http://www.1000manifestos.com/list/) is just that…a project designed to gather 1000 manifestos, some that are famous (e.g., The Communist Manifesto) and some that were created specifically for the project. Below are the principles for writing manifestos from The Manifesto Project’s founder Geoff McDonald in his document The Manifesto Manifesto:
1. Manifestos are primal 2. Manifestos terminate the past 3. Manifestos create new worlds 4. Manifestos trigger communities 5. Manifestos define us 6. Manifestos antagonize others 7. Manifestos inspire being 8. Manifestos provoke action 9. Manifestos command presence