Free Essay About United States Social Movements
In American politics, the focus is normally put on individuals, so there has never been a needing for institutional change. Even when it is time for dramatic political activity, attention is put on the institutions. It means that a lot of forms to make changes in the American society rely on the non-governmental bodies and non-institutional sources. Therefore, social movements need to be strategized properly.
In keeping with Jones et al. (2014), the American social movements have been clearly linked to link with a public voice. It is said that the beginners of social movements in America stressed the need for the voice of the people. To add on this, the United States is a nation of many immigrants in it thus different new groups and institutions like utopians. In a nutshell American social movements have the following features in general: identifying the movement in terms of place- religion, sex and gender and also integrating the movement in terms of according the groups with power.
McAdam et al. (1996) notes that the 1960 social movements in the United States which took place in the 20th century being very rhetorical. It was at the time of the creation of the 1954 Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. During this active period, the following conditions were the people’s voice: American Apartheid, Disparity in Wealth, Institutional Terror, and Materialism.
The early postwar period (1945 through the 1950s) and “the Sixties as opposites
Toward the end of the Second World War, many of the American citizens feared that there will be a reduction in the power of the military staff, and they would go back to the difficult times of Great Depression. The biggest problem was on the growth rate of the economy after the war. The automobile industry for instance went back to manufacturing cars, and there were new industries that came up like aviation and electronics grew by leaps and bounds. New affordable houses were constructed, and mortgages given for returning members of the military which lead to an expansion of the economy. With this, more citizen of the United Stated joined the middle-class social class (McAdam et al., 1996).
There was now a need to manufacture war supplies that gave rise to a large military-industrial complex that was named by the US President from 1953-1961- Dwight D. Eisenhower. It did not go away just after the war. The Iron Curtain came down across Europe and the US got herself involved in yet another in a cold war with the Soviet Union, the government funded a substantial fighting volume and in turn and invested in more sophisticated weapons like the hydrogen bomb (McAdam et al., 1996).
The United States after the postwar also recognized as a time whereby there was need to reform the international monetary projects, organizing and planning for the initiative International Monetary Fund in conjunction with the World Bank. The two institutions were created to ensure that there was an open, capitalist international on the economy.
Changes that unfolded during the time in the American Workforce
There was also a significant change in the American workforce. In the 1950’s, the number of workers rose significantly to equal the massive number of the manufacturers of goods. By around 1956, most people in the United States acquired government jobs rather than self-employment. In addition, labor unions gave long-term employment contracts and other allowances for its workers.
In the farming sector, the farmers were undergoing difficult times. Because of a lot of productivities, there was overproduction of farming products as farming was now a thriving business. According to Harris (2013), the farming sector had a hard time competing with more farmers who left their land. The impact was that in 1947 around 7.9 million people were employed in the agricultural sector, and the number began to decrease to about 3.4 million farmers.
According to Harris (2013), other Americans shifted as well. The single family growing demand for homes and personal cars made them migrate from their original central residence cities to suburbs. Due to technological advancement like the invention of air conditioners and the migration made development of "Sun Belt" the likes of Houston, Atlanta, Miami, and Phoenix in the southern and southwestern states. Isserman (2001) notes that with the improved sponsored highways created improved better access to the remote areas. With this, there was a change in the business patterns after the post-war. The market centers increased, rising from 3,840 in 1960.
The trajectory student movements (New Left)
Rise of the New Left
In the attempt to understand the issue, it might seem very destabilizing. We need to begin by looking at the center of the core truth which is: American Politics has been battling on Reaganism and Clintonism (Breines, 1989).
The New Left was started in 1960 as a political international left-wing political movement; the movement was against Marxism and the former other “Old Left,” projects. According to Cohen (2013), the objective was to have impact n changing government policies worldwide on the issues such as war, feminism and the rights of citizens. The members of this movement were college students. As such they held a lot of college protests, even though, the protests were in varying degrees in countries globally. The movement was the most prominent in the United States and Great Britain.
According to Harris (2013), the movement was as the outcome of the Communist Parties of the United States and Great Britain’s not being able to respond in a united way to the Hungarian rejection against Soviet rule which was created in 1956. The Marxists dealing began to reject the dictatorial methods of Soviet-style Communism and adopted a rather democratic approach. The impact in the Great Britain was that a lot of communists shifted into the Labor Party and hence the title “New Left”. Later, the New Left was in conjunction with other anti-nuclear groups like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Herbert Marcuse and Tom Hayden were the main chief influencers who led to the creation of the leftism. Herbert is said to consider being the “father” of the movement, because he wrote many articles and books like these include “Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis", which were against the Soviet-style Communism, and also “One-Dimensional Man”. Both books looked into the future and saw the coming up of consumerism. Hayden on the other hand wrote the Port Huron Statement, a manifesto that talked about the challenges of war, racism, and political disenfranchisement as well as describing the movement's objectives (Isserman, 2001).
The main objective of the leftism was to popularize socialism and give a Marxist outlook on the contemporary capitalism and also describe number of opinions that are common with the leftists. It made the movement be very prominent since the 1960’s. The members were not violent, and they addressed capitalism, environmentalism, and civil rights.
Isserman (2001) further indicates that later in the 1960's the protests became violent. The members became aggressive. It led to the movement being anti-revolutionary and was against Christian conservatives. This New Left movement is famously known as the New Right.
Breines, W. (1989). Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962-1968: the great refusal. New Brunswick N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Cohen, R. (2013). Rebellion in Black and White: Southern student activism in the 1960s. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Harris, A. (2013). Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me 'round: a coming-of-age story and personal account of the civil rights movement in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. North Charleston, South Carolina: Create Space.
Isserman, M. (2001). The Other American the Life of Michael Harrington the Life of Michael Harrington. New York: Public Affairs.
Jones, A., Eubanks, V. & Smith, B. (2014). Ain't is gonna let nobody turn me around: forty years of movement building with Barbara Smith. Albany: SUNY Press.
McAdam, D., McCarthy, J. & Mayer, N. (1996). Comparative perspectives on social movements: political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and cultural framings. Cambridge England New York: Cambridge University Press. 15-16
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