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Readings Notes

Winter History

Table of contents
  1. On Agency by Walter Johnson
  2. Is History a Science? by Eugene Goodheart
  3. “I am an Anarchist” by Lucy Parsons
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. The Rationale for Anarchy
    4. Unjustified Opposition to Anarchists and the Haymarket Incident
    5. Improper Court Precedings
    6. Conclusion
  4. Industrialism and the American Worker, 1865-1920 by Melvyn Dubofsky
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. The Shock of Change
      1. Changing Relationships Between Workers and Employers
    4. Industrial Conflict
      1. Conflicts Between Anthracite Miners and Mine Owners
      2. Other Conflicts and Industrialist Tactics for Strike Repression
      3. 1877 Railroad Strikes
      4. Haymarket Square Incident
      5. Andrew Carnegie and Industrialist Desire to Destroy Trade Unions
      6. Lessons from Two Decades of Industrial Conflict
      7. The Pullman Boycott
      8. Conclusions and Discussion
    5. Labor Confronts the Law
  5. Documents on African-American Opposition to Empire (1898-1899)
    1. Navigate
    2. Lewis H. Douglass Opposition to McKinley
    3. “The Negro Should Not Enter the Army”, Missionary Department of the Atlanta, Georgia, A.M.E. Church
  6. Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U.S. Empire: The Philippine-American War as a Race War by Paul A. Kramer
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Questions of Recognition
    4. Race-Making and Colonial Warfare
    5. Racializing Guerrilla Warfare
    6. Race and Atrocity
  7. “On the War in the Philippines” by Albert J. Beveridge
    1. Context
    2. Introduction
    3. Trade Links to China
    4. Strategic Military Placement
    5. Natural Resources and Wealth of the Land
    6. Opposition to War as its Prolongment
    7. The Barbarism of Filipino People
      1. God’s Call for Imperialism
  8. “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements” by Jane Addams (1892)
    1. Context
  9. “Now We Can Begin” (1920) by Crystal Eastman
    1. Context
  10. Reinventing the People: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism by Shelton Stromquist
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction: “Progressives and the Problem of Class”
      1. Historical Debate Around the Progressive Movement
      2. Rhetoric of the Progressive Movement
      3. The Progressive Movement in the Face of Postbellum Industrialism
      4. Progressive Unwillingness to Accept Class and the Ideal of Social Harmony
      5. Dynamics and Influences on Progressive Reform
      6. Cultural Limitations to a Universal Promise
      7. Modern Progressivism Amidst War and the Great Depression
    3. Conclusion: War and the Ragged Edges of Reform
      1. Progressive Positions Amid War
      2. Campaigning for Industrial Democracy
      3. The Legacies of Progressive Reform
  11. Labor’s Untold Story - Chapter 10, “Victory” by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais
    1. Navigate
    2. The Committee for Industrial Organization
    3. Sit-down at Flint
    4. Triumph
    5. The Know-How of Victory
  12. “Preamble to the National Labor Relations Act”
    1. Introduction
    2. Preamble of the National Relations Act, 1935
  13. Wartime Shipyard: A Study in Social Disunity by Katherine Archibald
    1. Navigate
    2. Women in the Shipyard
    3. Okies
  14. American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy; Chapter 1: “The Myth of the Reluctant Superpower” by Andrew Bacevich
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Early Challenges to the Reluctant Superpower Myth
    4. The Rise and Fall of Charles A. Beard
      1. Beginnings of Economic-Root Ideas
      2. Five Faults of Economic Expansion
      3. Complex Characterization and Disgrace in World War II
    5. William Appleman Williams
      1. Expansionism and Openness
      2. World War II
      3. Four Worthy Points from Williams’ Efforts to Understand American Power
  15. Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao, and Che by Max Elbaum
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. 1968: “It All Fit Together”
    4. “Three Million Think Revolution Is Needed”
    5. Preparing the Ground
    6. The Move Toward the Left Accelerates
    7. King’s Watershed Antiwar Speech
    8. Revolution in the Air
    9. New Constituencies Mobilize
    10. Out of Prisons, Kitchens, and Closets
    11. Shaking the Empire
    12. Worker Militancy
    13. 1969: Implosion or Fadeout?
    14. A Broad Base of Revolutionary Sentiment
    15. More Complex Challenges on the Agenda
  16. Beyond Vietnam by Martin Luther King, Jr.
    1. Navigation
    2. Introduction
    3. The Vietnam War as an Enemy of the Poor
    4. The Vietnam War as an Unfair Conscription
    5. The Vietnam War as an Irony Exempt from Violence Standards
    6. The Vietnam War as an Unignorable Issue
    7. The Vietnam War as a Question of God
    8. The Vietnam War as a Question of Brotherhood
    9. A History of Failed US Involvement in Vietnam
    10. Seeking to Understand the North Vietnamese Perspective
    11. Ending the Vietnam War as an End to American Destruction
    12. Recommendations for Concrete Action
    13. A Radical Revolution of Values
  17. Guns and Butter: The Welfare State, the Carceral State, and the Politics of Exclusion in the Postwar United States by Julilly Johler-Hausmann
    1. Navigation
    2. Introduction
    3. Outside Big Government Debates
    4. State Strategies and Their Political Implications
    5. Confronting the Urban Crisis
    6. Drug Policy
    7. AFDC Policy
    8. Crime Policy
    9. The Spectacle of Getting Tough
  18. the Powell Memorandum: Attack on American Free Enterprise System
    1. Navigation
    2. Dimensions of the Attack
    3. Sources of the Attack
    4. Tone of Attack
    5. The Apathy and Default of Business
    6. Responsibility of Business Executives
    7. Possible Role of the Chamber of Commerce
    8. The Campus
      1. What Can Be Done About the Campus
    9. Equal Time on the Campus
    10. Balancing of Faculties
    11. Graduate Schools of Business
    12. Secondary Education
    13. What Can Be Done About the Public?
    14. The Neglected Political Arena
    15. Neglected Opportunity in the Courts
    16. Neglected Stockholder Power
    17. A More Aggressive Attitude
    18. The Cost
    19. Quality Control is Essential
    20. Relationship to Freedom
    21. Conclusion
  19. “How Wealth Inequality Has Changed in the US since the Great Recession, by Race, Ethnicity, and Income” by Rakesh Kochhar
  20. “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” by Bill McKibben
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. The First Number: 2 Degrees Celsius
    4. The Second Number: 565 Gigatons
    5. The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons
    6. Proposed Solutions
  21. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Two Black Societies, Separate and Unequal
    4. Black Awakening in Obama’s America
    5. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”
    6. The Future of Black Politics
  22. Alternative Linkage

On Agency by Walter Johnson

  • A common way to frame “agency” is to argue that enslaved people “preserved their humanity”.
    • By framing this as a question - black humanity or not - and arguing as if it is groundbreaking that the answer is yes, Johnson argues, white supremacist assumptions are furthered.
  • “Preserving humanity” simply means the author believes they acted like human beings would.
    • Discussing humanity and “humanness” in relation to agency is too abstract.
  • People that are human are agents.
    • “Agency” has a long history, but is used primarily as self-directed action (i.e. “personal”, “independent will”).
    • Hence, the term carries with it liberal universality of selfhood - independence and choice.
      • In the time of slavery, what was natural went against this.
  • By applying self-determination and choice, historians have assumed liberal “agency” such that enslaved “humanity” itself is a resistance to slavery.

  • “Agency” is not necessarily resistant to slavery. Instead, ask: what is the condition of enslaved humanity?
  • Basic features of the lives of enslaved people are not reducible to features of slavery.

  • “Agency” is also thought of as importance of one’s purpose. It is not true that it must be a resistance; the two should not be conflated.
  • Framed as “everyday” to “revolutionary” resistance.
  • Many argue that the “everyday” resistance somehow implicitly threatens slavery. It is looking for agency to be some sort of resistance.
    • Being Nat Turner and breaking a tool are both instances of agency, yet have different causes and consequences.
  • Historians have framed “agency” to reduce acts of resistance into larger and abstract human capacities.
    • This obscures important questions about how enslaved people thought about their actions and the process through which they changed.
  • Collective resistance is a process of everyday organization and depends on connections and trust. Collective resistance also depends on remapping of everyday life in historical terms.
    • The system of slavery is the cause of suffering.
  • Cultural autonomy itself has been seen as even a form of resistance.
    • It helped resistance against the system of slavery, but was not directly in contradiction to it.
  • Enslaved people of history must be treated as “agents”, for if they are not, then it is replaced by “culture”.

  • “giving the slaves back their agency” is an advertisement of good will.
  • They are gestures that imagine something; they are overtly political and an attempt to tie the past to the present in a way that is not needed anymore.
  • It is more so to release rather than to declare moral and ethical obligations.
  • Scholarship on the past should not be framed as a redress.

Is History a Science? by Eugene Goodheart

  • Jared Diamond believes history is a science; believes that history has too often been one fact after another.
    • Instead, proposes “scientific history” as a search for the ultimate explanation.
  • However, in seeking broad and ultimate explanations, Diamond glosses over important details and smaller time frames of human history.
    • He dismisses the proximate factors in pursuit of the ultimate ones.
    • i.e. chooses geography as the all-answering solution, but in his own examples (e.g. China) other reasons, like poitics, are important.
  • Science can explain normality and typicalities, but neutralizes aberrations - departures from what is thought of as normal or expected.

    One can only speculate that exceptional or aberrant actions that may proceed from human agency are an embarrassment to the scientific enterprise, which seeks out what is recurrent, inevitable or probable.

    • What is unnormal is thought of as noise and irrelevant to broader themes and ideas.
    • Conflate these broader themes with all of history, disregarding smaller and important abnormalities.
  • E.H. Carr’s book: What is History? (1961). Defends history as a scientific enterprise by responding to objects in a reasoned manner.
  • Responds to the following arguments that history is not a science. (Commentary by Goodheart in italics)
ObjectionCarr’s Response
History deals exclusively with the unique, science with the general.Various scientists have experienced “the thrill of learning singular things”. Historians, furthermore, constantly make generalizations, like the “causes of war”. Does not take up a more serious objection that history does not produce laws in a scientific sense.
History teaches no lessons.Historians draw lessons from the past as perspectives or guides for the present and future. Learning from the past assumes aspects of the past will repeat themselves; this may be true, but what does it mean to “learn a lesson from history? Are these lessons scientific?
History is unable to predict, and history is necessarily subjective, since man is observing himself.History can provide general guides to future action. Furthermore, subjectivity occurs inn science too, like the principle of uncertainty in physics. An answer lies in the definition of predictions. Historians cannot rigorously test predictions, and predict on entities that are often impenetrably subjective. Leaving out the sbjectivity in the people of past makes for a malnourished history.
  • Those that agree that history is scientific choose not to give much space to the actions of individuals. It’s easier to quantify social forces than individual actions.
    • View individuals as a product of history, rather than history a product of individuals.
    • Is history simply an exclusive product of social forces?
    • Is there individual agency?
  • A strictly scientific view of history subscribes to inevitability and determinism, which ignores freedom of will.
    • Is history predictable?
    • Determinism is a problematic concept.
  • Establishing true causation is not simple.
  • A scientific view of history also suffers from reductionism; the sheer complexity of history, with its unpredictability an unrigorous testing capability, cannot be described with a set of scientific laws.
    • A historian must reason out what did not occur to identify what did occur; this is of course incredibly subject to biases and subjectivity.
  • Scientists and rationalists favor reason over tradition, “hope for the future” over “reverance for the past”.
    • Belief in Science and Reason does not necessarily guarantee impartiality and objectivity.
  • scientism - an ideology that promotes the idea that science should define all disciplines.
    • Science continues to exert and validate its immense power.
  • We would like to preserve the idea of objective knowledge for historical studies.

  • Bottom line: there are scientific tools the historian has, but fundamentally the historian’s purpose to tell what happened - objectively so - may or may not be generalized or a law.
    • Historical representation cannot is not always a science.
    • History does not look for one explanation to triump over all other ones.

“I am an Anarchist” by Lucy Parsons


I am an anarchist. I suppose you came here, the most of you, to see what Ia real, live anarchist looked like. I suppose some of you expected to see me with a bomb in one hand and a flaming torch in the other, but are disappointed in seeing neither.

  • Anarchists are peaceful and law abiding people, Parsons argues; people have misconstrued what it is to be an anarchist.
    • Parsons defines anarchy as “the state of being without political rule”, although it has been misrepresented as “chaos”.

The Rationale for Anarchy

  • Is America truly a great land of liberty?
  • New York; count the homeless, the starving, and the slaves.
  • Those that dare call America a land of liberty pay no attention to the poor, Parsons argues.
  • Capitalists control the earth - which should be free for all - to boost their own profits.
  • The oppression and misery extends beyond just New York.
  • Political systems serve only to continually push power into the hands of a few.

Unjustified Opposition to Anarchists and the Haymarket Incident

  • Many believe anarchists have no right to exist at all.
  • Arrests and succeeding arrests were effected by detectives - Pinkerton detectives set up by the capitalists, Parsons argues.
  • The Constitution says there are inalienable rights like free press, free speech, and free assemblage.
    • Citizens can repel the unlawful invasion of these rights.
  • The meeting at Haymarket square was peaceable; if “murderous” police arrived to the scene to disperse, Parsons “would have flung the bomb myself,” for such an action would be in defense of the Constitution.
  • If anarchists truly planned to destroy cities and to massacre the police, whyw ere such few weapons employed?
    • It was not their intention to do so.
    • Murder from the policeman to the civilian is as much murder as the civilian to the policeman.
    • Attributes the detonation of the bomb as a result of unjustified police action.

## Dynamite and Historical Significance

  • Feudal system at the height of its power during the discovery of dynamite.
    • This discovery ‘made the middle classes’.
  • The bomb in Chicago sounds the fall of the 19th century wage system.
    • Intelligent people do not submit to despotism.
    • Argues her actions are for the people.

Improper Court Precedings

  • After the bombs exploded, arrests were made; yet the judicial system was biased.
    • A Knight of Labor or some other labor sympathizer would have not been considered competent to serve on a jury.
  • The ruling was without precedent and contrary to law, reason, or common sense.
  • Witnesses for prosecution were selectively chosen, bribed, nad intimidated; their evidence was nevertheless held as competent.
  • Red and black flags brought into court;
    • The black flag symbolizes suffering;
    • The red flag symbolizes the red blood that courses through the veins of the whole human race.
      • The idle shall be called to work; the end of prostitution for women, slavery for men, and hunger for children.


  • Liberty has been repurposed as anarchy.
    • Capitalism has reappropriate liberty such that you can have it if you can pay for it.

      Bread is freedom and freedom is bread.

Industrialism and the American Worker, 1865-1920 by Melvyn Dubofsky


  • Civil War to the end of the 19th century: turmoil for the American working class.
    • Workers fought violent industrial conflicts in American history.
  • A variety of political movements transpired.

The Shock of Change

  • Extensive industrialization produced a large shock to the social order.
  • 1865-1897: orthodox values and community structures shattered by economic & social change.
    • Giant business corporations and urban concentrations of people shifted meanings of concepts like liberty and oppurtunity.
  • A Gesellshcaft society supersceded Gemeinshaft one; formal rules of social behavior superceeded traditional law, customary norms.
    • Industrial communities succumbed to society; the personal relationship became bureaucratic.
  • Technology created a national & international economy.
  • Regardless, many lived in “island communities”; customary arrangements were the norm.
    • Working people defined lives in terms of family, neighborhood, and church.
    • Productive economic forces surpassed the ability of human institutions to control them.
  • When elites dominated society, this frustrated the masses of a less technological and bureaucratic nature.
    • A failure of political parties and social structures to offer a sense of security in this chaotic environment.

Changing Relationships Between Workers and Employers

  • Workers did not enter postbellum industrial expansion as powerless; in 1870s and 1880s workers had some level of power on their employers.
    • Iron, steel, and farm machinery: workers united in craft unions were indispensable.
  • Craftsmen that scored successes in wages yielded rewards for semiskilled and unskilled workers as well.
  • Workers could also control local offices like mayor, sheriff, or county judge.
  • In these island communities, industrialists were seen as alien to an established community.
  • Industrialists did not feel all-powerful; technological and economic forces vexed workers and employers.
    • New machines and production processes altered competitiveness of less efficient businesses.
    • Industralists sought greater economic security alongside their workers.
  • Two paths to economic security:
    1. Corporate merging and concentration. This reduces competition in key industries; peaked between 1897 and 1904. Conflicted with traditional American values of individualism, free competition, and equal oppurtunity.
    2. Employers exerted unilateral authority over employee wages, hours, and working conditions. This disciplinary effort ran against workers and the island communities.

Industrial Conflict

  • Workers attempted to preserve or expand their power; employers sought additional authority over their employees.
  • Bitter battles of labor and capital.
    • Molly Maguire and coal district notoriety;
    • railroad strikes and riots of 1877;
    • Haymarket bombing of 1886;
    • Homestead nad Coeur d’Alene conflicts of 1892, where troops subdued militant strikers;
    • Pullman railroad boycott of 1894, where the federal government was set in direct opposition to striking workers.
  • Other battles occurred on a more local level
    • Nonviolent strikes also marred hte industrial history of the period.
  • Striking had become the wage worker’s primary defense against employers by the end of the 19th century.
    • Strikes became more planned and less spontaneous, associated with unions.

Conflicts Between Anthracite Miners and Mine Owners

  • Occurred in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Older narrative romanticized the situation: noble operators protected the local community against criminimal anarchists (‘Mollies’), or courageous miners defined rederess of grievances.
  • Anthracite district of Penn. experienced rapid economic & population growth immediately postbellum.
    • Attracted thousands of new miners tot he district.
    • Economic competition, rising rates of industrial accidents, and a breakdown of law occurred.
  • Economic insecurity was compoundded by constant surveillance and restriction.
    • In response, Workingmen’s Benevolent Association (WBA) formed.
    • Won success in anthracite fields from 1869 to 1873 under John Siney.
    • Placed limits on authority of authority.
  • Economic depression of 1873; unemployed miners were a further burden on the community.
  • Franklin B. Gowen - pres. of Reading Railroad.
    • Sought to reduce competition among smaller operators, and disciplined miners by disassembling their unions.
    • With a monopoly on the market, Gowen forced other operators to follow his policies on prices, wages, and union negotiation.
    • Quitely purchased all coal properties available, removing “destructive” competition.
    • Yet the WBA remained as a force between Gowen and entire domination of the anthracite district.
  • Gowen’s purposes were aided by economic depression and community fears; crime seemed to be rampant.
    • Due to ethnic tensions, Irish immigrants were exploited by British superiors.
    • The Irish retaliated; violence in the district was hence partly ethnic. However, the conflict is primarily class, not ethnic.
  • Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) - fraternal society of Irish immigrants.
  • Gowen was committed to breaking the WBA and realized defense of law & order made a better public platform than antiunionism.
    • Worked with the Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia and anthracite district law officials; evidence was raised agains tthe WBA.
  • Long Strike: a January-April 1875 conflict that brought suffering to miners and their families; increased local violence.
  • Trials against Mollies; the jury returned a guilty verdict and 20 Mollies were hanged.
    • Mollies were linked with unionism and lawlessness.
    • By linking the WBA with the Mollies, killed unionism in the district.

Other Conflicts and Industrialist Tactics for Strike Repression

  • Most industrialists lacked Irish-immigrant scapegoats, but neverhteless harnessed violence and defense of the law to turn in their own advantage.
    • 1873-1876; employers that encoutered a powerful workforce would engage in inevitable violence.
    • Strikebreakers were often recruited; tensions were often exacerbated by ethnic and racial characteristics of many strikebreakers. Compounded economic and social fault lines; raised violence to a higher level.
    • In the process, employers acted as ardent defenders of property rights and law & orders.
      • Often relied upon governors or presidents to provide marshals and troops.
  • Workers saw local power usurped by external sources of authority functioning for the industrialists.

1877 Railroad Strikes

  • Financially strained railroads in 1877 cut workers’ wages sharply and increased workloads.
    • Stimulated mass anger and a unionization attempt.
  • July; Baltimore & Ohio Railroad announced third 10% cut in wages; a spontaneous walkout erupted.
    • Strikes spread to become the most massive and destructive conflict in the late 19th century.
  • 1877 strikes were too turblent for local and even state powers to control; a middle-class citizen decried the collapse of law & order.
    • Milita were often too undisciplined and onlye scalated the violence.
  • Railroad leaders turned to Washington; federal authorities were informed of anarchy.
    • Rutherford B. Hayes issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency and insurrection, dispatched federal troops.
    • Law and order was maintained at the expense of a group of strikers.
  • Local law enforcement officials eleected by working-class votes assisted strikers; employers would often resort to external sources of power.
  • Between 1877 and 1886, the balance of power between workers and their employers had tipped in favor of the industrialists.
  • Business owners seemed to be more adept than laborers at organizing associations; businesses grew in size and capital resources.
    • Less pressure from competitors, firms were stronger in disciplining their workers.
    • Strikes at one plant could be defeated by shifting production to another plant.
  • Technological iinnovation undercut the strength and security of workers; craftsmen found their skills superfluous.
  • Economic power of employers and alliance with government bred frustration among militant workers.

Haymarket Square Incident

  • 1880s militant workers and radical agitators often resorted to rhetoric of violence, especially in Chicago.
    • 1886 Chicago: center of radical and anarchist activities.
  • In May 1886, police and strikers clashed; death of two workers.
  • August Spies - anarchist and agitator - called for protest meeting at Haymarket Square on May 4th.
    • A small crowd turned out and the oratory was uninspiring.
    • Before the meeting adjourned, special police charged the crowd and a bomb was tossed in.
  • The bomb killed police and civilians alike; Chicago authorities and middle-upper classes were convinced of insurrectionary violence.
  • Police officials, city authorities, newspapers, etc. contributed to the conspiracy. Althoguh the actual bomb thrower was never found, the eight were convicted and seven were hanged.
  • Propagandist campaigns that linked trade unionism with anarchy spread.
  • Furthermore, strikers and milita clashed in Bay View, Wisconsin.
    • A Polish iron worker used crowd action to close iron foundries; ten were shot fatally to end the strike.

Andrew Carnegie and Industrialist Desire to Destroy Trade Unions

  • 1870s-1880s: Amalgamated Association fo Iron and Steel Workers was the most powerful craft union of the nation.
    • Members could only watch as steel production grew more important and Andrew Carnegie produced interruptions with union agreement.
  • Carnegie wanted to end the union’s influence.
  • Conflict: battle of Homestead on July 6th, 1892; workers won but were later quashed on July 10 when the governor of Pennsylvania responded to requests to protect private property.
    • Under protection of the militia, strikebreakers went to work and forced workers to work.
    • November 1892, the union surrended completely.

Lessons from Two Decades of Industrial Conflict

  • Labor lacked to power to challenge concentrated capital.
  • When workers had short-term ability to stalemate employers, the state intervened.
  • If employers sought to drive out unions, workers had no choice but to fight back.

The Pullman Boycott

  • The conflict revealed respective strength and political power of workers and employers; industrialists’ power grew far past that of employees.
    • Workers were divided by demographic, but employers were united through mergers and trade associations.
    • Railroads suffered from excessive competition; railroad managers made informal and formal alliances to cure this.
  • American Railway Union (ARU) launched a strike and won a notable victory; immediately began entangled in a conflict.
    • Members boycotted all railroads using Pullman cars; most railroad traffic was brought to a halt.
  • Grover Cleveland and the Attorney General threw resources of the federal government against the strikers.

Conclusions and Discussion

  • This discussion of industrial conflict questions assumptions of American social order.
  • Workers are distinguished from employers not by values, behaviors, or goals, but simply by capital owned.
  • Most discussions of American history are very abstracted; people did indeed enjoy simple joys.
  • Still, does democratic-republicanism carry the same implications for both social classes?
  • Hard work was praised as the creator of human progress and happiness; capital was defined as the product of past labor.
  • Most Americans shared a commitment to republican principles, yet power and interest were issues of deadly conflict.

Labor Confronts the Law

  • The law was a battleground in which shared values and principles favored employers.
  • Late 19th century law generally allowed trade unions to exist legally.
    • Unions and practices were no longer criminal conspiracies, yet they remained parchment rights.
  • Neither businesspeople nor workers could restrain trade, limit the freedom of others, or hurt general interest.
    • State and federal judges compelled employers to recognize unions.
    • Yet, “taking law into their own hands” is not tolerated.
  • Regulations on labor, wages, and working condition were deemed unconstitutional because of legal principles of individual liberty and free contract.
  • However, judges and the law did not always operate with consistency; regulation of underground miners was sometimes found to be justified (i.e. within power to regulate dangerou subsinses).
  • Confrantation of organized labor with the law was unpleasant; judges taught trade unionists they could not strike with the support of the state, or ask the state to regulate employers in the interest of labor.
  • Workers continued to worship common principles, and industrialists & allies rewrote the rules of the game; transforming the established structure of the community and traditional values.
  • Industrialists suceeded because they were the first to learn the problems of industrial society that escaped individual solutions.

Documents on African-American Opposition to Empire (1898-1899)

Lewis H. Douglass Opposition to McKinley

  • President William McKinley promised Flipinos under American sovereignty would not be governed as slaves, because a government of liberty would be ruling over them.
  • Douglass argues McKinley is blind to racial prejudice in the United States and in soldiers overseas.
  • Black American soldiers are despised by the South, which the McKinley administration has “accept[ed] dictation” and cater to. - The administration lacks the courage to deal with Americans withot regard for race.
  • Whatever the United States government controls, dark races face injustice - Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Manila.
  • How can promises be made to Filipinos thousands of miles away when the administration does not protect black Americans at home? - It is sickening hypocrisy to argue killing Filipinos is for the purpose of good government.
  • The United States can expand when it learns justice should be blind to race and color.

“The Negro Should Not Enter the Army”, Missionary Department of the Atlanta, Georgia, A.M.E. Church

  • The ministers of the A.M.E. church - progressive and enlightened - should tell black young men to stay out of the United States army. > “If it is a white man’s government, and we grant it is, let him take care of it. The Negro has no flag to defend.”
  • If black people have no civil, social, political, judicial, or existing rights, they should not further the institution that guarantees the very absence of those rights.
  • President McKinley and the nation, be it explicitly or through silence, celebrate - or at the very least, tolerate - the abuse of black people.
  • Black soldiers were mistreated regardless of what they did solely because they were black.
  • What is there to be gained for the black soldier?
  • The flag is a symbol of liberty to the white man (and he is justified in being proud of it), but a worthless rag for the black man.
  • A minister that encurages enlistment int he army preaches murder of innocent blood for nothing.
  • Furthermore, most white people do not want colored soldiers in the army either.

Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U.S. Empire: The Philippine-American War as a Race War by Paul A. Kramer

Andre Ye, 1/13/2021


  • Theodore Roosevelt placed colonial violence at the heart of America: Roosevelt justified the ongoing colonial war in the Philippines by casting it as a race war.
  • The war was often rationalized in racial terms, and soldiers knew Filipinos in racial terms.
  • These racial ideologies were not simply reflexive projections from the US; instead, race helped organize and justify U.S. colonial violence.
  • Filipino campaigns for civilizational recognition before the Americans (w/ the Spanish) shaped U.S. racial ideology and Filipino nationalism.
  • Racial ideologies were dual with war strategies and tactics.

Questions of Recognition

  • By 1898, Filipino elites engaged in a struggle against Spanish racism - a key element of Spanish colonialism - for two decades. - Spanish political and racial ideologies advocated for Catholicism, greater education, etc.; Filipinos used these to argue for greater rights.
  • U.S. troops took Manila following the Battle of Manila Bay. This introduced a 6-month period “battle for recognition”. - U.S. soldiers found themselves in an inticing and strange Filipino urban world. - Filipinos were unsure of the invading army’s status; wary but eager for business.
  • Colliding interests, failed translations, suspicions, and jurisdiction doubts boiled into animosity and conflict.
  • Filipinos were commonly characterized as filthy, diseased, and evil in business dealing.
  • White soldiers began to treat the colored people like black peoplef rom the United States - robbing them, cursing them, assaulting them.
  • U.S. soldiers, neverthelesscame to know individual Filipinos and their families; American soldiers frequented Filipino concerts, dances, etc.
  • Filipinos initially viewed U.S. soldiers as liberating them from Spanish rule.
  We're thankful that the City's ours, and floats the Stars and Stripes;
   We're thankful that our cause is one that from these Islands wipes
   The degenerate oppressors of a brother human kin
   Who now—beneath "Old Glory"—a nation's place may win.
  • Treaty of Paris in late-1898 between Spain and the U.S. - Filipinos launched legal and historical arguments for the sovereignty of the Philippine republic and the illegitimatimacy of transferring it from Spaint o the United States. - U.S. formal recognition of the Philippine Republic was argued to have been established already, and that Spain had no legal right to cede Philippine territory to the U.S.
  • The Philippine Republic sought recognition of its sovereignty as a civilization, capable of self-governance and “modern” government. - Two naval officers were on an inland expedition of Luzon; the Filipino government did not give them passports but two presidentes that guided them. - The two officers were given elaborate balls and operas, but also percieved cold suspicion. There was tremendous variability. - Hope was fading that freedom from Spain meant freedom of government; suspicion and hostility increased.
  • Americans had a reputation for racial oppression; there was an impression that the Americans were looking for “new slaves”. - The Filipinos would rather die fighting than to be the subject of this new pruported racial conquest.
  • President McKinley had initially argued only for acquiring coal mines and naval bases but had been persuaded for the entire nation. - Filipinos were excluded from treaty negotiations. - McKinley was concerned about Filipino recognition fo U.S. sovereignty.
  • Military commanders of the U.S. were to announce the Americans had come as friends, not as invaders or conquerers. - This proclamation, however, was a formal derecognition of the Philippine Republic; it reeked of benevolence and suggested questionable assimilation methods.

Race-Making and Colonial Warfare

  • Outbreak of the war occured in early February of 1899.
  • Filipino sokesmen revealed a preoccupation with promoting Filipino civilization. - Anti-Imperialist newspapers argued that the Filipinos has excelled in education, literacy, art, and political & religious leadership. - The struggle was also painted as antiracial.

# Anti-Imperialist Socieites

  • The war had been challenged from the start by anti-imperialist societies and organized into the Anti-Imperialist Leage (nov. 1898).
  • The party leaned towards independents and reformers, bringing together conservative and white-supremacist Democrats and liberal Republicans. - Criticized the U.S. invasion as unjust.
  • Many anti-imperialist claims focused on the negative consequences of empire for the United States itself; many of these concerns were explicitly racial; i.e. corruption of the body politic through Filipino citizenship.
  • Other anti-imperialists recognized the Philippine Republic.

# Countering Anti-Imperialists with Racialized Arguments

  • McKinley appointed “Philippine Commissions”. Served two purposes: - Served as a crux for the War Department’s “policy of attraction” - drawing elites away from the Republic. - Produce an authoritative document of events to justify U.S. aggression.
  • Rationalizing the war led to racial formation; Americans and Filipinos were racialized in new ways.
  • The U.S. population was racialized as “Anglo-Saxons”, and overseas conquests were legitimated by ties with the British Empire. - Opponents of war argued that Philippine annexation would be a departure from exceptional moral and political foundations. - Supported with claims of racial essence.
  • The Philippine-American War was seen to be a natural outgrowth of Western conquest. Unlike other races, Anglo-Saxon Americans “liberated”. - Rudyard Kipling: “The White Man’s Burden”. Casats Americans as a race with an inevitable imperialist destiny.
  • Filipinos were “tribalized”. - Social evolutional theory held that societies moved from tribes to a unified nation; if one could identify tribes, a nation did not exist. - Tribalizing the Phillipines would dismantle the recognition of the archipegalo as a Republic. - Philippine Commission played a heavy role in this; identified three “sharply distinct races” - the Negrito, the Indonesian, and the Malayan. - The Philippines were argued not to be a nation but a sparse assemblage of different tribes and peoples. - The commission often misrepresented statistics; yet nevertheless these were passed down and held as fact.
  • Even as the administration tribalized Filipinos, U.S. soldiers racialized their opponents; this is exemplified by terminilogical shifts (i.e. “Indians”, “n——”, “black rascals/devils”, “Gugos”, “savages”). - A tremendous transformation in language.
  • Some journalists and soldiers argued this to be an inevitable surfacing of long-present racial tensions.

Racializing Guerrilla Warfare

  • General Arthur MacArthur reported that there was no organized insurgent force to strike at; Filipino tactics had shifted dramatically towards guerrilla warfare.
  • In these new settings, tropical disease, impassable roads, and unfamiliar conditions would weaken American advance; the guerrilla swould have geogrpahic knowledge and village-level support.
  • U.S. Army General Otis similar decentralized his forces to match the Filipino army.
  • Geurrilla warfare held different meanings for Filipino & American troops. - Filipinio officers were schooled in conventional warfare and guerrilla warfarew as unfamilair. They took inspiration from anticolonial guerrilla struggles elsewhere. - Alguinado may have delayed adopting geurrilla tactics because of concerns about expressions of “civilization”. - Geurrilla warfare meant scattered organization, thus playing into the trop oef a “savage”. - Nevertheless, guerrilla war was international politics. - Americans found the geurrilla war to be new and disturbing; it meant dispensing gallant rushes at the enemy amd rethinking strategy. - Differentiating friendly villagers from Filipino soldiers was a dangerous task.
  • The end of conventional war and the dispersal of the Philippine army meant Filipino resistance was “criminal” and “uncivilized”, in the eyes of the Americans. - Filipino response: strong nations make use of force to impose claims on weaker ones; the fight that offers equal risks ot both combatants are more noble and worthy of men. - In reality, the Filipinos had really been left with no choice.
  • Geurrilla war was tactical rather than ethnological; the Filipinos risked nevertheless the pain of being called “uncivilized”. - Races were characterized by how they waged war in the colonial world.
  • General MacArthur concluded that the massive Filipino participation and support for guerrilla war was neither rational nor political, but from ethnological homogeneity.
  • U.S. soldiers increasingly defined the entire Filipino population as the enemy; the task of the U.S. army was said to “persuade” Filipinos not to accept U.S. sovereignty. - However, this was argued to be very difficult when “ethnological homogeneity” governed over reason. The unitedness of Filipinos as a “race” placed it outside of “civilized” warfare.
  • Racial terms were employed in accounts of shooting Filipino prisoners, often under the guise of “escape”. - Racial terms were also levied against civilians. - Soldiers referred to war as hunting, a brutal manisfestation of racial exterminism.

Race and Atrocity

  • Race was made to defend the means, undermining moral and legal claims against American soldiers accused of “severities”.
  • U.S. Army defenders held that abuses were rare, and were swiftly punished.
  • Three variants of racial arguments. 1. Filipino guerrilla war was a “savage war” outside moral and legal standards of “civilized war”. Filipino combat was depicted to be a “race” was against whites; and thus racial exterminism by whites seemed inevitable. 2. “Civilized” men may adopt “savage” methods to defeat savages, but they can do so without surrending their civilization. This allow American atrocities to be explained in a way that distances them from U.S. initiative. 3. Final declarations of the end of the war; McKinley and Roosevelt repeatedly attempted to bring the war to an end in 6 occasions. Filipino resistance to Americna authority was characterized as “banditry”, not “insurrection”.
  • Americans developed a racial formation that would reorient the U.S. towards an imperial pathway.
  • Filipino revolutionaries attempted to achieve American recognnition through their “civilization”, or even their fighting. The two processes of combat and race-making became entangled.
  • Colonial violence would continue to haunt both the United States and the Phillipines.

“On the War in the Philippines” by Albert J. Beveridge

# Navigate


The year was 1900, and the United States was engaged in a controversial war to gain control of the Philippine Islands. Many Americans opposed this first attempt by the U.S. government to exercise imperial control over another country. After visiting the Philippines, Senator Albert J. Beveridge (1862–1927) delivered this speech on the Senate floor. In it, he strongly urged the president and his fellow senators to embrace imperialism.


  • The Philippines are territory Constitutionally belonging to the United States.
  • Beyond the Philippines are China’s markets, which would be a shame to throw away. > We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee under God, of the civilization of the world.
  • When this task is presented, “we” will not howl regretfully like slaves but instead be grateful for a task worthy of our strength.
  • The Philippines are “the last land left in all the oceans”, and it would be an irreversible mistake to abandom it.
  • Asia will be the largest trade partner with America; the Pacific belongs to her.
  • Europe will begin to become dependent on American exports; where shall America turn?
  • China is “our natural customer”. - Closer to the United States than to England, Germany, or Russia. - The Philippines are a door to Eastern markets. - The US has had less than 9% of China’s massive commerce; instead, the US ought to have at least 50%.
  • Navigation lines from mports converge at the Philippines.
  • As the Pacific becomes the ocean of commerce, the power of the Pacific will be the power of the world.
  • Germany, Russia, Spain, and Japan are rapidly expanding their trade with China; why not the United States?

Strategic Military Placement

  • The Philippines are in a convenient place as a “fortress” in the Pacific to defend the Western coast.
  • It is a base for military and naval operations.
  • From this position, the United States can strike any enemy.

Natural Resources and Wealth of the Land

  • The fertility of the land in the Philippines is unsurpassed. - Various exotic and lush products grow in the tropical zones. - Philippine wood can supply furniture. - The mountains are full of coal. - The rivers are full of gold.
  • The markets these will yield great profits to whoever can export the resources.

Opposition to War as its Prolongment

  • American opposition to the war has been the primary factor in prolonging it.
  • The Philippine War is like the -Revolutionary War.

The Barbarism of Filipino People

  • The Filipinos are a “barbarous race” that have been modified through contact with a “decadent race”.
  • Filipinos are superstitious, dishonest, disorderly, and corrupt.
  • Few in the Philippines are capable of Anglo-Saxon self-government, or even to comprehend it. - Referred to as “children”.
  • The Filipinos are not capable of self-government, instructed by Spaniards.
  • The Declaration of Independence applies only to people capable of self-government. - It is a prostitution to express these rights to Filipinos. - If the Declaration applies to all men, why is it denied to American Indians?

God’s Call for Imperialism

  • God has not been preparing Anglo-Saxons to stand idle; he has instead marked the American people to lead the regeneration of the world.
  • He has delegated this as the divine mission of America.
  • America serves as the trustee of the world’s progress and guardians of righteous peace.

    The judgment of the Master is upon us: “Ye have been faithful over a few things; I will make you rule over many things.”

# comparison

“The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements” by Jane Addams (1892)


Hull House, Chicago’s famed “settlement house,” was designed to uplift urban populations. Here, Addams explains why she believes reformers must “add the social function to democracy.” As Addams explained, Hull House “was opened on the theory that the dependence of classes on each other is reciprocal.”

  • America is pledged to the democratic ideal, but it has been partial.
  • Democracy has not established itself in social affairs
  • The gift of freedom was given to slaves, but nevertheless they are ostracized; the immigrant is enfranchised but hurled with epithets.
  • Because of lack of democracy in social affairs, our consciences are becoming “tender”.
  • Many people living in the largest districts of great cities are in abject poverty, and nothing has been done to remedy this.
  • They share no tradition and social energy, and make for no progress.
  • Cultivated and educated people that stay away from a certain portion of the population use this very justification to continue staying away.
  • The educated young people have been shut off from common labor; they chase theories but never pursue action.
  • If a democratic country does not allow anything to be achieved except through “masses of the people”, a higher political life will be impossible to crave.
    • The blessings in which a life of refinement and cultivation bring can be made universal.
  • Young people possess a desire for action, and to right wrong; yet they have no outlet for their faculties.
    • They feel the need to put theory into action.
  • The Settlement is an experimental effort to aid solving social and industrial problems caused by modern conditions of life.

“Now We Can Begin” (1920) by Crystal Eastman


In the following selection, Crystal Eastman, a socialist and feminist, considered what women should fight for following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote.

  • August 23rd: the day the Tennessee legislature enacts the Federal suffrage amendment.

    Now at last we can begin.

  • In fighting for the right to vote, most wommen had been quiet in other respects; now they could struggle for freedom.
  • The problem of women’s freedom: how women can exercise “infinitely varied gifts in infinitely varied ways”, and not confined to one route.
  • Although women will never be truly free until they achieve some emotional freedom, conditions of outwards freedom like economic status can aid in helping women doing so.
    • The organized feminist movement should concern itself around these outward conditions.
  • Concerning freedom of choice in occupation and economic independence:
    1. Break down remianing barriers (e.g. legal) that make it difficult for women to enter or succeed in the workforce.
    2. Institute a revolution in training and education of boys and girls; it must be womanly and manly.
  • How shall man be changed such that he shares work and responsibility in the household?
    • A problem of education.

      “we must bring up feminist sons.”

  • Voluntary motherhood is primary in the support for a woman’s individual economic independence.
    • Birth control is as important as equal pay.
  • Motherhood endowment should be given to keep mothers free; if raising children is a service to society, they should be entitled to adequate economic reward.

“It will be time enough then to consider whether she has a soul.”

Reinventing the People: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism by Shelton Stromquist

Introduction: “Progressives and the Problem of Class”

  • Jane Addams amid the Pullman car shopworkers’ strike of 1894: torn between sympathy for strikers and a desire to bridge class divisions.
    • Addams met with striking employees and listened to their grievances, as well as the managers.
    • Class war began to loom on the horizon.
  • Jane Addams came in an era of profound labor conflict.
  • The “Class Problem” was the preoccupation of the generation.
    • Looked unflinchingly at social inequity around them, and hoped to overcome barriers to individual opportunity.
  • The reform movement was not to be working towards one kind or class of people, but instead for the common good.

Historical Debate Around the Progressive Movement

  • The Progressive movement has been elusive for historians; there are many theories:
    • Progressives were viewed as members of a displaced middle class, driven to reform by anxiety over their status.
    • Progressives were argued to have advocated for the corporate ideal, promising social stability, while protecting the interests of large businesses.
    • Reformers were seen as a middle class that promised efficiency, professional expertise, and bureaucratic solutions to society’s big problems.
  • Shifting tides of interpretation made the Progressive movement seem too naive and vague.
  • Stromquist argues the Progressive movement formed itself as a response to escalating social tensions in the late 19th-century, most clearly demonstrated by labor-capital battles.
  • This movement drew inspiration from older traditions of reform.
    • Legacy of abolitionist campaigns against chattel slavery;
    • Social democratic movements in Europe.
  • The Progressive movement was created by a new generation.
  • A “meliorist” wing of the movement was dominant.
  • A vigorous and smaller group identified themselves with a class partisan perspective associated with socialist or syndicalist tendencies.
  • Between these groups lay several reformers whose ideology overlapped these two wings.

Rhetoric of the Progressive Movement

  • A new language of reform emerged.
  • It distanced itself from republicanism or nationalist Americanism, but instead used terms like “the people”.
  • The “rhetoric of the moral whole”1 promised restoration of the common good as a social ideal.
  • Enemies were corrupting influences (e.g. corporate “robber barons”) that threatened democratic institutions and economic opportunity.
  • This new speech was popular among reformers and politicians.
  • A political middle ground to speak for “the public” was seized by the Progressives.
  • The language of class was banned from the vocabulary of Progressive reform.
    • Progressives promoted that social differences based on structural inequality could be corrected through enlightened social policy.
    • Focused on the individual and attacked environments that limited individual opportunity.
  • Neither individuals nor the government should, in the view of the Progressives, alter social power and property.
    • Progressives lay the foundation for 20th-century liberals in restricting a worldview formed by class.

The Progressive Movement in the Face of Postbellum Industrialism

  • “The sovereignty of the people” was a “dynamic fiction” in republican thought, Edmund Morgan argues.
  • Elimination of property qualifications for white males made citizenship classless, but still excluded African Americans, immigrants, and women.
  • Postbellum “free labor ideology” promised universal access to opportunity in the frontier.
  • As the industrial revolution advanced, working-class republican critiques of individualism gained support.
    • If poverty, economic oppression, and denial of citizenship were applied to a large portion of the population, the claims of republican citizenship lost much meaning.
  • Alternative strand of progressivism - a class-partisan perspective that found much support in labor and socialist parties.
    • Was committed to a radical vision of “industrial democracy”.
  • Progressive reformers near the end of the 19th century, though, saw this dispossessed class “reclaiming the wealth it had created” as dangerous, not virtuous.
    • This was in opposition to its more radical movement in the 1880s and 1890s.
  • These reformers embraced the idea that industrial progress would produce prosperity and alleviate misery.
  • Massive immigration initiated by the “second industrial revolution” prompted early 20th-century reformers to work hard in producing an enlightened populous.

Progressive Unwillingness to Accept Class and the Ideal of Social Harmony

  • Placing importance on new educational techniques and settlement houses, Progressives insisted on socially responsible behavior of capital.
  • The reform movement hoped to rationalize production and to reengineer a more socially productive society.
  • Purged of corrupting influences, democratic politics could be used to build social solidarity and community responsibility.
  • Progressive reforms did not accept a word demarcated by classes; this shaped their approach towards reform.
  • Settlement houses were largely populated by nonwhites and immigrants and generally stood outside of “the people”.
  • Political reforms intended to protect the democratic process would ensure a democratically inclined polity capable of putting social good over personal interest.
  • Progressive Democrats (like John Dewey) imagined a society of citizens whose equality was guaranteed by their active participation in the democratic process.
  • In the short run, Progressive reform narrowed rather than expanded the circle of citizenship.
    • Most Progressives regarded most immigrants and African Americans as unprepared to join the political community of voters.
  • Unwillingness to acknowledge class divisions were rampant in the Progressive movement.
    • Embraced classless social harmony.

Dynamics and Influences on Progressive Reform

  • A broad group of reformers often gathered at critical moments despite their differences in support of progressivism.
    • Reformers reaffirmed the Progressive movement when many gathered to support the NAACP2.

      In the five years before the outbreak of the world war… our general efforts were more and more interrelated with many other movements. -Jane Addams

    • These movements affirmed the reality of a Progressive movement.
  • Popular insurgency inside the Progressive movement itself influenced it..
    • Conflict periodically occasionally rose to the surface and created realignments that reshaped the terrain of the reform community.
    • Class war in coalfields, the Triangle shirtwaist fire, etc.; the “moral whole” shattered periodically.
    • These events and consequences were mostly absorbed by the movement as it generated new directions to take initiatives.
    • Meanwhile, another more radical movement determined to realign labor and capital in new ways grew stronger.
  • The core Progressive movement may have lost its initial coherence, but it retained its identity.
  • Progressive historians have often lost sight of the core vision amid a torrent of reform activity.

Cultural Limitations to a Universal Promise

  • The Progressive movement carried middle-class and native-born working-class cultural conceptions from where it began.
    • It drew heavily on a maternalist reform agenda.
    • Its visions of “the people” were limited and culturally bounded.
  • New immigrants and African Americans were often brushed to the sides; they merited charitable attention only.
  • When ethnic or race leaders advocated on their own behalf, many reformers viewed them as dangerous.
  • As class conflict erupted repeatedly, reformers’ confidence in the ability to sustain a movement of class reconciliation and industrial peace was heavily shaken.

Modern Progressivism Amidst War and the Great Depression

  • Progressivist reformers assembled fractured legions to take on a new national mission for democracy.
    • Found the campaign for democratic reform absorbed into the wartime agenda of a broad patriotic coalition.
    • This coalition included many of their corporate enemies.
  • The socialist movement was increasingly isolated because of its opposition to the war; it would only return until the Great Depression.
  • Progressivism figured into the equations of reform in ambiguous ways.
  • The New Deal bolstered confidence in state-orchestrated solutions to economic and social dislocation.
  • The Progressive tradition had generally run its course by the end of the 1960s, but these reforms left a legacy.
    • “Protean” liberals continue to generally deny class matters in American society.
  • Most American liberals of the late 20th century continue to believe problems of poverty, corruption, and the environment lay in cross-class coalitions acting in broad public interest.
    • Class-constituted power and political mobilization around class was denied.
  • Liberal reformers of the Progressive Era have constructed a discourse and set of social policies they hoped would allow American society to get past its “class problem”.

Conclusion: War and the Ragged Edges of Reform

  • The roots of 20th-century liberalism (“new liberalism”) lay in its critique and abandonment of classical liberalism.
    • Classical liberalism’s faults lay in its excessive deference to individual liberty and faith in the natural justice of the marketplace.
  • Many reformers believed that such principles were bankrupt in the face of deeper social crises.
  • Progressivism took shape from industrialism and class warfare.
    • Reformers sought to find a new social balance.
    • Placed great faith in the capacity of a democratic community to shape a future of social harmony.
      • Community provides a check on rampant individualism.
    • Progressives found the state a useful ally for civic action and community improvement, but it was no substitute for civic activism of “the people”.
  • Progressives envisioned the amelioration of class conflict; nevertheless they held unsavory racial views.
    • Only the slow processes of social uplift and education could bring racial “others” into the circle of full citizenship.

The Emergence of Class Warfare in Opposition to Progressivist Ideology

  • 1915: a precarious point in Progressive history.
  • Class warfare was re-emerging in an increasingly polarized society.
  • Progressives worried about the distractions of a war in Europe that could draw the U.S. into conflict and sidetrack domestic reform.
  • Social engineering held the promise of meeting human needs, improving mechanisms for class reconciliation, and perfecting democratic institutions.
  • What happened to the progressive movement?
  • World War I came; Reformers lost their sense of direction and war intensified their divisions.
    • Progressives took on an anti-radical ton, and racial undercurrents of the progressive thought began to surface.
    • Conservative opponents were empowered by the frenzy of patriotic nationalism amid war.

Deep Contradictions and Divisions in the Progressive Movement

  • Progressives were divided over how to create social harmony.
  • The persistence of class conflict in America threatened this promise of social harmony through democratic renewal.
  • War exacerbated division in the Progressive movement.
    • War energized reformers that embraced preparedness and war as an opportunity to forge national unity.
    • War despaired antiwar Progressives that feared the war would undermine progressive ends through a loss of life, conservative nationalism, and coercive state power.
  • In the second arena of reform, war produced further differences.
  • Despite calls for national unity, economic conditions of war unleashed dramatic waves of strikes.
    • Labor activists in basic industry seized war opportunities to challenge employed for higher wages, shorter hours, and a stronger voice in the industry.
  • Reformers hoped to use war’s emergency to realign relationships between labor and capital.
  • Labor Progressives hoped to find a model for expanded public ownership in the postwar period.

Progressive Positions Amid War

  • Many Progressives found new rhetorical uses for the term “the people” as a way of embodying national identity and democratic culture.
  • The war appeared initially to be a gift to progressivism and gave reformers nationalist rhetoric to use.
  • Embracing war was not an easy proposition for many progressive reformers.
    • When war broke out, many reformers feared the democratic hope was to be bulldozed.
    • Yet, there was still hope that efficient management to achieve public control could be done through the agency of large corporations.

John Dewey and State Power

  • John Dewey exerted perhaps the greatest influence on progressive thought.
  • Dewey envisioned a process of social reconstruction driven forward by voluntary association.
    • Education played a key role in this vision.
    • Only through education could class divisions and social hierarchies be resolved.
  • Dewey recognized the necessity and value in state or national direction.
    • Advocated that schools teach community interest over private interest.
    • American schools were to foster equal opportunity and democratic values.
    • Dewey embraced postwar demonstrations of practical possibilities of government regulation of private business.
  • Dewey advocated for an alternative federation of self-governing industries, in which the state would function as an adjuster instead of outright managing them.
    • Reflects a hesitancy from a massive and permanent extension of state power.

Anti-War Progressivism

  • Lines of opposition to the war wavered and broke.
  • Nevertheless, antiwar Progressives maintained faith in reform.
  • Frustrated by class warfare and manipulation of the sense of national community, antiwar Progressives projected their democratic faith in unique ways.
    • Advocating peace and reconciliation, these Progressives looked towards the postwar era.
  • Jane Addams worked with the Food Administration to ensure the survival of a war-ravaged population.
    • Addams and other antiwar settlement reformers carried forward practical and domestic reform centered around the needs of women and children.
  • Some “war intellectuals” were found to be naive and delusional at best, and cynical at worst.
  • The war disabled a promising movement for reform.

Campaigning for Industrial Democracy

  • Many reformers say a different kind of opportunity in the war.
  • Industrial democracy implied a “socializing” of industry; forging new ties among laboring people based on shared class interest.
  • In war, these views set apart a coalition of labor reformers and socialists from dominant currents of progressive reform that favored class reconciliation and social harmony.
  • Labor Progressives maintained close ties to militant wings of the labor movement.
  • Strikes rose in 1916 to a peak in 1919; this energized the labor Progressives’ vision.
    • The war’s end saw a sharp decline in the authority granted to federal labor boards.
  • While the federal government maintained some wartime reform initiatives, Progressive reformers lost their connection to the distinctive domestic reform agenda.
  • A wave of postwar strikes, race riots, and antiradical persecution reinforced sentiments of skepticism towards democracy and the possibility of assimilating difference.
  • Labor Progressives were splintered in the postwar period.
    • One wing advocated for efficiency and worker-management cooperation.
      • Staked positions in a few industries, where they promoted new class harmonization strategies.
    • Another more radical wing of industrial democrats pursued reforms including the nationalization of railroads and coal.

The Legacies of Progressive Reform

  • Remnants of the reform community that had been the core of the Progressive movement felt a rightward shift in American politics during the 1920s.
  • Reformers drifted in greater isolation from centers of public power than prewar.
  • Still unwilling to frame problems in terms of class, these reformers shared little common ground with industrial democrats.
  • A coalition of reformers and trade unionists sought to invest in “harmony of interests” by establishing a framework for industrial relations.
  • John Dewey in 1935 offered an alternative to class conflict.
    • A liberalism that saw a socialized economy as the means of free individual development.
  • Dewey believed an organized “intelligence” could settle conflicting interests.
  • Labor’s achievement of the right to bargain collectively seemed to promise a resolution to the class problem.
  • New Deal liberalism was not monolithic; while rejecting class perspective, New Deal liberals adopted Progressive core values.
    • The state was employed to engineer a society inclusive of “the people” and less vulnerable to societal upheavals.
  • Later liberal reformers focused their attention on racial and ethnic discrimination.
    • Nazism gave urgency to the meaning of racial and ethnic differences in a democratic society
  • Reconfiguring of liberalism further displaced the class problem.
  • Social change in its racial dimension would dominate postwar liberal reform.
    • Social legislation of the 1960s addressed civil and social, not economic rights primarily.
  • Problems of racial assimilation and politics of identity dominated liberal discourse and a quest for a democratic community.
  • Liberals late in the 20th century were often accused of promoting the class perspective they persistently fought.

Labor’s Untold Story - Chapter 10, “Victory” by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais

The Committee for Industrial Organization

  • A revolutionary, apocalyptic time; generations had battled in vain to accomplish what would be accomplished soon.
  • A time of youth and growth; the red scare was laft at and the new was welcomed.
  • Triumph and courage were infectious; many read of unprecedented sit-downs reducing General Motors.
    • It seemed that labor was winning.
  • Thousands of singing picket lines somehow knew of the labor martyrs and the endless discrimination against black people.

    “They had a sense of history in that all felt strongly that the time of long defeat was coming to an end.”

  • An explosive mood.
    • The NRA (FDR’s National Recovery Administration) was seen to be ineffective.
    • Wages in steel were one-third of the minimum level needed to maintain a family.
  • 1935: the NRA was declared unconstitutional and the Wagner Labor Act was passed.
  • The Wagner Act (as had the NRA) gave labor collective bargaining rights.
    • Labor knew tht this right would only be effective as labor made it.
  • 35m organizable workers clamored for protection of a union.
  • The AFL did not wait to take advantage of a large oppurtunity to organize the unorganized.
    • John L. Lewis punched William Hutchenson (symbol of AFL’s refusal to organize millions industrially).
    • Symbolic of a split between eight AFL unions.
    • A carefully planned assault.
  • The Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) was born with the purpose of working within the AFL, rather than establishing an independent organization.
  • A drive to organize millions of unskilled workers was underway.
  • Boiling over had already begun before the CIO had even opened their office.
    • Hotel walk-outs, artists battling police; a national torrent of strikes.
  • Sit-ins were an effective striking tool: staying in the struck area.
    • Protection from weather and police assaults.
    • Owner’s fear that machines would be injured if workers were attacked.
  • All over the countries, workers were striking.
    • Even high school students, prisoners, electric storage battery workers, dressmakers, hosiery workers, bridge operators.
    • Within six months the CIO had 2m members, 1m having just joined.
  • August 4th, 1936; AFL Exec. Council suspended CIO unions and later expelled them.
    • Warned that the CIO was a communistic plot, but the CIO’s numbers kept on growing.
    • Formal charge made agaist the CIO: dual unionism and refusal to abide by majority rule.
  • United Electrical (UE), Radio and Machine Workers of America, organized in March, 1936.
    • Even with unfavorable publicity, UE grew.
    • Governor Hoffman of New Jersey launched an attack on UE; thousands of electrical workers heard of UE for the first time and joined.
    • 1936 UE strike; bloody and violent.
      • Sentence for strikers: the union and strike were communist plots.
    • Wages were raised minimally.
  • September 1936, UE and shipyard workers joined the CIO; made a crucial difference in the organization, proving that it could attract new and growing mass unions.

Sit-down at Flint

  • Strategists of the CIO intended to organize the union-breaking steel industry first.
    • Spontaneous surge of organization and the success of the sit-down tactic made them change.
  • The automobile industry was particularly brutal towards workers.
  • Workers who attempted union organization were fired.
    • A belief that arbitrary discharge would keep men docile.
  • This terror and repression succeeding in filling auto workers with bitterness.
  • 1930: Auto Workers Union struck the GM (General Motors) Fisher Body Plant Number One at Flint.
    • 1933: Skilled Tool and Die Makers walked out.
    • The strikes was defeated and the strikers were blacklisted.
  • Auto workers flooded tot he new AFL federal union; however, AFL officials objected to recognizing the unions.
  • The Auto Workers Union withdrew from the AFL in 1936 and joined the CIO.
  • Massive corporations like GM essentially owned plants, courts, police, and cities.
  • By Jan. 4, sit-downers were in possession of GM plants at 6 locations, especially Flint, Michigan.
    • Flint was gripped by imminent civil war.
    • This united force, though, sent Roosevelt into action, sent John L. Lewis to negotiate, and imperiled the political career of Frank Murphy - governor of Michiagan.
  • The firmness of these workers built the CIO; invisible impulses connected the sit-downers in Flint with every member of the working class in the United States.
  • Many legislators believed the sit-downers should be forceably removed, and that the attempt was a communist ploy.
    • John L. Lewis instead argued that this incident had come from GM refusing to obey the Wagner Labor Act.

      “The CIO stands squarely behind these sit-downs.”

  • Governor Murphy brought GM officials and Lewis together.
    • Murphy feared bloodshed, Knudsen feared damage to the plant.
    • Attempt to turn off the heat in Flint plants; was retaliated against.
    • Attempt to starve the Flint sit-downers; women bringing food to their husbands were shot at.
  • On the 35th day, Flint authorities began arming hundreds of vigilantes. Tensions were rising and Governor Murphy had to make a decision.
    • He continued to push for negotiation, but it could not be done.
    • Murphy ordered troops of the National Gaurd to clear the plants; hesitated after meeting Lewis.
  • Eventually GM surrendered; they announced they would recognize the union and negotioate nationally.
  • Within a year wages in the auto industry had increased by $300,000, and the UAW has grown from 30k members to 50k.


  • In the aftermath of Flint, sit-downs moved from Flint to Detroit, Chicago, and other cities.
  • To the elite, sit-downs seemed like a horirlbe disease.
  • New sets of standards emerged; many workers who had never heard of unions sat down and raiiusd rages.
  • Great upheaval required a new kind of union leader - young, militant, and capable…
  • Steel workers everywhere jumped into the labor movement with an almost religious zeal.
  • Labor was not just a program of economic improvement, but a way of life and a passionate belief.
  • Drive began as the biggest task “ever undertaken by organized labor within the memory of man.”
  • Many were impressed by the triumph over GM, including Myron C. Taylor - chairman of the Board of Directors of US Steel.
    • Taylor had been discussing with Lewis; by a mere show of strength, steel workers won a 10% wage increase, a 40 hour week, and union recognition.
    • Tom Girdler of Republic Steel said the industry had been betrayed by Taylor.
  • Alliance with Youngston Sheet and other corporations; Republic Steel violated the Wagner Labor Act.
    • “Little Steel” - independently owned steel, accounting for a quarter of steel in the US.
    • In May, during the Memorial Day Massacre, ten were killed and many more wounded as they tried to picket before a Republic plant.
    • Amid these scenes, the CIO was built; out of these deaths came the organization of Republic and Little Steel.
  • Scores of black workers were organized on a basis of equality in trade unions - finally.
    • CIO union constitutions barred no one from membership because of “sex, race, creed or national origin”.
    • Thousands of working women were admitted into mass industrial unions as well.
  • The CIO grew from 1m to nearly 4m; in 1938 it became a more permanent organization.
  • It even spurred the AFL into vigorous action.
    • The AFL’s membership increased by more than 1m as well.
    • Labor now had ~10m members - tripling its growth.
  • Parts of the open-shop South were organized by CIO men and women; while they were attacked, they nevertheless continued organizing.
  • CIO’s 1940 story is a story of victory and changed lives.

The Know-How of Victory

  • The CIO was swiftly built, but not easily built.
    • It was hit hard by Communist conspiracy charges, negative press, and monopolized capital.
  • By 1938, monopolies began to recover and fight against labor.
    • Setting up the House un-American Committee and government blanklists of union men.
  • The CIO was charged with fomenting red violence, and that the auto industry was becoming sovietized.
  • In the face of these allegations, the CIO emained unmoved.
    • 80% of American workers were still unorganized.
  • President Roosevelt said many corporations pretending to be independent were instead part of secret trustified combinations.
    • Nevertheless, the CIO was fighting - and defeating - these giant agglomerations.
    • Labor was taking $5b each year in increased wages.
  • 1937 - representatives from a strong aggregation of capital were preapred to do whatever was necessary to destroy the CIO.
    • Many of the siezures of power were Hitlarian and fascist.
  • After Hitler, there were no trade unions in Germany; this made a powerful impression on many American industrialists.
    • Where monopoly controlled the state, all democratic opposition had been eliminated.
  • The Soviet Union was trying to organize collective security and contain fascist powers.
    • Many allegations that Roosevelt was communist convinced many the CIO was no more communist than the President.
  • Working men and anti-fascists were uniting by the millions in France, China, and Spain.
  • Some industrialists talked about fascist seizure of power, but many attempted to artificially induce a depression.
    • A little unemployment could force workers in line.
    • These resulted in strikes, most of which were won.
  • The CIO and the common people refused to be confused or divided, and may have averted a serious attempt at American fascism.
    • Roosevelt was elected in 1940 for a third term.
  • There was not often real danger that monopoly could succeed to divide the CIO through the Big Lie.
    • The unity of the CIO was threatened when international situations shifted.
  • Heart of policy that thwarted monopoly plots against the CIO was that organization was basic, and everything else was secondary.
    • Loyalty was to be judged by successfula ction, and not by political beliefs of a CIO member or gossip.
    • Foundation of policy was unity.
  • The CIO refused to divide itself and decrease its numbers and strength by its own action.
  • This know-how of victory - unity in organizing the unorganized - was characteristic of the CIO since its inception.
  • This unity was not easy to come by; the attack on this unity was continuous and constant.
    • Always under the guise of a fight against communism.
    • Employers would often fill the newspaper and flood the country with pamphlets declaring the CIO was an arm of Moscow’s goal to build a Soviet America.
  • Nevertheless, the CIO stood firm and won for workers.
  • Four year unity of the CIO against the Big Lie also played a vital role in advancing the larger coalition that was the New Deal.
  • This left-center coaltion faltered in 1940-41 before American entry into WWII.
    • Alliance continued to lead the CIO until 1945.

“Preamble to the National Labor Relations Act”


  • The National Labor Relations Act of 1935; more commonly known as the Wagner Act.
    • Named after its chief sponsor, NY senator Robert Wagner.
  • Justifies the rights of workers to choose their representatives democratically, and to bargain collectively with employers.

Preamble of the National Relations Act, 1935

  • Employers denying employees the ability ot organize and the refusal of employers to accept collective bargaining leads inevitably to strikes nad unrest.
  • These strikes obstruct commerce by
    1. impairing the safety and efficiency of commerce;
    2. occurring in the same space as commerce;
    3. affecting the control of raw materials
    4. causing a reduction in employment and wages to disrupt the market.
  • When employees cannot bargan but employers organize with others, the flow of commerce is effected, and provokes business depressions.
  • Protection by law of employees to organize and bargain can safeguard commerce from disruption.
    • Removes obvious sources of industrial unrest.
    • Restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.
  • The United States policy will hence be to encourage collective bargaining and protection of worker’s freedoms of association, organization, and designation of representatives.

Wartime Shipyard: A Study in Social Disunity by Katherine Archibald

Women in the Shipyard

  • Before the war, most heavy industries provided a few areas where feminism did not work out.
  • The work was thought to be so complex and arduous it would never be able to be handled by women.
  • Women were beginning to intrude into the work of construction by late spring 1942, later into shipbuilding. -Women were put in to open sheds so “everybody could keep an eye on them”.
  • Limitations upon the usefulness of women were more withdrawn; by spring of 1943 women had become a stable factor of the wartime shipyard.
    • Women were ~20% of the total working force.
  • Most men were courteous or even gallant; male and female workers would engage in casual chat.
    • Underneath the formality and politeness was resentment of women as rivals of men in a man’s world.
  • Masculine antagonism constituted a vague atmosphere.
    • Often manifested on shipyard talk and behavior of the sexual role of women.
    • Mix of man’s anxiety of a woman touching his possessions.
    • The only contribution a woman was said to offer was a disturbance and a distraction.
  • Sex was an avocational interest of the male worker; the sexual role of women was especially emphasized.
    • Evoked biological distinctions between men and women, reinforcing social demarcation lines.
    • Traditions about the division of labor were linked to biological function.
  • Rumor was constantly spread; the result was to deny the establishment of businesslike relationships between men and women.
  • Sexually interpreted distrust of women as shipyard workers reached a climax amid the fall of 1942 on Moore Dry Dock.
    • Employment of women was becoming an established policy.
    • Would “unprincipled girls” “steal” married men? - some argued so.
  • Management issued strict governing rules around the dress of women.
    • Even the women formed an undeputized agency for enforcement of rules about dress.
  • It was not unusual for working-class women to respond to the pressure of economic necessity but supplementing the family income through “casual and ill-paid labor”.
  • The greater the shipyard worker’s economic security, the more determined he became to be the pillar of his family’s financial support.
    • A woman working at home was to be evidence of her husband’s earning capacity.
  • Tradition and masculine egotism took part in the resistance.
    • Fear of women as competitors in a monopoly of men.
  • Craft unions attempted to protect their exclusiveness; restrictions were eventually broken through.
    • There was a heavy demand for welders; the first women hired to work at Moore Dry Dock were welders.
    • Reluctance of unions to permit full participation by women - an attempt to protect an interest from being shared.
  • Common explanation - the work was unsuitable for women.
    • Men seldom credited women with the capacity of desire to put in an honest day of work.
  • Women nonetheless received a man’s full pay for doing “less than” a man’s work.
  • Women’s right to good working conditions was also attacked as unjust.
    • Women were to have played no role in the organized effort.
    • A woman would prove to be a source of weakness.
  • Women faced discriminatory difficulties in advancing their status.
    • Women at the Dry Dock did not pass beyond being a journeyman.
  • Further difficulties awaited women given authority over shipyard men.
  • In the winter of 1943, female electricians had a pay reduction; disproportionate quitting and layoffs of women were clear from shipyard statistics.
    • By February 1945: women constituted less than 10%.
  • Some women in the shipyards justified masculine rumor and insult.
  • The work attitudes of many women did not meet the standards of the craftsman.
    • Women had the little impulse to delve into the secrets of their craft or to work harder than necessary.
    • A byproduct of looking upon the work as temporary.
    • Few women disrupted the masculine claim of their inferiority.
  • Many women were antagonistic to ideas that implied equality of economic opportunity.
    • This attitude was more readily accepted because shipyard labor was not very attractive in terms of personal development or expression.
  • However, despite their reluctance and the derision that surrounded them, thousands of women came to work.
  • Some men had come to believe that women had a permanent place in certain phases of heavy industry, like being electricians.
  • The labor of shipyard women was sorely needed.
    • Counselors were even added to encourage women to enter the shipyards and to remain effective workers.
    • A short-lived women’s council was even formed; an orientation program was also set up.
  • Cultural media also played a role: Rosie the Riveter was established as a heroine, for instance.
    • Some more liberal unions encouraged active participation by women in union affairs.
  • As the shipyard community declined the size and approached normality, women remained a minority group.
  • Citizenship of women continued to be conditional and their status falls short of complete equality with men.
  • The conventional alignment of the two sexes was shaken in the shipyard situation, but it is not evidence that the principles of unity established in this period were enough to withstand traditional distinctions.


  • Immigration from foreign shores was the largest source of growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Most of California’s immigrants were non-Californian.
  • Industrial and agricultural interests welcomed waves of migration, but the stranger was nonetheless disdained.
  • Barriers of distrust and discrimination were likewise raised against Americans and whites whose origins were in a less favored area.
  • The Depression: a migratory movement to California occurred; drought had dealt the final blow to many people already weakened by financial chaos.
  • These migrants were loosely called “Okies”.
  • Okies came to California at a time when protective impulses of the economy were at their high.
  • California’s traditional exclusiveness became an active antagonism.
  • This group of migrants existed throughout the first few difficult years and remained in California.
    • Over time, Okies became more integrated into the agricultural centers they settled in.
  • As war approached, there were too few willing hands to keep California’s industry alive.
  • Labor-seeking immigrants were now welcomed and sought-after.
    • Agencies throughout the country recruited workmen for shipyards and aircraft factories, etc.
    • Nearly 1.5m people were drawn to California between 1940 and 1943 for its war industries.
  • At least 20% of the workers in the Bay Area shipyards were Okies.
  • The Okie had peculiarities that set him apart - his dialect, dress, and customs were undeniably different.
    • Various charges were made: Okies were too extravagant, or their impoverished background was ridiculed.
  • Antagonism to shipyard Okies dwelt within the structure of the jealous guarding a vested interest.
    • Like women, Okies were assumed to know little or nothing of the techniques of the industry.
  • Racialization of Okies - pg. 46. “a different kind of face… more dumb-looking, somehow.”
  • Others complained that Okies were reaping the excellent wages and working conditions for which they did not fight.
    • Newcomers - especially Okies - were said to be the source of eventual union collapse.
    • Okies were often the main targets of resentment.
  • Okies were less schooled as a group; remarkable examples of lack of opportunity.
  • Many Okies were not illiterate; they had worked in Southwestern towns, oil fields, and industrialized cities.
    • Discrimination against Okies was seldom practiced if their knowledge warranted it.
  • Vagueness of boundaries of Okie habitats made “Okie” a very general epithet.
  • Okies adjusted easily and became much less readily identifiable.
    • Implicitly, Okies were determined to remain permanently on the Pacific Coast.
    • Consciously chose to stay and accept limitations of income and opportunity that may confront them postwar.
  • Okies were aware of the attacks against them, but developed counterattacks, or were quick to show that the popular concept of an Okie did not apply.
  • The Okies were the latest addition to the population of a state that had grown since repeated waves of immigration.
  • Antagonism to Okies was one that eventually ceased to be of public concern.

American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy; Chapter 1: “The Myth of the Reluctant Superpower” by Andrew Bacevich


  • Events culminating in an onward thrust of 1898 and a dramatic emergence on the world stage.
  • Prevailing idea: Greatness was not sought, it happened. American policy was a response to external factors.
    • 1898, Americans chose war only when depredations of Spain in Cuba were intolerable.
    • 1914, U.S. remained neutral, intervening only when Germany violated U.S. neutrality rights.
    • 1939, Americans stayed on the sidelines until provoked by Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack.
  • The myth of the “reluctant superpower” - Americans asserting themselves only under duress - reigns as a master narrative for explaining and justifying the exercise of global power.
  • The reluctant superpower trope curbs inclination to reconsider purposes of America’s unquestioned global dominance.
  • The foreign policy elite fundamentally share this common vision and conform in practice to this strategic consensus.

Early Challenges to the Reluctant Superpower Myth

  • Two occasions: critics mounted a challenge to the reluctant superpower consensus.
    1. Decade leading up to World War II;
    2. Crisis centered on the Vietnam War.
  • Dissenters subjected the myth to a sustained assault.
    • Rejected premise that America’s foreign policies were a function of external developments.
    • Instead, they argued that these policies derived from influences closer to home.
  • These dissenters formulated their alternative to the myth.
    • Dissenters who appeared during the Cold War were oblivious to the defects of communism, just as they had discounted Hitler’s threat.
    • Prone to astigmatism - blind to inconvenient facts.
  • These dissenters called into attention a different set of inconvenient facts.
    • Yielded insights into origins, motives, and conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
  • Proponents of dissenters: Charles A. Beard and William Appleman Williams.

The Rise and Fall of Charles A. Beard

  • Charles A. Beard was the most influential historian in America; he was original in interpretation, politically progressive, and prolific.
  • However, Beard’s reputation stood as a ruin in the landscape of American historiography; Beard found himself denounced as a fascist apologist.
  • Beard closed his career by denouncing the orthodox account of U.S. entry into WWII.
    • Accused Franklin Roosevelt of deception in his conduct of foreign affairs.

“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

  • FDR
  • This promise for the third term was not kept; even as FDR was promising to keep the country out of the war, he was conniving to maneuver the U.S. into it.
    • Some instances of Roosevelt’s dishonesty - notably in misrepresenting U.S. naval involvement in GB’s battle against U-boat threats.
  • Such an attack by Beard was impermissible; he consigned himself to the status of a miscreant.

Beginnings of Economic-Root Ideas

  • Beard was stirred by social ills of his era - by-products of laissez-faire attitudes of American industrialism.
  • How had such a society come into existence?
    • Beard’s first book scandalized patriotic defenders of historical orthodoxy.
    • Argued that Framers pursued their task less under the high ideals of 1776 than on capitalist profit.

“The Constitution was essentially an economic document based upon the concept that the fundamental rights of property are anterior to government and morally beyond the reach of popular majorities.”

  • Beard
  • The Civil War for Beard was a pivotal event in U.S. history - resolving competition between Jeffersonian ideals of agrarianism and Hamiltonian visions of capitalism.
    • Beard argued this “second Revolution” was not a dispute over slavery, but a contest between two economic systems pushing to expand.
    • The real winners were the industrialists of the North, it was argued.
  • Beard regulated foreign policy as an afterthought at this time; the foreign policy was derived from domestic policy.
  • American participation in WWI alerted Beard to hazards of commercial diplomacy.
    • Was WWI a war of German aggression that threatened the survival of democracy?
    • Revisionists challenged the notion that the U.S. had truly remained neutral during 1914-1917.
      • Bankers and arms merchants engaged with a massive trade in arms with the Allies; they would lose significant profit if GB and France lost the war.
      • By 1917, the U.S. government became complicit in Allied schemes.
  • Beard found this case persuasive; he concluded in 1930 that U.S. entry into the war had been a mistake.
    • He found U.S. policies now more sinister and complex.
  • He proposed American leaders chose intervention abroad to avoid difficult questions at home.
    • Japan’s incursion into Manchuria and Hitler’s power in Germany suggested a president seeking to dodge the need for structural change at home.
  • Beard’s interpretation of American statecraft derived from two maxims:
    1. Foreign and domestic policy were parts of the same thing.
    2. Nations are governed by their interests as their statesmen conceive these interests.
  • Advocates in Washington had concluded that the domestic market alone could not satisfy the nation’s requirements; a surplus needed to be exported.
  • The essence of statecraft was the long stretches between war; this was when issues that counted were addressed.
    • U.S. foreign policy as an either/or proposition: a question of commercial expansion or stagnation and decay.
    • Exporting economic surpluses (“industrialist way of escape”) constituted the national interest.
  • Not only a matter of making money but preserving long-standing arrangements of power and privilege.
  • Only by opening the world to American trade and investment could the U.S. flourish and ensure the permanence of existing domestic order, so the argument went.
  • Beard viewed moral and humanitarian arguments on behalf of internationalism as camouflage.
    • American boundaries contained enough human tragedy and misfortune.
  • Beard proposed the U.S. emphasize self-reliance and economic self-sufficiency - maximizing American freedom of action.
  • At the end of FDR’s term, Beard realized the New Deal was a salvage operation; FDR was intent on preserving democratic capitalism.

Five Faults of Economic Expansion

  1. Dreams of endless economic expansion are illusory.
  2. The more insistently the U.S. pressed to open the world, the greater the opposition it would encounter.
  3. In provoking resistance, the door to militarism at home would be opened and the U.S. would find itself increasingly resorting to force.
  4. American political culture and the composition of American society are ill-suited to an expansionist strategy. - Divided ethnically and religiously, celebrating individual liberty and self-gratification. - Lack of deference to authority.
  5. Preoccupation with opening doors misconstrued the U.S.’s true interests. - A commitment to providing all Americans with a decent standard of living. - To pursue the nation’s material well-being by venturing beyond the frame of national security was to court collapse and exhaustion. - America’s internal market was undeveloped and vast.

Complex Characterization and Disgrace in World War II

  • Looming crises in Europe and Asia were portrayed primarily in moral terms leading up to WWII.
  • No victim was complete without fault and no great power was innocent.

“…greed, lust and ambition in Europe and Asia do not seem to be confined to Italy, Germany, and Japan, nor does good seem to be monopolized by Great Britain, France, and Russia.”

  • Beard
  • Ambiguity shrouded motivations and actions of states, including those of the United States.
  • Beard warned Americans of seeing international politics as the handiwork of nefarious individuals. Americans possessed the power to prevent the nation from sliding into collapse.
  • Beard sensed that FDR was becoming “intoxicated by moral exuberance”; denied that foreign quarrels had a moral basis.
  • Beard placed himself at the forefront of a grassroots movement opposing U.S. intervention in the war.
    • Even as German military successes edged closer to American involvement, Beard insisted that flaws within the American system of political economy determined U.S. policy.
  • After Pearl Harbor, brooding and embittered, Beard constructed his “devil theory” to explain American intervention - FDR as Satan.
    • Beard charged FDR with dishonesty, deception, and hijacking the Constitution.
    • Critics lambasted Beard’s books on U.S. entry to WWII as tendentious and mean-spirited.
  • On Hitler, Roosevelt had been right - Beard’s 1940 prescription for U.S. policy would have resulted in disaster.
  • While Beard missed one truth, he hit upon others.

William Appleman Williams

  • William Appleman Williams was a midwesterner; his father was killed when he was 8.
  • 1947, Williams left the Navy to study history @ the University of Wisconsin - famous for loyalty to the teachings of Charles Beard.
  • Heavy progressivism at the University of Wisconsin completed his transformation into a radical.
  • Williams’ first book, American-Russian Relations, 1781-1947, questioned orthodox views on the Cold War’s origins.
  • Williams was politically one of the most controversial historians.
  • Founding father for the Wisconsin School of revisionist history that examined the underside of U.S. foreign policy.
  • On-campus, he was a wildly popular teacher; he gained access to notable opinion journals.
  • Williams increasingly found himself out of sympathy for Vietnam-era radicals
    • Considered counterculture to be childish and self-indulgent, the sexual revolution repugnant.
  • 1968, Williams fled Madison for the Pacific coast; his final years were largely reclusive.
  • Williams acknowledged his debt to Beard at a time when Beard’s professional reputation was at rock bottom.
    • Beard’s ideas provided the foundation for William’s ideas.

Expansionism and Openness

  • Williams endorsed Beard’s view that expansionism was integral to American history.
    • Expression of a struggle for America’s soul - not whether citizens should be agrarians or merchants, but instead whether Americans would descend into materialism or a Christian commonwealth.
  • Americans could give themselves over to hedonistic individualism or accept demands and self-discipline of living with others in a responsible, humane fashion.
  • A “charming but ruthless faith in infinite progress fueled by endless growth” became central to the American way of life.
  • The United States pursued expansion abroad in a way that reflected particular American interests and values.
    • American leaders abandoned efforts to colonialize because it wasn’t profitable.
    • Anti-imperial sympathies were at odds with U.S. soldiers subduing alien populations.
    • What mattered was not ownership but commercial success.
  • “Open Door imperialism” - a highly innovative strategy developed by American leaders.
    • Open Door Notes declared America’s interest in preserving China’s territorial integrity; claiming for the U.S. to enjoy the same privileges as by Europeans and Japan.
    • Underlying this appeal for fairness was a chance that Americans would reap more than their fair share of benefits.
  • Americans embraced the Open Door policy because it encompassed ideals of economic opportunity, political liberty, and security.
  • Openness was not simply a cover for exploitation - most imperialists believed an American empire would be humanitarian.
  • Dogma of openness became a central component of American ideology.

World War II

  • Williams wrote that the war’s end left Americans confident that their earlier visions of Manifest Destiny were materializing.
  • Orthodox view: Joseph Stalin entertained aspirations of his own - the Soviet dictator marked himself as ungratefully and dangerous.
    • William rejected this, instead proposing Soviet behavior was defensive in nature, and that the U.S. more than the Soviet Union was bent on exploiting victory to expand its influence.
  • This version of the Cold War’s origin ignored the character of the Soviet regime - abuse of human rights, denial of freedom, mass starvation.
  • The events of the 1960s - assassinations, Vietnam, etc. - transformed Williams.
    • His critiques seemed not only provocative but true.
  • Beard attempted to legitimize a revisionist perspective on the origins of WWII - and destroyed his reputation.
    • Williams’ challenge to Cold War orthodoxy became both fashionable and influential.
  • New revisionists threatened internationalist consensus and popular support for the crusade against communism.
  • Williams wanted Americans to create democratic socialism.
    • Even for this radicalism, his solutions reflected a deep-seated conservatism.
    • As improbable as Beard’s plea to ignore Nazi Germany.
  • Eventually, Williams advocated for national dismemberment of the U.S. into communities.
    • By the end of 1970, the New Left failed to develop a coherent program and sunk into irrelevance.
  • Williams’ concerns sounded progressively more preposterous near his death.

“The issue is the nature and dynamic of the American empire, not the validity of Lenin’s thesis.”

  • Williams

Four Worthy Points from Williams’ Efforts to Understand American Power

  • From Williams’ efforts to understand American power, there are four worthy points.
    1. The United States came to play a role in the 20th century that must be understood as a variant of the empire.
    2. The idea of something coming into existence out of American control was rejected; American imperialism arose out of a particular worldview and reflected a coherent strategy with the support of the American people.
    3. Unearthed assumptions underlying liberal internationalism, explained its logic, identified its purposes, and divined its implications. The aim was to open the world to American enterprise.
    4. In practice, the only sure way to guarantee openness is through the exercise of the dominant power.
  • Beard first identified the underlying logic of American expansionism, and Williams went one step further in urging Americans to contemplate implications of such expansionism.

Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao, and Che by Max Elbaum


  • Conventional wisdom about sixties radicals: decade began with impassioned people struggling to fulfill the promise of America, eventually becoming irrational and self-destructive.
  • Elbaum proposes a new look at the radicalism of the sixties.
    • As a result of their engagement in the struggle against the war in Vietnam and racism at home, radicals gained new levels of insight into inequality and militarism in US society.
  • These radicals believed there were connections between the war in Vietnam and other US interventions.
  • While they could be confused and foolish, Elbaum argues that they doggedly worked to overcome their prejudices and accurately targeted obstacles they were against.

1968: “It All Fit Together”

  • 1968 was a watershed year for revolutionarist activists.
    1. Explosion of the Vietnamese Tet offensive at the end;
    2. Lyndon Johnson’s forced withdrawal from the presidential race;
    3. Assassination of Martin Luther King and following black uprisings;
    4. Robert Kennedy’s assassination;
    5. Nomination of Hubert Humphrey as Democratic candidate for president.
  • Rapidly altered the political landscape, sharpening racial and political polarization.
  • Protestors argued that anti-government violence was as justified as police and military violence.
  • African Americans demonstrated in >300 urban rebellions between 1964 and 1968.
  • One million students saw themselves as part of the left.
  • 15 years after McCarthyism pushed US radicalism underground, a new revolutionary current was taking shape.

“Three Million Think Revolution Is Needed”

  • Nixon’s doomed efforts to win the war in Southeast Asia led to the May 1970 invasion of Cambodia.
    • This resulted in one of the biggest protest explosions on US college campuses in history.
    • 4/10 college students (nearly 3 million people) thought a revolution was necessary.
  • Rebellion was raging within the military itself.
    • 30.6% of black enlisted men planned to join a militant black group when they returned home.
  • Revival of trade union militancy.
    • Increasing rebelliousness among black and white workers.
    • US activists often terms their communities “third world peoples” within US borders.
  • The US elite was seeking to redirect discontent to safer channels in 1972-73.
    • However, the entire academic community was positioned against war, business, and government.
    • Social struggles simmer beneath the surface before they seize center-stage.
  • Upheavals did not, Elbaum argues, stem from a historical accident or collective irrationality.
    • Instead, the turmoil had deep roots in US society.

Preparing the Ground

  • The new political force that came together in 1968 was the result of a whole array of experiences in which young people learned lessons about power, the nature of social conflict, and US society.
  • Chief events transformed the consciousness of sixties activists.
  • Primary force in initiating this generation’s ideological evolution was the civil rights movement.
    • Beginning with the Montgomery bus boycott; played a decisive role in opening space for more expressions of political dissent.
    • Movement sought to end legal segregation and the white monopoly on political power.
      • Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965.
      • Breaking through Jim Crow.
  • Led many to believe that racial inequality was not simply a matter of unjust laws but a fundamental economic and social structure. 0 Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) embodied audacity and persistence, shaping the consciousness of the New Left.
  • Victory of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st, 1959 fed into this spirit.
    • 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis made many believe in the aggressive, anti-democratic militarism of US policy.
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) - the main expression of 1960s radicalism among white students.
  • SNCC and SDS were premier organizations of the New Left.
    • Neither were explicitly anti-capitalist.
    • Committed to direct action, radical sensibility, and enthusiasm for challenging official dogmas.

The Move Toward the Left Accelerates

  • Expansion and leftward transition of activist ranks accelerated between 1964 and 1967.
  • The Democratic Party refused to seat the openly segregationist Mississippi delegation.
  • Betrayal of racial justice in favor of political expediency solidified many suspicions of official liberalism.
    • Democratic Party establishment liberals seemed no longer to be allies of justice.
  • Berkley’s Free Speech Movement - opened an era of large-scale campus protests by white students.
    • Malcolm X broke away from the Nation of Islam and founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
    • Malcolm had a personal influence on key circles of activists.
    • After his assassination, his ideas gained a far wider audience.
  • Rage exploded in city streets from 1964-1968.
Year# of Urban Rebellions
  • About 18% of the black population in affected areas participated in uprisings.
  • Demand for black power - pushed by Stokely Carmichael and others.
    • Content of black power was subject to a variety of interpretations, its main thrust cut to the left and purported to inspire a deeper challenge to white supremacy.
  • US farmworkers began to mobilize.
    • Mexican and Chicano workers, led by Chavez, voted to join a strike against 33 grape ranches.
    • With Filipino workers, formed the United Farmworkers Union (UFW).
  • Demonstration against the Vietnam War was called for by the SDS in 1965.
    • Defied the tradition of “respectable” peace organizations - accepted the endorsement of communist groups, including ones calling for the victory of Vietnam’s National Liberation Front.
  • Progressive media began to bring imperial strategies towards the light of day.
    • 1966: Michigan State University assisted counter-insurgency efforts in Vietnam.
    • 1967: CIA was funding the National Student Association.
  • Increasingly radical ideas were matched by increasing militancy.

King’s Watershed Antiwar Speech

  • Martin Luther King gave the momentous “breaking silence” speech condemning the Vietnam War.
  • King began to speak consistently in terms of direct links between US violence in Vietnam and racism at home.
  • Murder of Che in 1967 had a significant impact; young people were “making connections” quickly.
  • Stokely Carmichael - leader of SNCC - formulated an angry response calling for armed revolution in the US.
  • Twenty members of the Alliance of Free Peoples, led by Tierra Tijerina, conducted a takeover of the county courthouse in Tierra Amarilla.
    • An attempt to win recognition of land grants.
    • This fed into the explosion of the Chicano movement.
  • Mid-sixties saw an outpouring of radical literature.
    • Radical periodicals and films began to circulate more widely.
  • Sanitized version of King’s ideas has little in common with his systemic critique of US society.
    • He believed that militant multifaceted grassroots was needed to change it.
  • In 1968, only a small minority embraced revolutionary politics. Shocks would soon follow, though.

Revolution in the Air

  • The Vietnamese Tet offensive was a surprise to war-makers and protestors.
  • The National Liberation Front (NLF) launched a coordinated assault.
    • Exposed the weaknesses of the South Vietnamese regime and the failure of Washington’s Vietnam policy.
  • Forced Lyndon Johnson to convene with an advisory group to study the Vietnam situation.
    • For activists, the US could be beaten.
  • Martin Luther King was assassinated just four days after Johnson’s announcement.
    • King’s murder set off a nationwide upheaval.
    • King’s murder symbolized the depth of the system’s incorrigibility and convinced many that nonviolence was a dead-end.
  • Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles, just after his victory in the California presidential primary.
  • 1964 Berkeley Free Speech Movement - directed against the university’s plans to build a gym that would displace people living on the proposed site.
  • Strong upheaval occurred in France as well; eyewitness accounts of student-worker alliances and growing revolutionary organizations from French or US activists that toured US campuses were intoxicating.
  • Democratic convention - nomination of Hubert Humphrey.
    • Combination of police violence and Humphrey’s selection drove the final nail in the coffin.
  • Just before the convention, the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia.
    • The Soviet Union was acting as anything but a force for freedom and liberation.
  • Other clashes and movements kept the pot boiling:
    • Continuous-wave of protests on campuses from 1968.
    • Third World Liberation Front at SF State University, 1968.
    • Third World Strike at UC Berkeley, 1969.
  • Won the first-ever ethnic studies programs at US Universities.
  • Richard Nixon built his Southeast Asia policy around “Vietnamization” in a narrow defeat of Humphrey.
    • Continued secret bombing in Cambodia and war intensification against North Vietnam.
    • US combat deaths averaged significantly lower under Nixon, though, and hence succeeded in keeping wavering sections of the population from becoming anti-war.
  • Nixon decided for one more massive operation - the invasion of Cambodia ignited a firestorm.
    • Protests began within hours; 448 campuses were either striking or shut down.

New Constituencies Mobilize

  • May 1970 protests were to be the last militant antiwar actions.
  • SNCC and SDS collapsed.
  • Other indicators of the establishment’s vulnerability and the spread of radicalism to new constituencies:
    • US faced a major economic challenge for the first time since the post-WWII period.
      • Costs of the Vietnam War were coming home with vengeance.
      • Nixon imposed wage-price controls.
    • Political realm: revelations of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate crisis.
  • Space of radical activity expanded as government authority and credibility eroded.
    • The black freedom movement continued in developing new programs and more advanced organizational expressions.
  • Black Panther Party reached the height of influence in 1969-70; disciplined revolutionary organization.
  • New black student organizations also emerged on campus.
    • Combinations of nationalism and socialism became a powerful ideological force.
  • Antiwar marches from October to November of 1969 were massive.
  • VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against War) culminating at the steps of the Capitol, where hundreds of veterans tossed their military honors over the fence.
  • These “Mayday” protests resulted in the largest number of arrests in US history.
  • Less often in the form of demonstrations, antiwar sentiment continued to develop during 1972.
    • Paris Peace Agreement of 1973 ratified US defeat.
  • The US military itself was experiencing internal rebellion.
    • Antiwar newspapers aimed at services personnel exploded in number.
    • Annual Armed Forces Days were marked by protests more than celebrations.
  • The situation on the ground in Vietnam was even more inflammable.
    • 551 incidents of assaults on superiors with explosive weapons between 1969 and 1972.
    • Youth disproportionately being sent to Vietnam were also taking action.
  • In 1970, the strike and boycott campaign of the United Farmworkers culminated in victory.
  • Years after 1968 saw an explosion of Asian American activism.
  • A contingent of indigenous people occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for 71 days in defiance of the FBI and federal troops.

Out of Prisons, Kitchens, and Closets

  • Development of a radical movement “behind the walls” as prisoners became politicized.
  • Prison protests frequently turned into revolt.
    • September 1971 at Attica - 1,200 inmates seized control of half the prison and took hostages.
    • 29 inmates and 10 hostages were killed.
  • Women’s liberation movement similar erupted in these same years.
    • Women’s liberation added new dimensions to the critique of US society.
    • National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) was an active participant in antiwar and other broad coalitions.
  • Homosexuals of the 1960s forged modern gay and lesbian movements; a riot that followed an NYC police raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969 opened a path to building a mass movement.
    • Dominant current argued for radical, antiracist, and anti-imperialism to be an integral part of the lesbian and gay movement.
  • Radical literature continued growing by leaps and bounds.

Shaking the Empire

  • When North Korea seized the USS Pueblo and held its crew as spies, the US issued an apology to get the sailors back.
  • Mexico, faced with a rising student protest movement and fearing embarrassment at the Olympic Games, massacred at least 300 students.
    • Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the black power salute while receiving their Olympic medals.
  • Northern Ireland - a new movement for Catholic civil rights emerged after police attacks on Catholic communities.
  • Across Western Europe, 10ks of activists flocked to anticapitalist organizations.
    • Student strikes in Italy forced Prime Minister Aldo Moro and his cabinet to resign.
    • Germany experienced its worst political crisis since WWII.
    • The Canadian government had to impose an emergency War Measures Act to prevent revolutionary socialists from gaining influence.
  • In Palestine, Uruguay, Chile, the Philippines, and further, bloody coups and a rising worldwide movement rose.

Worker Militancy

  • A surge of labor militancy altered the political thinking of new radicals and government policy-makers in 1969-70.
  • Nationwide strike against General Electric, Post Office walkout, two-month strike against General Motors, etc.
    • Growing numbers of cases where unionists welcomed radicals.
  • The president representing the free-market Republican Party had to resort to wage-price controls.
  • Young organizers’ revolutionary politics somehow gained influence on the US working class.

1969: Implosion or Fadeout?

  • Tremendous ferment boiled among the dispossessed.
  • These movements focused almost exclusively on the ebb and flow of activism among white radicals in and around SDS.
    • The turn taken by prominent figures out of the New Left to apocalyptic rhetoric and small-group violence is taken as a central development and the destroyer of the New Left.
  • Attacks on war-related or other establishment institutions by small groups were planned.
    • Spring 1968: 10 bombings.
    • Fall 1968: 41 bombings.
    • Spring 1969 - May 1970: 250 bombings.
  • Inflated rhetoric accompanied many of these acts.
    • Violent incidents and apocalyptic rhetoric received a disproportionate share of media attention.
  • Portrayal of small-group violence as the essence of radicalism reached a peak in the wake of two bombings:
    • Townhouse explosion of March 6th, 1970 in NYC.
    • Destruction of the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which killed a graduate student.
  • One strand of the New Left did ebb after these bombings.
    • Militancy declined in college students, whose activism rose and fell in proportion to the size of draft calls in Vietnam.
  • Frustration led many activists to adopt distorted and apocalyptic perspectives.
  • Most young white organizers believed the key task was to reach out to the millions.
    • The spread of radical ideas and organizations spread to other constituencies.
    • The radical surge of the 1960s did not end with the bomb blasts of 1970.

A Broad Base of Revolutionary Sentiment

  • The new 1968-73 revolutionary current was too broad for any single event to halt its momentum.
  • Ideas about revolution spread widely among the youth of color and white counterculture.
  • Being a revolutionary did not mean being an ideological oddball, but instead a strong sense of social responsibility, giving the revolutionary effort strength and self-confidence.
  • Many recognized that their ranks consisted of individuals emerging from the intelligentsia and middle classes.
    • College students played a key role in almost all sixties protest movements.
  • 1960s - massive expansion in working-class youth gaining access to higher education.
  • Huge amount of time and energy devoted to “doing politics” and willingness to sacrifice.
    • Tended to make unwarranted historical generalizations.
  • Economic conditions were favorable for young people to engage in volunteer activism.

More Complex Challenges on the Agenda

  • 1968-1973 clashes drastically changed the US political terrain.
  • Established centers of power could no longer completely control events.
  • Masses of “everyday people” stepped onto the political stage as independent actors.
    • Radcialism had gotten a fotohold in the mainstram.
  • These changes confronted organizers with more complex challenges.
  • Critiques of domestic inequality and foreign policy began to be connected intellectually.
  • Voices raised that the US and the private-profit system did not reflect noble ideas in the first place.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people considered views of social change well beyond reform.
  • The squeeze on the US international empire was going to continue.
  • Major structural changes in capitalism were around the corner; in the early 1970s was a long postwar economic boom and a new phase in capitalist development.
  • 1970s economic restructuring spurred a conservative revival crowned by Ronald Reagan.
  • For thousands, the “system” had become the target, and revolution had become the most important thing in their lives.

Beyond Vietnam by Martin Luther King, Jr.


  • Delivered April 167, New York, NY.
  • Coming to address the audience because “my conscience leaves me no choice”.
    • Men do not easily oppose the government’s policy, especially in times of war.
  • It is a time to speak, but also to rejoin - many religious leaders have moved beyond blind patriotism.
  • MLK has called for radical departures from the destruction in Vietnam.
  • Some ask, “peace and civil rights don’t mix”, “aren’t you hurting the cause of your people?”
    • MLK expresses sadness at these questions; the inquirers do not truly know his commitment or calling.
    • Indeed, they do not know the world in which they live.
  • This will be a plea to America, not to Hanoi, China, or Russia.

The Vietnam War as an Enemy of the Poor

  • Shining moment in the struggle of America - a promise of hope for the poor through the poverty program.
  • As the Vietnam War arrived, the program was broken and society had gone mad on war.
  • America would never invest funds or energies into the rehabilitation of the poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continue to draw men, skills, and money.
  • The war is hence an enemy of the poor.

The Vietnam War as an Unfair Conscription

  • The war does more than just devastate the hopes of the poor.
  • The Vietnam War has caused black young men to disproportionately be sent to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia when they cannot find them in the American South.
  • A cruel manipulation of the poor.

The Vietnam War as an Irony Exempt from Violence Standards

  • As MLK walked among angry young men, he told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problem.
    • They respond: “What about Vietnam?”
  • Is America not using massive doses of violence to solve its problems?

    I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.

The Vietnam War as an Unignorable Issue

  • Some ask, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” to exclude MLK from the peace movement.
  • MLK and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were convinced not to limit the vision of rights for black people only.
  • It should be clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity of America can ignore the present war.

O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath— America will be! - Langston Hughes

The Vietnam War as a Question of God

  • MLK lives with meaning to his commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
  • The Good News was meant for all men.
  • The ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them.

The Vietnam War as a Question of Brotherhood

  • Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is one of brotherhood.
  • The Father is deeply concerned; MLK comes to speak for the helpless and outcast children.
  • We are bound by deeper allegiances and loyalties than nationalism and self-defined goals and positions.
  • We are to speak for the weak and for those called “enemies”.

A History of Failed US Involvement in Vietnam

  • Speaking to the people living under the curse of war for almost three decades.
  • Americans are strange liberators.
    • The Vietnamese proclaimed independence in 1945, led by Ho Chi Minh.
    • Quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their document of freedom, but the United States refused to recognize them, instead of supporting France’s reconquest.
    • The US rejected a revolutionary government not established by China but by indigenous forces with some communists.
  • For 9 years following 1945, the people of Vietnam were denied the right to independence.
    • The US will soon be paying all the costs of this failed recolonization attempt.
  • The United States, determined that Ho should not unify a divided nation, stood behind a vicious dictator - Premier Diem.
    • Diem ruthlessly rooted out opposition, supported extortionist landlords.
  • While the Vietnamese people read leaflets of peace and democracy, they consider the United States, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy.
  • The testing of new US weapons is comparable to German testing of new medicine and tortures in the European concentration camps.
  • What are the roots of independent Vietnam the US claims to be building?
  • The family and the village have been destroyed.

Seeking to Understand the North Vietnamese Perspective

  • What do the communists and the “VC” think of the US?
  • How can they believe in US integrity when she speaks of aggression from the north?
  • Men we support pressed the North Vietnamese to their violence.
  • Vietnamese officials are less than 25% communist, yet given a blanket name.
  • Is our nation planning to build upon political myth again?
  • The true meaning of compassion and nonviolence - to hear the enemy’s point of view and to know his assessment of ourselves.
  • In the North, the US is met with understandable mistrust.
  • The leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been a breach of the Geneva Agreement.
  • While MLK talks about giving a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam, he is deeply concerned about the US troops.

Ending the Vietnam War as an End to American Destruction

  • By sending US troops to Vietnam, they are being submitted to a brutalizing process of destruction and cynicism.
  • The wealthy and secure create a hell for the poor.
  • The madness must cease; the poor in America are paying the double price of failed hopes and dealing with death and corruption of Vietnam.

Each day the war goes on the hatred increased in the hearts of the Vietnamese and the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.

  • If the US continues, the world will have no other alternative than to see this conflict as a clumsy and deadly game perpetrated by the US.
  • The world demands the maturity of America.

Recommendations for Concrete Action

  • Five recommendations:
    1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
    2. Declare a ceasefire; such action will create an atmosphere for negotiation.
    3. Prevent other battlefields in Southeast Asia.
    4. Accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam.
    5. Set a date to remove foreign troops from Vietnam under the Geneva Agreement.
  • Reparations and medical aid must be provided.
  • Asylum should be granted to Vietnamese that fears their life under the new regime.
  • Voices must be raised if the nation continues to persist in Vietnam.
  • Young men entering military service should be challenged with the alternative of conscientious objection.
  • MLK encourages all ministers of the draft age to give up ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors.
  • Every man of human convictions must decide on the protest that suits his convictions.
  • The war in Vietnam is a symptom of malady in the American spirit.

A Radical Revolution of Values

  • We must shift from an object-oriented society to a person-oriented society.
  • When machines, profit motives, and property rights are most important than people, racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are unconquerable.
  • A revolution of values will question the fairness and justice of our policies.
  • A true revolution will look uneasily at the contrast of poverty and wealth.
  • Revolution of values is the best defense against communism - war is not the answer.
  • Our greatest defense against communism is offensive action on behalf of justice.
  • Western nations that initiated so much of the modern revolutionary spirit are now antirevolutionaries.
    • Communism is framed as a judgment against a failure to make democracy real and to follow through with initiated revolutions.
  • Every nation must develop loyalty to mankind, to preserve the best in their societies.
  • History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations that pursue a self-defeating path of hate.
  • Nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation?
  • If we make the right choice, we will transform the elegy of the world.

Guns and Butter: The Welfare State, the Carceral State, and the Politics of Exclusion in the Postwar United States by Julilly Johler-Hausmann


  • Opposition to full rights to suspect populations was common in social and criminal policy discourse.
  • Frequently, Americans would be frustrated over reforms distributing resources to “undeserving” groups.
  • Connecting the US carceral state with the welfare state; welfare and criminal policy are the state’s responsibilities to poor and socially marginalized people.
  • However, historians have given limited attention to the relationship between welfare and penal politics.
  • Makes a case for approaching the growth of the carceral system and welfare state retrenchment as an intertwined phenomenon.
  • The welfare and penal system have long coexisted and developed together.
  • State transformations were driven more by struggles of how to direct state intervention, rather than between who would expand.
    • Not asking if the state had a role in managing the marginalized population, but instead which institutions of the state should empower the task.

Outside Big Government Debates

  • Examining welfare and penal transformations together helps to recast assumptions about the “rise of the Right”.
    • These assumptions often assume conservatives aimed to decrease the government’s size and role in society.
  • However, this obscures the roles of other groups - moderates and liberals - in facilitating state transformation.
  • Neoliberalism theorists illustrate that the post-1970 economy was sculpted significantly through state intervention and subsidy.
    • Tension between anti-statist rhetoric and state-building actions.
  • Conservatives of 1980 did not consistently deliver on the promise to reduce government.
  • Social Security + Medicare - universal welfare programs - withstood efforts at privatization and benefit reduction; welfare programs serving the lower classes have been drastically curtailed.
    • Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) - cash supports for poor parents.
    • Bill Clinton abolished the AFDC and replaced it with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which offers more time-limited benefits.
    • Recipients fell four-fold.
  • When welfare programs serving the most marginalized groups sustained the most substantial cuts, the penal system expanded rapidly.
    • Incarcerated population quadrupled 1980-2000; disproportionately low-income African American and Latino men.
  • Responsibility for handling social problems was transferred from welfare programs to law enforcement.
    • Penal system became the dominant institution managing drug use in low-income communities.
  • Transfer from treatment (psychiatric hospitals and developmental centers of 1960-1980) to incarceration (prisons and jails).

State Strategies and Their Political Implications

  • Americans have seen transformations in governing missions within institutions.
  • Policymakers replaced social integration via economic redistribution and reform with punitive and exclusionary means.
  • State programs have a range of political effects.
    • Social Security enhances the rights, resources, and standing of beneficiaries.
      • Obscure any notion of dependence on the state.
  • Access to these universal-character programs has been highly racialized and gendered.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit - ameliorating the poverty of millions of families by subsidizing low wages via a tax credit.
    • Assimilative strategies can also reify hierarchies by marking certain behaviors as deviant.
  • Other programs have explicitly exclusionary aims.
    • Penal system diminishes civil personhood.
    • Citizenship is also denigrated postrelease via surveillance, disenfranchisement, prohibitions.
    • These policies have also been carried out throughout the welfare state with intellectually disabled people and immigration agencies.
  • Rehabilitation of individuals was dominant in the 1960s to 1970s; the penal system dedicated itself to “corrections” and reintegration that coexisted with exclusionary practices.
  • The offer of assimilation was often delimited by race and coerced by threats.

Confronting the Urban Crisis

  • “Urban crisis” - the economic downturn, capital migration, discriminatory housing, and hiring.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty - reflected confidence that social welfare initiatives & economic prosperity would allow the country to confront these challenges.
  • Trade-off of “guns and butter” - diminished resources for social programs contrasted against escalating Vietnam War cost.
    • Guns and butter within domestic arenas: War on Poverty, War on Crime, War on Drugs were full of disagreements over the balance of butter and guns.
    • Social welfare spending vs tough punishment and law enforcement.
  • War on Poverty programs mostly focused on catalyzing transformations within individuals and communities.
    • For instance, emphasizing job training instead of job creation.
  • Others framed the urban crisis as a breakdown of law and order.
    • Johnson argued crime was rooted in social deprivation and could be mitigated with Great Society Programs.

    “The war on poverty is … a war against crime and a war against disorder.” Johnson

    • Johnson pursued both guns and butter.
  • Opponents of Johnson’s War on Poverty asserted that welfare programs targeting the undeserving poor were futile; such welfare programs created, rather than reduced, disorder.

    “Telling people again and again that the federal Government will take care of everything for them leads to the decline of personal and individual responsibility which is the base cause of the rise in crime and disregard for law and order.” Barry Goldwater

  • Assumptions about the ineffectiveness of welfarist strategies were solidified.

Drug Policy

  • A diverse range of state institutions abandoned rehabilitative strategies and embraced punishment.
  • Difficulty in the treatment program efforts set the stage for punitive proposals to deal with the drug problem.
    • Treatment programs were challenging, controversial, and expensive.
  • Punitive logic overlapped the logic behind treatment programs.
    • Both treatment and punishment target the individual as the site for state intervention.
    • Treatment & punishment also blurred in practice.
      • Civil commitment programs often were the equivalent of forced institutionalization.
  • Rockefeller presented the debate as one between treatment and punishment, forcing out other circulating proposals (e.g. community-controlled policing, heroin maintenance clinics).
  • Enacting harsh penalties rested upon and reified narratives of welfare state failure.

AFDC Policy

  • The AFDC welfare program underwent a similar reorientation, embracing increasingly punitive practices.
  • Welfare opponents justified punitive retrenchment by asserting recipients failed to fulfill citizenship obligations.
  • Receiving welfare marked the abdication of personal responsibility, which justified denial of rights.
  • A string of reforms did not remove the state from poor families’ lives, but enhanced governmental disciplinary authority.
  • Some states subjected welfare recipients to surveillance procedures - home searches and drug testing.

Crime Policy

  • The penal system repudiated a commitment to therapeutic correction.
  • Rehabilitation coddles criminals - “nothing works” in rehabilitation programs.
  • Jerry Brown, California’s Democrat governor, oversaw the passage of California’s determinate-sentencing law.
    • The law enabled mass incarceration by transferring sentencing authority from parole boards to prosecutors and politicians.
    • Politicians pursued deterrence and retribution.
  • Emphasis on punishment also resulted in post-release restrictions on citizenship.
    • 1944 elimination of prisoner eligibility for Pell Grants.
    • Congress allowed states to bar people with drug offenses from federal student loans, food stamps, etc. after serving their sentence.
    • Reflects the exclusionary project at the heart of punitive policy.

The Spectacle of Getting Tough

  • Linking welfare and penal history suggests exclusionary policies played an important role in solidifying visions of a racialized underclass in poverty.
  • The welfare system often enlisted the penal system to signal suspicion of recipients.
  • Policies produced the political reality they argued they reflected - erecting barriers to civic and economic participation of poor people.
  • Moving from a rhetorical policy of reintegration to a policy of social exclusion has profound implications for political culture.
  • The binary of “big government vs small government” obscures the fact that certain groups consistently confront state intervention and compulsion.

the Powell Memorandum: Attack on American Free Enterprise System

Dimensions of the Attack

  • The American economic system is under broad attack.
  • There are always some that prefer socialism and statism; some critics have been helpful.
  • However, now we are not dealing with isolated attacks; an assault on the enterprise system is being consistently pursued.

Sources of the Attack

  • Sources are varied and diffused.
    • Communists, New Leftists, other revolutionaries.
    • These new left extremists are more numerous and better financed.
  • Most disquieting voices:
    • College campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual journals, the arts + sciences, the politicians.
    • Their eloquence allows them to attain unique publicity or exploitation of the media.
  • Does the enterprise system tolerate and participate in its destruction?
  • Campuses are supported by tax funds and capital fund contributions, both generated by American businesses.
  • Most of the media depends on the enterprise system to survive.

Tone of Attack

  • William Kunstler, warmly welcomed on campuses:

    “You must learn to fight in the streets, to revolt, to shoot guns. We will learn to do all of the things that property owners fear.”

    • NewLeftist spokesmen are radicalizing thousands of young; aided by the hostility of respectable liberals.
  • Members of the intellectual community are waging an ideological war against the enterprise system and values of western society.
  • Favorite targets are tax incentives through changes in depreciation rates and investment credits.
    • Viewed as “tax breaks” and “loopholes”.
  • Setting of “rich” against the “poor” is the cheapest and most dangerous form of politics.

The Apathy and Default of Business

  • Businesses have often responded by appeasement or ignorance.
  • The businessmen have not been trained to conduct guerrilla warfare on propagandizers, to be fair; they have performed their tasks of making profits and creating jobs very well.
    • However, have shown little skill or gut against their critics.
  • American business is plainly in trouble - the time has come for wisdom, ingenuity, and resources of American business to be marshaled against its destroyers.

Responsibility of Business Executives

  • What should be done?
  • Businessmen need to confront the problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.
  • Top management must be equally concerned with profits as protecting the system itself.
    • More than a greater emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs”.
  • Designation of a VP to counter the attack on the enterprise system.

Possible Role of the Chamber of Commerce

  • Strength lies in the organization - individual activity by corporations will not be enough.
  • The National Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role.
    • A fine reputation, broad base of support.
  • Chamber should study possible courses of action.

The Campus

  • Assault on the enterprise system has gradually evolved over the past two decades.
  • Social science faculties are generally liberally oriented.

“Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores’ of bright young men… who despise the American political and economic system.” Stewart Alsop

  • These “bright young men” have been taught to distrust the system, and hence seek to influence the country via:
    1. News media;
    2. Government;
    3. Elective politics;
    4. Lecturing and writing;
    5. Faculty in education.
  • Many do not enter the enterprise system, for those who do quickly discover fallacies of its critique.
  • “Intellectuals” end up in regulatory agencies with large authority over the business system.
  • Business must address the campus origin of this hostility.

What Can Be Done About the Campus

  • The Chamber can assist constructive change in many ways.
Staff of ScholarsEstablish a staff of scholars that do believe in the system.
Staff of SpeakersA staff of speakers with high competency.
Speaker’s BureauThe most effective advocates from American business.
Evaluation of TextbooksEvaluate social science textbooks.
  • Such objectives orient towards balance in academic freedom.

Equal Time on the Campus

  • The Chamber should insist on equal time on college speaking circuits.
  • Each campus has formal and informal groups that invite speakers; there is inadequacy in the representation of these programs.
  • The Chamber must aggressively insist on “the right to be heard” - “equal time”.
  • Two essential ingredients:
    1. Attractive, articulate, and well-informed speakers;
    2. Exert whatever degree of pressure is necessary.
  • Inform and enlighten, not merely to propagandize.

Balancing of Faculties

  • A fundamental problem - an imbalance of many faculties.
  • Should be undertaken as part of an overall program.
  • Basic concepts of balance, fairness, and truth are difficult to resist or presented properly.

Graduate Schools of Business

  • The Chamber should request specific courses in schools - essential training for the executives of the future.

Secondary Education

  • Priority should be at the college level, but high school activity is increasing as well.

What Can Be Done About the Public?

  • Reaching the public is essential for the shorter term.
TelevisionNational television networks should be monitored; equal time should be demanded when appropriate.
Other MediaRadio, and Press are also important.
Scholarly JournalsThe “faculty of scholars” must publish.
Books, Paperbacks, and PamphletsWell-written papers must be written in support of the system.
Paid AdvertisementsAmerican businesses should devote more of their advertising budget to this purpose.

The Neglected Political Arena

  • It is the Marxist doctrine that capitalist countries are controlled by big business.
  • Few elements of American society have as little influence as the American businessman, corporation, or corporate stockholders.
  • The American business executive is truly the forgotten man.
  • Evidence:
    • Stampedes of politicians to support any consumerist or environmental legislation.
    • Politicians reflect the majority views of their constituents.
  • The Chamber should assume a broader and more vigorous role in the political arena.

Neglected Opportunity in the Courts

  • American business and the enterprise system have been affected much by the courts.
  • The ACLU intervenes in many cases each year; labor unions, civil rights groups, etc. are extremely active in the judicial arena.
  • The Chamber should engage a highly competent staff of lawyers.

Neglected Stockholder Power

  • 20 million stockholders are real owners and capitalists of the system, providing the capital that fuels the economic system to produce the highest standard of living.
  • How to influence stockholders? - educational program and political action program.

A More Aggressive Attitude

  • Business interests have tried to maintain low profiles, especially w/ respect to political action.
  • The spokesmen of the enterprise system need to be more aggressive than in the past.

The Cost

  • Such a program would require more generous financial support from American corporations.
  • Salaries for the staff of the Chamber need to be raised.
  • The Chamber itself may benefit from restructuring - less changing of officers.

Quality Control is Essential

  • Publications, articles, speeches, and so on must meet standards of accuracy and excellence.

Relationship to Freedom

  • Threat to the enterprise is not merely an economic matter, but one of individual freedom.
  • Alternatives to free enterprise require bureaucratic regulation of individual freedom.
  • The message to the American people: the contraction of economic freedom is followed by governmental restrictions on other rights.


  • Views suggested are tentative.
  • However, business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble.

“…and the hour is late.”

“How Wealth Inequality Has Changed in the US since the Great Recession, by Race, Ethnicity, and Income” by Rakesh Kochhar

  • The Great Recession of 2007-2009 triggered a sharp decline of wealth in American families, and widened wealth gaps.
  • The racial and ethnic gap has evolved differently for families at different income levels.
  • In lower-income families, racial gaps shrank by about half from 2007-2016.
  • Among middle-class families, the wealth gap increased.
  • American wealth has not fully recovered from the Great Recession.
  • Median wealth was up in 2016 from 2013 but below the median wealth before the recession began.
  • Among lower- and middle-income households, white families have 4x as much wealth as black families and 3x as much as Hispanic families.
  • Low-income white families experienced greater losses during the recession than black or Hispanic families.
  • The share of lower-income white households with no wealth was higher in 2016 than in 2007; the opposite is true among lower-income black and Hispanic households.
  • Racial and ethnic wealth inequality among middle-income families increased with the recession and has not retreated in the recovery.
  • Wealth gaps between upper-income families and lower- and middle-income families are at the highest levels recorded.
  • Upper-income white families have grown wealthier.

“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” by Bill McKibben


  • There are hard numbers about climate change.
  • Meterologists report that this spring is the warmest ever in the nation.
  • Barack Obama did not attend the environmental summit.
  • Arguments about global warming tend to be ideological, theological, or economic.

The First Number: 2 Degrees Celsius

  • Copenhagen climate conference of 2009 would have marked the culmination of a fight to slow climate change.
  • Copenhagen Accord - the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius.
  • This ratified later positions in the Major Economies Forum and is taken as convention.
  • The average temperature has been raised under 0.8 degrees Celsius, causing more damage than more scientists expected.
    • Many scientists think two degrees is too lenient a target.
  • Political realism bests scientific data, McKibben argues, and the world settled on the two-degree target.

The Second Number: 565 Gigatons

  • Humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and have reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.
  • Global “carbon budget” - calculating how much oil, coal, and gas can be safely burned.
  • Even if we stop increasing CO2 now, the temperature will likely rise to another 0.8 degrees.
  • Few dispute these numbers are generally right.
  • 565 gigaton built from “one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models”.
  • Record amounts of carbon are being poured into the atmosphere year after year.
  • At the Rio conference, everyone will continue the “charade”.

The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons

  • London financial analysis and environmentalists at the Carbon Tracker Initiative.
  • Amount of carbon contained in coal, oil, and gas reserves of fossil-fuel companies.
    • 2,795 gigatons > 565 gigatons.
  • Numbers aren’t perfect, but for the biggest companies, the figures are exact.
  • We have 5 times as much oil, coal, and gas in inventory as climate scientists think is safe to burn.
  • The value of oil companies would plummet if they could not pump out their reserves.
  • Environmental effrots to tackle global warmng have failed.
  • Even in rich countries, small reductions in emissions ofer no sign of the real break from the status quo that is necessary.

Proposed Solutions

  • We know which strategies don’t work.
    • Changing individual lifestyles is difficult because we are constructing a campaign that works aainst our interests.
    • Time is what we lack.
  • A more efficient method would be to work through the political system, but there has been limited success.
    • Barack Obama complained more aggressively about climate change, but he has only made a small start.
  • Effective action would require keeping most of the carbon into the soil.
  • Every government with deposits of hydrocarbons straddles the divide.
    • Canada: Alberta tar sands oil reservs vs. Kyoto treaty.
  • A transformative change requires building a movement with enemies.
    • The fossil-fuel industry is “Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.
    • “Wrecking the planet is their business model. It’s what they do.”
  • The fossil fuel industry has far more free will than the rest of us.
  • Citizens might decide to regulate carbon and stop short of the brink of extinction; 2/3 of Americans would back an international agreement that cuts carbon emissions 90 percent by 2050.
  • Koch brothers trail Bill Gates on the list of richest Americans; made most of their money in hydrocarbons. Any system to regulate carbon would cut those profits.
  • In 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surpassed both the RNC and DNC; 90% of the money went to GOP candidates.
  • Environmentalists have been unwilling to make the fossil-fuel industry an enemy.
  • This profit stems from a historical accident - the fossil fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, CO2, for free.
  • Putting a tax on carbon would enlist markets in the fight against global warming.
    • It would also reduce the profitability of the fossil-fuel industry.
  • Carbon Tracker Report - climate change poses a risk to the stock prices of energy companies.
  • Self-interest won’t spark a transformative challenge to fossil fuel, but moral outrage might.
  • Anger forced the industry to make basic changes: campaign in the 1980s demanding divestment from companies doing business in South Africa.
    • Helped significantly in ending apartheid.
  • If you force the hand of particular companies, you need to figure out a strategy for dealing with all sovereign nations that act as fossil-fuel companies.
  • If people come to understand the cold, mathematical truth, it may weaken fossil-fuel companies to matter politically.

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor


  • The “eminently desirable” black rebellion - triumphalist rhetoric of the American dream meaningless.
  • Relentless burden of conditions would propel 1/2 million African Americans to rise in the course of the 1960s.
  • Ten months from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015 - the United States rocked by mass protests in response to the death of Michael Brown involvement with the police.
  • People in Ferguson, Missouri rose.
  • What began as a local struggle in Ferguson grew into a national movement.
  • Police violence is disproportionately directed at African Americans.
  • Despite police shootings of unarmed people in violation of police standards, it is virtually impossible to punish them for criminal behavior.
  • Police brutality is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the US criminal justice system.
  • It is impossible to understand policing without the wider context of the War on Drugs and the effects of mass incarceration.
  • Black people are incarcerated at a rate 6x that of whites.
    • Has conflated race, risk, and criminality to legitimize scrutiny of black communities.
  • The imprisonment of black men has led to social stigma and economic marginalization.
  • The criminal justice system operates at the expense of African American communities and society.
  • Perpetuation of African Americans as dangerous, impervious, careless: allows police to kill black people without the threat of punishment.
  • US is often referred to as a postracial or colorblind society.
  • The success of a few African Americans is held up as a vindication of the US’s colorblind ethos.
  • Spectacle of unchecked police brutality has morphed into a political crisis.
    • The US actively promotes its colorblindness.
    • Used as an excuse to cut social programs from the public sector.
  • Supreme Court does this with voting rights - racism no longer hinders access from voting.
  • Attacks are a Trojan horse against all working-class people.
    • Attacks on social welfare come at the expense of all ordinary people.
    • Ordinary white people have an interest in exposing racism because it legitimizes demand for a more expansive system of social welfare.
  • The notion that the US is colorblind has been challenged.

Two Black Societies, Separate and Unequal

  • How can we explain the rise of Barack Obama and the growth of the black political class at the same time as the emergence of BLM?
  • Deep class differences among African Americans allow for the rise of a few while the vast majority languishes in despair.
  • The wealthiest 1% controls 40% of the wealth.
  • Economic privation and social inequality have a disproportionate impact on black America.
  • Gap between rich and poor is more pronounced among blacks than among whites.
  • Class differences influence the ways they experience the world and the political conclusions they draw from those experiences.
  • Absence of formal barriers to black economic and political achievement allows for differentiation.
  • The black elite still experience racial inequality and draw different conclusions about what these experiences mean.
    • 40% of African Americans say that because of diversity in their community, blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race.
  • For black elites, their success validates the political underpinnings of US society while reaffirming the personal defects of those that have not succeeded.
  • It is the outcome that matters, not the intentions of the individuals involved.
  • Institutional racism remains the best way to understand continued black deprivation.
  • Debate over the nature of black inequality has deep political implications for the nature of American society.
    • Focus on black culture was never born out of hatred, but to explain the black experience as something that exists outside of the American narrative of unimpeded social mobility.
  • Popular explanations for black poverty and marginalization drifted between biology and culture - free enterprise and American democracy have never been interrogated.
  • Barack Obama’s election has been heralded as the pinnacle of black achievement and the end of racial grievances.

Black Awakening in Obama’s America

  • Periodic ruptures in US narrative of its triumph ver racism.
  • Death of Emmett Till; black freedom struggle of the 1960s; 1992 LA Rebellion.
  • It is impossible to say when and where a movement will arise, but its eventual emergence is predictable.
  • Social media erases the lag between when an incident happens and when the public becomes aware of it.
  • Mainstream media downplays or even ignores public claims of corruption or abuse, but smartphones give the public the ability to record incidents and share them far and wide.
  • Obama’s reluctance to address substantive issues facing black communities means suffering in those communities has worsened.
  • African American hope of breaking free of Bush administration “indifference” to black suffering.
  • African Americans under Obama experienced the same indifference and active discrimination, sometimes worse.
  • Indicator to measure the status of black women: compare median wealth to that of single white women.
  • Barack Obama become president when black people needed help most but did not do much.
  • Legitimizes the notion of “culture of poverty”.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”

  • Killing of Mike Brown drove holes in logic that black people simply doing the “right things” could overcome crises.
  • When police are involved, looking black can make you a suspect or get you killed.
  • Specter of the crisis was bolstered.
  • The impact of the movement is undeniable.
  • Obama shifted gears to a speech on crime and punishment.
    • Promised to reform the criminal justice system, highlighting racial disparities.
    • Transformation in rhetoric was welcome but could not happen without the rebellions and movement.

The Future of Black Politics

  • The most significant transformation has been the emergence of the black elite.
  • There are many African Americans that advocate for greater privatization of public resources.
  • Black officials are just as eager as white officers to invoke racial stereotypes to cover their incompetence.
  • Growing polarization between the black political and economic elite and the “disposable”.
  • Black Lives Matter is encountering some of the same questions as the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s.
  • Why did BLM emerge under the nation’s first black president?

Alternative Linkage

  1. termed by Daniel Rodgers 

  2. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People