Opposing Liberalism

Opposing Liberalism - April 14, 16, 21 History: New Left,...

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April 14, 16, 21 History: New Left, Feminist Movement, Environmental Movement Ideological challenges to the liberalism in the US The counter-culture was largely an apolitical movement, stood outside of conventional politics New Left Specifically in early years often stood in opposition to the counter-culture Activists in orientation Envisioned itself as a movement of nation revolutionaries Questioned liberalism and assumptions about the capacity of gradualism in consensus to resolve all of America’s problems Assumption that existing political institutions were adequate Saw itself as distinct from some of the institutions that had given birth to new deal liberalism Didn’t come out of labor unions, drew from the booming universities of the post-war period Populated by people exactly like us – college age students typically attending major universities or elite private schools Drew their inspiration from an eclectic mixture of: o Marxism o The Civil Rights Movement – for many was the crucible for their political consciousness o Anti-colonial movements in the third world o The subject matters that they were studying in the US Didn’t see themselves as being spokespeople for their class but as the leaders of a generation who would create for the first time a truly democratic and egalitarian democracy Ideology gave vent to the frustrations, anxieties, and alienation of a generation of American youth who were faceless in American life Same that the counter-culture was rebelling against but they tried to create an alternative lifestyle 1
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April 14, 16, 21 Pledged to rebuild and reenergize public life and to do this they believed it was crucial for the US to remove the barriers of class and race that prevented individual Americans from living and enjoying the true fullness of American life One document that summed up the world view of the New Left – Port Huron Statement, named after where a new organization of them met to work out the founding principles o Summarized the alienation o Explained the vision o Created the slogan: Participatory Democracy SDS – Students for a Democratic Society, was a threat liberally Liberalism rested on assumption that affluence could solve America’s problems, tried to evade class hierarchies in American society New Left responded that it didn’t matter if everyone was getting slightly richer as long as there were deep structural inequalities, consumption wouldn’t provide fulfillment to the world Human contentment was possible only if people were engaged in some meaningful community New Leftists looked at American foreign policy and saw imperialism, not democracy New Left would clash with the Johnson administration o Domestically launched their own war on poverty in 1964-65, went out and trained activists to battle for the rights of working class and impoverished Americans o Same time Johnson administration was fighting its war on poverty telling them to
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Opposing Liberalism - April 14, 16, 21 History: New Left,...

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