An Interracial Movement of the Poor: Community Organizing by Jennifer Frost

By Jennifer Frost

Selection striking educational name 2002 group organizing grew to become a vital part of the activist repertoire of the hot Left within the Sixties. scholars for a Democratic Society, the association that got here to be noticeable as synonymous with the white New Left, all started neighborhood organizing in 1963, hoping to construct an interracial flow of the negative wherein to call for social and political swap. SDS sought not anything under to abolish poverty and expand democratic participation in the US. Over the subsequent 5 years, organizers verified a robust presence in several low-income, racially various city neighborhoods in Chicago, Cleveland, Newark, and Boston, in addition to different towns. Rejecting the suggestions of the outdated left and hard work circulate and encouraged by means of the Civil Rights stream, activists sought to mix a few unmarried concerns right into a broader, extra robust coalition. Organizers by no means constrained themselves to contemporary easy dichotomies of race vs. classification or of identification politics vs. monetary inequality. They actively synthesized rising identification politics with type and coalition politics and with a force for a extra participatory welfare country, treating those diversified political techniques as inextricably intertwined. whereas universal knowledge holds that the hot Left rejected all nation involvement as cooptative at most sensible, Jennifer Frost strains the ways that New Left and group activists did in truth recommend a prescriptive, even visionary, substitute to the welfare country. After scholars for a Democratic Society and its group organizing unit, the industrial examine and motion venture, disbanded, New Left and group individuals went directly to observe their innovations and targets to the welfare rights, women’s liberation, and the antiwar pursuits. In her research of activism prior to the age of id politics, Frost has given us the 1st full-fledged heritage of what was once arguably the main leading edge group organizing crusade in post-war American historical past.

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Extra resources for An Interracial Movement of the Poor: Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s

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S. 92 Aware of these obvious similarities, ERAP advocates researched and reported on the Unemployed Councils but disagreed Building a Social Movement | 43 about the usefulness of historical comparisons.

29 The emphasis on public job creation and guaranteed income differentiated ERAP’s agenda from that of the War on Poverty, which considered but rejected such proposals after pressure from business interests and focused instead on education and training. ”30 The advocacy of solutions aimed at both production and distribution reflected one of SDS’s central and persistent questions about the changing economy: did automation and the loss of manufacturing jobs mean different kinds of work or more leisure time?

In the end, advocates of the agency of the poor within SDS contended that the organized working class no longer was the privileged social movement constituency. They remained committed to a class-based strategy but were beginning to see that, like the Civil Rights Movement, the social movements and politics of the 1960s did not fit the old categories. ”64 But the search for “a surrogate universal” in SDS did not end with ERAP. 65 After deciding upon the agency of poor Americans, ERAP planners began to define a role for students as organizers and catalysts of social change.

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An Interracial Movement of the Poor: Community Organizing by Jennifer Frost
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