The fall of the liberal consensus

The coalition government during the war, headed by Churchill and Attleesigned off on a series of white papers that promised Britain a much improved welfare state after the war. The promises included the national health service, and expansion of education, housing, and a number of welfare programmes.

The fall of the liberal consensus

THE s marked, for the first time since the s, the growth of a mass radicalization in the United States. Mass movements broke the conformity that characterized the s, buried the McCarthyite consensus which had witch-hunted radical ideas out of American politics and gave impetus to efforts to build new radical and revolutionary socialist organizations.

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The achievements of these movements were immense--mass action helped to put an end to the Vietnam War and to Jim Crow segregation in the U. South; the women's movement transformed attitudes and eventually won abortion rights.

The upsurge of the s led to a broader questioning of society and a belief that massive change--even revolution--was possible in the U.

For that reason, the people who run the system and their professional lackeys have spent the last 35 years trying to roll back the gains of those movements and erase the memory and lessons of that generation's struggles. To a mountain of literature attempting to discredit the achievements of the s, can now be added a book by former SDS leader, Todd Gitlin, Letters to a Young Activist, The fall of the liberal consensus argues that the noble struggles of the early sixties were derailed by the radical politics of the late sixties.

Reading Gitlin's attempt to rewrite the history of the sixties, one is left wondering who the real enemy was.

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As author Max Elbaum has argued, the attempt to arbitrarily divide the "good sixties" from the "bad sixties" "rests on dubious political assumptions, which lift the late s out of their historical context and gloss over substantial differences between the challenges facing activists in as opposed to For reasons of limited space, we must necessarily condense and, unfortunately, leave out important parts of the history of the period.

The roots of the student rebellion The reconstruction of the post-Second World War world had led to an unprecedented period of prosperity in the United States. Between andthe U. The average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers grew by 84 percent between and Entire groups, particularly Blacks, were left out almost entirely.

Prosperity grew alongside Jim Crow segregation in the South and crushing poverty in Northern ghettos. The reconstruction of the postwar world also locked the U. The American Dream stood under the constant shadow of nuclear annihilation. Despite its professed support for democracy and self-determination, the U.

The United States claimed to stand as a beacon of democracy and freedom, but in the atmosphere of McCarthyism, the slightest criticism of, let alone challenge to, the existing system was immediately branded as Communist.

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The early student movement grew as a reaction against these contradictions of the postwar boom--against the continued inequality of American capitalism and the rigid conformity and conservatism of the preceding decade.

Starting in the early s, movements against the House Un-American Activities Committee and for nuclear disarmament began drawing larger numbers of young people to demonstrations and pickets. In particular, two issues would serve as the leading edge in the radicalization of the New Left: Each struggle had its own dynamic the evolution of the civil rights and Black power movements is beyond the scope of this article ; but what should be remembered is that these two struggles fed into one another--the radicalization of one deepening the radicalization of the other.

The first stirrings of student activism developed around the struggle in the South against Jim Crow segregation. Following on the heels of the first mass civil rights protests of the s led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired by the civil rights movement, white students at hundreds of campuses in the North began forming civil rights support groups, and hundreds of students headed south to participate in voter registration drives, freedom rides, sit-ins and other protests.

These students were motivated at first by nonviolent ideology--although the contradiction between the nonviolent ideology of the participants and the strategy to provoke northern military intervention to impose desegregation in the South was evident from the start.

The politics of these student activists were still marked by the conservatism of the Cold War. We must be strong This challenge cannot be met unless and until all Americans, Negro and white, enjoy the full promise of our democratic heritage.

The fall of the liberal consensus

When the student movement exploded in the North, there were thousands of activists who had already tasted their first experience as activists in the civil rights movement.

SDS and the politics of the student rebellion In the early sixties, Students for a Democratic Society seemed an unlikely channel through which the new radicalization of the following decade would flow.

Its early politics were hardly revolutionary. The first statement of principles by the newly renamed Students for a Democratic Society SDSthe Port Huron Statement, raised criticisms of the racial and economic inequality in the United States, Cold War foreign policy and the constant threat of nuclear war.

It sounded themes such as "participatory democracy" and urged the individual to break out of the confines of an alienated and atomized culture.

Its message was a largely moral exhortation to break the stultifying conformity of Cold War America. Its outlook was the outlook of a new generation of mostly middle-class students "bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.

SDS tried to tie together criticisms of racism, economic inequality and foreign policy into a coherent critique of an entire system, even if it was unclear about what drove that system or what, if anything, should replace it.Meet your Liberal Member of Parliament.

The fall of the liberal consensus

Gary Anandasangaree is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Scarborough-Rouge Park, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage and Multiculturalism (Multiculturalism).

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus [Rick Perlstein] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Acclaimed historian Rick Perlstein chronicles the rise of the conservative movement in the liberal s.

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