|POLITICS 208||TuTh 1:30-2:55 PM|
|PROF. PETER DREIER||FILMS: MONDAYS 7 PM|
|SPRING 2002||WEINGART 117|
MOVEMENTS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
What This Course is About
This is a discussion course about American protest movements for social justice. In addition to class discussion and readings, there will be a weekly film series on Monday nights in Weingart 117 at 7 pm. I will lecture on occasion, but the success of the course will rely primarily on class discussions.
Throughout human history, powerless groups of people have organized social movements to try to improve their lives and the society in which they lived. Powerful groups and institutions have generally resisted these efforts in order to maintain their own privilege.
Although inequalities of power and privilege have always existed, and while protest activity is a constant part of our political history, some periods of history are more likely than others to spawn protest movements. In recent American history, we think of the 1930s and the 1960s in this way. Will there soon be another period of significant protest?
This course will focus on American protest movements in the 20th century. During the first five weeks, we will look at some questions that pertain to all protest movements, such as leadership, mobilization, and strategy. Then, using these concepts, we will spend the rest of the course examining the major protest movements of this century. These include the Populist (farmers) revolt, the labor movement, the women's movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the student movement, the environmental movement, and the consumer/neighborhood movement. What impact have these movements had on our society? How can you tell?
We will also try to learn some lessons from these movements that could apply to the current period -- and to the future. Some of the questions that we will deal with in this course include the following:
1. Social Conditions: What factors -- historical, social, economic, political -- promote the emergence of protest movements? Why do certain historical periods seem to feature large-scale protest and upheaval, while others do not? Does it make sense to think of some people or some groups as especially "ready" or "prone" to protest or join movements? What types of personal needs and motives may be satisfied by participation in social movements? What are the different kinds of social movements? Why do different movements attract different kinds of people? What factors lead people toward "apathy?"
2. Internal Dynamics: How are social and political movements organized to achieve their goals? What sources of power are available to disadvantaged people? What strategies and tactics do movements employ? How important are strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, sit-ins, music, the mass media? What is the relationship of protest movements to conventional (mainstream) politics -- elections, political parties, voting, lobbying, and so on? What is the role of "leaders," "activists," "organizers, "intellectuals" and others in social movements? How do social movement groups (particularly movements among poor people) find the resources to keep going -- to pay staff and rent, produce leaflets and newsletters, attend national meetings, find lawyers to file law suits, hire researchers to do studies, etc.? What happens when different organizations or groups within the same social movement disagree over strategy, tactics, or goals? How important is a movement's internal culture -- music, leaflets, speakers and other elements? How important is violence (destruction of life and property) as a tactic when the normal channels of political participation are unavailable or unsuccessful? How important is "reform" -- pressing for short-term gains (such as the Equal Rights Amendment or a shutdown of a nuclear power plant) -- in achieving longer-run changes. What dilemmas are involved when movements debate these issues?
3. Impact: What does "success" mean for a protest movement? For example, was the antiwar movement "successful" when the VietNam war ended, even though the degree of U.S. militarism did not significantly decline? Why are some movements successful and others not? How important are such factors as: the numbers of people; use of violent or non-violent tactics; the scope of goals (it is easier to win if you don't ask for much); the strength of the opposition? How do people's everyday lives and routines change as they participate in social movements? How do people's lives change when (and if) movements are successful? In other words, do social protest movements really make a difference in achieving more social justice?
Students are expected to do the readings on time, attend the films, and participate in class discussion.
Your grade will be based on the following:
1. One-fifth of your grade will be based on your journal. Each student will keep a journal that records what you have learned in the course in the way of specific new knowledge, new understanding, perplexing questions, and so on. This will be an ongoing record of your intellectual growth. I will collect, read them, and grade them twice -- at mid-term and at the end of the term. (Please type them). Your journal is not meant simply to be a summary of the readings and films, but rather your critical reactions to the course materials, general observations, or concerns that you formulate in response to the course. For each reading or film, your journal should include the following:
(a) Discuss each week's readings and film in your own words. What are the main issues and themes? How do the readings and films address these issues and themes? What questions do the readings and films raise for you about movements for social justice? If you can't summarize it in your own words -- for example, try explaining it to your roommate -- you probably don't understand it. You don't have to summarize each reading or film separately; instead, write about what you've learned from the materials for the entire week.
(b) Write down things you don't understand -- concepts, historical events, and so on. The odds are good that if you don't understand something, some other students don't either. Bring these up during class discussion.
(c) Write down things you disagree with. Again, if you disagree with one or more of the authors, or the filmmakers, the odds are that other students share your perspective. Bring these up in class discussion.
(d) Write down other observations and thoughts you have.
2. One-fifth of your grade will be based on your attendance and participation in class.
3. One-fifth of your grade will be based on a short paper (10 pages). This paper will be based on your reading a biography or autobiography of an activist in the movements for social justice we are discussing in this course. This must be selected from the list of the books attached to this course outline. The paper should focus on the questions listed above -- in essence, what have you learned about social movements from the life of these the individual and the movement(s) in which this person was involved? I will ask you on February 21 to give me the name of the book you've selected. By that time you should have reviewed the list of books and figured out how to get a copy of the book you've chosen. (Not all are in the Oxy library). Please come and see me before then if you want to discuss your selection. The final paper will be due on Thursday, May 2 -- the last day of class. If you want to show me an outline or rough draft beforehand, you can do so.
4. One-fifth of your grade will be based on an assignment that involves reading the book Packinghouse Daughter by Cheri Register. I will explain this assignment in class.
5. One-fifth of your final grade will be determined by a take-home final exam. This will be an essay-style exam. It will cover the entire course -- readings, films, discussions.
Readings and Films
The weekly required readings and films are identified in this course outline.
Required Books to Purchase: You should purchase the following books:
- o Piven and Cloward, Poor People's Movements
- o Morais and Boyer, Labor's Untold Story
- o Burns, Social Movements of the 1960s
- o Register, Packinghouse Daughter
On Reserve: Another required book -- Lader, Power on the Left -- is out-of-print. Thirteen copies of this book will be available on reserve in the Library. Don't hog them.
Web Readings: Most of the readings for this source will be found on the website for Politics 208. You can get there by clicking on the following: http://www.oxy.edu/departments/library/reserve.html. The course readings to be found on the website are marked with an asterisk (*). It is each student's responsibility to get these readings from the website. I would prefer that you download them so you can mark them up as well as bring them to class. There are many separate articles from magazines, newspapers, journals and other sources, so it may take time to download them each week. Make sure you have sufficient time to do this.
Biographies and or Autobiographies: In addition, each student should read one of the biographies or autobiographies of a social movement participant listed at the end of this course description. In addition to basing your term paper on this book, incorporate this reading into your journal, your final exam, and your class discussion.
Films: Attendance at the weekly films is required. Even if you've seen one or more of the films before, you will get a new perspective on the film and the movement it portrays. You can invite other students or friends to attend. Popcorn is optional.
Recommended Book: If you saw the film, "Good Will Hunting," you may recall the scene where the Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) asks his psychologist (played by Robin Williams) if he's read Howard Zinn's book, People's History of the United States. The book, the Damon character says, "will knock you on your ass." This book is the best one-volume history of American movements for social justice, which looks at the entire history of the country "from the bottom up" -- from the point of view of the disadvantaged and their struggles for justice. Although this book is not required for this course, I strongly encourage students to read it -- if not this semester, then as part of your summer reading.
TOPICS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
Part I: Key Concepts
1. Making History (Jan. 24, 29 and 31)
- Five Smooth Stones (Jan. 24)
- No readings
- Conditions That Make Movements Possible (Jan. 29)
- * Warner & Low, "The Shoe Industry in Yankee City," (from The Social System of a Modern Factory, 1947)
- * McGinn and Moody, "Labor Goes Global" (Progressive, March 1993)
- * Van Der Werf, "How Much Should Colleges Pay Their Janitors?" (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 3, 2001)
- * Murray, "Living Wage Comes of Age" (The Nation, July 23, 2001)
- o Piven and Cloward, Poor People's Movements (Chapter 1, "The Structuring of Protest")
- When Is the Time "Ripe" For Change?
- * Martin Luther King, "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (April 16, 1963)
- * Dreier and Piven, "Anti-Corporate Insurgency Making Itself Seen, Felt" (Boston Globe, May 21, 2000)
- * Featherstone, "The Student Movement Comes of Age" (The Nation, Oct. 24, 2000)
- * Wolfe, "When Students Protest, Questions of Justice Are Not Always Equal" (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 8, 2001)
- * Gottlieb and Dreier, From Liberty Hill to Living Wage: Progressive LA (pamphlet)
- * Hernandez, "Inside Agitators: The City's Most Effective Activists" (LA Weekly, Oct. 2-8, 1998)
- * Candaele and Dreier, "LA's Progressive Mosaic: Beginning to Find Its Voice" ( Nation, August 21/28, 2000)
Film: "The Organizer" (126 min.) -- Monday, Jan. 28
2. The Mobilization of Grievances (Feb. 5 & 7)
- The Making of Activists (Feb. 5)
- * Stella Nowicki, "Back of the Yards" (from Lynd and Lynd, Rank and File)
- * David Halberstam, "A King's Man: Profile of Jim Lawson," (LA Times, April 5, 1998)
- * Zinn, "Young Ladies Who Can Picket" (from Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train)
- * McAdam, "The Biographical Roots of Activism" (from Freedom Summer)
- * Rothstein, "Reunion" (Boston Review, December 1994/January 1995)
- * Johnson, "Activist Plays Key Role in Passage of Living-Wage Law" (LA Times, June 4, 2001)
- * Kohn, "Ideal Politics: Jim Wallis May Seem Like a Contradiction in Terms" (Los Angeles Times Magazine, Nov. 6, 1994)
- * Gardner, "Good COPS" (In These Times, November 1, 1993)
- * "From the Front Lines of the Environmental Justice Movement" (Social Policy, Spring 1992)
- Changing Consciousness (Feb. 7)
- * Ecroyd, "The Populist Spellbinders" (from Paul Boase, ed., The Rhetoric of Protest and Reform, 1980)
- * Schuman, "Two Sources of Antiwar Sentiment" (American Journal of Sociology, 1972)
- * Ferree and Hess, "Dilemmas of Growth: The Promise of Diversity" (from Controversy and Coalition: The New Feminist Movement, 1985.
- * Jenkins, "The Transformation of a Constituency into a Movement," (from Freeman, Social Movements of the Sixties and Seventies, 1983)
- * Parenti, "`Liberal' Media, Conservative Bias" (from Inventing Reality, 2nd ed., 1993).
- * Reagon, "Songs that Moved the Movement" (Civil Rights Quarterly, Summer 1983)
- * Tasini, "Labor and the Media" (Extra!, Summer 1990)
- * Pareles, "Turn, Turn, Turn..." (New York Times, Dec. 5, 1994)
- * "Waldemar Hille; Composer, American Folk Song Historian" (LA Times, Dec. 20, 1995)
Film: "Norma Rae" (117 min) -- Monday, Feb. 6.
3. The Emergence of Organization (Feb. 12 & 14)
- Leadership (Feb. 12)
- * Jarratt, "The Forgotten Heroes of the Montgomery Bus Boycott" (Chicago Tribune, l975)
- * Cesar Chavez, "The Organizer's Tale," (Ramparts, July 1966)
- * Freeman, "Origins of Women's Liberation" (American Journal of Sociology, 1973)
- * Payne, "Ella Baker and Models of Social Change" (Signs, 1989)
- * Morris, "Movement Halfway Houses: Highlander Folk School" (from Morris, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, 1984)
- * Candaele, "Leading the Charge: New AFL-CIO Head John Sweeney" (LA View, Nov. 1995)
- * Coniff, "President Wellstone?" (Nation, May 18, 1998)
- Participation (Feb. 14)
- * Ballenger, "Why People Join," (Community Jobs, April 1981).
- * Judkins, "Mobilization of Membership: The Black and Brown Lung Movements" (from Freeman, Social Movements of the Sixties and Seventies, 1983)
- * Wiltfang and McAdam, "The Costs and Risks of Social Activism: A Study of Sanctuary Movement Activists" (Social Forces, June 1991)
- * Greenhouse, "Labor and Clergy Reunite to Help Society's Underdogs" (NY Times, August 18, 1996)
- * Feingold, "Putting Faith in Labor" (LA Times, August 28, 1998)
- * Moberg, "Getting Organized" (In These Times, October 30, 1995)
- * Phillips-Fein, "A More Perfect Union-Buster" (Mother Jones, September/October 1998)
Films: "Salt of the Earth" (94 min.) -- Monday, Feb. 11
4. Taking Action: Strategy and Tactics (Feb. 19 & 21)
- The Inside/Outside Dilemma (Feb. 19)
- * Pinsky, "Life as a Progressive Legislator" (The Nation, October 1, 2001)
- * Dolan, "Environmental Activists Adapt to Insider Role" (LA Times, March 23, 1993)
- * Burton and Schwadel, "Greenpeace is Battling Slide in Contributions and Political Clout" (Wall Street Journal, March 3, 1993)
- * Clfford, "Environmental Movement Struggle as Clout Fades" (LA Times, Sept. 21, 1994)
- * Healy, "Partisan Politics Swamps Environmentalists" (LA Times, Oct. 17, 1994)
- * Schneider, "For the Environment, Compassion Fatigue" (NYT, Nov. 6, 1994)
- * Berke, "Sierra Club Ads in Political Races Offer a Case Study of `Issue Advocacy'" (NYT, Oct. 24, 1998)
- * Moberg, "Brother and Sisters -- Greens and Labor: It's a Coalition that Gives Corporate Polluters Fits" (Sierra Club Magazine, January/Febuary 1999)
- * Costain and Costain, "Strategy and Tactics of the Women's Movement in the United States: The Role of Political Parties" (from Katzenstein and Mueller, eds., Women's Movements of the United States and Western Europe, 1987)
- * Judis, "The Pressure Elite" (American Prospect, Spring 1992)
- The Uses and Limits of Protest (Feb. 21)
- * Lipsky, "Rent Strikes: Poor Man's Weapon" (Society, February 1969)
- * "Radical Saul Alinsky: Prophet of Power" (Time, March 2, 1970)
- * Williams, "Blasting the Barriers to Citizenship" (Social Policy, Winter l989)
- * Starobin, "The Greening of ACORN's Top Lobbyist" (National Journal, July 17, 1993)
- * Ybarra, "Janitors' Union Uses Pressure and Theatrics to Expands Its Ranks" (Wall Street Journal, March 21, 1994)
- * Simon, "Bus Riders Protest MTA Cuts" (LA Times, Dec. 19, 1997)
Films: "Union Maids" (60 min.) & "Eyes on The Prize: Ain't Scared of Your Jails" (60 min.) -- Monday, Feb. 18
Part II: The Rise of Monopoly Capitalism
5. Populism: The Farmers Revolt (Feb. 26 & 28)
- * "The Farmer Is the Man" (author unknown; date, circa 1870s)
- * Dreier, "Yellow Brick Road was Primrose Path" (Boston Globe, July 14, 1985)
- * Goodwyn, "Introduction" and "The Alliance Develops a Movement Culture" (The Populist Moment, 1978)
- * Killing Fields" (Graph) (Beck and Tolnay, "The Killing Fields of the Deep South: The Market for Cotton and the Lynching of Blacks, 1882-1930" (American Sociological Review, August 1990)
- * Ellsworth, "Organizing the Organized: The Origins of the Nonpartisan League" (The Organizer, Summer 1981)
- * Shulman, "Despite His Reputation, Perot's Anything but the 'Great Commoner'" (LAT, August 13, 1995)
Films: "Jeannette Rankin: The Woman Who Voted No" (29 min.) & "Northern Lights" (98 min.) -- Monday, Feb. 25
6. Unionism: Workers Organize (March 5 & 7)
- o Morais & Boyer, Labor's Untold Story (Chapters 1-6)
- * Tuttle, "Labor Conflict and Racial Violence: The Black Worker in Chicago, 1894-1919" (Labor History,1969)
- * "Labor Landmarks" (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 5, 1994)
- * Beilke, "Workers' Playtime" (The Nation, April 13, 1998)
Films: "Debs & the American Movement" (44 min.) & "The Wobblies" (88 min.) -- Mon., March 4. 7. Progressivism and Socialism: Reformers and Radicals (March 12 & 14)
- Democratizing Politics and the Economy (March 12)
- o Morais and Boyer, Labor's Untold Story (Chapters 7-8)
- * Zinn, "The Socialist Challenge" (from A People's History of the United States, 1980)
- * "The Socialist Party's Platform, 1912"
- * Miller, "Casting a Wide Net: The Milwaukee Movement to 1920" (from Critchlow, ed., Socialism in the Heartland, 1986)
- * DeMarco, "Water, Socialism and the Masses" (from A Short History of Los Angeles, 1988)
- * Baer, "The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History" (1992)
- Feminism, Civil Rights, and Urban Reform
- * Katz, "Socialist Women and Progressive Reform" (from Deverell and Sitton, California Progressivism Revisited, 1994)
- * Muncy, "The Hull House Settlement and Female Urban Reform" (from Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1991)
- * "Woman's Suffrage" (from Cooney and Michalowski, The Power of the People, 1977)
- * Giddings, "Ida B. Wells" (from Buhle, Buhle and Kaye, eds., The American Radical, 1994)
- * Meier and Bracey, "The NAACP as a Reform Movement, 1909-1965" (from Journal of Southern History, February 1993).
- * Westbrook, "Lewis Hine and the Two Faces of Progressive Photography" (from Tikkun, April/May 1987)
Film: "Hull House: The House that Jane Built" (58 min.) & "A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom" (86 min.) -- Monday, March 11
Part III. The Depression, the New Deal, and the Cold War
8. The CIO, the Left, and FDR (March 26 & 28)
- Struggles at Work,, at Home, and at the Ballot Box (March 26)
- o Morais & Boyer, Labor's Untold Story (Chapters 9-10)
- o Piven & Cloward, Poor People's Movements (Chapters 2-3)
- * Blake and Newman, "Upton Sinclair's EPIC Campaign" (California History, Fall 1984)
- * Wright, "Public Housing for the Worthy Poor" (from Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America, 1981)
- * "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" (written by Harburg and Gorney, 1932; sung by Bing Crosby)
- * "Ballad for Americans" (written by Earl Robinson and John LaTouche, 1939; sung by Paul Robeson)
- Culture and Consciousness
- * Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty (a play written in 1935)
Films: "Sit Down and Fight" (58 min.) &"We Have a Plan" (60 min.) -- Monday, March 26
9. Prosperity and Repression: The American Empire and the Red Scare (April 2 & 4)
- o Lader, Power on the Left (Chapters 1-9)
- * Egerton, "A Liberating War" (from Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day, 1994)
- * Margolick, "Strange Fruit" (Vanity Fair, September 1998) and "Strange Fruit (song written by Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday in 1939)
- * Gitlin, "Cornucopia & its Discontents" and "Underground Channels" (from The Sixties, 1987)
- * Sayre, "Assaulting Hollywood" (World Policy Journal, Winter 1995/1996)
Films: "Red Nightmare" (30 min.) & "Hollywood on Trial" (90 min.) -- Monday, April 1
Part IV. Out of the Cold: Confronting the American Dream
10. The Civil Rights Struggle (April 9 & 11)
- o Lader, Power on the Left (Chapters 10-12)
- o Piven and Cloward, Poor People's Movements (Chapter 4)
- o Burns, Social Movements of the 1960s (Preface and Chapter 1)
Films: "Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker" (48 min.) & "The Long Walk Home" (98 min.) or "Freedom on the Mind" (90 min). -- Monday, April 8
11. The Student New Left and the Anti-War Movement (April 16 & 18)
- o Lader, Power on the Left (Chapters 13-18)
- o Burns, Social Movements of the 1960s (Chapter 2)
- * Students for a Democratic Society, "The Port Huron Statement" (1960)
- * Martin Luther King, Jr., "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" (1967)
Films: "Berkeley in the Sixties" (117 min.) -- Monday, April 15
12. Redefining Community and Identity: Feminism, Gay Rights, Community Organizing, and Environmentalism (April 23 & 25)
- Feminism and Gay Rights (April 23)
- o Burns, Social Movements of the 1960s (Chapter 3-5)
- o Lader, Power on the Left (Chapter 21)
- * Gornick, "Who Says We Haven't Made a Revolution?" (New York Times Magazine, April 15, 1990)
- * Winkler, "Relooking at the Roots of Feminism" (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 1996).
- * Boxer, "One Casualty of the Women's Movement: Feminism" (NYTimes, Dec. 14, 1997)
- * Gamson, "Silence, Death, and the Invisible Enemy: AIDS Activism," Social Problems, October 1989.
- * Rotello, "Gay and Lesbian Rights" (Social Policy, Spring 1998)
- Community Activism and Environmentalism (April 25)
- * Newfield, "Redline Fever" (Village Voice, 1978)
- * Chuttum, "Lift Them Up" (City Limits, September 1993)
- * Brownstein, "An Idea Grows in Brooklyn" (U.S. News & World Report, July 27, 1998)
- * Price, "The Emergence of the Anti-Nuclear Movement" (from The Antinuclear Movement, 1990)
- * Rosen, "Who Gets Polluted? The Movement for Environmental Justice" (Dissent, Spring 1994)
- * Easterbrook, "Here Comes the Sun" (New Yorker, April 10, 1995)
- * Helvarg, "Anti-Enviros Are Getting Uglier" (The Nation, Nov. 28, 1994)
Films: "The Times of Harvey Milk" (88 min.) &"Willmar Eight" (50 min.) -- Monday, April 22
V. Where Are We Going?
13. Social Justice Activism in Contemporary America (April 30 & May 2)
Different Visions of the Future (April 30)
- * Meyerson, "A Clean Sweep" (American Prospect, June 19, 2000)
- *Greenhouse, "Janitors, Long Paid Little, Demand a Larger Slice" (NY Times, April 28, 2000)
- *Cleeland, "Leader of the Revolutionary Pack: Mike Garcia and His Janitors' Union Are Breathing New Life Into the US Labor Movement" (LA Times, August 13, 2000)
- *Stewart, "Renters Serve Notice to Landlords" (LA Times, April 5, 2002)
- *Chavez and Cardenas, "Group Aims to Improve Schools by Parent Power" (LA Times, July 22, 2001)
- *Dreier and Candaele, "Housing: An LA Story" (The Nation, April 15, 2002)
- *Brown, "Giving It the Old College Outcry" (Mother Jones, September/October 2001)
- *Cleeland, "Clothing Firm Adopts Non-Sweatshop Concept" (LA Times, April 9, 2002)
- *Halpern, "Cyles of Change" (Mother Jones, March/April 2002)
- *Winters, "Camp Ruckus" (In These Times, April 30, 2001)
- *Newfield, "The Senate=s Fighting Liberal" (The Nation, March 25, 2002)
- *Nichols, "Political Twist" (The Nation, Februrary 11, 2002)
- *Nichols, "Campaign Finance: The Sequel" (The Nation, April 29, 2002)
- *Nader, "Organizing People: The One Sure Way to Defeat Enronism" (American Prospect, March 25, 2002)
Struggles for Justice in the New Century (May 2)
- Stewart, Social Movements of the 1960s (Chapters 4 and 5)
- *Moyers, "Which America Will We Be Now?" (The Nation, Nov. 19, 2001)
- *McKibben, "An End to Sweet Illusions" (Mother Jones, Jan/Feb 2002)
- *Greider, "Pro Patria, Pro Mundus" (The Nation, Nov. 12, 2001)
- *Cox, "A Kinder, Gentler Draft?" (Utne Reader, January/Feburary 2002)
- *"A New Contract with the Planet: New Jobs for Old Glory" (ContractWithTher>Planet.org)
- *Greenberg, "We -- Not Me" (American Prospect, Dec. 17, 2001)
- *Reich, "Broken Faith: Why We Need to Renew the Social Compact" (Nation, Feb. 16, 1998)
- *VandenHeuvel and Rogers, "What's Left?" (LA Times, Nov. 25, 2001)
- *Borosage and Hickey, "Beyond Jeffers" (American Prospect, July 2, 2001)
- *Sklar, "$5.15 an Hour Doesn't Add Up" (Democratic Left, Spring 2002)
- *Ehrenreich, "Beyond Gender Equality" (Democratic Left, July\August 1993)
- *Guinier and Torres, "The Miner's Canary" (The Nation, February 18, 2002)
- *Patterson, "Racism is Not the Issue" (New York Times, Nov. 16, 1997)<>
- *Cortes, "Justice at the Gates of the City" (in Ray Marshall, ed., Shared Prosperity, 1999)
Films: +"Bread and Roses" (105 minutes) and "The Democratic Promise" (47 minutes) -- tentative -- Monday, April 29
Biographies and Autobiographies
In addition to the required books and articles, each student will be expected to read one of the following books -- and write a paper based on the book. These books provide an "insider's" view of social movements. In reading them, keep in mind the same questions that were discussed above: How do social and economic conditions shape the possibility of social protest? Why do people become involved in social movements? How are social movements organized: What roles do "leaders", "intellectuals" and "organizers" play? Why are some movements successful while other fail? How do movements determine which strategies and tactics to use?
Try to read the book at the appropriate time. For example, if you choose to read Fannie Lou Hamer's biography, do so while the class is discussing the civil rights movement. Bring up your thoughts on these books during class discussion. Integrate them in your final exam essays or journals.
Most of these books are available in the library. If the Oxy library doesn't have a book, it can get if for you from another library. In other words, every book on this list is available in some way. Some books are available at, or can be ordered by, the Occidental Bookstore. Many books are available in local bookstores, such as Vromans, Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Cliff's (a used bookstore) in Pasadena. Most of these books are available in paperback.
This list is in roughly chronological order:
Gorn, Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America. Ever wonder where name of the magazine "Mother Jones" came from? Mother Jones lived between 1830-1930 and during that period was an active agitator and leader of the Labor movement of miners and others, including the Industrial Workers of the World, often called the "Wobblies." This book corrects many of the myths about her found in her Autobiography of Mother Jones.
Lane, To Herland and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and
Hill, Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of a Radical Feminist. Gilman was a leader of the early feminist movement. These two biographies describe the activities of the suffragists.
Drinan, Rebels in Paradise. Biography of Emma Goldman, 1869-1940 -- feminist, anarchist, socialist, who reflected the movements of which she was a vital part. Corrects some myths in Goldman's autobiography. Two other, more recent, biographies of Goldman are: Solomon, Emma Goldman and Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life.
Ginger, Eugene V. Debs and Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs, Citizen and Socialist. These are the two best biographies of America's leading socialist and trade unionist during the first two decades of this century. One year he received almost one million votes for President. In 1894 he led the famous Pullman railroad strike near Chicago. The Salvatore biography is more recent and draws on Debs' letters as well as other materials.
Shore, Talkin' Socialism: J.A. Wayland and the Role of the Press in American Radicalism. Wayland edited the Appeal to Reason, a socialist newspaper during the Debs era, which had a national circulation over 200,000.
Miller, Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism. Berger was the first Socialist elected to Congress and a leader of the socialist movement in Milwaukee during the first two decades of this century.
McMurry, To Keep the Waters Troubled: The Life of Ida B. Wells or Schechter, Idea B. Wells Barnett and American Reform: 1880-1930. Wells, an African American woman who lived from 1862 to 1931, was a pioneer in the cause of women and civil rights. Despite the obstacles placed in her way as a result of her race and gender, she became a crusading journalist and organizer during the Progressive Era. She lead the movement to stop lynchings and to expose the false stereotypes used to justify lynchings. She organized other African American women to demand the vote. She was a key forerunner of both the civil rights and women's movements.
Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House and The Second Twenty Years at Hull House. Jane Addams founded Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago, and is considered the founder of the social work profession. In addition, she was a leading radical, pacifist, and feminist during the first few decades of this century. These two books, which comprise Addams' autobiography, should be read together as one book.
Carlson, Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood. Haywood was a leading of the Industrial Workers of the World movement and an important figure in the history of the American labor movement.
O'Neil, Everyone Was Brave. This is a collective biography of the leading suffragettes and feminists during the early 19000's, revealing what they had in common and how they differed. Many were also involved in other causes, too -- unionism, settlement house work, etc.
Fraser, Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor. This is the biography of one of the most influential labor leaders of the 20th century. Hillman was not only the president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers union before and during the New Deal, but also a close political advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt.
DeCaux, Labor Radical. Autobiography of Len DeCaux, who was active in the industrial union movement in the first half of this century.
Healey, California Red: A Life in the American Communist Party. Dorothy Healey was a leader of the C.P. in Los Angeles from the l940s through the l960s, when she quit the C.P., but continued her involvement in radicalism to this day. In her youth, she helped organize farmworkers in California. This autobiography, written with Maurice Isserman, is also called Dorothy Healy Remembers.
Mortimer, Organize! Wyndham Mortimer was an activist in the early days of the United Auto Workers during the Depression. He was a leader of the famous "sit-down" strikes of 1937 -- a forerunner of the "sit-in" tactics used by the civil rights, student, and environmental movements. This is his autobiography.
Larrowe, Harry Bridges: The Rise and Fall of Radical Labor in the United States. Bridges was one of the most influential labor leaders in the United States. A radical, he helped organize and lead the longshoremen's union, particularly on the West Coast.
Lichtenstein, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor. The Reuther brothers helped organize the United Auto Workers Union in the l930s. Walter Reuther became president of the union and a major figure in progressive American politics, lending support to the civil rights and other movements through the l960s.
Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle. Steinbeck wrote this novel before he wrote Grapes of Wrath. This one is about the attempts of the Communist Party to organize migrant farmworkers in California during the Depression. It is very good at describing the organizing tactics of the CP and the conditions of the farmworkers. It also expresses Steinbeck's ambivalence about the CP's tactics. This book is a good companion to Taylor's book about Cesar Chavez and the more recent efforts to organize farmworkers, who are now mostly Mexican-Americans.
Klein, Woody Guthrie. Biography of the folksinger (and father of Arlo Guthrie) who wrote "This Land is Your Land" and hundreds of other songs. Guthrie was a radical, close to the Communist Party, and active in supporting the industrial trade union movement of the 1940's and later. The book is not only a biography of Guthrie, but also a good introduction to the culture of the Left, the impact of McCarthyism on the lives of radicals, and the revival of folk music in the 1960's.
Langer, Josephine Herbst. Originally from the Northwest, Herbst became a leading journalist and novelist, traveling around the country and the world during the l920s through the l940s to cover movements for social justice. She was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and all but forgotten until this biography appeared about ten years ago.
Coles, Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion and Miller, A Harsh and Dreadful Lover: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. Dorothy Day led the Catholic Worker movement, which lived among the poor and organized for justice. These two biographies not only recount Day's life, but describe the movement and its impact on the country.
Robinson, Abraham Went Out: A Biography of A.J. Muste. Muste played an important role in many of the movements for justice from the l930s through the l960s. He was a labor organizer, a pacifist, an educator and writer, and civil rights activist. He influenced several generations of activists.
Swanberg, Norman Thomas, the Last Idealist. Often called "America's conscience," Norman Thomas was the leader of the American Socialist Party, and a frequent -- though unsuccessful -- candidate for office, from the l930s through the l960s. This is the best of several Thomas biographies.
Sigal, Going Away. This is an autobiographical novel by Clancy Sigal, who traveled around the country in the late 1950's and early 1960's looking up friends from the radical movements of the previous decades. The novel portrays the devastation of the McCarthy period on their lives.
Wittner, Rebels Against War. Did you know that there was a peace movement in the 1950's? This is the story of people who, during World War II and the Cold War, organized for peace and disarmament. Many were later active in the 60's anti-war movement.
Nelson, Steve Nelson, American Radical. Nelson was an immigrant to the U.S. who became a leader of the labor movement in the l920s and l930s, joined the Communist Party, fought in the Spanish Civil War with the Lincoln Brigade, and continued his radical activism through the next five decades.
Gornick, The Romance of American Communism. Gornick interviewed dozens of former members of the Communist Party to get a feeling for what being in the CP was really like on a daily basis. Her book finds that they were neither the Stalinist robots nor the naive idealist that they are often portrayed as; instead, she finds a wide variety of people with many reasons for joining, staying, and leaving.
Schaffer, Vito Marcantonio, Radical in Congress and LaGumina, Vito Marcantonio, The People's Politician. Marcantonio was a member of the U.S. Congress from New York City during the l940s, where he became an advocate for progressive movements and their causes. He was among a significant number of progressive voices in Congress at the time, many of whom -- such as Jerry Voorhis of California -- were defeated during the McCarthy era.
Schmidt, Henry A. Wallace, Quixotic Crusade 1948 and Markowitz, The Rise and Fall of the People's Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948. Henry Wallace was Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice President of the United States during the FDR years. In l948 he broke with the Democratic Party and ran for President on the Progressive Party ticket. His platform emphasized social reform and opposition to the Cold War.
Lewis, W.E.B. DuBois: Biography of a Race, Lewis and W.E.B. DuBois: The Fight for Equality is a two-volume biography of DuBois, a major figure in the civil rights movement from the l920s through the l950s. He was a founder of the NAACP, one of the founders of Pan-Africanism, and a radical. He was a sociologist, and historian who wrote dozens of books, including the influential The Souls of Black Folks. The first volume covers the first half of DuBois' life, 1868-1919; the second volume covers his life until his death in 1963. Marable, W.E.B. DuBois, Black Radical Democrat is a one-volume biography of DuBois.
Painter, The Narrative of Hosea Hudson, His Life as a Negro Communist in the South. Hudson was a leader of the early civil rights and labor movements in the South, helping to organize tenant farmers. People like Hudson helped lay the groundwork for the successful organizing efforts of the l950s and l960s.
Duberman, Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson was one of the most dynamic figures of American life during the 20th century. He was an All-American athlete, a graduate of Columbia Law School, a linguist, a folklorist, a singer of international fame, a star of opera, films, and Broadway musicals, who was discriminated against for being a Black and a radical. He was blacklisted in the l950s and essentially disappeared from public life and public awareness. This is the first serious biography of Robeson.
Timmons, The Trouble With Harry Hay - Founder of the Modern Gay Movement. Harry Hay was the founder of the Mattachine Society, the first political activist group for homosexuals. For many years, as a radical activist in LA, he was in the closet. He formed the Mattachine Society in the 1950s and is considered the "father" of the modern gay rights movement.
Cottrell, Izzy: A Biography of I.F. Stone. Stone was a radical journalist, primary during the Cold War, who published his own newsletter, I.F. Stone's Weekly. His writing challenged the dominant Cold War ideology of the period, including official explanations of the Korean and VietNam wars. He was a forerunner of the "investigative journalism" of the l970s and beyond.
Pfeffer, A. Philip Randolph, Pioneer of the Civil Right Movement. Randolph was a major figure in the labor, civil rights, and radical movements from the l930s through the l960s. He organized black train porters into a union (the first union of a predominantly black membership), pressured President Truman to integrate the armed forces, and was the behind-the-scenes leader of several major civil rights marches on Washington.
Meerpol and Meerpol, We Are Your Sons. Robert and Michael Meerpol are the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who died in the electric chair in the l950s for having spied for the Soviet Union. The Rosenberg trial -- along with the 1920s trial of Sacco and Vanzetti -- was perhaps the most controversial in American history, because many people believed (and still believe) that the Rosenbergs guilt was not proved, but that the Cold War hysteria influenced the outcome.
Horwitz, Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky, His Life and Legacy. Alinsky is the "founding father" of modern community organizing. In the l930s he gave up a career as a criminologist and sociologist to start organizing in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago. His techniques influenced several generations of grassroots community activists, including many who never heard of Alinsky. He founded a training school for organizers and published several manuals on organizing tactics. This recent book is the first full-scale biography of Alinsky.
Horton, The Long Haul. This is the autobiography of Myles Horton, one of the most important, though little-known, participants in the movements for social justice during this century. Horton founded the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, a training school for activists involved in the labor and civil rights movements during the l940s through the l960s, including Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. The song "We Shall Overcome" became a civil rights anthem at Highlander. Horton died a few years ago, but Highlander continues, training activists in the environmental and other movements.
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition. Ivory Perry, a black worker and community activist in St. Louis, devoted his life (1930-89) to local struggles for jobs, educational opportunities and housing. This biography chronicles Perry's commitment, his achievements, and the personal costs of his activism.
Anderson, Bayard Rustin: The Troubles I've Seen. Rustin was a real "outside agitator" who taught people the techniques of protest and agitation. An African-American activist, a pacifist (he refused to fight in WW2), a radical, and a union activist, he played a key behind-the-scenes role in the civil rights movement. He is primarily responsible for teaching Martin Luther King the tactics and philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience. He was the key organizer (the guy who took care of the details) of the 1963 March on Washington (where King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Mills, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. From a small rural town in Mississippi, Hamer became a leading figure in the Southern civil rights movement during the l960s. She led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the state's segregationist Democratic Party. She is featured in "Eyes on the Prize".
Lewis, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. This is the autobiography of John Lewis, now a U.S. Congressperson from Georgia, who was a leading figure in the 1960s civil rights movement. He was an original participant in the Freedom Rides, the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and an important organizer of the famous March on Washington for civil rights. He has brought these ideals and ideas into his political career, first on the Atlanta City Council, now in Congress.
Grant, Ella Baker: Freedom Bound. Ella Baker represents the heart-and-soul of the civil rights movement. She was a vital grassroots organizer from the 1940s through the l970s. She worked with the NAACP, the South Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, but typically in a behind-the-scenes capacity and is thus much less well-known than leaders like Martin Luther King. This is a biography by Joanne Grant, the same women who produced the documentary, "Fundi," about Baker's life.
Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi. Autobiography of a young black woman who was active in the civil rights movement in the South. and Sutherland, Letters from Mississippi. These are excerpts from letters written by white student volunteers during the Southern civil rights movement of the 1960's. It gives a feel for the daily lives of those involved in voter registration drives and other activities, including the climate of fear.
These two short books, combined, will count as one book for purposes of your assignment.
Dunaway, How Can I Keep From Singing?. This is the biography of Pete Seeger, the folk-singer who has participated in the major social justice movements since the 1940's. The film "Wasn't That a Time?" deals with the Weavers, a very popular singing group of which Seeger was a member until they were blacklisted in the McCarthy era. Seeger helped catalyze the revival of folk music and its links with social justice movements. He is still performing and making records, and involved with environmental and other movements.
Kotz and Kotz, A Passion for Equality. Biography of George Wiley, a young, black, chemistry professor at Syracuse who became active in the civil rights movement. He soon left teaching and organized the National Welfare Rights Movement in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The book provides a good description of how movements operate on a day-to-day basis.
Garrow, Ed., The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of JoAnn Gibson Robinson. Most people associate the Montgomery Bus Boycott with Martin Luther King or with Rosa Parks. But Robinson was one of the key participants in this important struggle of the civil rights movement, and this autobiography tells her version of those events.
Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries. This book traces the path of James Forman from a civil rights leader to a militant black nationalist and shows how the black movement changed during the 1960's and 1970's.
Cagin and Dray, We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney and the Civil Right Campaign for Mississippi. During the l964 Freedom Summer, civil rights activists -- including many white college students from the North -- worked to register black voters and break down the segregated political and social life of the South. Three activists were killed by segregationists with the complicity of local law enforcement officials. This is a biography of the three activists and the story of their murder.
King, Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. Mary King was a white civil rights activist in the South who later became active in the early women's movement. Her autobiography describes the difficult role of whites, and women, in the civil rights movement.
Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Souther Christian Leadership Conference. This is without doubt the best biography of King. It traces his family background, describes the importance of his religious training and beliefs, and explains how he became involved in the civil rights movement and the many struggles within the movement over differences in philosophy, tactics, and ego.
Dellinger, More Power Than We Know. David Dellinger is best know as a leading pacifist and activist in the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960's. But his pacifism goes back to World War II -- in which he refused to serve -- and extends to today's anti-nuke movement. This is a quasi-autobiography.
Cowan, The Making of an Un-American. Autobiography of an activist in the early New Left of the 1960's. He attended prep schools and Harvard, joined the civil rights movement in the South, then enlisted in the Peace Corps, and later wrote for the Village Voice.
Harrington, Fragments of a Century and The Long Distance Runner; Isserman, The Other American. The first two books are autobiographies of Michael Harrington, the leading socialist activist in post-WW2 America. The third book is a new biography of Harrington. Harrington joined the Catholic Worker movement, then wrote The Other America, a book that exposed the depths of poverty in the early 1960's and inspired the various war-on-poverty programs. His writings and activism had a tremendous influence on American politics in the l960s to the l980s. Read one of them for this assignment.
Chafe, Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism. Lowenstein was a college professor and administrator who played key roles in both the civil rights and anti-war movement and was an early opponent of apartheid in South Africa. Among his other activities, he helped recruit many Northern white students to take part in the Southern civil rights movement and in the anti-war movement. His opposition to the Vietnam war helped convince LBJ not to run for re-election in l968. Lowenstein also served briefly in Congress.
Taylor, Chavez and the Farmworkers. Biography of Cesar Chavez, leader of the United Farm Workers union that inspired the lettuce and grape boycotts of the past decade and has improved living and working conditions for many migrant farmworkers. Other books about Chavez include: Levy, Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa and Matthiessen, Sal Si puedes: Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution.
Garcia, Memories of Chicano History: The Life and Narrative of Bert Corona. Although less well-known that Cesar Chavez, Corona has been an important leader and organizer in Los Angeles' and California's Latino community. For the past 50 years, he has worked with labor unions, civil rights groups, and community organizations, especially among immigrants, to increase the political power of Mexican Americans. He is currently national director of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, an immigrant rights group. This oral history is Corona's autobiography.
Hayden, Reunion: A Memoir. Tom Hayden was editor of his college daily newspaper, and became a founder of SDS and a leader in the antiwar movement of the l960s and a defendant in the Chicago 7 trial. He was one of the first l960s activists to run for elective office. He ran for U.S. Senate from California in l976. He lost the Democratic primary, build a citizens movement out of the effort, and later was elected to the California legislature, where he now serves representing Santa Monica and LA.
Schumacher, There But For Fortune: The Life of Phil Ochs. Phil Ochs was the leading protest -- often called "topical" -- singer of the l960s, writing and performing songs that inspired civil rights, anti-war and other activist movements of the period. These songs include "I Ain't Marching Any More," "Draft Dodger Rag," "The Power and the Glory," "Here's to the State of Mississippi," "When I'm Gone," and "Outside a Small Circle of Friends." This biography describes his life, his times, and his role in these movements.
Jezer, Abbie Hoffman, American Rebel. Hoffman is frequently identified as a leader of the antiwar and counter-culture movements of the l960s. He was more of media celebrity than a political leader, but his career is an interesting one, particularly for understanding the importance of the media. He later became a grassroots environment activist. He died in 1993.