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The New Left 1960s. New Left The rapid rise of a "New Left" applied the class perspective of Marxism to postwar America Little organizational connection.

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Presentation on theme: "The New Left 1960s. New Left The rapid rise of a "New Left" applied the class perspective of Marxism to postwar America Little organizational connection."— Presentation transcript:

1 The New Left 1960s

2 New Left The rapid rise of a "New Left" applied the class perspective of Marxism to postwar America Little organizational connection with older Marxist organizations such as the Communist Party Reject organized labor as the basis of a unified left- wing movement.

3 New Left Ideology Neo-Marxism [Frankfurt School's/ critical theory] extended Marxist frameworks of critique to areas of life that Karl Marx himself had not focused upon in traditional Marxism, such as gender, race, and sexual orientation.

4 Origins of the Term “New Left” The term "New Left" can be traced to an open letter written in 1960 by sociologist C. Wright Mills entitled Letter to the New Left. Mills argued for a new leftist ideology, moving away from the traditional ("Old Left") focus on labor issues, towards more personalized issues such as opposing alienation, anomie, and authoritarianism.

5 Origins of the Term “New Left” "Letter to the New Left" legitimated the notion that university students, although relatively privileged, could be pivotal agents of social transformation. Mills's "Letter" was published in a leading American New Left journal, Studies on the Left, in 1961 and reprinted in pamphlet form by the movement's most prominent organization, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

6 New Left The New Left opposed the prevailing authority structures in society, which it termed "The Establishment", and those who rejected this authority became known as "anti- Establishment." The New Left did not seek to recruit industrial workers, but rather concentrated on a social activist approach to organization.

7 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] In the United States, the "New Left" was the name loosely associated with liberal, sometimes radical, political movements that took place during the 1960s, primarily among college students. At the core of this was the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS.

8 SDS: Origins SDS developed from the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), the youth branch of a socialist educational organization known as the League for Industrial Democracy (LID). LID descended from the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, started in Early in 1960, SLID decided to change its name into SDS.

9 Port Huron Statement SDS held its first meeting in 1960 on the University of Michigan campus at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Alan Haber was elected president. Its political manifesto, known as the Port Huron Statement, was adopted at the organization's first convention in 1962, based on an earlier draft by staff member Tom Hayden.

10 Port Huron Statement The Port Huron Statement criticized the political system of the United States for failing to achieve international peace and critiqued Cold War foreign policy, the threat of nuclear war, and the arms race. In domestic matters, it criticized racial discrimination, economic inequality, big businesses, trade unions and political parties.

11 New Left Reforms Reforms: 1.greater democracy 2.for stronger power for individuals through citizen's lobbies 3.substantial involvement by workers in business management 4.an enlarged public sector with increased government welfare, including a "program against poverty." PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY

12 SDS Early Years: 1962– Community Organizing in working class neighborhoods 2.Non-Violence and civil disobedience 3.Campus organizing 4.De-centralization 5.Participatory Democracy

13 ERAP Economic Research and Action Project SDS would try to organize white unemployed youths through a newly established program they called the Economic Research and Action Project (ERAP).

14 SDS: From protest to resistance 1965–1968 In February 1965, United States President Lyndon Johnson dramatically escalated the war in Vietnam by bombing North Vietnam and introducing ground troops directly involved in fighting the Viet Cong in the South.

15 SDS: From protest to resistance 1965–1968 Campus chapters of SDS all over the country started to lead small, localized demonstrations against the war and became the focal group that organized the March against the war in Washington on April 17, 1965.

16 SDS: From protest to resistance 1965–1968 The first teach-in against the war was held in the University of Michigan. Soon hundreds more, all over the country, were held. The demonstration in Washington, DC attracted about 25,000 anti-war protesters and SDS became the leading student group against the war on most U.S. campuses.

17 1965 SDS Anti-War March on DC On April 17, 1965, 25,000 People Participated in a March on Washington to End the War in Vietnam.

18 1967: SDS and Antiwar Movement SDS openly encouraged draft resistance and sponsored efforts to disrupt the war effort. In October 1967, some fifty‐thousand opponents of the war marched on the Pentagon.

19 Burning Draft Cards Antiwar Resistance grows more militant.

20 Turning Point: 1968 Tet Offensive

21 1969 SDS Split In the summer of 1969, the ninth SDS national convention was held at the Chicago Coliseum with some 2000 people attending. Many factions of the movement were present, and set up their literature tables all around the edges of the cavernous hall. The Young Socialist Alliance, Wobblies, Spartacists, Marxists and Maoists of various sorts, all together with various law- enforcement spies and informers contributed to the air of impending expectations.

22 1969 SDS: Revolutionary Youth Movement Mark Rudd Bernardine Dohrn Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) wing of SDS


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