Ch. 30- The Crisis of Authority
The Youth Culture
Social and cultural protest coming from young Americans
-create a new community of “the people”
-force the nation to end war, pursue radical and economic justice, and transform its political life. The New Left
·The postwar baby-boom generation, the unprecedented number of People born in a few years just after World War II, was growing up.
·One of the most visible results of the increasingly assertive youth movement was a radicalization of many American college and
university students, who in the course of the 1960s formed what became known as the New Left- a large, diverse group of men
and women energized by the polarizing developments of their
time to challenge the political system.
·The New Left embraced the cause of African Americans and other minorities, but its own ranks consisted overwhelmingly of white people.
·The New Left drew from many sources.
·The New Left drew as well from the writings of some of the important social critics of the 1950s-among them C. Wright Mills, a sociologist at Columbia University who wrote a series of scathing and brilliant critiques of modern bureaucracies.
·The New Left drew its inspiration above all from the civil rights movement, in which many idealistic young white Americans had become involved in the early 1960s.
·In 1962, a group of students, most of them from prestigious universities, gathered in Michigan to form an organization to give voice to their demands: Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). ·A 1964 dispute at the University of California at Berkeley over the rights of students to engage in political activities on campus gained national attention.
·The Free Speech Movement, created turmoil at Berkeley as students challenged campus police, occupied administrative offices, and produced a strike in which nearly ¾ of the Berkeley students participated.
·The revolt at Berkeley was the first outburst of what was to be nearly a decade of campus turmoil.
·Also in 1969, Berkeley became the scene of perhaps the most prolonged and traumatic conflict of any American college
campus in the 1960s: a battle over the efforts of a few students to build a “People’s Park” on a vacant lot the university planned to use to build a parking garage.
·By the end of the People’s Park battle, which lasted for more than a week, the Berkeley campus was completely polarized.
·Student radicals were, for the20first time, winning large audiences for their extravagant rhetoric linking together university
administrators, the police, and the larger political and economic system, describing them all as part of one united, oppressive force.
·As time went on, moreover, the student fringe groups became increasingly militant.
·Student activists tried to drive out training programs for military officers (ROTC) and bar military recruiters from college
·The October 1967 march on the Pentagon, where demonstrators were met by a solid line of armed troops; the “spring mobilization” of April 1968, this attracted hundreds of thousands of
demonstrators in cities around the country.
·Many draft-age Americans simply refused induction, accepting what occasionally what were long terms in jail as a result.
·The most visible characteristic of the counterculture was a change in lifestyle.
·Young Americans flaunted long hair, shabby or flamboyant clothing, and a rebellious disdain for traditional speech and decorum, which they replaced with their own “hippie” idiom.
·Also central to the counterculture were drugs: marijuana smoking which after 1966 became almost as common a youthful diversion
as beer drinking-and the less widespread but still substantial use of other, more potent hallucinogens, such as LSD.
·To some degree, the emergence of more relaxed approaches to sexuality was a result less of the counterculture than of the new accessibility of effective contraceptives, most notably the birth...
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