|A. The World
||Immanual Wallerstein proposes that there
have been two world revolutions; the first world revolution occurred in
1848 when workers, peasants, and others staged rebellions in eleven European
countries. The second occurred in 1968 when workers, students, peasants, and others
in the United States, France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Japan, and Mexico participated in
popular uprisings. Neither of the revolutions succeeded in gaining their immediate
objectives; but each defined the agenda for protest that followed. The revolution of
1848 led to the workers-rights and national liberation movements, while the revolution of
1968 spawned civil-rights, feminist, gay-rights, and environmental movements. They
also created reactionary movements to suppress the gains made by the protesters. The
selections in this section address those revolutions.
|Reading 1. The ANC and South
Africa: The Past and Future of Liberation Movements in the World System
||This article by Immanuel Wallerstein
is not so much about South Africa as it is about the two world revolutions and their
impact on the world. Wallerstein outlines the strategies behind antisystemic
movements that emerged in these revolutions, particularly those that strove for national
liberation. Wallerstein proposes that the aims of most national liberation
movements were to allow colonized countries to "catch up" economically to their
colonizers. As we've seen, this goal has been largely illusory; yet Wallerstein
argues that in this failure lies the current crisis of the culture of capitalism, one that
may, in the end, lead the solution of many of the problems we have discussed.
|Reading 2: 1968--The Year of the
||This is one of a series of lectures by
historian Steven Kreis that describes the
global events of 1968 and the conditions that inspired them.
|Exercise 1: The 1960s
||This site from the University of Virginia offers a wonderful
perspectives on the 1960s in the United States in general, and also a specific section on 1968.
The selections address largely the revolutionary literature of the period, but
offers a good overview of the social ferment that characterized the period. You may
also want to check out the section on Ken Kesey
and the Merry Pranksters.
|B. Labor Protest
||The costs of labor, as we examined in Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, are central to the
amount of profit that can be generated from capitalist enterprise. It should come as
no surprise, then, that disputes over working conditions and pay should be a virtual
constant in the culture of capitalism. Workers led the revolution of 1848 and were
important actors in the revolution of 1968. Their protests led to major changes in
the structure and policies of nation-states. The readings in this provide some
examples of labor protest and the conditions that inspired it. They focus on the
coal industry, and may serve as a supplement to the discussion of coal miner movements of
the nineteenth century included in Global Problems
and the Culture of Capitalism.
|Reading 3. The United States Army and the Return to Normalcy in Labor Dispute
Interventions: The Case of the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, 1920-1921
||In this selection Clayton D. Laurie
provides a gripping narrative of a union protest that brought down the full power of the
federal government. However unlike many confrontations between protesting workers
and the agents of the nation-state, this one did not lead to bloodshed. However the
article provides a good overview of the issues that labor protest tried to address, and
the attitudes of mine owners and the nation-state to these protests.
|Exercise 2. The Life of a Coal Miner
||This site provides an excellent overview of
what it meant to work in the coal mines in the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth
century. The account is by Rev. John McDowell, and was originally published in 1902
in a workers journal. McDowell began working in the mines at the age on nine, and
was one of the few to escape what he called a "live of voluntary imprisonment.
There are also excellent illustrations of the coal miners life.
||Among the groups marginalized by the expansion of the culture of
capitalism are minority groups. In some cases the causes for marginalization are
economic, the need to maintain a ready supply of cheap labor. In other cases,
minority groups, particularly migrants, become symbols that can be used by agents of the
nation-state to help create an imagined national identity; minorities are depicted as
"outsiders," in order to help define the "real" citizens. The
following selections focus on Black protest in the United States.
|Reading 4. Documents
from the Black Panther Party
||The civil rights movements of the 1950s and 60s in the
United States created numerous protest movements, some viewed as more radical than
others. One group that was defined as among the most radical was the Black Panther
Party. This document from 1970 outlines some the goals of the Party along with
descriptions of government actions to suppress their activities.
5. Dumping in
Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality
||One example of the marginalization of minorities in the
United States is the extent to which they are exposed to environmental hazzards to a far
greater extent than others. This selection from Dumping in Dixie by
Robert D. Bullard documents the greater exposure of minorities and the poor to
|Reading 6. Pollution-Weary Minorities Try Civil
||NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) became the battle cry of
environmental protestors during the 1980s. The hazardous waste they protested found
its way to the back yards of those with the least power to stop it. The following articles
discuss how these minorities are fighting to stop the flow of environmental hazards to
|C. Feminest Protest
||While the modern feminist movement has helped
raise the status of women, at least in the West, women remain among the most economically,
politically, and socially marginalized members of global society. Consequently,
worldwide there are movements to improve the economic and social condition of women.
In spite of some gains, however, the economic position of women in global society remains,
as a whole, marginal to that of men. For example, women represent about 60 percent of the
billion or so people earning $1.00 or less per day. The following selections provide
illustrates the forms that feminist protest is taking in various areas of the world.
Trade expansion and
liberalisation: gender issues and impacts
This study prepared for
the Department for International Development (DFID) UK by
Marzia Fontana, Susan Joekes and Rachel Masika examines the impact of
trade expansion on the rights of women and the benefits and negative
features of expanded trade. The report concludes that "The
consequences of trade liberalisation and expansion for women both
to men, have been mixed, with both positive and negative features,
range of factors and preconditions. These include gendered patterns of
female labour force participation rates, education levels and gaps by
patterns of labour market discrimination and segregation, as well as
|Exercise 3: Living the Legacy: The Women's Rights
||A wonderful site commemorating 150
years of struggle for women's rights, beginning with the Women's
Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. The site includes a brief history of the movement,
a detailed timeline,
and lots of other curricular resources. There are additional resources at the site
and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930
||There is little question, as we
have seen, that the culture of capitalism is environmentally destructive and that the need
for perpetual economic growth requires perpetual environmental exploitation. But, as in
changes in other areas of life, such as agriculture, technology, and family structure, not
everyone suffers equally. It is true that everyone may be affected by global warming and
the increase in acid rain, but not everyone is affected by the flooding of farmland or
hunting territories, disposal of waste products, or pollution of water supplies. These
problems are disproportionally borne by people who inhabit the margins and periphery of
the culture of capitalism.
|Reading 8: Violence
Escalates in the Name of Environmentalism
||Corporations strive to maximize
return on investments in order to encourage further investment in their activities, often
at the expense of the environment. When they succeed, stockholders re-invest and more
growth occurs at further expense to the environment. Frustration at their inability to
stop the damages cause by powerful corporations has led to recent violent acts. Will
violence become the new weapon of the environmental movement?
|Reading 9: Revolutionary Ecology
||An essay by the late Judy Bari that
outlines the philosophy behind Earth First! In the article Bari explains the
rationale behind "deep ecology," and "biocentrism," and offers them as
alternatives to both capitalism and communism. The article articulates well the view
that capitalism (as well as communism) fails to consider the damage it does to the
environment, and that, unless radical changes are made, the Earth will be systematically
|E. Anti-Globalization Protests
||A wave of protests against institutions
such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization
(WTO) has focused attention on the failure of these and other institutions to
satisfactorily address problems such as poverty, hunger, and environmental devastation.
In fact, the point of many of the protests are that these institutions have either
exacerbated or caused such problems. To some extent, these protests represent the
coming together of various protest movements (e.g. labor and environmental) focused
specifically on the expansion of the culture of capitalism.
Around the World
||This account not only provides information on the protests covered by the mass media (e.g. Seattle,
Quebec, Prague, and Genoa), but also the many that the media virtually ignores. As
the article points out, the protest is far more extensive than is generally reported.
Democracy at the Barricades
||This article from Le Monde Diplomatique by
Susan George address the anti-globalization protests in Genoa, Italy where one protester
was shot and killed by police and another 600 were injuried in police raids on
shelters. She discusses attempts by nation-states to discredit the protestors.
As she puts it, "Wrongful arrest, intimidation and ill-treatment of detainees,
and closing meetings 'as a preventive measure', are common wherever opponents of
in a Liberal Democracy
concludes that most of the freedoms that we enjoy have emerged, in one way
or another, from protest. He examines what forms protests have
taken, and ways that the state has tried to repress it. He suggests,
also, that we eliminate the category "protest." While he
doesn't suggest an alternative, we might start with the idea of civic
engagement or duty.
Resources on Anti-Systemic Protest