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Since the 1980s, social movement scholars have investigated the dynamic of movement/countermovement interaction. Most of these studies posit movements as initiators, with countermovements reacting to their challenges. Yet sometimes a movement supports an agenda in response to a countermovement that engages in what we call “anticipatory countermobilization.” We interviewed ten leading LGBT activists to explore the hypothesis that the LGBT movement was brought to the fight for marriage equality by the anticipatory countermobilization of social conservatives who opposed same‐sex marriage before there was a realistic prospect that it would be recognized by the courts or political actors. Our findings reinforce the existing scholarship, but also go beyond it in emphasizing a triangular relationship among social movement organizations, countermovement organizations, and grassroots supporters of same‐sex marriage. More broadly, the evidence suggests the need for a more reciprocal understanding of the relations among movements, countermovements, and sociolegal change.
The Port Huron Statement was one of the most important manifestos of the New Left in the United States. A foundational statement of the theme of “participatory democracy,” the text had an important influence on post-1960s politics and, arguably, on post-1960s political science. The recent publication of a new edition of the Statement is an occasion for reflection on its importance. And so we have invited a distinguished cast of political scientists shaped by the events of the sixties to comment on the impact of the Statement on their own way of envisioning and practicing political science.
Moments of madness—when “all is possible”—recur persistently in the history of social movements. In such turbulent points of history, writes Aristide Zolberg, “the wall between the instrumental and the expressive collapses.” “Politics bursts its bounds to invade all of life” and “political animals somehow transcend their fate” (1972: 183). Such moments are unsettling and often leave even participants disillusioned—not to mention elites and political authorities. But they may be “necessary for the political transformation of societies,” writes Zolberg, for they are the source of the new actors, the audiences and the force to break through the crust of convention (1972: 206). In Kafka’s parable: “Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.”
Thomas Paine had been in Philadelphia for less than two years when he wrote the following lines:
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
We cannot know how much Paine's words actually stirred the hearts of the American colonists or whether he was simply registering in more eloquent terms what they were already feeling. We do know that, in the three months after the publication of Common Sense, an estimated 100,000 copies were sold in a population of less than two million nonslave inhabitants. Historian Gordon Wood describes it as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era” (Wood 1991). We still hear the echoes of Paine's words in political rhetoric today: how freedom, banished from the Old World, found a home in the new; how Americans should join hands across the ties of party and faction; how the “good citizen” should be a resolute friend, a supporter of the rights of man and of the free and independent states of America.
September 17, 2011: a group of young people carrying tents, cooking equipment, and sleeping bags sets up camp in a privately owned but public square in downtown Manhattan, near the New York Stock Exchange. As they describe themselves, “Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally.” The protesters claim to be fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process and over the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement, they argue, is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and aims to expose how the richest 1 percent of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.
Media savvy and well connected nationally and internationally, the Wall Street protesters are soon joined by sympathizers from around the country and abroad. By late October, there are at least 250-odd occupy sites across the country in which some form of occupation is being mounted. Map 1.1 shows the occupy sites that were recorded over the first ten days of occupations alone.
On New Year's Day 1994, a previously unknown group startled Mexico by announcing a program of liberation for Mexico's indigenous people. Led by a masked man calling himself Subcomandante Marcos, the group seized the governmental palace in San Cristóbal, Chiapas. From the palace's balcony, they read a vivid declaration to the Mexican people. It declared that a long-suffering people had endured centuries of oppression and deprivation, but finally HOY DECIMOS ¡BASTA! (Today, we say, Enough). Soon, people all over the world were paying attention to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in Spanish).
At various points in the declaration, the authors identified themselves in these terms:
A product of five hundred years of struggle
Poor people like us
People used as cannon fodder
Heirs of our nation's true makers
Millions of dispossessed
“The people” as described in Article 39 of the Mexican national constitution
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Responsible, free men and women
Announcing a revolution on behalf of Mexico’s poor, dispossessed, indigenous people, they called for “us” to rise against “them.”
That revolution did not take place. But the Zapatistas soon made an impact on Mexican politics. Within Chiapas, they held off threatened suppression by the army and forced the national government to start negotiations over peasant property rights. On a national scale, they started a more general campaign for indigenous rights. During the spring of 2001, they staged a colorful march from Chiapas – Mexico’s southernmost state – to Mexico City itself. The march publicized demands for enforcement of local autonomy laws the legislature had passed in response to concerted pressure from indigenous people all over the country, backed by international activists.
This chapter analyzes the language of contention that emerged from labor conflict. It begins with two of these words: sabotage and striking. It then turns to the broader issue of the formation of the working class in England, made famous by E. P. Thompson and a number of historians and sociologists. The third part moves from England to France and the United States, where similar histories of class formation can be found. The fourth part reflects on the decline of class language in contemporary politics. The underlying theme of the chapter is the strong influence of the political context both on the construction of class conflict and on the constitution of the working class. I begin with a form of contention that, like many others, emerged from a specific conflict between workers and their employer in the context of a political crisis – the boycott – and then became modular.
Boycotting Colonel Boycott
boycott (tr): to refuse to have dealings with (a person, organization, etc.) or refuse to buy (a product) as a protest or means of coercion to boycott foreign produce.
Colonel Charles Boycott was the land agent for Lord Erne during the Irish land wars of the 1870s and 1880s. Charles Parnell, an Irish politician, had called for reform of the extortionate rents that Irish farm workers were forced to pay their absentee English landlords. When Boycott refused, he was chosen as the target of the new policy, designed to put pressure on greedy landlords by ostracizing their agents and avoiding the violence that had often broken out during the land wars. When Boycott’s workers refused to work in the fields as well as in his house, and when even the local merchants refused to trade with him, he was completely isolated (Marlow 1973).
As the Soviet Union started to crumble in the 1980s, Yugoslavia, too, began to dissolve. Made up of a congeries of historically hostile ethnic and religious groups, the country had been held together by the will of its resistance hero, Marshall Josip Broz Tito, and by the loosely federated constitution he created (Bunce 1999; Gagnon 2004; Glenny 1992; Kaplan 1993). On Tito's death in the 1980s, central control loosened and reformist groups began to agitate within the League of Communists for political pluralism (Gagnon: Ch. 2). Conservative groups reacted against this, turning to the nationalist card as a wall against reformism. As a result of constitutional change and political polarization, the center, as Valerie Bunce recalls, “was reduced to little more than a battleground among warring republican elites” (Bunce 1999: 88, 111–12).
Some observers, such as Robert Kaplan, were quick to see the influence of the ghosts of “ancient hatreds” as the primary cause of Yugoslav disintegration (1993). Others saw the cause as the political opportunism of leaders like Slobodan Milosevic. But it was the country's federal institutions that gave Milosevic the opportunity to emphasize ethnic loyalties in Kosovo, loyalties that he then used to win allies in conservative circles and to delegitimize reformists (Bunce 1999). And it was the hope of liberal reforms triggered by the tumult in the rest of the region that gave reformers the hope of creating a liberal democracy. While the reformers put forward a message of rebirth along liberal lines, their claims gave Milosevic the threat he could use to develop a redemptive nationalism to defeat them and whip up support for a takeover of ancient Serbian-ruled territories, as well as to begin a war of expansion in Croatia and Bosnia. As the federation began to disintegrate, the military – the one surviving central institution in Yugoslavia – became the key player in a game that was ever more violent (Bunce 1999: 92–5; 117–20). We know the end of the story: civil war, irredentism, and – in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina – genocide.
On January 11, 2012, the BBC reported that a town council in the village of Cesson-Sévigné, in Brittany decided to ban the use of the term “Mademoiselle” from the town's official business. The young mayor, Michael Bihan, was elected on the slogan “La ville pour tous” (the town for all) but then decided he had erred: “If I had it to do over again,” he confided, “my slogan would have been ‘La ville pour tous et pour toutes’” (the town for all men and all women). As the BBC pointed out, its Anglo-Saxon tongue embedded deeply in its cheek, “From now on, teenagers, graying grand-mères, career girls there will all be known as ‘Madame,’ just as men of all ages become ‘Monsieur’ as soon as they grow out of shorts.”
To Americans who have grown accustomed to the term “Ms.” to designate women of whatever age or marital status, there is nothing surprising about such a shift – except that it took so long for the French to bring it about. Consider the Ngram comparison of the use of “Ms.” and “Miss” in U.S. books from the 1960s on in Figure 5.1: in the 1970s and 1980s, “Ms.” became widespread, before leveling off slightly behind “Miss” in the 1990s.
On December 2, 2012, more than ten thousand Hungarians filled Budapest's Kossuth Square to protest against resurgent anti-Semitism in that country. Marton Gyongyosi, a parliamentarian of the radical nationalist party, Jobbik, had called for Jewish citizens to be put on a registry because they were possibly a national security risk. Later, he said he had only meant to warn of the danger posed by those Hungarian Jews who served “Zionist Israel.” The demonstration was called not only to protest Gyongyosi's outrageous statement but also the growing threat to Hungary's fragile democracy from a rise of nationalism, racism, and anti-Europeanism. As elsewhere in Europe, extreme love of country brought risks of renascent hatred.
Jobbik had appeared in the early 2000s with a viciously anti-Roma, anti-Semitic, and generally fascistic program and a violent, skinhead fringe. In this sense, it was not much different from other far-right parties that arose in Eastern and Central Europe over the past two decades (Mudde 2007). But the association of the term “register” with the lists of Jewish citizens that the Nazis had used in liquidating more than 500,000 Hungarian Jews in 1943 sent shivers across Hungary. The despair deepened when polls showed that 8 percent of the electorate supported Jobbik, a number that likely accounted for the reluctance of the country's ruling Fidesz Party to immediately condemn Gyongyosi's statement. In the past few years, trying to ward off the extremist threat to its right, the governing Fidesz Party had remained silent about the growing cult of Miklos Horthy, Hungary's wartime leader, who stood by as the Nazis deported his compatriots. Fidesz also pushed through a number of antidemocratic laws and a new constitution that elevated the Crown of St. Stephen to the status of a mythical religio-nationalist symbol (Scheppele 2000). As is traditional in this part of the world, rising nationalism brought anti-Semitism in its wake: the Economist reported that Orthodox Jews on the streets of Budapest now expect to hear racist remarks “almost as a matter of course as they go about their business” (December 8, 2012, p. 56).