American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements by Simon Hall

By Simon Hall

Through the Nineteen Seventies and past, political reasons either left and right-the homosexual rights circulate, second-wave feminism, the protests opposed to busing to desegregate colleges, the tax insurrection, and the anti-abortion struggle-drew suggestion from the protest pursuits of the Sixties. certainly, of their enthusiasm for direct-action strategies, their use of road theater, and their engagement in grassroots organizing, activists in a majority of these activities may be thought of "children of the Sixties." Invocations of America's founding beliefs of liberty and justice and different kinds of patriotic protest have additionally featured prominently within the rhetoric and snapshot of those hobbies. Appeals to the statement of Independence and the invoice of Rights were made forcefully by means of homosexual rights activists and feminists, for example, whereas contributors within the antibusing move, the tax rebellion, and the crusade opposed to abortion rights have waved the yankee flag and claimed the aid of the nation's founders. In tracing the continuation of quintessentially "Sixties" types of protest and concepts into the final 3 many years of the 20th century, and in emphasizing their legacy for conservatives in addition to these at the left, American Patriotism, American Protest exhibits that the activism of the civil rights, New Left, and anti-Vietnam struggle routine has formed America's sleek political tradition in decisive methods. in addition to supplying a clean substitute to the "rise and fall" narrative in which the Sixties are usually considered, Simon Hall's specialise in the shared dedication to patriotic protest between a various variety of activists around the political spectrum additionally demanding situations claims that, in contemporary a long time, patriotism has develop into the safeguard of the political correct. packed with unique and insightful observations, and according to vast archival examine, American Patriotism, American Protest transforms our knowing of the Sixties and their aftermath.

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A few weeks before the November 1969 election in New York City, thirteen members of the “Gay Commandoes,” a GLF cell, infiltrated a mayoral debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Temple Torah in Queens. 73 He challenged conservative mayoral candidate Mario Procaccino to reveal his position on gay rights—“It’s 1776, Mr. Procaccino. ”74 It would be going too far to claim that this single incident demonstrates the centrality of patriotic dissent to GLF praxis, but it does show that appeals to Americanism and late 1960s revolutionary politics were not mutually exclusive—something that is borne out when looking at a number of other gay liberation organizations that were inspired by developments in New York.

27 As part of this attempt to project a respectable image, the homophile movement sought to ground its demands in the language of Americanism. Indeed, invoking the American creed on behalf of gay rights was a central weapon in the movement’s armoury. Back in 1953, West Hollywood activists associated with Los Angeles Mattachine began to publish One—a gay-run and edited newspaper, which quickly built up monthly sales of some 5,000 copies. ”28 Founded in 1961, Washington Mattachine’s statement of purpose declared that the group was prepared to “act by any lawful means .

However, there are good reasons to challenge this interpretation. Even the GLF did not abandon patriotic dissent entirely, while many of the gay liberation organizations founded in its wake proved more than willing to appropriate the language of Americanism. While most activists in the early 1970s discarded the politics of respectability that had been championed by earlier gay rights leaders, they proved reluctant to abandon rhetorical and symbolic appeals to America’s founding ideals. A few weeks before the November 1969 election in New York City, thirteen members of the “Gay Commandoes,” a GLF cell, infiltrated a mayoral debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Temple Torah in Queens.

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