From Social Movements to Social Change: Oakland and Twentieth-Century Urban America

Chris Rhomberg

in No There There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236189
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940888 | DOI:
From Social Movements to Social Change: Oakland and Twentieth-Century Urban America

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This chapter reviews the dynamics that lead to social movement discontinuity, concentrating on the problem of urban political community. The historical experiences in Oakland are compared with those in other American cities and some of the changes that have occurred in Oakland in the 1980s and 1990s are examined. Moreover, the significance of the analysis for current debates on civic and political engagement and the future of democratic participation in the United States are considered. The Klan's vigilantism conspicuously failed to impose on the Oakland polity a cultural morality that even its own leaders could not uphold. The radical labor movement did not succeed in establishing urban social democracy in Oakland. By the early 1990s, the protest cycle of the 1960s and 1970s seemed ever more distant from the contemporary scene. Civil society in the United States today bears little resemblance to any simple model of free association and organic community.

Keywords: social movement; social change; Oakland; urban political community; Klan; radical labor movement; urban social democracy; civil society

Chapter.  12038 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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