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The Hidden 1970s

Histories of Radicalism

Edited and with an introduction by Dan Berger

Publication Year: 2010

The 1970s were a complex, multilayered, and critical part of a long era of profound societal change and an essential component of the decade before-several of the most iconic events of "the sixties" occurred in the ten years that followed. The Hidden 1970s explores the distinctiveness of those years, a time when radicals tried to change the world as the world changed around them.This powerful collection is a compelling assessment of left-wing social movements in a period many have described as dominated by conservatism or confusion. Scholars examine critical and largely buried legacies of the 1970s. The decade of Nixon's fall and Reagan's rise also saw widespread indigenous militancy, prisoner uprisings, transnational campaigns for self-determination, pacifism, and queer theories of play as political action. Contributors focus on diverse topics, including the internationalization of Black Power and Native sovereignty, organizing for Puerto Rican independence among Latinos and whites, and women's self-defense. Essays and ideas trace the roots of struggles from the 1960s through the 1970s, providing fascinating insight into the myriad ways that radical social movements shaped American political culture in the 1970s and the many ways they continue to do so today.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Well before we had ever met, Daniel Burton-Rose called me out of the blue in August 2006 to talk about the hidden histories of the 1970s. This book emerges out of that conversation and the many he and I have had since. I thank him for that, even if our attempts at co-editing the project did not pan out. ...

List of Abbreviations: North American Leftist Organizations in the 1970's

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Exploding Limits in the 1970s

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pp. 1-18

Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign generated much attention to the many barriers broken by his candidacy and subsequent election. His campaign energized many people who previously had been disinterested in or, by virtue of their age, ineligible from participating in national electoral politics. ...

Part One: Insurgency

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1. Improvising on Reality: The Roots of Prison Abolition

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pp. 21-38

The five-day seizure of Attica Correctional Facility in 1971 by prisoners held there was pivotal for the development of what can be called prison abolitionist praxis. This political approach, at once an analysis and a strategy, held that “prison reform” was not just insufficient, but also counterproductive. ...

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2. Sick of the Abuse: Feminist Responses to Sexual Assault, Battering, and Self-Defense

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pp. 39-56

By the early 1970s, the women’s movement had popularized the idea that women had a right to defend themselves and their families from outside harm. The emergence of publications such as The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet and groups like Women Armed for Self-Protection (both in 1975) ...

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3. “The Struggle Is for Land!”: Race, Territory, and National Liberation

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pp. 57-76

National liberation, the dominant response of the Third World to colonialism by the First World, became an increasingly salient political framework for radical people of color in the United States in the 1970s. To a large number of these activists, and even an expanding coterie of academics and other observers, ...

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4. Canada’s Other Red Scare: The Anicinabe Park Occupation and Indigenous Decolonization

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pp. 77-94

In October 1967, the Parliament of Canada came alive after Robert Thompson, a representative of the right-wing Social Credit Party, accused Cuba of sending revolutionary messages to First Nations people1 in western Canada by way of Radio Havana.2 ...

Part Two: Solidarity

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5. “A Line of Steel”: The Organization of the Sixth Pan-African Congress and the Struggle for International Black Power, 1969-1974

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pp. 97-114

Following the heady days of 1968, when the talk of global revolt was at a fever pitch throughout the Third World, Europe, and the United States, no single organized international event captured the optimism, challenges, and dilemmas of the black world more vividly than the Sixth Pan-African Congress (Sixth PAC) held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1974.1 ...

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6. How Indigenous Peoples Wound Up at the United Nations

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pp. 115-134

The period bookended between the U.S. constitutional crisis generated by Richard Nixon’s reelection in 1972 and Ronald Reagan’s accession to office in 1981 was historic for indigenous peoples in the United States and throughout the Americas. ...

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7. “Hit Them Harder”: Leadership, Solidarity, and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement

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pp. 135-154

Several of the largest and most radical mobilizations of the 1970s were called by the Puerto Rican independence movement. “A Day in Solidarity with Puerto Rico” brought twenty thousand people to New York City’s Madison Square Garden in October 1974, ...

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8. Unorthodox Leninism: Workplace Organizing and Anti-Imperialist Solidarity in the Sojourner Truth Organization

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pp. 155-174

The North American revolutionary Left during the 1970s can generally be split into two camps: those who emphasized questions of class and devoted themselves to workplace organizing, and those who prioritized anti-imperialist struggles both within the United States and around the world.1 ...

Part Three: Community

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9. Play as World-making: From the Cockettes to the Germs, Gay Liberation to DIY Community Building

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pp. 177-194

Years before gay liberation, sex was recognized as “play”—especially when practiced for connection and pleasure rather than procreation or productivity.1 Yet it was queer organizers who turned the struggle for a place to play into a living and breathing work of art. ...

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10. “We Want Justice!”: Police Murder, Mexian American Community Respinse, and the Chicano Movement

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pp. 195-213

In August 1971, the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, the leading Mexican American anti–Vietnam War organization, dissolved in the wake of police harassment and brutality.1 Much of this violence occurred in Los Angeles at the 1970 Chicano Moratorium March, where police killed journalist Ruben Salazar and two others, wounding many more. ...

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11. Rising Up: Poor, White, and Angry in the New Left

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pp. 214-230

In the first half of the 1970s, three small organizations with roots in the 1960s New Left attempted to organize working-class white communities toward a radical class politics and prevent white conservative reaction against the gains of the civil rights and black liberation movements. ...

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12. The Movement for a New Society: Consensus, Prefiguration, and Direct Action

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pp. 231-249

Throughout the first years of the 1970s, amid an array of political transformations on the Left, a cohort of young nonviolent militants worked to rejuvenate the tradition of radical pacifism in the United States by combining its core tenets with political and tactical innovations emerging from the struggles of the 1960s. ...

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13. Hard to Find: Building for Nonviolent Revolution and the Pacifist Underground

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pp. 250-266

In activist priest Daniel Berrigan’s classic 1972 poem “America Is Hard to Find,” he talks about those aspects of contemporary United States reality that escape common recognition. Things of beauty—wild strawberries, swans, heron, and deer—and things that people thrive on—good news, housing, holiness, wholeness, and hope—were all hard to find ...

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14. “The Original Gangster”: The Life and Times of Red Power Activist Madonna Thunder Hawk

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pp. 267-284

One surprisingly sunny day during the 1973 American Indian Movement (AIM) occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, Madonna Thunder Hawk, who served as a medic and leader in the community, experienced a powerful moment of clarity about her purpose. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 285-288


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pp. 289-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550336
E-ISBN-10: 0813550335
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813548739
Print-ISBN-10: 081354873X

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1960-1980.
  • Radicalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Social movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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