Limits of acceptability for the Civil Rights Movement

drieux H. (
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 18:30:56 -0400

] I would argue that it's precisely BECAUSE the civil rights movement posed a
] LESS fundamental challenge to deep-seated structural and ideological aspects
] of American culture that it resonates more with the vast majority. I mean
] even right wingers who bash the 60s take great pains to disassociate the civil
] rights movement from the hated "60s." With hindsight, the primary principles
] and goals of the civil rights movement are right in the center of the American
] mainstream; no one can deny them except resentful racists. I think you
] acknowledge this.
] Ted Morgan

I think the safe reaction would be that, everyone agree's that
in the american culture Martin Luther King died as a Martyr to
what everyone would like to pay lip service to as being the
sort of Rosy Coloured Sunday School Vision of America.

Many of the Current Debating Points around the united states
in regards to minor trivial matters as the 'welfare state', abortion rights,
and affirmative action, would appear to be matters that have, in some
sense, their roots in the 'civil rights' movement - and the concommitant
complication that it was alledged to be a mere 'political' rather than
an 'economic' struggle, and yet suffer from the lack of Group consensus
as being intrinsically a part of the mainstream americana.

{ At this juction, it becomes clear that Marx is Not Fully as Morbund
as the press clippings might wish us to believe. }

Thus if we limit our collective memory to MERELY the 'voter registration'
drives to get people into the two main political parties, then of course
such is NOT a radical threat to the establishment. But as the 'civil rights'
movement began to leak out into things like 'gay rights' and the other
less acceptable manifestations, such as migrant farm worker rights, and
the right of coal miners to minimum safety standards, I think we slip past
the level of 'group consensus' and into the realm of destabilizing issues.

We could also raise the question as to whether or not to park the
"women's movement" as being a core part of the original 'civil rights'
movement, or as some KommunistPlot that was tacked on by RadFemRedLesbians
bent on the destruction of 'traditional family values'. And in this we
might once again retread the connection between the 'abolitionists' and
the rise of the 'suffragettes' who would wind up taking a back seat in
the 19th century, just as in many respects their progeny in the 20th
century would also encounter problems getting their own agenda out
before the people.

We might even be ever so unkind as to raise the ugly question about
the 'black flight to the burbs' as middle class values leached across
the integration barriers, and the Major Corporations began to displace
the local small bizniz community that had been previously sheltered by
both Jim Crow Laws, as well as mere Jim Crow Mentalities.

So it would seem that either we limit our definitions, and memories,
of what the "Civil Rights Movement" was, and therein, find the common
ground to have group consensus, or we are still engaged in the process
of negotiations about what 'mainstream' america is really all about.