tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 20, 2015 4:30am-6:31am EST
mechanisms with party politics and with the relationships between citizens of political parties and citizens in the state. obviously, there are lots of other causes of this civil rights vietnam, in these brief remarks, i won't get into all of those, but if we he start with 1968, we move on to a moment like watergate which is obviously not only a crisis of legitimacy for the presidency but a crisis about the relationship between the president and congress the relationship between the president and the citizenry and then finally move into the intelligence crises of the mid-1970s, as i said with church committee, else. so we have all of these things together and if you begin to look at what happens as a result of this crisis of governance, it is a pretty remarkable transformation of at least certain aspects of american political institutions. and so to close my remarks here, i just want to list off a few of the changes that happened, again, in the course of a very short period of time
in the early 1970s and i think one of our challenges to think about what some of the consequences of those are and as kim said whether or not these are connected to each other. so, between about 1971 and 1976 and 1977 we first of all, get millions of new voters in this country, right? so you get a constitutional amendment that makes the voting age 18 instead of 21, so that's early in the 1970s. you also get a transformation of the primary system in this country, right? prior to the 1970s, you had primary systems they were not binding primary systems so the primary system that we all experience that at times has caused the last five or ten years crises of its own, that is also birthed in the early 1970s. you begin to get a transformation that had already started in the 1960s, but comes to true you wigs wigs in the 1970s of the ways in which congressional committees are
structureded. you get the break down of the old congressional committee structure, dominated largely by southern senators, particularly in the senate and the invention of what is supposed to be a new, much more traps parent congressional committee structure during that period. the freedom of information act for the first time really gains weight in the 1970s, particularly because of reforms in 1974. the foya passed in 1966. it does not really get teeth until the mid-1970s. you get the war powers resolution which again, sort of changes the nature of the relationship between the president and the congress and you begin to get a whole series of intelligence reforms as well that begin to come out. this is slightly later than the watergate era reforms. you begin to get congressional oversight of the intelligence coast. you begin to get the courts coming into it pieces of legislation that are very much in the news today.
and the last pieces that i will mention are the federal election reforms that come out of watergate and campaign finance reform. so, all of this again, we can go into some detail about what any of these laws mean, where any of them are coming from, but i think in total this is a pretty serious rethinking of american governance during this period and shows a kind of political creativity in washington that hasn't been really a recognized part of how we talk about the 1970s. many of these reforms were of course, partial reforms. they didn't solve the problems they were meant to solve and i'm about to finish. many of them were in fact attempts to contain social protests, to bring people, quote up quote, back into the system. and to think about ways to change the government to that effect. some of them were the prod douskts of deep disillusionment with government. overall, i think in this six-year period, we see a very
energetic push toward a certain kind of testimony mock krit tizization, a certain kind of new openness in american government a certain kind of new transparen say that we haven't seen before and many of these changes that are put in place in the 1970s, as i said, were incomplete and turn out to be flawed and to have unintended consequences and in many ways we are dealing with some of those unintended sequence consequences as well as maybe soft some of the intended consequences today. [ applause ] >> our next speaker is donna merch. donna is an assistant professor -- associate professor, sorry, of history at rutgers university. she is currently a fellow at the ralph bunche center at ucla this year and she is the author of "living for the city" which won the phyllis wheatley award in 2011. she is currently at work on a book called "craft in l.a., policing you the crisis and the
war on drugs." >> um, good afternoon, thank you all for coming. i have a formal paper so i'm going to read from that, but i'm going to provide an overview of thinking about some of the issues about the drug crisis of the 1970s then talk about some of the new hist tore graphical lit sure chaurnd fineerature and wish list of things to look at. in a decade of per received an overlapping multiple crisis southeast, nothing embodied the as the moral panic over heroin consumption, illicit dplugts 1970s n a special message to congress in 1969, president richard nixon wand the public that i will his silt drugs represented "a growing menace to the general welfare." two years later, nixon declared drug use public enemy number one and committed himself to waging an all-out offensive against that deadly enemy. on the streets and perhaps most disturbingly forth mainstream public, i will his still have sit drug use by large numbers of american military proved particularly destabilizing and
indeed, was walk talk band he can ex-citizens of vietnam syndrome. popular estimates ran as high as 25% of returning u.s. veterans self-identifying as heroin users. contemporary come scholarship challenged that figure but that appeared cop poplar media. the french connection and deiter hunter dein the piblgt a world in which eye comic masculinic and authority found itself imper rel riled by illicit had drug sale and consumption. black ploitation offered a parallel account of the dom minutian and damage brought by vice, drug consumption so much could so that activist of the era denounced productions themself asz staging a counter revolution in which drug economies rather than grassroot struggles for black power and community chrome were rendered as the central focus of black communities in the 1970s. while this per says vase sive image of hedonistic and unsustainable culture of reckless abandonment embodied by
vice continued to dominate tull poplar culture aal representations of the 1970s letters understood is the role of state itself in generating the spectacle and perceived crisis that justified unprecedented punishment campaigns that followed the passage of the rockefeller drug laws in 1973. as state rhetoric and popular culture converged to represent a burgeoning crisis of disorder, drug users were identified and targeted as the primary causes of crime. in this way, one of society's most vulnerable population found themselves directly if the crosshairs of unprecedented repression. as stewart hall has argued in police the crisis, mugging the state of law and order in conjunction with popular immediate yeah the state helped generate crisis to justify the expansion of its powers to wage domestic war and policing. in the case of britain, the very application of the american term mugging to the english context provided a rationale and justification for what he he kaunls authoritarian consensus and the adoption of new tools to
re-establish law and order. calling into question whether or not mugging was even a real phenomena or simple construction, hall highlighted the interdependence of the state and popular media in reproducing intense moral panic over increased crime understood as sensible and transparent fact. hall's primary point is a simple one, the production of crisis itself served as a means to expand state power. the same could be said said of the u.s. in the 1970s and hall's theoretical formulation is an important one for historical studies of the decade, the success of federal and state wars on drugs starting with nixon and the rockefeller drug laws and beyond and the modern cars ral state more broadly. the key point to be taken from hall's and other birmingham theorists work is the utility of crisis for the expansion of state power and the need to consider it as discursive practice as -- and the need to consider its discursive practice as an historical artifact itself. this is concern certainly frurt
drug war and arguably, many other rems of american policy making in the 1970ss. so, now i would like to turn to a little bit of the recent hist toring of graph point first war on drugs. in placing punitive campaigns against drugs in the larger let lithe chur of the 1970s wourng of the challenges faced by scholars is how to interpret this decade in the larger scope of the postwar and late 20th century history. this is true for two reasons. one is empirical and the other con accept watch the first issue is that like the broader literature on the cars ral state, the history of the postwar drug consumption prohibition is relatively new and much of it is unwritten. whether institutional studies of specific campaigns and agencies are social histories of consumption and illicit distribution, very little has been written by historians, pioneering stud guys kathleen friedle, eric schneider jason glenn and houseman have addressed substantial portions of this void but much more remains to be written. the second and much thornier issue is the conceptual one and
it is true of all the subfields we are discussing today. and that is how to define and interpret the decade relationally. namely, should the 1970s be understood as an extension of the 1960s or as an anticipation of the 1980s and beyond or should we reject its status as bridge all together? in brick the the war on drugs as a social mom. historian, i find this particularly challenging, because in many ways, my own understanding of the decade was forged by my first book on the panthers which like other recent works, center on a period of non-stop movement for social change domestically and internationally from world war ii to the 1970s. the interrelated struggles for civil rights, black power and brown power and poor people's movements strays trace an arc of inclusion in which previously marginal groups were able to gain greater access to the liberal benefits of state. on the e-lechter a.m. front the 1970s were particularly important because this marked a decade of true state and corporation in which we see the emergence of large numbers of
black mayoralties municipal regime shooems and federally elected officials. milestones include the election of tom glad i l.a., the creation of the congressional black caulk cubs the black panther party's impressive elector a.m. snowing oakland, and gary, indiana's hosting of the 1972 national black political convention. when looked at however from the point of view of criminal justice this era looks much more menacing and authoritarian. indeed, in many respect, seems to anticipate the ken conner is vattive right-wing ascendancy of the 1980 touted by an earlier generation of historians and journalists who view the 1970s as a decade of transition or a chain reaction call can you minute paying in the rape of the reagan democratic. able emerge in literature has gone gown break down the people larrized views of the 1970s by arguing for example that nix answers first declaration of the war on drugs and rock father embrace of the mandatory minimum sentencing was not as definitive and new as previously thought. as we know from the pioneering
work of elizabeth hinton, the war on poverty presanld wart on crime and even helped to create the infrastructure for its mass prosecution of youth of color which received its fullest elaboration in the youth services bureau and drug war. indeed anti-juvenile delinquency campaigns that helped inspire community action programs in the great society had a momentum of their own that led to increased criminalization surveillance of black and brown youth in an era of democratic liberalism. similarly, work by kathleen friedle and matthew lass sitter highlight the longer continuities with the postwar era, the bipartisan nature of mandatory minimum sentencing and the central role of liberals in crafting a punitive anti-drug regime. this scholarship is part of a broader literature on the shadow cars ral side of liberalism initiateded by per rehnty, thompson, weaver and many others. the exhaustive work, "the drugs work fwhars america" locates
yort joichbts nixonian drug war and ladies and gentlemen postwar period as the state responded to a crisis in governance during a period of intensification and expansion imperial state power. bereft of other tools, the state punished its way to power. her state-centered history of america's first drug war manufacture sizes the role of dixie crates in crafting punitive drug policy as a means of fighting efforts of police reform and reorganization through actively focus on drug pro-problem hib business and cities rather than on suburbs and rural areas a and is of course taking place in the context of the second great migration of cities, especially washington, d.c. developing early black majorities. similarly, by reaching back into the postwar decades for developments that became visible in the '70s and '80s, late last sitter explores the roots of a modern drug war and california's passage of harsh mandatory minimums. nearly two decades before the passable of the rock term drug laws, a perceived narcotics crisis in l.a. prompted a broad-based mobilization against dope peddlers.
racist anxieties focus on mexican-americans provide much of the ballasts for this punitive term as the newspapers reported sensational stories of white female youth besieged by wolf and rat packs. implicit to this earlier discourse of crushing drugs and crime was a suburban crisis narrative in which an epidemic of marijuana and heroin use threatened white middle class adolescents proximate to black and brown urban youth. in response, state government krim are nal lized non-white dope peddlers by focus overwomen leg on young mexican and african-americans while simultaneously establishing discretionary loopholes to present the prosecution of of a fluent white youth. in contrast to an old scholar hadly literature that views the drug war as reflecting the rise of the electoral right, lass sitter shows that southern california's suburban drug cries sive far from a republican invention. indeed established california liberal democrats hahn and pat brown played crucial role in the development of mandatory minimum
which is represented a joint racial and spatial project across partisan lines. this check collective work on america's first drug war has helped to place the perceived drug crisis of the 1970s in a much broader temporal and conceptual frame, however, more work needs to be done in the u.s. itself to heed stuart hall's framework to show how the state engendered drug crises not only through discursive frame bug through the co-lal last ral effects of imperial and inimter vensist state crafts. one of the most important backs on the subject comes from 1970s namely alfred mccoy's "the politics of heroin" published in 1972. it traces the link between u.s. foreign policy and elicit drug crisis at home through exhaustive field work in vietnam in the late 1960s ander 14ri 970s miss, could i demonstrated how the nation a a.m. security state actively supported heroin cultivation in the cold golden try angle to fund co-coe investment operation and anti-communist networks in southeast asia. mccoy's krilt a krit wall work
has spawned several generations of critical scholarship on the geopolitical dimensions of the war on drugs including the pipe blue, the writings of peter dell scott and jonathan marshall and most recent contribution of fried, rice, as we sell drugs and paley's drug war capitalism. by expanding the focus from the domestic parameters of nixon's 1971 war on drugs to the geopolitics of the would cold war and u.s. militarism, mckind scholarship and his wake has enlarged the domain of analysis to explain the links between elicit drug economies, defense industry and american militarization from the 1970s forward. still, there's -- remains much to be done and what poll slows a wish list of things that might further be researched. one of the most neglected areas of study of the 1970st ant late 20th century is a social history of drug consumption and distribution networks. indeed, gang and organized crime cooley has called for a labor
histories of drug dealing and illicit networks themselves. while this type of study prevents methodological prom problems with the necessary arhee lie yans on state sources historians can look to earlier areas of historicalry writing, social histories of the crowd and popular uprises to think how to brush government resource against the grain and supplement them with oral history and the rich body of drug ethnography and anthropology. the concept of informal economy has particular unit providing an alternate framework to criminology and how to think about the interrelation between marge y'allal inization in the formal economy and par 'tis nation off-the-books economic activity. perhaps most importantly for our discussion of crisis informal economy helps strip illicit drug distribution of the pure yent fantasies that drive crisis far this rat it was and moral panic. a second area the war on gangs initiated in cities like los angeles in the 1970s but cull minute nating in sub consequent years mile.
current book, attempts to approach this history through a regional study of drug and gang prohibition. one of the major challenges for historians seeking to write both municipal and national histories of the u.s.'s multiple wars on drugs is tracinging their symbiosis and prosecution through related punitive campaigns against gangs, crime and in later years terrorism. and one of the best examples of this is trash which was an elite gang unit that later became crash, notorious because of the ramp part scandal and its -- it's quite awful thing it is did in los angeles. the 1970s birthed the modern campaign against gangs and laid the foundations for its use in subsequent years. in los angeles, for example, much of the cars ral infrastructure for the city's war on drugs relied on geographically targeted gang sweeps together with anti-gang legislation and prosecution tools. moreover, the con nation of drug yims street gang membership
created comprehensive net for the criminalization of non-white youth. the lapd's practice of excluding motorcycle gangs in the postwar era and other forms of white youth organization meant that the category of gang itself is became inherently racialized. by thor 14ri 990s, nearly half of los angeles' black male population between the ages of 18 and 30 appeared in the county a's gang database. so in conclusion, historians of the 1970s are in many respects placed in a difficult position of denaturalizing the perceived cries soifts era while at the same time, engaging in acts of historical recovery to excavate the history that underlay phantasms that naturalize the state's unprecedented incarceration of large segments of the american public for non-violence offense. in the case of the first drug war there is still so much more to be known and conceptual question of whether it's historical arc is defined by its postwar past or dark future remains to be cited -- remains
to be decide. thank you. [ applause ] >> our third speaker is robert self who is royce family professor of teaching excellence and professor of history at brown university. he is the author of most recently of "all in the family, the realignment of the american democracy since the 1960s" now the 2012 from hill and wang and in 2003 of "american babylon, race and the struggle for postwar oakland" from princeton university press. >> good afternoon. getting a little feel for this microphone s that -- is it coming through with this distance? i don't need my arm and he will snow in great. so i am also -- also applaud beverly for being able to do this off the cuff but i am going to stick to script, otherwise i will be here all day and you won't be so happy about that. so i'm of the opinion that if historians go looking for a
crisis, they can likely find one. it merely a matter of for whom and where the crisis exist. to identify a crisis is, of course to determine subjective to portray a point of view to engage in a discursive practice, as donna said. if by crisis we mean literally a crucial turning point conditioned by instability and perhaps indeterminacy, sometimes crisis are noisy and much celebrated, the energy crisis the president a a.m. or governing crisis or the urban crisis, right, of these periods were. but sometimes, they are less noisy and less celebrated, even less visible to much of the public. my roam this afternoon is to bring a discussion of the family and the crisis or perceived crisis in the family too this discussion about multiple and overlapping instabilities of the 1970s and i want to be clear about for whom we might talk about a crisis of the family in the 1970s.
and in particular for whom the notion of a crisis of the family did particular work or discursive work in donna's formulation. and part of that is because when we talk about demographic changes in family composition, we really have to have a much broader view than just the decade of the 1970s we really have to have a half-century view from the 1960s into the early 21st century, rather than isolating a single decade bike like the 1970s to conceptual liz that had i would like to think about families in the 1970s three distinct ways briefly. first there is little doubt that the 1970s soughted a vent of significant shifts in the composition of american households. shifts that likely had multiple cause and begged for greater historical inyourry. to this point, they have largely been a domain of economies, demographers and historians have
rarely stepped into that conversation. some of these shifts will be well known to even casual readers of the "new york times." there was a spike in divorce in the decade which pro-he deuced a roughly doublinging of the overall divorce rate by the early 1980s when the divorce rate levelled off in the population as a whole. since then both marriage and divorce rates have die verged significantly by economic class. to grossly oversimple priv, if i high income generally white collar americans tend to marry later, divorce more rarely and have fewer children than low-income generally blue and pink collar americans. these shifts and their differentiation by class have yet to attract deep historical study, though they are clearly related to an underlying economic and cultural landscape that one could map onto growing rates of income and equal that are the topic of the day in our own era. alongside and partly overlapping
with these changing marriage and divorce rates, there has been since the 1960s an increase in female-headed households and households in which women are the primary bread winners at both the bottom and the upper end of the income scale. the pew center published a study in 2013 showing that in 2010, in 40% of american households, women were either the sole or primary source of income. in 1960s, the number had been 10%. it is not entirely clear that the 1970s were the critical decade in that transformation, though that period was certainly important. another place where historians of the decade or that era might weigh in. but what does seem xleer that the increase represents divergent economic experiences with the feminization of poverty at one extreme and the growth in the female professional class of the other. alongside these rather blunt mesh showers household composition were myriad
additional shifts. the growth for instance in single person households, single person households with children and single person households without children. the growth in same-sex co-he habitation and the still small but growing population of lgbt households with children including the so-called lesbian baby boom of the 1970s. by a variety of measures then, the manner in which americans constituted households and made understood family began to shift somewhere between 1960s and the 1980s. whether any of this constituted a crisis of the american family depends subjectively on where one stood in relation to the larger structuring systems of race, class and patriarch. a topic that we certainly can take up in the larger discussion. in other words, it is a crisis depending upon where you stand. but let mow he turn to the second framework of family if the 1970s that we should consider what we might call the political or rhetorical or discursive crisis of the family. largely separate from whatever
the statistics on household and family competition reveal, there is little historical doubt that in the decade of the 1970s, family came to do a great deal of political work. it was not in this case a statistical or demographic concept, it was rather a political one. the breakdown of the american family was a powerful and proed proetian foil for a variety of political projects. on the campaign trail in 18976 candidate jimmy carter mused along the following lines, "i find people deeply concerned about the loss of stability and loss of value you in their lives. the root of the problem is the steady erosion and weakening of our families." running against gerald ford for the republican nomination that year, ronald reagan used the term "family" 17 times in a nationally televised speech. he had clearly come to do important political work. most powerfully and evidently, family emerged between 1972 and the 1980s as the ter rain on
which a conservative political coalition could be con sfruktd. within that generational coalition, family did a great deal of ideological work and let me suggest briefly three major kinds of such work. first, family was ant anti-feminist rhett core forcal ballast set against equal rights amendment, roe v wade, government-subsidized child care lgbt rights and other social and legal challenge sought by feminists, civil rights activist and gay rights activists. feminism and lgbt price, in this view, not the product of progressive shifts in how civil is and economic citizenship were conceive bud direct causes of family breakdown. second, family alongside law and order increasingly game ka into signify opposition to the social and legal project of black rights. this was perhaps most obvious in anti-juvenile delinquency campaigns and anti-subsequent welfare camp pains in gathered
sflepgt decades after the moynihan report but can be seen too in the christian social movement -- christian school movement that enernlgtd 1970s as an end run around desegregation in the south and family values mom. , particularly though not exclusively in the southern bible belt that came to define institutions like the southern baptist convention and the southern republican party by the 1980s. third, family came to signify represent a way of talking about the appropriate functions of government. as i've a argued in all the family, family if the 1970s came became rhetorical vehicle for imagining a citizenry who needed not economic security or equal opportunity but moral protection. it emerged as handmaiden to a vision of government in which social pro-he visioning and gender and racial equality were subordinated as legitimate collective and social political objectives. in all of these ways, families was far less -- family was far necessary crisis than it was undergoing a profound political
rearticulation and mobilization. now, this is is not to suggest that family was only a concept with residence -- are wes son nance among political conservatives or its only role in american life in these years was a revampist one. many plenty of americans of all political stripes wremsed with the ways family did or did not, could or could not constitution tooult the psychal moral and social world they wished to inhabit. but to me mind, those variants engageds were as important as they were for historical research among various subcultures and american groups lacked the cohesion and formidable political momentum that family achieved as new center right political emblem. third and finally, family was the site of furious conflict and negotiation. one might even say crisis, on the political center left in the 1970s. feminists of various persuasions
long a argued that the male bred winner model of both economic life and welfare state provision was outdated if not oppressive, even as, of course maternalists feminists played critical role in buttressing that mod in the first half of the 20th century. by the 1970s, working class femme i was in and liberal lean-in-style feminisms launched powerful challenges to the state element of the male bread win mold as this had third world and lesbian feminism of various times. this produced a legitimate crisis within the frameworks of both welfare and rights liberalism that could not be resolved quickly or easily want institutions and political coalitions that the center left this had created in bursts in the 1930 united states and 1960s. if there was a crisis of the family in the 1970s, here arguably was its most obvious manifestation, a deep difficult-to-resolve political crisis in the center left's understanding of family in relation to its fission vision of both state and society.
as one disgruntled democratic party dell battle it put it in 1972 following that years raucous political convention, we lindh to the gay people we heard from the abortionists, but there were no steel works who pipe fitters and worst of all, no plumbers. great line. i think jeff used it in his book, too. there areself certainly other wives talk and thinking about family in the 1970s than those that i have all too briefly outlined here but i want to stick to my time and i welcome suggestions and arguments in the larger discussion about what i've said here as well as what i've left out. and i welcome the opportunity to have my fellow panelists -- hear my fellow panelists on this score as well. thank you. [ applause ] >> our next speak he or she heather anne thompson. heather is is currently a professor of history in the department of -- department of history and african-american studies at temple university but she will be joining the faculty at michigan in the fall.
she has a new book coming out next year from pan thee yin on attica and the attica uprising. and she has written widely as many probably know not only for the journal of american history and other scholarly publication bus also "the atlantic" for "the new york times" and elsewhere about mass incarceration the prison system. >> good afternoon. can you hear me okay with this? okay. great. so, like everyone else i kind of came to the topic today really having to think a lot myself about how do we think about the '70s? how do we write about the '70s? taking a pause, a timeout what we think we do all the time to really assess where do we sit in this broader literature? and to me while i feel like i could, you know, nod my head in agreement with virtually everything that's already been said, the way that i thought about this was that the 1970s,
to me is really characterized or has been characterized by two kind of central or primary arguments and one of them we have heard about which is the the 1970s is this bridge decade, a turning point decade between the 1960s and the 1980s from a period of activism to a period of backlash, from a period of rat radicalism to a period of conservativism and the second is that the 1970s is a decade of crisis. and i want to talk about both of these but i will say about the second, which is that the '70s as a decade of crisis, it really is kind of reable, once i sat down to think about it how much we have thought about and written about and characterized the '70s as a moment of crisis. the foreign policy crisis, both in the middle east southeast asia the energy crisis, which is, of course, related to the crisis in the middle east but also really is about a crisis for the american driving middle
class. the economic crisis, recession after decades of postwar prosperity. the welfare crisis, you know certainly the conservative argument for it -- too many people sponging off the system. the crisis of the labor movement. the crisis of the family, as robert mentioned. the broader urban crisis that -- for many years was a paradigm many of us wrote within. and of course, in my field, the broader crime crisis of this time period that will lead us to mass incarceration that cities become these kind of crime-ridden horror zones and then take us into a new policy moment. and of course notably all of these cease sees, every one that i mentioned are deeply racialized, particularly who was allegedly caution the problem, what the crisis' origin is and, again, the kind of narratives tied to the first narrative about bridge decade, which was
having to do with -- things were better and things get worse and why do they get worse again deeply engendered and deeply racialize. so in my work i'm really flood problemetizing both of these first this is a bridge decade and this is a decade of crisis regarding the former, i don't want to spend a lot of time on that but the idea that the '70s was a brink bridge decade between radicalism and conservatism, i think the wonderful thing where we are in the literature, we have addressed that already. we have continued to do some donna's work certainly does this, dan berger's work, rob chase's work i hope my own work on prisoner rights. you know, it's very clear that radicalism doesn't die in the 1970s and i actually would make the case that in ways that we have failed to appreciate the 1970s is a far more contested decade much more about a continuation of this contestation of power and
resources than we -- that is not a bridge at all that that active activism continues well past the 1970s. and the other piece of that bridge decade argument that i really take issue with is that this is the decade that kind of signals the death of liberalism. my own work suggests that quite the contrary this isn't the -- this had isn't the death of liberalism, it is the raischal coming of age of liberalism. a moment when liberalism was really put to task, made to act to be clear about what it really stood for and what it really supported and so in that configuration, liberals don't so much get killed off by the law and order conservatives or even just parrot their views to stay in power, but in fact, they are faced with their own challenges to their own authority, their own challenges to their own legitimacy and the body politic that leads them in their own very conservative directions and leads them as we have already heard to be architects of many
conservative program. store, is not so much in my view that liberalism dies in the '70s but actually that civil rights activist and activists in jeep call upon liberalism to define itself much more clearly which has enormous implications. again though what i really want to talk about is this idea actually instead about crisis. firstly, it seems to me that we need to be really clear what the implication of this characterization are, because think they are very serious. we need to be clear about it because then we can actually ask how much of a crisis were we really in? here is the bottom line, if the 1970s was crisis rind, lodgely the clags nation needed to embark on new policy paths in many different areas, with the economy, with areas with the economy, with welfare, with crime policy et cetera. and indeed the policies that led to so much crisis were keynesian or bottom up and redistributive than sadedly new policy direction the nation would have to take and did was more
conservative fiscally and so forth. and some would say this would be a backlash to previous decade efforts at redistribution, others would say it was a logical corrective, there was a crisis. of course, these policy correctives would have major implications, particularly on income inequality gender inequality and i could go on. here's the thing though as recent histories of the 1970s have begun to indicate, this was perhaps not at all a decade of crisis and i think robert's comments really got at this in a slightly different way than i want to suggest. but we're on the same path here. this is, i will suggest, a decade in which crises are declared and asserted to affect substantive policy change. and that the stakes were very very high and that the ways in which crisis is asertded, declared and i would argue
created has itself implications that will lead us to crisis. and, again this is not just an unimportant chicken and egg i hope to argue. so just take for example -- this isn't what i particularly want to focus on but think about the welfare crisis, this idea that we have a welfare crisis in the 1970s. we have a new generation of lazy people who don't want to get a job and too many people populating the welfare rolls, and so forth. again, it's so clear from this recent work that we see that this is a created crisis. it's manufactured it's exploited. yes, there were problems with the welfare system, namely that it was never funded well enough and that there was never enough political will to sustain it and i could go on but the fact was that the -- to the extend that the welfare system was trying to make in roads in poverty and improve people's lives it was very clear that that was a positive. that it was working well. so it gets declared adds a
crisis and indeed when it gets declared as a crisis and the best manifestation of this is we need a logical policy corrective, that's the welfare reform act and that policy corrective in turn will create crises. it's going to create a crisis of poverty. it's going to create a welfare crisis but not at all the crisis we imagined when we said welfare crisis. so finally what int to say is in my own field -- and, we could make similar arguments about labor and family and everything else -- i want to quickly end by talking about the crime crisis of the 1970s. because out of all of them this is the one that's been getting a whole lot of attention lately. and here's the way that we tend to understand it. i think we are getting away from h historically but certainly in the popular arena this is still the way we understand it. this is what happens. we get crime rates in the 1960s, they begin to soar out of control and in response to that we get a policy corrective. the policy corrective is this
war on crime. unfortunately, we're going to end up with mass incarceration but make no mistake about it we had to do this because there was a crime crisis right? and imagine the importance of that understanding for everything that comes after it. well, my own work both as a historian but also more recently on a national academies panel khalil mohammed and i were lucky enough to be the two historians on this panel, we spent hours and days working with data and numbers, is this way we started the war on crime? was there in fact, a crime crisis? and, in fact what this incredibly politically diverse and educationally diverse panel concluded and my own work i think also shows is that, no. this was again a created crisis. we began a war on crime before we have a crime crisis. we chose this path, we have to be very clear. we chose it for very complicated reasons that i don't have time to go into that have everything
to do with pushing back at the system in place at the time and accessing greater equality and participatory democracy. but nevertheless policymakers chose this path. and by choosing this path, they in turn generated a crisis. they, in turn, generated what will become a crime crisis or i actually characterize it very differently, i say it's a crisis of violence it's a crisis that is generated when you have excessive homelessness, when you have orphaning of generations of children, when you destroy entire neighborhoods when you make sboir popentire populations unemployment because they have a criminal record. this gets us into a different area. but what it suggests is that crime crisis is, in fact, a product of the policy changes of the 1970s, not generative of those policy changes. and i think this is something we should think about. so we get crisis but chicken and
egg are crucially important. it matters whether politicians and policymakers are responding to crisis when they overhaul the american economy, the social welfare policies, foreign policies, criminal justice system, or whether they pre-emptorily decide using the term of elizabeth hinton pre-emptorily decide to do these things. to prevent further equality. to prevent further income redistribution. to prevent greater labor rights. and i could go on and on. and the implications of this when we think about the national stage, when we think about the '70s writ large are vast. it could be that by getting the 1970s wrong we might have totally misunderstood the evolution of the post-war period overall. because make no mistake about it. the stakes were incredibly high in the 1970s. that's why i think we need to think about less a decade of crisis and more of the decade of contest station and created crisis which then in turn will shape the '80s and the '90s.
thank you. [ applause ] >> great. and now i'm going to speak just briefly myself so i'm going to introduce myself then i'll stand up. [ laughter ] so i'm kim phillips-fine. i'm an historian, associate professor at nyu where i teach in the history department and also in the school of individualized study. my first book was called "invisible hands, the businessman's crewusade against the new deal." and i'm working now on new york city in the 1970s and a fiscal crisis in a book that will be published at some point in the not so distant future. so moving up here. one of the things that has brought me to this question and to the panel today is the sense that 1970s new york has been long a subject both of revulsion
but also of a certain kind of nostalgia. and i think we've seen this even over the past few weeks in the city's politics when the decade has been invoke bid the police commissioner and many others seeking to compare the contest over police violence and the subsequent although not in my view connected murder of the two police officers in brooklyn to the spate of violence against police officers in the 1970s. 1970s new york in one view was a kind of space of utter lawlessness, violence, disorder and chaos a city on the edge of bankruptcy, a city where thousands of stores were destroyed the second the lights go out in the blackout of 1977. and more baldly in the conserve conservative iconography of the city, the '70s endures as a time when nobody wants to go back to an era of crime arson disinvestment and abandonment. in some ways the entire politics of new york over the past 40 years has been defined against
this nightmare alternative. and yet at the same time, co-existing with this is, i think, a certain undeniable nostalgia. a nostalgia for the graffiti covered trains for the underground clubs, the radical politics of the time for the time when there was an actual art scene in lower manhattan, even for the old smutty times square for a kind of grittier less controlled less money-dominated new york. witness the success, for example, of patti smith's loving memoir "just kids." in a recent essay, a literary scholar draws out this sense of nostalgia about the entire period of the 1970s. a spate of recent novels set during the decade and asking why so many authors are drawn to it something adown longing. "how sad" he asks "does one have to be to want to return to the
era of stagflation." so one might ask a similar question about 1970s more broadly and about new york in particular. and thinking about the panel today, i think one of the reasons for the appeal of the decade and part of the challenge for historians but also why we're drawn to it is even the sense that even as it was unfolding there was this acute historical sensibility about what was happening. this seasons of the period of one of transformation. and i think there's something appealing about this feeling of openness and urgency implicit in the idea of crisis even though it's also fraught with danger. so just think a little bit about what this means and what the challenges and opportunities are that offers. just to look back, we've talked about some of the areas that were perceived as being incrisis, but one of the interesting things about that time is that many intellectuals invoke this idea. in his 1969 essay "political theory as a vocation" the
political scientist writes about crisis as a kind of systematic derange some that social problems appear not as random consequences of a system which otherwise works tolerably well but as the necessary result of a more extensive set of evils which can be predicted to produce similar results. and as both heather and donna suggested, the sense of crisis, the naming of crisis means to imply that things have reached an intolerable point that cannot go on as they have been. some kind of change must be forced into existence. so naming a crisis contains within itself the seeds of action, the sense -- a strong sense that something must be done to alter situation if social order is to continue at all. it suggests the kind of compression of historical time and i'm thinking partly of some of janet reutman's writing on
crisis. even if it's anticipated by earlier events, the episode merges a dividing line between the world as it was and the world as it will be. and this is something -- roland was the only person to talk about this. there was a sense in the 1970s, of course, that the entire world system of capitalism is entering into a period of crisis, an objective set of difficulties that the old policy tool cans not confront but will only compound. james o'connor, for example, writes in 1973 about the fiscal crisis of the state, the idea that the slowdown of the private -- the economic slowdown and inability of the private economy to keep generating ever higher levels of profits will -- means that there's an intensifying competition for public resources and that this will lead the kind of displaced social conflict into a fight over the state. these ideas are also taken up by daniel bell in the cultural contradictions of capitalism where he writes both about the welfare state but also about the
deepening tensions of over the old social structure of capitalism, the bourgeois virtues of discipline, rationalism, delayed gratification and work and the new cultural order emphasizing hedonism consumer display and pleasure. and so i think in addition to roland's sense of crisis a kind of subjective experience a kind of moment of naming and of calling for a new direction, there's also a sense of crisis as this kind of objective moment when limits have been reached and a social order cannot continue for it as it has been. in new york in my own work on new york i've been very struck by the way the rhetoric of crisis is invoked in city politics both by people on the right and those on the left and for conservatives, of course, the image of the city as a fort apache becomes intimately a place of rising crime, very racialized language, very racialized sense of this rising crime and sexual permissiveness. this sense becomes intimately linked to its financial
problems. both are symbols of a liberalism run amuck, the answer to both is discipline through the police on one side and through strict fiscal controls on the other. on the other side -- and for the left the problems of new york become intimately connected to the unfolding crisis of the post-war order and the end of prosperity. so for both left and right, the immediate practical problem the city faced, the gap between its expenses and revenues, is connected to a whole set of national issues through the sensibility of crisis. so that the resolution of the problem is no longer a simple question about rerey negotiating debt but rather becomes a chance to call for an entirely new direct in city politics and for -- and at times for a new direction for the nation as a whole. so i think you know, one of the -- this is connected, of course, to the larger shift from a sense of urban crisis to the framework of fiscal crisis and a transformation in a sense that
the primary problem facing city governments is no longer how to address social problems or poverty or racial injustice but instead to find ways to safeguard scarce resources in a time of decline. and in this sense, fiscal crisis becomes -- you know it's a moment when the city is near bankruptcy, new york is near bankruptcy and other cities as well, their fiscal problems are seen as due to a certain extravagance and the problems in bankruptcy are kind of just punishment. and in this way it becomes a moment of substituting a framework of treatment or remedy for social problems with a mode of discipline and retrenchment. and the frightening images of social breakdown become part of a narrative about the need to restructure. fiscal crisis then becomes a conservative framework for thinking about the problems of the city and i think one that as heather suggested is not -- it's really not just one adopted by the right but one that is really
used to reframe the commitments of liberalism as well. but here i think we get to one of the problems of the idea of crisis and i think as a number of younger scholars have suggested, including some who are in this very room there are real problems with drawing this kind of sharp line between the war on poverty framework and what comes after. or more broadly between post-war liberalism and what comes after, even during the war on poverty, many of the ideas and practices that are sometimes associated with neoliberalism are present in basic form. in new york city the lindsay years as one student that robert and i share ben holtsman is working on the the lindsay years, the 1960s, seem -- the development of many of the innovations associated with the 1980s such as the use of real estate property tax abatements,
the aggressive efforts of city government to stem the exodus of industry even the proximate cause of the fiscal crisis, the use of the credit markets to fund the local state rather than taxation is a certain form of an early find of financialization, a way to try to use finance to a evade political conflicts. so framing the period as one of crisis or accepting the period's framing of itself in those terms can obfuscate or make it harder to see these real areas of continuity. and making it much more difficult to see the ways that the assumptions and ideas of a post-war year and post-war liberalism shape what comes afterwards. but finally to return to nostalgia, i think that one of the -- i think it's not -- we shouldn't throw out the idea of crisis all together, either. that part of what makes the era such a compelling one to study is this awareness of collapse of an older social order.
and a sense that a divide was opening up between the expectations generated by the past and the new sense of the realities of the present and future. and the fierce contest, again as heather suggested over these possibilities and over these conflicting expectations. in the specific case of new york, both the politicians of the city including its mayor abraham beam for some time, as well as many different activists and radicals continue to articulate a variety of different directions for city's development, both pressing for broader national political changes that would lessen the particular pressures the city was facing as well as various ideas about imposing limits on the ability of banks to sell off the city's securities. so they attempted in a variety of ways without much success but they still attempted to describe ways to solve the city's problems while also laying claim to part of the -- a-to-to avoiding
retrenchment that happened in the wake of the crisis. this is exactly the kind of idea that within the city a newly confident financial and business community seeks to combat joined by national politicians and by city and state democrats, insisting that the old commitments of new york, free tuition at the city university to a certain model of public education, cheap transit, that precisely these commitments and expectations that make recovery impossible. as felix rohatan who help engineer a solution suggested only a kind of overkill in terms of budget cuts would have necessary shock impact to make it clear to investors across the country that new york city was really changing. so in a way what is at stake is the expectations that people have within the city and the expectations that people are have of society and government in general.
and i think this sense of an era -- of an era being in flux, of one set of expectations giving way to another yet still contested and not really accepted at a deep level is part of what accounts for this experience of crisis both in new york and also more broadly. i think it's also what accounts for our attraction or at least some part of the attraction to the '70s today, that we see this as a kind of last moment of life outside of a certain kind of domination by the market and the existence of a strong set of alternative norms and expectations before they're really discarded as unrealistic and improbable. and the conflicting expectations around the era market as one -- those who lived through it as a time of crisis. it's part of what makes the period compelling to scholars even now. so i think i'll wrap up there.
[ applause ] i'll now shift back down here and open it up for questions and discussion. and i should say this panel is actually being taped by c-span, so you both might know that in making remarks and comments, but also -- [ laughter ] also part of a what that means that s that everybody should direct questions to the microphone. you have to get up and go over to the microphone over there so that they'll be able to capture the questions. and people should feel free to make comments, too, there's lots of people here who write about the 1970s and it would be great to hear from people -- not just questions but with your own thoughts as well. and if you could just introduce yourself. >> himy name is michael kristofferson in delphi university here in the suburbs of new york. i actually come to this gathering from a slightly different perspective. i'm a historian of the 1970s in france and your panel said
crises of the 1970s, it didn't say in the united states. it was pretty obvious that's what it was going to be about but i wonder, though, if by broadening out perspective and looking at this comparatively there might be something to be gain ed gained particularly in some of the questions of is this a period of crisis or one of a bridge between two eras. and because comparatively -- i mean, if you look at -- there definitely are some real crises that are seen in many different countries. it's not all just a discursive creation. it definitely there is a slow down of the world economy, there's no doubt about that and it's happening in western europe and eastern europe as well. and i think definitely also a crisis of governance that is happening in many different countries and you have
reflections of that like the creation of the trilateral commission that was supposed to deal with international crisis of governance and that also is happening in both the communist and non-communist world. and some of these other problems like the issues of family, you know, the history of the family demographic history there are similarities between europe and the united states, the baby boom existed there as well. and even when you get to the question of incarceration rolls. in 1 t 1970s in europe you had efforts to reform prisons. one of the most significant of this would be the work of michele foucault. you have a very important prison reform movement he's involvemented in that results in the abolition of capital punishment in france in the early 1980s.
so maybe there's something to be gained by looking at the fact that these crises are some of them, at least, international and by comparing the outcomes in different countries, perhaps we can learn more in a sense of which is a creation of the particularities of american politics or the american situation which, you know reflects a more underlying sort of problem in world history. >> i don't know if anybody wants to speak to that in particular? >> i think that's an excellent point and this -- i wanted to just clarify though, that this
question of whether a crisis is real or not, i point us to robert's comments, it's a question of a crisis for whom and why does it become a crisis? you can have economic slowdown, you can have all kinds of changes, you can have catastrophic changes but whether or not they become crises and crises for whom often have to do with the responses to them. so when you have an economic crisis, for example, you can either respond to it by greater redistribution of wealth or you can respond to it by clamping down on redistribution of wealth. so i thoroughly agree with the point of international comparison, but, again, with this idea of crisis, i think we need to be very contextual and historical about for whom and how might it not have been a crisis. because change and crisis are not synonymous. transformation and cry vision are not synonymous. >> i don't know if this is on or not. is it on? not really?
>> yes, it is. >> okay. well, i also want to thank the gentleman for the comments and say that one of the things that would certainly be on the agenda for historians of the 1970s is to think about whether we internationalize that question of economic downturn or not is to look at the relationship between the broad economic shifts of the decade and some of these other questions in very close empirical ways. geographers and others at the david harvey school have done a fairly good job and a fairly abstract and conceptual level but authorities have not weighed in for that debate. and this morning paul krugman has a piece the times about if you look at global distributions of wealth and global class structures in the last half century that you see these two spikings and one is the upper
class, the 1% in the west and the sore essentially the rising chinese middle-class and what lies in the middle is essentially the working class and the industrial west. so i really think that there is a way in which we can think about the 1970s as representing a true crisis for the industrial working class of the west. a crisis from which it's yet to recover. and that particular crisis ties in to all of these in all kinds of ways because the notion that the white working glass inging class in the united states is in the midst of an economic crisis is mobilized in these conversations politically mobilized to do other kinds of work rather than to address, as you point out. so i think there are real connections and i agree. i think thinking about this in a global way makes a lot of sense. >> friend i'm rick pearlstein, i write about the '70s.
robert i'm referring to my notes on what you said so let me know if i got it wrong. you talk about the family as a site of furious contest station on the center left because feminine chris teaks of the nuclear male breadwinner family is oppressive, created a crisis for welfare and rights liberalism that could not be easily resolved through existing 1930s and 1960s institutions. can you elaborate on that? >> sure. it's all "all in the family." [ laughter ] yeah, right. i guess i'm suggesting that for the sincer right family becomes less a crisis than a political opportunity. but for the center left it's a real crisis which is to say that there emerge within the center left coalition really beginning in the 1960s, clearly, with the rise of the black freedom struggle, but then compounded by the rise of feminism and the
rise of lgbt rights and all kinds of social justice and rights projects on the left around redefining citizenship along lines of gender, race, and sexuality. that make core understandings of family within that center left coalition that had more or less been stable since the 1930s, although we could have an argument about that i realize, that brings those understandings of family into real contest station and dispute. and that those -- that contest station and that dispute was in many wayser resolvable within the ways in which that, to my mind and my argue. the ways in which that particular political coalition had been put together since the 1930s, which is to say that a particular idea of breadwinner liberalism that was embedded within labor liberalism was very
difficult to dislodge in the 19 1970s, very difficult to reform, certainly quickly. i think that's been a project of the center left for the last 50 years and it's taken that long to even come close to a resolution of that particular problem. so i see family and gender and sexuality alongside race as the core problematics that begin -- that -- with which the center left coalition has to wrestle in those years man on the left wish that those conflicts and disruptions could be resolved quickly and the argument in "all in the family" is that they simply couldn't be. the coalition was not set up to resolve them quickly. neither were the legal and political institutions in the larger nation state set up to resolve them quickly. so that ice a generational or two set of conflicts that i
think characterize the center left coalition from the '60s on. well, that's all i really meant. there's lots more details about that but i don't want to hog the floor. >> well i would actually -- if no one is coming up to the microphone, if we have a few minutes -- are we out of time? >> we have time. >> okay. i would like to just throw out a question to my fellow panelists which is about this idea of crisis and is about the distinction that kim was making particularly in her talk. so one of the things that i think is a little bit dangerous about viewing crisis only as a kind of discursive framework is the idea of on the one hand what is an objective on the other hand i think kim is quite right that people at the time kind of
understood their world through a sense of crisis. and how you actually balance kind of perceptions buts at the time, the ways in which those perceptions buts ultimately shape the policies that are happening versus a sense of was it a real crisis was it not? i think there's a bit of a danger, just kind of going back to the 1970s, in taking some of the real drama that people felt like was incuring in their lives. when you devalue the idea that people felt they were experiencing a crisis in some ways there is a kind of tension with the real drama that people felt like they were understanding, the real drama of these events that they were experiencing, whether you're talking about crime, whether you're talking about something like watergate which, interestingly, i think is increasingly disappearing from our narratives of the 1970s which as this panel sort of suggests is moving much more in a direction of kind of political economy, of social history,
of -- and, you know, for many people if you said what is the crisis of the 1970s, the first thing that they would say was watergate. so i don't have any resolution to this tension but it's something that i wanted to throw out, see if anyone else wants to comment on and i know we have another person up at the microphone here. >> do you want to speak to that first? >> is this on? it doesn't seem like it's on. >> i think it's on. >> as long as you can hear in the back. i really -- that's a really important formulation and i think that's actually one of the things that occurred to me as i was listing all the crises is that there is a particularity that we also need to be careful about which crises. i mean, not every crises as characterized as the same and some may resonate more in realtime than others and some may be more created than others. but i would say that this idea of it was felt as crisis at the time, again, just as a slight --
i don't know, a complication of that, again, i think it depends who we're talking to. if you were a feminist in 1971, this was a moment of enormous possibility. if you were a prisoner rights activist in 1971, this was a moment not of crisis but of, my god, potential revolution. if you were a trade union activist who was trying to generate new good will and energy in the trade union movement and you were part of miners for democracy or teamster teamsters for a democratic union, this was an exciting time. not a crisis but actually of finally getting rid of many of the oppressive things that existed before. so i guess what i would say that you're absolutely right for some it did resonate as crisis and we need to understand what that meant. but it's true we have to be really clear about who are our actors when we're talking about crisis.
>> hi. i'm steve panude, i'm a suny farmingdale. this is a fabulous, rich discussion. i'm glad that it was here. i guess i wanted to just talk for a second or ask about the workplace. there's been a couple of discussions about sort of crises -- crisis of labor and i know, you know, in general questions tend to take one of two forms, why didn't you talk about my work or how does this relate to my work? so i'm going jump into the latter category there. i'm working on a manuscript looking at the challenges of organized labor in the post-war period and i'm actually getting right up to sort of redoing my chapter on the '70s and one of the things that's interesting and beverly, if i may, eluded to this perfectly. in doing the oral histories and the archival materials, there's really a genuine sense of
turmoil, of crisis in the 1970s. so i'm on the one hand i'm really fascinated by this sort of turn in the his store i don't gofy and literature. on the other hand it can be challenging to reconcile that with actual -- the firsthand lived experience of people in workplaces talking about how the culture of the workplace changed in ways that they found disruptive and challenging. >> i'll just speak to that. i think that the -- i think that the -- well, both i think the focus on the workplace is very important for thinking about the period and that both the kind of crisis of unions both within
unions themselves the democracy movements that were happening and the strong -- the sense, obviously the unionization rate has been declining throughout the 1960s, but this is masked in some ways by the growth of public sector unionism and by the relatively slowed nature of that decline. anden in the 1970s the conflicts become much more open, much more nakedly hostile and much sharper and clearer and i do think that -- and at the same time the question about what's going to happen to the industrial workplace, will there be a post-industrial workplace? what is going to replace the motor of manufacturing as it declines, disappears moves. is anything going to come into existence that will substitute for that? i mean i think these questions are very open and alive in the 1970s. and i guess this maybe speaks a little bit to this question of
the tension between crises as an objective or as a -- both an objective reality versus subjective experience and also to the sense of crisis as a discursive construct that's used to impose certain visions from above versus the kind of sense of lived turmoil. i actually think that there's something -- i do think people -- i just -- i think people -- the sense of kind of turmoil and things coming to the forefront that previously hadn't been fully articulated. i think people actually found that frightening but in other ways exciting even when they were losing or even when the consequences for their groups or class or movements were not positive that there was still something about the time that was emotionally intense and engaging. and certainly for people who
were on -- who managed on the winning side of some of these battles and some of my interviews with people who played kind of roles from above in the fiscal crisis, people recall this period as one of tremendous excitement and energy and people view it as a formative moment in their own lives, moments when they were kind of able to ascend to this new position of power and they were going out to dinner all the time and it was like a war. i mean, i think the metaphor is just like our war and we were at the hem of it. and on the flip side, i think activists also recall it as a time when these struggles were tr articulated in ways that made them -- that were difficult but nonetheless perhaps easier than the sort of daily crises that are not -- don't emerge into open conflict in that way. so maybe something similar might be said about the workplace during these years but i think
the workplace is an extremely area to look at for thinking about the period overall. >> again i don't know if this is on or not, it's hard to tell from up hireere. that's a great question. if we had a labor historian on the panel that could speak to this question in a little bit more fine detail, no disrespect to anyone on the panel. but one thing that i was actually going to talk a little bit about but as a result of time didn't get to which is something that i think is not -- historians have not taken up yet. nancy mcclain's book does it but for a very, very broad spectrum and that's the post-1964, the post-civil rights act workplace and the ways in which the first couple of decades after the creation of the eoc -- and this may be less about the kind of lived experience of work in the '70s and more about the workplace as a kind of legal and
political site of con ten station. but the number of lawsuit, the bats over affirmative action, the creation of sexual harassment laws, the culmination in all of those things in the wake of the '64 civil rights act has yet to find its historian and to think about the american workplace through the lens of those transformations. both legal and social i think that's something that's kind of a hidden part of the decade. >> well prior to becoming a his historian of prisons that's what i did was labor industry and wrote on the auto industry for many years and i will say i was really taken by this comment about the workplace because in fact, that's a perfect example i think of the complexity of what we're talking about here. if you looked at any detroit auto plant in 1968 to 1975, all of these things were happening and they were all true.
white workers felt that this was a crisis moment, they had lost a lot of power on the shop floor to black workers, that was their perceptions but, right? black workers, on the other hand, who were in the league of revolutionary black workers or in drum or even in the trade union leadership conference felt like they were finally, finally getting some in roads in the labor movement and within the auto plants. meanwhile, both sets of workers were facing an economic crisis in the sense that management was battling them day and night for concessions. so the workplace is really important. this is a pitch for everyone to return to labor history because in fact, that is ground zero and all of those things are playing out, particularly vis-a-vis this way in which race is -- crises are racialized. one person's crisis is sometimes another person's "finally i have some say so on the shop floor."
or "finally i have some voice." >> my name is pete i'm a ph.d. student at boston college. thank you so much for the fabulous panel. if anybody is interested more about talking in the 1970s and is still around on monday morning, we're having a panel on american catholics in the 1970s which leans into my question. i was wondering how you see the roll of religion in the vast literature. i'm thinking of david hollinger's work on liberal christianity, there's a sense of crisis and transformation in evangelicalism. thank you so much for this fabulous panel. >> well other than just to say yes. [ laughter ] other than just -- not as a historian of religion but as someone who's thought a little bit about it i -- other than to
say, yes, let's do it and certainly within both liberal broadly drawn within both liberal and main line and conservative protestantism there's a sense of whether it's crisis or simply kind of a reformulation, a remodernizing of faith right? that's how many of the liberal protestants would have seen it right? modernizing their faith for a new era. that's certainly a political project within liberal protestantism. i don't know nearly as much about the catholic story and i don't want to even wade in for fear of embarrassing myself in front of people who know the story much better. but clearly the questions that i've written about, gender, sex, and family are part of -- they're not con stitch whattive the of that debate but they're certainly a fundamental part of
that debate. when i looked at the conservative evangelical protestant movement in the '70s and early 1980s and waded into those archives i was a little bit surprised to find that overwhelmingly the two major issues -- i mean there are lots of things being talked about, pornography and all kinds of things. but overwhelmingly, if you just sort of took it as a mass of archives, what are the spikes? the spikes are overwhelmingly abortion and the perceptions but that there's a secular religion being taught to children in the schools. overwhelmingly. and there really is very much a sense of crisis around those two questions. in effect that kind of either mod earn christianity or more to the point a secular religion was being imposed on especially children. but there's much much more to say about it and i'm not the person to say it, unfortunately.
>> jonathan gentry brown university. my initial question was about globalization which i thought was a word that would get mentioned more in crisis about the '70s but i think that's been addressed a little bit. but what i wanted to talk about or ask you guys about was one of the interesting threads throughout here was the transformation of the state and the relationship of the citizen to the state. whether that's enfranchisement, transparency, war on drugs war on crime, and just wondered if you could elaborate on or maybe even conceptualize what this transformation is, particularly in the context of narratives of retreat or else -- is the state sort of going after citizens in a new way to sort of bring them in? so relationship of citizenship and the state. >> i also -- i had wanted to answer myself but i think the --
i just wanted to highlight the kind of contrast between beverly's ideas or -- the idea of the kind of -- the '70s as seeing an increase in transparency in certain ways and engagement and the sense of the state becoming more repressive or just how to reconcile these two different trends. >> well, i can talk a little bit to the intelligence agencies and particularly to the fbi and i do think that you have to some degree a kind of paradoxical story when you look at an institution like the fbi but you put that in conversation with the sorts of things that heather is doing and many other people have done as well. so for the fbi the 1970s was both a period of crisis in the sense that someone like j. edgar hoover dies and he had been there for 48 years. many people declare that a moment of national crisis.
but it is a crisis that is also an opportunity and so it opens up a lot of questions about what's going to come next. and i would just highlight two things that really come out of that. so one is a much deeper and much more widespread knowledge of the repressiveness of that institution up to that point. of the ways in which largely because of the church committee but because of many other congressional committees because of the press and other factors as well, but the amount of knowledge that americans have by the mid to late 1970s about what intelligence agencies like the fbi have been up to certainly in terms of domestic surveillance, in terms of a whole host of other activities and the cia as well, those are dramatically different knowledge systems people are using to relate to their government and it's pretty dramatic. so i think that's one piece. you actually see a genuine opening of knowledge foia
becomes more aggressive. congressional committees are much more inclined to open up that knowledge. so that's piece one. piece two of what happens with the intelligence establishment and the fbi in particular is that you begin to get really genuine newry strants s restraints on the kinds of activities they engage in which you could argue is a genuine democrat tiesing move. you have congressional oversight for the first time. you have a series of restrictions. many of those are incomplete and many are lifted but from the perspective of the intelligence agencies, they understand themselves to be in crisis and -- but i think from a kind of citizens and democrat tiesing perspective you get an opening of what's going on at that level that arguably doesn't last very long. but that's the story there. at the same time that you're actually getting a much more repressive kind of criminal justice system coming into play. so i don't think it's a
straightforward story. >> i'd like to add to that. in looking at the war on drugs i think the rockefeller drug laws are very important. i wanted to highlight the new work that's being done that places it in a much larger contest and a post-war context where you see mandatory minimums established in california, in d.c., for example in the 1950s. but certainly the development of mandatory minimums and the focus on street-level drug dealers and users as the real central focus of policing in the state is very important and, of course, after the passage of the rockefeller drug laws 48 other states developed and passed similar laws. so i think that it is absolutely important. on the other hand, i think it's important to place it within this larger history of really bipartisan support for increasingly punitive criminal justice. thor thing that i would highlight is this redefinition of drug addicts and drug users
as agents of crime. that this is a profound shift from medicalization, the use of methadone programs and things that are viewed as a public health crisis prior to this and it's a shift of course, in nelson rockefeller's own drug policy, which is a very abrupt one. so i do think that this -- in the evolving creation of the state apparatus which is going to yield massive incarceration that reaches its height between 1985 and 2000, that this focus on street-level drug dealing or drug distribution is very, very important. and i actually wanted to go back to answer the question that beverly posed which i think is quite important. and i struggled with this myself. on the one hand talking about the discursive construction of crisis in the tradition of the birmingham school i think is very important. but what brought me to study this was the discussion of black panther party members and other
radical activists about how street level drug economies profoundly damaged the movement in the 1970s. and they themselves while really enjoying a period of unprecedented visibility and activism especially the aftermath in the passing of j. edgar hoover in the early '70s, at the same time found themselves facing in some ways new barriers and the drug economies themselves were seen as very destructive. and i think one of the really complex challenges is disaggregating state and media-generated discourses of crisis from the voices of ordinary people living in neighborhoods who see themselves as affected by crime and drug economies. and one of the dangers is the appropriation of particular voices by the state in order to support specific agendas. so that goes back to robert and heather's point about crisis for
whom. so i think it's a real challenge about how we create a dialogue between kind of state and media generated ideas of crisis and what that says to oral histories and grass-roots accounts of that. because certainly that does exist and i think this issue becomes even -- an even more potent issue during crack crisis in the 1980s. >> hi i'm joeanneajoanna, post-doc at stanford stanford. i'm specifically interested in co-intel pro and your opinion about its role in creating or manufacturing a crisis of violence or in being destructive to the black freedom movement or am i granting co-intel pro too much agency in that are they not as big of a factor as i feel that they are? just your guys opinions about co-intel pro and its role in manufacturing a crisis or a
destructive force. >> i'll respond to that quickly. so co-intel pro stands for counterintelligence program. it was program run by the fbi or really a series of strategies that the fbi adopted beginning in the 1950s initially against the communist party and then expanded throughout the 1960s to target a lot of organizations on the left but actually interestingly, also organizations on the right. so at least some of co-intel pro was directed at the ku klux klan and other right wing organizations. and the question is how much of crisis in these kinds of cases is actually being generated by the state and being deliberately generated by in this case the federal bureau of investigation and i think that the answer is some but maybe not as much as they wanted you to think on some level. so i think the fbi under co-intel pro absolutely did
things like attempt to for instance, in black radical organizations, you know, attempt to disrupt radical organizations by sending anonymous letters from the leader of one organization to the leader of another organization saying, you know you're a jerk your girlfriend is sleeping with so and so and did you know that? so and so -- you wouldn't believe what so and so has been saying about you. they also extensively had informants within radical organizations who were there to sometimes foment violence often just to kind of foment internal dissension and i think those had really dramatic impacts in particular cases on radical organizations. but i actually think the most damaging parts of an operation like co-intel pro or fbi surveillance much more broadly was then the belief that developed that fbi agents where everywhere, fbi informers were everywhere. so whether they were or not
that became a really important part of movement culture. again, whether you are within the ku klux klan or you're in some sort of left wing organization. and so that perceptions but and that fear even before co-intel pro was itself as well documented as it is today is a really critical part of the movement cultures of the 1970s and for me one of the most interesting questions about social movements and the state during this period -- and i think there are a lot of places to do work -- is the ways in which they were kind of mutually constituting each over and mutually responding to each other. so that is a quick answer to the co-intel pro question. >> i i also have an answer to that wearing my earlier hat as a panther historian, no pun intended. co-intel pro in thinking about the history of the black panther party, j. edgar hoover defined it as the greatest threat to the internal security of the united
states -- is this working? can you hear me? so j. edgar hoover defined the black panther party as the greatest threat to the internal security of the united states. so the party itself was the recipient of an incredible number of co-intel pro programs and directives and i think that the most glaring affect that co-intel pro had on the panthers was to initiate a really fratricidal matricidal split in the party between the new york chapter and -- west coast and east coast chapters. that was done through a series of letter writing campaigns between huey newton and eldridge cleaver. so you had massive infiltration of the panthers. one interesting fact that came up during the discussion about richard aoki and his status or non-status as an informant in seth rosenfeld's book, i had a discussion with the oakland leadership about this and their own estimates is that they --
and this may speak partially also to beverly's point, it requires further research, is that their own estimates that there were up to 700 informants inside the black panther party. looking at some of the oral histories that have been done of previous organizations like the revolutionary action movement and the communist party, i think questions of infiltration in these organizations are very important. that they're problematic in documenting and finding definitive documentation but i think there's a lot we don't know about levels of infiltration surveillance inside radical organizations but in the panthers, that split between the east and west coast branches of the party was incredibly destructive so it really -- one of the wrazays that intelligence operated was to take things that were pre-existing cleavages and actively manipulate them. so the division between oakland and the rest of the country because of its democratic centralist structure. it was not incorporating leadership from other parts of the country and this was
actively used. and then individual and personal antagonisms and manipulated that through correspondence. but there's much more research to be done on this and the kind of spectacular debate we had about richard aoki and the black panther party is just an indicator of the additional research that needs to be done. >> i think that's a wonderful question in no small part because one of the reasons we're all here, we're just in the 1970s and the answer to that with question is so important about how we understand the '70s and what don't we know about the '70s. donna and i have talked about this in part. if it's true that the fbi was less involved than it wanted to be or had less of an impact than it wanted to be which i could make that argument, that has an impact on the history of the '70s and how it unfolded. if on the other hand it's true
that we don't even know the half -- remember we don't know about co-intel pro had it not been for the break in had it not been for the media. and my own research on at a is that co-intel pro is probably the tip of the iceberg. every organization had their own version of co-intel pro. that kind of deep level investigative apparatus to figure out what's going on on the ground. whether it was effective or not partially we can't answer that because accessing those documents is very difficult. but i will say that, for example, at attica, this is a prison rebellion in a small town in upstate new york and within hours of it taking place there are everybody is cced on what's happening from the president, vice president the army, the navy the marines, like every
branch of the military and later on fast forward when we have the attica trials there is an infor informant in the attica brothers legal defense. >> are the crisis of the 1970s felt or perceived to have felt differently if different place different regions or do we need useful anymore or replace it with something else.
we thought about we were all trying to figure out cities and what had happened to cities and there was in frame work that we had an urban crisis and trying to figure out where we got it and how deep it was and for mom. we're investigating at a different level and part is how we identify ourselves in given moments, maybe. to me that's what it felt like. >> your comment makes me think of the recent article in in j.a.h. about latino urbanism and i think it's interesting, i think this is a moment, i think the earlier globalization brought this up for me as well.
the way in which what's happening during the 70s plays out differently in different parts of the country and also people are naming and labeling or trying to understand the set of changes that we can now see much more clearly manyreceipt retrospect. how cities might come back from some of the problems that the northeast and my westernidwestern cities might come back. of new immigration flows and how
sort of thinking back crisis earlier seems to be applied to foreign policy. this notion that emergency measure vs to be taken or there no way to plan for these problems. i guess i'm wondering did this term leak from foreign policy into domestic policy. every night we counted how many day wrs we in crisis. it was just a mean used for everything. thanks.
>> thank you for that question. i had a line that said crisis could be used not only in the international context but to mobilize domestic wars. i ended up shortening it. that made me think about that relationship between crisis and war. talking about the overlapping wars. crisis and war go together in such ways and whether that's historical or discursive i'm not sure. the war, use of war as a metaphor calls for one, the mobilization unprecedented resources and notion of abstract can never be fully completed.
domestic drug consumption. i think it might be interesting to think about what that relationship is between crisis and war. >> i think that's a great question. there's a lot more to say about it. i think we might have one more question or maybe we should go with that and talk afterwards. >> i'm susan. i'm from columbia university. my question was about a lot of people have mentioned demographic change. i don't think it's been discussed that much. i was curious about how the demographic changes happening in
>> draw on that question and it probably is. i think we as historians on any number of the kinds of reforms that i just started listing off, i don't think we have looked in a serious way of the consequences of those reforms have been. sgr >> part of that is an attempt to rethink the social con draft. whether it's divorced women or questions of child care or social security and the nationturenation nature of what's included. there's a myriad set of questions that emerge out of whether you want to call them
demographic changes. how is that done? absolutely what comes out the other end i think is less probably a renegotiated social contract than something that is like rights liberalism. you have a certain kind of rights project but a different kind of social provisioning for the most part. >> that question brings us, echoes some of the other questions about the changing
nature of the relationship between citizens and the state. it highlights this tension between changes and political institutions and changes at political economy and society more broadly and perhaps one of the things that compelling about the decade or the period is this parallel of changes. there's this duo set of changes that are happening and the challenge is how to understand and think about those going forward. we are just about out of time. thank you to everybody both in the panel and in the audience.
cities to learn about their history and literary life. this weekend we have partnered with time warner cable for a visit to greensboro, north carolina. >> after months and months of cleaning the house charles halipurn was making one more walk through. in the attic he looked over and saw an envelope with a green seal on it and walked over and noticed the date was an 1832 document. he removed a single nail from a panel in an upstairs attic room and discovered a trunk and books and portraits stuffed up under the eves and this was this treasure of dolly madison's things. we've had this story available to the public displaying different items from time to time but trying to include her life story from her birth to her death in 1849. some of the items that we
currently have on display, a card ivory calling card that has a card enclosed with dolly's signature as well as that of her niece anna. some small cut glass perfume bottles and a pair of silk slippers that have tiny little ribbons that tie across the arch of her foot. the two dresses are the reproductions of a silk peach gown that she wore earliest in life and a red velvet gown which is intrigued that it lasted and was part of this collection and there's also a legend that's now accompanying this dress. >> wamp alltch all of our events from greensboro.