Week 3 and 4: Collective Action

10 February, 2016: collective action paper first draft: marxist-revolution-brazils

Forum: First Required Discussion



  • You are required to post your first posting to provide your own view on the question by 11:59 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3.
  • Then, you are required to respond to the views of your classmates posts at multiple times during the discussion before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5.
  • You have to post your original post before you can see your classmates’ posts.  This is to encourage original thinking rather than good summarizing skills.
  • Your posts will be evaluated based on both substance and on our level of engagement in the discussion. At the end of the discussion, I will email your grade to you along with my comments on your submissions.
  • Emphasize the course material – this isn’t just a casual exchange of opinions.  Civility counts.


Based on the material from this week and Ken Burns presentation, what concepts from Tarrow’s book can you apply to describe and explain what happened with the rise and fall of prohibition? Don’t try to get all possible concepts that you could use from Tarrow.  Chose a smaller number and explain them in narrative form.  You should be shooting for approximately 300 words of well-organized narrative.  Post it on the designated discussion board.  Then, comment on the posts of your classmates.

My post:

Alcoholism was seen as a social problem and Prohibition (prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol) was a seen as a way to “cure” society’s ills by actors such as government officials, interest groups, and public opinion.  Prohibition became law in 1919 and States ratified the law in record time.


During the Prohibition era, a subculture emerge that qualified as contentious collective action.  There was widespread rebellion against Prohibition in the form of speakeasies, clubs where alcohol was sold and drunk.  People came together to challenge authority and break law by drinking, selling, and buying alcohol.  A flapper movement also arose where women were going to speakeasy clubs and drinking and smoking like men; social values such as temperance, restraint, and virtue  were challenged.


Violence such as organized crime became contentious activity as social networks formed and an informal economy arose based around the distribution of alcohol.  Even small actors such as gangsters made an impact on their opponents.


Prohibition was seen as a huge failure given the rate at which everyday people drank.  The buying, selling, and drinking of alcohol became a repertoire of contention such that it was socially acceptable to break the law and drink.  Drinking was viable and became modular as more and more people broke the law so the law eventually was repealed.

Prohibition itself was a movement as it was passed was because a broad wave of people thought it was a solution to a societal problem.  Prohibition failed because of the failure of enforcement of the law and rise of contentious political action.  Alcohol is a learned behavior and rational choice models predict people are motivated by narrow self-interests and drinking alcohol was in their interests.  Prohibition failed because of the massive contentious political behavior.

submitted: thread_-first-discussion-awis-17sp-collective-action




Dan Okrent talked about his book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner, 2010). In the book he explored the politics of how the 18th Amendment was pushed through and divided the country, permanently changing the politics and nature of urban life. Topics included how the speakeasy changed America’s drinking habits and how Prohibition led to organized crime and created a fight that still exists across liberal and conservative lines. Mr. Okrent talked about how Americans drank before, during, and after Prohibition. He responded to questions from members of the audience.

“The Way We Drank,” was a program on May 4, 2010, of the Chicago History Museum’s Prohibition Month.

After watching the lecture and reading the readings, I wanted to add to my earlier discussion and discuss the history of alcohol use, further on the women’s movement, and other variables that might have had an affect on the fall of Prohibition.

In the 1840s, dominant alcohol behavior was the saloon/western subculture where alcohol was drank in high quantities largely because of how dirty the water was.


During this time, there was a women’s suffrage movement; temperance values were stressed and there existed a lack of women’s rights.  Class divide between rich and poor women: poor women not allowed in saloon.

Image result for saloon wench art

During Prohibition, suddenly women were in the bars.  This was an incredible social revolution.  Fun fact: suddenly women needed bathrooms.  The phrase powder room was created because small spaces in bars were sectioned out for women’s usage.


The Fall of Prohibition:


Two possible independent variables for the fall of Prohibition:

  1. The Depression: “The Depression also played a crucial role in undermining elite support for prohibition.” – Levine and Reinarman  (1991)  Alcohol as source of tax revenue during harsh economic times.
  2. Failure to Enforce: too many people disregarded the law or found ways around the law, including domestic and criminal activity and therefore collective social action likely convinced Congress Prohibition was a failure.  “In 1931 the “Wickersham Commission”2 report was delivered to the U.S. Congress. The report concluded that enforcement of the 18th Amendment had broken down. One problem was the difficulty of coordinating state and federal enforcement of the strictures against alcohol.” –   Munger and Schaller (1997)

Prohibition was ended with the 21st Amendment which gives states rights for states to decide legality of alcohol sales and consumption.


Submitted thread_-first-discussion-awis-17sp-collective-action

Week 4

Tarrow, Sidney. 2011. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, third edition.

Chapter 3

  • The role of print and spreading information
  • Books, newspapers, printed songs, and pamphlets
  • Spread of literacy and the rise of popular politics
  • “If reading increased commerce, commerce fed reading (Habermas 1989).” p.59
    • Literacy and the desire to conduct business
  • More than a commodity, print was a form of association
    • A new public forum
  • Newspapers were spread widely
    • Subversive: circulated horizontally
    • Helped to build knowledge of parliament and politics

Associations and Movement Networks

  • “Latent conflicts between ordinary people and their opponents were transposed into pamphlet wars, ribald songs, and scatological cartoons and prints.” p.62
  • “Print and association made it possible for people in widely scattered towns and regions to know of one another’s actions and join across wide social and geographic divides in national social movements. By the twenty-first century, they would routinely cross national frontiers in transnational social movements.” p.63

The Modularity of Association

  • “It was not so much formal organizations, but the informal social networks that lay at their heart, that were the sources of movements.” p.65
  • Informal networks and organizations: important because legislation prohibited discussion of politics in associations

Framing Contention

  • “If print and association were both channels in the development of social movements, in combination they made for an explosive mix in providing the fuel for contention.” p.67
  • Link between print and association

Weak Ties and Strong Movements

  • “While newspapers circulated the idea of movement, movements expanded the market for print, as people tried to share – if only vicariously – in what was happening around them. By their very mastheads, newspapers announced themselves as agents of movement.” p.68


  • “Primary associations and face-to-face contacts provided solidarity for social movements among people who knew and trusted one another.” p.69
  • “But it took the experience of reading the same journals, associating in the same groups, and forming coalitions across class and geographic lines to build the formal connective structures that allowed movements to be diffused to new publics, and the scale of contention to mount from the neighborhood and the locality to the region and the nation.” p.69
  • “But national movements needed more than the “push” provided by print and association. They also needed the pull of solidarities and common targets and a focal point for their claims.” p.70

My summary:

Print played a large role in the spreading of information.  Information was spread in the form of books, newspapers, songs in print, and pamphlets.  The spread of literacy among the populous gave rise to a popular, public discussion of politics.  Newspapers helped to build knowledge of parliament and politics.  Print was more than just spreading information, print became a form of association, the new public forum.  These associations worked as informal networks.  Tarrow writes, “print and association made it possible for people in widely scattered towns and regions to know of one another’s actions and join across wide social and geographic divides in national social movements” (p.63).  These associations became social movements as more and more people became involved in the public discourse of politics.  Newspapers were ways information regarding contentious activity were spread and people were connected and associated together because of the words in print.

Quiz 3

In a couple of well organized paragraphs, explain Nownes and Neeley’s reasons for rejecting the strong version of Walker’s patron theory.

Nownes and Neeley perform and experiment that would conclude, “Can public interest group formation be attributed primarily to the efforts of wealthy patrons?” (p.128).  Nownes and Neeley’s performed their experimental survey and their conclusions lead them to reject Walker’s theory that patrons are an important factor in mobilization theory.  Walker theorized that public interest groups acquire patron support in their early developmental stages while older, more established groups acquire little patron support and that mobilization is dependent on attracting patrons.  He argues the importance of the role of institutions in aiding patrons in their work.  Walker “downplays the role of leadership” accoding to Nownes and Neeley.

Nownes and Neeley conclude Walker’s theory that interest group mobilization forms because of the role of patrons should be rejected because most interest groups in their findings  do not form on the basis of the patron alone.  Walker’s conclusions were that the amount of “seed money” an organization receives directly affects the organization’s success.  Nownes and Neeley conclude that 1) while “seed money” is important, it does not require the help of the patron and that 2) there have been many successful public interest organizations form without placing the crucial role of the patron.

Nownes and Neeley write, “Perhaps we should rethink Jack Walker’s ‘patron-member’ distinction and instead focus on Salisbury’s (1984) ‘institution-individual’ distinction,” (p.142).  Nownes and Neeley argue Salisbury’s institution-individual would be a much better framework to explore how individuals and institutionals engage with rewards and incentives.  They conclude Walker’s theory on the importance of the patron or entrepreneur is a “mistake.”

Tarrow tells us that the growth of media and the experience of reading allowed movements to transcend local boundaries.  Explain his argument in a couple of well-written paragraphs with examples.

Print played a large role in the spreading of information.  Information was spread in the form of books, newspapers, songs in print, pamphlets, and satirical cartoons.  The spread of literacy among the populous gave rise to a popular, public discussion of politics.  Newspapers helped to build knowledge of parliament and politics.  Print was more than just spreading information, print became a form of association, the new public forum.

These associations worked as informal networks.  Tarrow writes, “print and association made it possible for people in widely scattered towns and regions to know of one another’s actions and join across wide social and geographic divides in national social movements” (p.63).  These associations became social movements as more and more people became involved in the public discourse of politics.  Newspapers were ways information regarding contentious activity were spread and people were connected and associated together because of the words and ideas in print.  Associations were informal and there was no membership, but readers of journals and newspapers shared a common identity.

Print became a way for people to spread, networks to form, and associations to be made.  For example, anti-slavery spread across the Atlantic in the form of print; anti-slavery print of the 1780s was available in England and spread across to the industrial sector of Manchester.  This increased the network of the anti-slavery movement.
In France, the Le Chapelier Law passed in 1791 restricted formal networks and associations of people, but through print informal associations were formed.  The French middle-class was able to still communicate through print despite the law outlawing the public discussion of politics.  By the 1830s, formal networks had formed such as cultural and musical groups, sporting associations,and “gentlemen’s clubs.” 
quiz submitted: 171psc53514402

Week 2,3, and 4: Methods of Inquiry

Week 2

Chapter 3

source: Halperin & Heath

To what extent can we separate facts and values in research?  

Positivism holds that facts are distinguishable from values and that science should be ‘value-free’.  Naturalism holds there is no difference between the scientific and social world and therefore should be studying according to scientific principles.

There is  a divide between empirical study, the study of what is, with normative study, the study of what ought to be.

Social science should strive to be value neutral but there will be slight bias in collecting data, in analysis, and in the conclusion.  The research process cannot be devoid of a researcher’s values completely.

Kuhn argued since science is a consensus as well as a process than it must be a social endeavor.  Science is a process of cumulative gradual knowledge acquisition.  Science is the falsification of theories, one theory works until it fails and a new theory arises in its place to correct where the first theory failed.  Science is made up of paradigms or models of theory used to understand the world.  Science is dominated by paradigm or schemes that scholars agree on about objects of investigation and the methods of investigation used.  I think by “box” or conceptual scheme Kuhn means a model.

In Lakatos’ theory, science isn’t a mob psychology but a process by which scholars choose one research programme over another rationally.  Scientific research programs unlike paradigms are based on a hard core of basic assumtions that are scientifically accpected, and an outer layer, the protective belt where theories are sought to be falsified.  Science in Lakatos’ theory holds theories undergo a rigourous and empirical process and if proven false are incrementally modified to the hard core of the theory.

Week 3

31 January 2017

Read Chapter 4 – completed


  1. Why would a methodological individualist object to a hypothesis about government agency actions? 
    1. The methodological individualism branch of research holds that “social concepts should be defined by individuals in their physic and physical states, actions, interactions, social situation, and physical environment,” (Halperin & Heath, p.87) meaning the unit of analysis is the individual and the dependent variable is the behavior of the individual therefore would require a metholodical approach therefore would reject the macro agential approach to government agency theory.  Methodological individualists study causation at the micro level, while government agencies should be studied at the macro level.  Government agency would be a structuralist variable and therefore more likely studied ontologically and epistemologically by a methodological holist.  A methodological individualist would more likely study the outcome behavior of individuals inside the government agency.  To reiterate, a methodological individualist would reject a hypothesis regarding a government agency except if studying an individual in the agency unless adopted a rational choice model where institutions like a government agency may be studying agentially.
  1. In this hypothesis, what are the independent and dependent variables and the units of analysis?
    • Individuals are more likely to pursue short-term goals than long-term goals.
      • The independent variable is the X variable, the variable known to cause the causation affect on the Y variable, or dependent variable.  The relationships may be positive or negative (inverse).
      • In this hypothesis, individuals are the independent variable.  It is unknown whether the individuals will be studied individually (agentially) using a n1, n2… form or whether the individuals will be studied as a group or summation of individuals (collective action).  The dependent variable or outcome variable are the short and long term goals.  The dependent variable may be categorically given two options here.
      • The causal mechanism in the relationship between the individual (independent variable) and outcome short-term and long-term goal (dependent variable) is the degree of interest in pursuing.
      • This is a epistemological question using ontologically gathered variables and given how the individuals variable is measured, it could be a methodolically individualistic hypotheis (n1, n2) or a methodolodically holistic hypothesis (collective behavior of individuals).
      • If I were to pursue an analysis of this hypothesis, I would methodically perform an analysis in which the independent variable: individuals was logically regressed to find the outcome of the short-term long-term goal question.

3.    In this hypothesis, what are the independent and dependent variables and the units of analysis?

  • African-American voters are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than for Republican candidates.

In this hypothesis, there could be two relationships, therefore two independent and two dependent variables.  African-American voters can be measured as individuals (agential) or as a collective (structurally).  African Americans are the independent variable because they are the causes of the outcome.  The outcome or dependent variable is whether or not the candidate voted for a 1) Democratic candidate or if 2) voted for Democratic candidates overall.  To reiterate, independent variable 1 is an African American individual, and independent variable 2 is African Americans as a collective group.  Dependent variable 1 is categorical variable, a vote for or against a single candidate, and dependent variable 2 is an overall record of electing democratic candidates.

This question may both be studying methodically individualist or holistic depending on what variables one chooses.  If choose an micro-level individual African American that would be a methodically individualistic approach versus the alternative: studying African Americans as a macro-level group which is the holistic approach.  The unit of analysis would be the vote itself, the African American individual, and the outcome vote.

Given the independent variable is the individual African American and the dependent variable is a categorical variable with two dimensions: Democrat and Republican, I would preform a logistic regression to test for statistical significance.

One would have to be careful to hear to avoid a common ecological fallacy where assumputions are made on individuals based on aggregate data about individuals.  It would have to be an especially rigorous statistical test, that is if it is an empirical epistomolical question, to prove whether an individual is more likely to vote for a democratic candidate if he or she is African American (if X: being African American -categorical) results in a vote for a Democratic candidate (Y variable). The fallacy would be that one take aggregate data that measures individuals on the macral, collective structural level and assumes it will be able to predict micro agential level behavior.

In this hypothesis, what are the independent and dependent variables and the units of analysis?

  • In elections with two unpopular candidates, voter turnout will be lower than in elections with at least one popular candidate.

If I were to test this hypothesis, the first thing I would do is collect data.  I would find a sample of elections in a state perhaps and given a certain amount of time, then I would find each candidate’s popularity rating.  I would create one set where the elections were held with two unpopular candidates (Set A) and a set where there is atleast one popular candidate (Set B).  This would serve as the independent variables of the analysis.

The next step would be to gather dependent variable data: voter turnout.  I would match each election from Sets A and B and record the magnitude of turnout which would be how many individuals turned out for the election.  This measurement will be the dependent variable.

The results of my hypothetical analysis are found on the table below.  The results show the total number of  votes (my measurement for voter turnout) is the dependent variable.  The stacked barplot shows 3 sets of data totaled to 1905 for Set A and 3548 for Set B.  The independent variable is shown on the X axis, and it is the Sets, and therefore the elections.  The results of the hypothetical analysis shows that Set B (atleast one popular candidate) had the aggregate higher turnout of individuals and therefore not falsyfying the hypothesis.  The observational data (Set A: two unpopular candidates) showed a lower turnout (less aggregate votes) than Set B (one popular candidate) as the hypothesis guessed.  The expected data matched with the observational data therefore not proving this theory as falsified.

The units of analysis would be the elections: the candidates, the outcome of the election, as well as the individuals who turned out to vote.  The aggregate sum of the total number of individuals is not a unit of analysis but an aggregate summation of individual units.

Because I use a bar plot with the aggregate sets on the X axis and the total number of voters on the Y axis, this analysis is special because it is:

  1. An example of positivism where the social world is being studied like the natural world using statistical methods.
  2. An example of naturalism such that there is no distinction from the natural and social world
  3. empirical: using observations (results of an election is in quantifiable)
  4.  This hypothesis gives no causal mechanism for the relationship between the independent and dependent variables so no causal inference is made.
  5. An example of methodolical holism because voter turnout is measure as a collective macro agent rather than micro agent and elections are measured in a structural outcome.  Therefore, this knowledge is structural epistemology.
Election Voter Turnout
Set A1 543
       A2 654
       A3 323
       A4 NA
Set B1 786
       B2 564
       B3 433
       B4 NA


Submitted: 17sp-methods-of-inquiry and take-test_-quiz-2-17sp-methods-of-inquiry

Week 4

Lecture for the Week of February 7

The lecture item for this week is a video I want you to watch of Professor Katherine Cramer doing a presentation on her research on rural political resentment in Wisconsin. While you are watching this, pay attention to her main concepts, theory and hypotheses and research methods. The second short writing assignment asks you to describe her theory, concepts and hypotheses. In a later assignment, you will be asked about her research methods.

Here is the link: https://www.c-span.org/video/?416995-7/katherine-cramer-discusses-politics-resentment

In Blackboard, it usually works best to copy the link and paste it into a new page rather than click on it.

After you have listened to Professor Cramer’s presentation (see Lecture for Feb. 7), write a one-page description of Professor Cramer’s theory, her major concepts and the general hypotheses that made up her research. Your description should be written in narrative form rather than list form.  Put it in a document and email it to me before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 12.  (I know an earlier version of the assignment schedule said to post it. Don’t – email it please.)


The Politics of Resentment Professor Katherine Cramer talked about her book The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker, in which she examines voter distrust. She spoke at the 2016 Wisconsin Book Festival, held at the Central Branch of the Madison Public Library.

Submitted: .pdf available here: 2ndshortassignment_awis-5

Week 2: Collective Action

source: Tarrow, Sidney. 2011. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, third edition.


Chapter 1

When such contention spreads across an entire society – as it sometimes does – we see a cycle of contention. When such a cycle is organized around opposed or multiple sovereignties, the outcome is a revolution.

The solutions to the problem of mobilizing people into campaigns and coalitions
of collective action depend on shared understandings, social networks,
and connective structures and the use of culturally resonant forms of action.

Marx and Engels: People will engage in collective action, they thought, when their
social class comes into fully developed contradiction with its antagonists.

To Lenin, it seemed that organization was the solution to the collective action problem of the working class.

For Gramsci, it would be necessary to develop the workers’ own consciousness, and he
therefore conceived of the workers’ movement as a “collective intellectual,” one of whose prime tasks was to create a working-class culture.

Grievances and Collective Behavior Theory

  • Collective behavior theory posited that movements were little more than the most well-organized and most self-conscious part of an archipelago of “emergent” phenomena, ranging from fads and rumors, to collective enthusiasms, riots, movements, and revolutions.

Rational Choice and Resource Mobilization

  • In the traces of microeconomics, for many scholars the problem for collective action came to be seen not as how classes struggle and states rule, but as how collective action is even possible among individuals guided by narrow economic self-interest.

Cultures of Contention

  • Thompson invented the culturally enriched concept of “the moral economy” to indicate that people do not revolt in mechanical response to grievances, but only when such grievances are empowered by a sense of injustice.

Contentious politics is produced when threats are experienced and opportunities
are perceived, when the existence of available allies is demonstrated, and
when the vulnerability of opponents is exposed.

Chapter 2

Repertoire of Contention: “the ways that people act together in pursuit of shared interests”

  • learned behaviors of contention; sit-ins, protests, strikes, modern behaviors versus public meetings, petitions, arson, earlier: food riots
  • Tilly argued the behavior needed to be understood by others as contentious action
  • violence as a means of contention
  • “collective bargaining by riot”
  • failed to form a rebellion
    • “small in scale, leaderless, and carried on by unarmed men, women and children, the food riot rarely consolidated into a larger rebellion”

It was only when religious fervor joined with peasant revolt, dynastic ambition, or interstate conflict that rebels against religion gained access to tools that began to resemble the modern social movement.

Peasant revolts

Death as a form of collective action; the funeral: institutionalized, ceremony, solidarity

Demanding bread, asserting belief, claiming land, and mobilizing around
death – in all four areas of contention, collective action was violent and direct,
brief, specific, and parochial.

Boycott and early American colonists; mass petitioning in England; barricades in France

Innovation and Counter-innovation

  • The evolution of the barricade brings us to a strangely under-researched issue
    in the study of contentious politics: the relationship between innovations in
    the repertoire and changes in the strategies of repression.


Lecture Notes

  • social movements with single-issue goals
  • relationship between elite and mass political behavior
  • single-issue: “any issue that generates a significant amount of single-minded behavior among some public, where singly-minded behavior is described as the willingness of an individual to allow one issue to guide his or her participation in politics.”
  • issue framing: referential symbols refer to issue and define them in concrete terms
    • condensational symbols used to describe in emotionally charges terms
  • symbols focus on community, social norms, formal roles and organizations, and situational settings

‘Repertoires of Contention,” which he adopted from Charles Tilly who defined them as, “The ways that people act together in pursuit of shared interests.” Tarrow adds to Tilly’s definition saying, “The repertoire involves not only what people do when they are
engaged in conflict with others but what they know how to do and what others expect them to do.”

political culture as the shared values of a society about phenomena that make up the political world and about what makes something part of the political world rather than the private sphere.

  • Part of every society’s political culture is a set of beliefs about what are and are not appropriate modes of political action within their system. In American political culture, voting, campaigning, even nonviolent protesting are all legitimate modes of political action. Violent protests, property damage or assaults on persons are considered illegitimate modes of political action.


Quiz 2

Explain the distinction between hard issue voting and easy issue voting. Why is it important to an understanding of social movements?

With “hard issue” voters, voting is a very rational process.  Voters research information on the candidates, and their positions on policy issues.  Hard issue voters calculate the costs and benefits of voting and vote in their best interests.  Hard issue voters are more informed and engaged with the political process in general.

Easy issue voters vote based on emotion rather than rationality.  These voters tend to vote with their “gut” reactions rather than calculated choice.  Easy issue voters are mobilized from emotional responses to policy and politicians and focus on their ideologies rather than an informed decision.

The two types of voters, hard issue and easy issue, are important concepts for social movements because they impact an individual’s behavior and whether or not one would decide to pursue action in the form of mobilization or collective action.  While a vote is a vote, and as Conover agrees single issue voters might be rational, contentious political action is not rational such that there is no utility in contention.  Because of time, resources, and the costs of violence, contention is not a rational decision to make.  Collective action activists are likely to be easy issue voters such that they react using emotional symbols rather than rational decision making.  Easy issue voters are more likely to engage in collective action because of emotional reasons because of their emotional response to grievances.  In contentious scenarios, the costs outweigh the benefits therefore the action of contentious collective action is an irrational one.

Tarrow defines repertoires of contention. What does he mean by that term? Provide an example from modern politics that isn’t an example Tarrow provided.

Tilly defined Repertoires of Contention as “ways that people act together in pursuit of shared interests”, and Tarrow adds that it “involves not only what poeple do when they are engaged in conflict with others buy what they know how to do and what others expect them to do.”

Repertoires of Contention are learned behaviors that evolve over time.  For example, Tilly explained the evolution of first riots, public meetings, arson as early forms of contention and later evolved to sit-ins, protests, and strikes as more modern behaviors.  Whatever the behavior, it had to be understood as contentious by others such that contentious symbols would be recognized.  If the acts failed to communicate contention they would have no affect.  Any behavior that could be understood by other as contentious would serve the purpose of collective action as long as the individuals had the network and the organization to produce the behavior and the behavior was understood.

Modern forms of contention might hactivism.  Hactivism is defined as any activity where illegal computer programming is used to promote a social or political agenda.  Modern hactivist break into computer systems illegally and gain information and trade as a form of bargaining or are used in massive black out protests where an entity would be denied access to their own computer systems much like a massive sit-in only using a computer network.  Modern hacktivist have learned their own repertoire of contention such that behaviors have evolved to include modern day technology.  Hacktivists incorporate computers in their repertoire and it has been proven to be a very powerful tool against elites and authority.

Quiz submitted: 17sp-collective-action

Week 1: Research Methods

Lecture: “quantitative and qualitative techniques for obtaining and organizing information. Lays a foundation for both academic and practical investigation questions that students will encounter throughout their careers in the field while conducting and evaluating research.”

Halperin and Heath tell us early on that their book “is concerned with how to formulate questions that are significant and how to develop meaningful and persuasive answers to them.” (p. 3)

source: Halperin & Heath, Chapter 1, Political Research and Chapter 2, Forms of Knowledge

Chapter 1

Approach to political research based on three positions:

  1. pluralism: qualitative and exploratory work; quantitative and comparative work
  2. problem-driven: what research question is being investigated
  3. relevance to important questions or policy issues

significant question: one that is ‘directly relevant to solving real-world problems and furthering the goals of a specific scientific literature.’

  • generate valuable knowledge about questions addressed
  • author makes clear and coherent argument about the conclusions they’ve reached

There is a tendency to separate real-world issues and normative issues and study of political ‘ideas and values’ as involving separate areas of research

Politics and international relations both concerned with nature of states, political systems, development, conflict, ideology, social movements, geopolitics, nationalism, political participation, and political philosophy.

Empirical: answers questions about real world

Normative: argue value systems over another; why one argument is more meaningful than another

Positivism: scientific knowledge of the social world is limited to what can be observed; empirical data, causal relationships

  1. scientific method
  2. observational data
  3. distinct facts and values

Interpretivism: knowledge of the social world gained through interpreting the meanings which give people reasons for acting; understanding human behavior

Quantitative research is statistical; qualitative is descriptive.

ontology and epistemology: questions about the complexities and ambiguities of knowing and gaining knowledge of the social world

methodological individualism: argues individuals are basic units in society and social life must be explained through actions of individuals

methodological holism: ‘social wholes’ as the basic unit of analysis, understood as distinct from it’s parts

Debate about the relationships between agents (actors) and structures which shape their actions

Descriptive questions: describe characteristics of something or model how it works

Explanatory questions: explain what factors or conditions are causally connected to a known outcome

Normative questions: what ought to be done

Hypothesis: in quantitative research, it is a prediction.  It may be described as a ‘haunch, assumption, suspicion, assertion or idea about a phenomenon, relationship, situation’

Research design: plan for research

  1. what observations to make and how to make them
  2. what test of evidence will confirm or disconfirm hypothesis
  3. data relevant to demonstrating the relationships and how will collect them
  4. Procedures and methods

Data collection and data analysis: experiments, interviews or focus groups, participant observation, or collective archival data or documentary records such as speeches, policy documents, or media reports.

Validity of measurement: description and detail; validity of inference: explanation and generalization


Chapter 2

Ontology is concerned with what is.  Epistemology is concerned with what is knowable, and methodology is concerned with how we obtain knowledge.


  • behavioralism application of positivism and empiricism
    • focused on behavior of individuals or parties, classes, interest groups, governments, and social movements
    • what political actors do and why
    • based on empirical observation, testing evidence, and causal determination
  • applying methods found in natural sciences
  • naturalism: no difference between scientific and social world
  • empiricism: what we know is limited to what we can observe
  • world is regular, systematic, and law governed
  • induction: means of reasoning with observations
    • gathering of facts as basis for laws
  • causation, X precedes Y
  • scientific method
  • Logical Positivism: logical reasoning and mathematics
  • Deduction: drawing implications from theory
  • Verifiability: basis for establishing truth claims
  • Falsifiability: anything non-falsifiable is outside science, requires ability to be falsified
  • Deductive-nomological model: logical and contains at least one law

Scientific realism: accepts the social and physical worlds are both similar, but holds realism such that the world operates independently from those around it; committed to identifying unobservable structures that work to generate observable outcomes

Causal mechanism: ‘series of events governed by lawlike regularities’

Inference: reasoning involved in the process of drawing conclusions based on facts or premises

Abduction: starts with a hunch that facts are connected in some way; can be confirmed with induction and deduction

Interpretivism: social world is fundamentally different from world of natural phenomena, and can’t explain it using methods used in the natural world


Quiz 1

Explain in your own words the distinction Halperin and Heath draw between positivism and scientific realism.  An adequately developed answer should contain a definition of each concept and a explanation of the important distinctions between the two.

Positivism asserts that scientific knowledge of the social world is limited to what can be observed and is based on empirical data and causal relationships.  Positivism incorporates the scientific method process and uses distinct facts and values acquired from observations of the natural world.  Positivism in an ontological sense, that is, nature of the physical world, accepts that the social world is no different than the natural world such that phenomena act according to causality.  Positivism often incorporates behavioralism such that the behaviors of individuals and actors are studied meticulously.  Behavioralism involves collecting observations and testing.

Positivist studies use scientific method reasoning such that a process of data collecting, hypothesis testing, and conclusions are drawn from the observed results of analysis.  Positivist scholars argue what can be known is limited to observations and that without rigorous testing using the lawlike scientific method, conclusions about the physical or social world cannot be drawn.  Positivism uses statistical methodology.

Scientific Realism takes on a naturalist ontology such that the social world is separate from our behavior and exists independently from it.  Scientific Realism accepts the social and physical worlds are both similar, but maintains a realist perspective such that the world operates as a isolated entity.  Scientific Realists are concerned with unobservable phenomena such that unobservable agents might have a causal affect and generate an outcome.

Scientific Realism unlike Positivism uses theories to explain the natural and social world, such that unobservable entities can be examined indirectly.  Positive holds the opposite such that only through observation can outcomes be examined.  Scientific Realists use logic and deductive means to analyze phenomena.  Both Scientific Realism and Positivism use  the scientific method however while Positives draw conclusions based only on observable data, Scientific Realists draw conclusions based on theories and indirect methods.

On pages 44-46, Halperin and Heath present analyses of ethnic conflict from a positivist perspective and from an interpretivist perspective.  What are the major differences in the questions each approach asks about ethnic conflict? What are the major differences in the results each approach comes up with?

The Positivist or Rational Choice approach to ethnic conflict in Yugoslavia would be to analyzse actors or agents and determine what strategies the actor would use and what would be the resulting outcome.  The approach holds actors and agent’s behavior is observable and therefore an outcome may be predicted to a certain degree; this is a type of game theory.

When applied to ethnic conflict, Rational Choice scholars have asked what outcomes (what behavior an actor or agent would appear to make) given certain conditions with a given level of uncertainty.  What moves would the actor or agent make given a situation and under certain conditions?  For example, to explain rapid polarization or ethnic groups in Croatia following independence, behavior models can be used to calculate what scenarios lead to the outcome, in this case, polarization.  Scholars model behavior then use deduction to find what scenarios and conditions fit with the model of behavior.

An interpretivist position, unlike the rational choice model, analyzes the behavior of individuals and what conditions the individual would be under to form the outcome of behavior.  In the case Yugoslavian crisis, scholars might argue how ethnic identity would affect behavior studying the means to why a crisis would occur.  Interpretivists use a model of ontology that argues the social world is not like natural phenomena but that the world is subjectively created by individuals; scholars discuss how cognitive features such as subjective perspectives influence outcomes of agent or actor behavior.  Interpretivists, unlike Positivist or rational choice scholars, do not seek causality or causal influences but argue studying the individual or personal mechanisms for behavior as a way of seeking truth.

submitted quiz 22 January: 171psc53514402

Communist Revolution During Brazil’s Military Dictatorship

.pdf available here: dominiqueawis-4

thread: thread_-communist-rebellion-during-brazils-military



1 Military Takeover
1.1 The Fall of João Goulart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2 Coup D’état . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.3 Military Dictatorship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 Agents
2.1 Agent Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 Pro-Dictatorship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 Anti-Dictatorship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 Birth of a Momement
3.1 Communist Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 Revolutionary Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3 Funding the Revolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 Interaction
4.1 Kidnapping of Ambassadors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2 Bargaining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3 Asylum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5 Revolution
5.1 Rise of Communist Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2 Turmoil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3 The Fall of the Military Dictatorship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1 Military Takeover

1.1 The Fall of João Goulart

João (Jango) Belchior Marques Goulart was installed as head of the Labor Party in Brazil in 1952. He was a fellow gaúcho and close friend to the former labor movement’s leader Getúlio Dornelles Vargas. [1] The Labor Party, or PTB, as it was known, was loyal to Vargas’ Estado Novo, “socialist democracy” state. [1] The initial goal in the group’s formation was to organize a group loyal to Vargas’ era. [2]

The Labor Party was formed in 1945 and is an institutional organization made up of individuals that have a common goal and interests. The Labor Party was a working class movement such that the individuals share the common interest of worker’s rights and benefits. [2]. The Labor Party mobilized workers, distributed patronage, acted in opposition to its enemies, and rewarded loyalists by creating jobs. [1] Many of the PTB were known as trabalhistas or Communist union leaders. [2] The PTB organized strike movements and work stoppages. [2]


[1]    Levine, Robert M. (1998) Father of The Poor. Cambridge University Press.

[2]    Fausto, Boris. (1999) A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge University Press.


Brazilian Labour Party (historical)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with its successor, the current Brazilian Labour Party, or with the unrelated Labour Party of Brazil or the Workers’ Party.
Brazilian Labour Party
Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro
Leader Getúlio Vargas
Founded 1945
Dissolved 1965
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
Colours Black, White, & Red

The Brazilian Labour Party (Portuguese: Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, PTB) was a center-leftpopulistpolitical party in Brazil founded in 1945 by supporters of PresidentGetúlio Vargas. It was dismantled by the military after 1964 coup d’état.


The party was founded by followers of President Getúlio Vargas on May 15, 1945, during the final days of his Estado Novo dictatorship. It grew rapidly in the shadow of Vargas, the most important Brazilian politician of the early to mid-20th century. Its main goal was to prevent a growth of Communist Party membership among urban workers.[1]

PTB’s support came from the trade unions controlled by the Ministry of Labour, and its trump card was the prestige of Getúlio Vargas, its honorary chairman, which introduced social and labor legislation in the country.[1] From 1945 to 1962, PTB was the third force in Brazilian politics, after the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the National Democratic Union (UDN), but it became more popular than the UDN in the 1962 Congressional elections. In 1950, Vargas was elected to a second term through PTB. Vargas committed suicide in 1954, and his heir João Goulart became the central figure in the party along with the populistLeonel Brizola.

Since the party was a close ally of PSD, also founded by supporters of the late Vargas, it remained in power when Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira was elected President in 1955. Goulart was elected Vice President in 1955 and 1960, becoming President in 1961 with the resignation of Jânio Quadros. PTB was in power again, but Goulart was overthrown by a military-led coup d’état in 1964. Various PTB figures were removed from the National Congress, and all political parties, including PTB, were dissolved on October 27, 1965.[1] Nearly all of the party merged with the bulk of the PSD to form the Brazilian Democratic Movement, the only opposition party permitted for the first decade of the military dictatorship.

A new PTB, this time a center-right party, was established by Ivete Vargas, Getúlio’s niece, in 1980, with the end of the artificial two-party system imposed by the military regime.[1] Brizola led the majority of the PTB’s former followers into the Democratic Labour Party.[2]





João (Jango) Belchior Marques Goulart was installed as head of the Labor Party in Brazil in 1952. He was a fellow gaúcho and close friend to the former labor movement’s leader Getúlio Dornelles Vargas. \cite{Levine1} The Labor Party, Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, or PTB, as it was known, was loyal to Vargas’ Estado Novo, “socialist democracy” state. \cite{Levine1} The initial goal in the group’s formation was to organize a group of working class citizens who would be loyal to Vargas’ regime. \cite{Fausto1} The group was not a Communist group was created to avoid a Communist takeover of the state.

The PTB was formed in 1945 and is an institutional organization made up of individuals that have a common goal and interests. The goals of the PTB was social democracy under the theory of capitalism. The PTB was a working class movement such that the individuals share the common interest of worker’s rights and benefits under the exploitative conditions of capitalism. \cite{Fausto1}. Worker’s parties bargained for higher wages and less hours.

The Labor Party was a decision-making organization that participated in the policy process. Labor Party mobilized workers, distributed patronage, acted in opposition to its enemies, and rewarded loyalists by creating jobs. \cite{Levine1} Many of the PTB were known as textit{trabalhistas} or Communist union leaders. \cite{Fausto1} Unions were very powerful during this period. The PTB organized strike movements and work stoppages. \cite{Fausto1} Strikes and worker stoppages are forms of bargaining with elites and authority. The strikes and stoppages were often successful. In 1958 there was a recorded 31 strikes. \cite{Fausto1}

Goulart later became president of Brazil in 1961 after Vargas’ term despite opposition from the Brazilian military. \cite{Brit1} Goulart installed new reforms in purpose to curb the social pressure of workers and groups such as agrarian reform and urban reform. Agrarian reform was enacted in purpose to settle disputes over land while urban reform allowed tenants to remain in their homes. \cite{Fausto1} Additionally, the Goulart Administration focused on more nationalistic framework such that government would take a stronger position in economic matters to curb the social problems caused from economic policies. \cite{Fausto1} These reforms were supported by the educated middle class of Brazil. \cite{Fausto1}

The Brazilian government was facing greater public crisis during this period. Economic conditions were driving individuals to unionize causing them to mobilize. Worker’s strikes continued up to 172 in 1963. \cite{Fausto1} Mobilizations occurred both from agrarian and urban groups. \cite{Fausto1} This pressured the government on the social front. With growing public and private sector mobilization, the government face continuing crisis. On the agrarian front, landowners were beginning to take up arms afraid of government seizures. \cite{Fausto1}

During this period, anti-Goulart sentiment was growing in the Brazilian military along with other supporters against Goulart’s measures. \cite{Fausto1} There was a revolt within the military in 1963 which was a crisis for Goulart’s regime. \cite{Fausto1} The military was growing in number against Goulart and his reforms. The military thought Goulart was Communistic in principle. The military overthrew Goulart in an act to “free the country from corruption and Communism and to restore democracy.” \cite{Fausto1}

\section{Military Dictatorship}

News of the military dictatorship hit the US. In an article in the New York Times tells, “the military regime has installed a censorship of the press, made thousands of arrests and dismissed many Deputies without trial…[Brazil] is committed to ‘a real revolution’ and may therefore have the wisdom to make the social and economic reforms…as a preliminary to the restoration of democracy.” \cite{NYT1} The article claimed the Goulart regime was dangerous and cited the government was “bolshevizing the nation.” \cite{NYT1} Proponents of Brazil’s military viewed the coup as saving the country from Communism.

The were several government raids on suspected Communist groups. One American news report told of the raids in the state of Guanabara were Communist propaganda was seized, more than 3,000 people were arrested, and there was over 900 raids. \cite{NYT2}. Another article told how the government would begin “decommunization” measures to oust any members of government or military who was a Communist sympathizer. \cite{NYT3} The articles were framed as supportive of the military coup.

The military broadened the powers of the president citing frames of national security and nationalism. Upon expanding the power of the president, the new military regime abolished all political parties including the PTB Labor Party. \cite{Fausto1} The new regime also censored the media such to anger the Brazilian intelligentsia but gained the media support of Globo Network. \cite{Ribke1}

Social mobilization was very strong at this point. In 1968 following a crisis of the death of a student at the hands of the military police, there were massive demonstrations in Brazil; the massive demonstrations were massive protests and the beginnings of contentious collective action against the new Brazilian government. \cite{Fausto1} There were violence and clashes with police as the mobilization against the government grew. \cite{Fausto1} Many students, representatives of churches, and middle class people took part in the demonstrations. \cite{Fausto1} There was an increase in the participation of doctors, lawyers, senior civil servants, merchants, and businessmen. \cite{Skidmore1}

Week 1: Collective Action

Source: Tarrow, Sidney. 2011. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, third edition.  

Social Movements and Contentious Politics (2011)

Preface and Introduction 


  • scholars questioned separation of social movements studies from other studies of contention (McAdam et al. 2001)
  • neo-liberalism
  • 1990s question violent social movements
  • post-1989 governments in East Central Europe shifted away from neo-liberalism (Washington Consensus)
  • contention and dramatic increase of “non-governmental organizations” in global South
  • “contentious collective action”- study of peasant jacqueries, bread riots and grain seizures, slave revolts, ‘rough music’, eighteenth and nineteenth century democratic societies, urban uprisings, artisan blacklists and workshop turnouts, and revolutionary sects
  • “transnational contention” and the internet


Contentious politics — what happens when collective actors join forces in confrontation with elites, authorities, and opponents around their claims or the claims of those they claim to represent

On the issue of Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla:

  1. range of actors goes beyond traditional “social movements” by including states Israel and Turkey as well as Hamas,  pro-Palestinian NGOs, Israeli voters, European Union, and global public opinion
  2. under certain conditions, even small and temporary groups of collective actors can have an affect on powerful states
  3. political opportunities and threats: opens windows to contention such that protesters of the Israeli raid were met with opposition to Israeli rightwing forces
  4. must understand contentious and institutional politics including electoral politics such that one actor may cause another to mobilize 
  5. “modular performances and repertoires” of collective action: understanding modularity forms of contention and their diffusion such as how the boycott’s effectiveness was “learned”; once contention is viewed as viable, it diffuses and becomes modular
  6. importance of transnational networking and mobilization: including the internet, activists come from around the world
  7. “social movement repertoire” and “social movement society”: transgressive (involving a violation of accepted or imposed boundaries, especially those of social acceptability) politics and implications for civil politics

So far I’ve learned that contentious politics is any political struggle usually where the elite or authority is challenged.  I’ve learned the actors may be individuals, elites, or NGOs, etc, agents of all types.  There are agents working against each other and one agent might mobilize another agent on the same or opposing sides.  The internet is also an interesting source for contention because it is global; global networks also a factor in contentious actors.   Boycotts for example are modular, such that after a tactic is shown to work it may be implemented in separate contentious battles.  Civil society is also a factor in what behaviors social movements and contentious politics may take on.

Social movements and contentious politics

  • movements with ordinary people: Civil rights movement, the peace, environmental, and feminist movements, revolts against authoritarianism in Europe and the Third World, and rise of new Islamist movements
  • “social movement”: contentious politics based on social networks, on resonant collective action frames

Contentious Collective Action

  • “contentious collective action”: base of all social movements: protests, rebellions, riots, strike waves, and revolutions
  • can take many forms: brief or sustained, institutionalized or disruptive, humdrum or dramatic
  • collective action becomes contentious when it is used by people who lack representative institutions or formal channels, who act in new claims, and act in challenging ways
  • recourse ordinary people take against elites and authority
  • aggregating people from different backgrounds into collective group, drawing on social networks and common purpose, connective structures to form collective action


Basic Properties of Movements


  • emergence of social movement in 18th century
  • French Revolution and 19th century industrialism
  • 19th and 20th century Social Democratic and Labor Parties against facism, German Nazism, and Soviet Stalinism: violence and extremism
  • ethnic and national tensions after 1989-1992 fall of Communism

Result in extremism, violence, and deprivation (clashes with authorities, police)


social movements: collective challenges, based on common purpose or social solidarities, in sustained actions with elites, opponents, and authorities

  1. collective challenge
        • protest slogans, forms of dress or music, graffiti, new symbolism
        • words, forms of dress or address, private behaviorContentious collective challenges are disruptive to elites, authorities, and other groups and are marked by obstructing or interrupting actions of others.
      1. Movements — “selective incentives” to members, building consensus among prospective supporters, lobbying or negotiating with authorities, and challenging cultural codes with religious or personal practices
        • increase of interests groups in contentious politics
        • movement leaders and their participation in institutions
        • lack stable resources like money, organization, access to the state that interest groups have
        • movements only control contention


      1. become focal point of supporters
      2. gain attention of opponents and third parties
      3. create constituencies to represent
  2. common purpose
    1. people mount together to challenge authorities, opponents, or elites
      1. may arise out of class interests
      2. overlapping interests or values basis of common action
    2. takes common purpose to spur people to take on risks of mobilization
  3. social solidarity
    1. realization of common social interest spurs group into action
    2. mobilization consensus among group
    3. feelings of solidarity and identity
    4. often classist
  4. sustained interaction or contention
    1. common purposes, collective identities, and identifiable challenges help contentious politics form social movements
    2. individuals in groups perceive constraints and this mobilizes to action

Movements are a type of contentious collective action made when a network of individuals gather for a common purpose with common interests (common goal) organizes and mobilize to challenge opponents, elites, and authority.  Movements lack the funding and organization that interest groups have.  Mobilization is risky and it often involves violence or deprivation.  Individuals in movements share common interests such that classism may be a factor.  Many factors influence why movements start as individuals and grow to be movements where individuals are mobilized into action.  Actors and groups may have an effect in challenging authority despite the size of the agent.  Smaller actors have proven to have an effect on the actions of opponents, elites, and authority.

Lecture notes:

  • “This course will explore the literature regarding collective action by socially, economically and politically subordinate groups within nations and in a transnational context.”
  • “Ordinary people often try to exert power by contentious means against national states or opponents. . . . They often succeed, even when they failed, their actions set in motion important political cultural and international changes.” (p. 31)
  • We are going to examine four categories of social movements using the theoretical framework articulated by Dr. Tarrow
    1. understand how social movements begin and evolve
    2. how influenced by culture
    3. what factors influence success in movements achieving their goals
  • Prohibition: an example of a social movement acting within the constraints of the existing political system that was at first successful but then failed in the long term
  • MADD: an example of a successful social movement acting within the constraints of the existing political system
  • Easter Rebellion: 
    1. in the short term unsuccessful in its attempt to supplant the existing government
    2. the second campaign for Irish Independence that took place in the early 1920s
      that was partially successful

Prohibition, Civility, and Political Discourse lecture



  • demonization of minorities and immigrants
  • loss of civility
  • role of government and relationship to citizens
  • warrantless wiretaps
  • feminist movement

18th Amendment: The Eighteenth Amendment (Amendment XVIII) of the United States Constitution effectively established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States by declaring the production, transport, and sale of alcohol (though not the consumption or private possession) illegal.  Only amendment that curtailed rights.


  • Alcohol as a social problem
  • Anti-Saloon League: interest group
    • From 1893 to 1933, the AntiSaloon League was a major force in American politics. Influencing the United States through lobbying and the printed word, it turned a moral crusade against the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol into the Prohibition Amendment to the United States Constitution.
    • Goal: eliminate alcohol
    • Anti-licor propaganda
  • Prohibition became a way to solve society’s ills and was bipartisan.  Industry and labor groups were for prohibition.  NAACP was for prohibition.  Local movements.
  • 16th Amendment: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
    • redistributing wealth
    • income tax on alcohol
    • WWI: German beer and treason; Anti-Saloon League and Government anti-alcohol propaganda
      • renamed sour kraut liberty cabbage
  • Passed prohibition amendment
    • “city on the hill” passsing amendment would cure social ills
    • states ratified in record time
    • 1919 Amendment became law

Temperance: restrait, virtue; gave women vote, vote against alcohol566213e3210000c9005ac5d7

Gangsters, flapppers, danger, Al Capone, ordinary citizens broke the law, doctors, lawyers, lobbyists all breaking the law.  Organized crime and prohibition, female alcoholism.

Loss of civil discourse

  • democracy is politics of half-loaf; never get it all.
  • demonization of recent immigrants
  • generous and greedy, sincere and hypocritical, Saturday night and Sunday morning


Burns is cautious of issues that promise “city on the hill” such to be cautious of societal cures.  Alcohol was a huge social problem in 1920 when Prohibition went into affect.  Prohibition was passed was because a broad wave of people thought Prohibition was a solution to a societal problem.  Not left or right issue, but human, societal issue.

Parallels with marijuana and prohibition

  • marijuana largest cash crop, in difficult economic times look for potential of revenue, violence in distribution
  • alcohol is accepted in most societies historically
  • marijuana is not universally socially acceptable
  • violence because connected to cocaine and heroine trade
    • majority of Americans disapprove of above


Quiz Responses week-1-quiz

Explain in narrative form, in your own words, the lessons Tarrow draws from the Gaza Blocade.

Tarrow draws many lessons from the Gaza Blockade.  First, there are many actors or agents involved in the movement such as states Israel and Turkey as well as Hamas, pro-Palestinian NGOs, Israeli voters, the European Union, and global public opinion must also be considered.  As we have learned from individual activists in the movement, even small actors may have an effect on elites, authorities, and opponents of the actor’s goal and interests; protesters of the Israeli raid clashed with Israeli rightwing forces and had an effect.  Israeli protests caused right wing to mobilize as retaliative action.

Activists used the internet as a transnational contentious action and encouraged boycott of Israel products and services.  Boycotts have become a form of learned behavior learned and used in the civil social network of Pro-Gaza activists.  Activists come from around the world.  Boycotts and protests have become a form of civil politics.

Movements are a type of contentious collective action made when a network of individuals gather for a common purpose with common interests (common goal) organizes and mobilize to challenge opponents, elites, and authority.  Movements lack the funding and organization that interest groups have.  Mobilization is risky and it often involves violence or deprivation.

In the case with Gaza, the common purpose of the activists are the treatment of Gaza citizens, how the blockade affects the economy and living conditions of the Gazans.  The activists goal is for Palestinian autonomy and activits will challenge Israeli elites, authorities, and Anti-Gazan groups.

Individuals in movements share common interests such that classism may be a factor.  Many factors influence why movements start as individuals and grow to be movements where individuals are mobilized into action.  Actors and groups may have an effect in challenging authority despite the size of the agent.  Smaller actors have proven to have an effect on the actions of opponents, elites, and authority.

Since Pro-Gazan activists come from around the world, it is hard to distinguish what common factors bind them since it is not stemming from classism.  It could come from a stance on the universality of human rights, and activists collectively assembling.  There could also be influence from NGOs and interest groups.  There is also backlash against the boycott movement as opponents of the boycott movement and Pro-Israeli agents and actors will argue the boycott movement is anti-Israel and anti-semetic.

Explain in your own words the lessons about single issue politics Ken Burns says we can draw from studying Prohibition.

Burns explains Prohibition can be explained through theory about single issue politics.  Alcoholism was seen as a societal problem and Prohibition was seen as the “cure” or solution to the societal problem.  Democratic and Republican lawmakers, industry leaders, interest groups and labor unions all agreed restricting alcohol sales and consumption would solve society’s problems of alcoholism, crime, and unemployment.

Burns discusses how alcohol, unlike marijuana, for example has been widely accepted throughout history and it is hard to break human habits.  Prohibition was a time when even professionals broke the law by purchasing and consuming alcohol; purchasing and consuming alcohol was an illegal and therefore rebellious act.  Speakeasies were places where alcohol was sold, purchased, and consumed and speakeasies were places of contention based on breaking the law.

Due to the illegality of alcohol after the passing of the 18th amendment in 1919, the sale and distribution of alcohol became and informal economic activity which brought violence due to the clash with authorities, opponents, and elites who were against the underground alcohol trade.  Infamous gangsters as depicted in popular culture were alcohol producers, smugglers, and sellers.

Burns makes the argument that the 18th Amendment was the only amendment that restricted rather than granted rights.  Burns is cautious of restrictions of rights, especially alcohol because it is universally socially accepted activity humans have been doing throughout history for thousands of years.  Burns criticizes “cures” to social problems because no one solution will create the “city on the hill” society.  Society will always have issues and Prohibition didn’t cure societies problems but left a vacuum for the informal economy and contentious politics to enter the frame.

While Burns is critical of applying cures such as right’s restrictions to solve societal problem like alcoholism, he fails to apply the same single issue political discourse to the marijuana debate.  Burns agrees revenue is a societal problem and legalizing marijuana is a way to generate revenue, and acknowledges the crime that the illegal marijuana trade brings.  Burns however fails to approach the lessons marijuana legalization can borrow from the Prohibition era such that legalizing marijuana will keep citizens from breaking the law as well as ending the informal economic market.  Marijuana is an illegal good and therefore ending the illegality will reduce rebellion from widespread usage and the violence and deprivation that are attributed to crime.

Submitted quiz: 10:00 PM 171psc53514402

Paper project:

“Post your proposed movement topic along with the citations for the 10 scholarly sources to the Discussion Forum on our Blackboard site by midnight on Sunday, February 5th.  By 5:00 p.m., February 12, I let you know whether it is approved.  You can earn 10 points by having an approved topic by the scheduled date.”

Movement: Communist Rebellion During Brazil’s Military Dictatorship (1960s)

In Brazil during the military dictatorship of the 1960s, authority elites were arrested individuals that partook in a communist revolution.  There were several communist revolutionary groups of several people.  The rebels have kidnapped ambassadors as a tactic for political bargaining, and the military authority exchanged prisoners with rebels and granted them asylum.  The rebels would often rob banks to fund the revolution.  The communist rebels ended up overthrowing the military dictatorship in the 1980s.  Film: Four Days in September (1997).



  1. Fausto, Boris. (1999) A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Baiocchi, Gianpaolo. (2003) Radicals in Power. Zed Books, Ltd.
  3. Baiocchi, Gianpaolo, Patrick Heller, and Marcelo K. Silva. (2011) Bootstrapping Democracy. Standford University Press.
  4. Levine, Robert M. (1998) Father of The Poor. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Kingstone, Peter R. and Timothy J. Power. (2008) Democratic Brazil Revisited. University of Pittsburgh Press.
  6. Cohen, Y. (1987). Democracy from above: the political origins of military dictatorship in Brazil. World Politics, 40(01), 30-54.
  7. Skidmore, T. E. (1990). The politics of military rule in Brazil, 1964-1985. Oxford University Press.
  8. Huntington, S. P. (1993). The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century (Vol. 4). University of Oklahoma press.
  9. Green, J. (2010). We cannot remain silent: opposition to the Brazilian military dictatorship in the United States. Duke University Press.
  10. Sznajder, M., & Roniger, L. (2009). The politics of exile in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  11. Leacock, R. (1990). Requiem for revolution: the United States and Brazil, 1961-1969 (No. 3). Kent State University Press.
  12. Samuels, D. (2004). From socialism to social democracy: Party organization and the transformation of the workers’ party in Brazil. Comparative Political Studies, 37(9), 999-1024.
  13. Freeman, J. (1999). On the origins of social movements. Waves of protest: Social movements since the sixties, 101, 7.
  14. Failure in Brazil Skidmore, Thomas E. Journal of Contemporary History; Jul 1, 1970; 5, 3; ProQuest pg. 137
  15. Arrests in Brazil Placed at 7,000:  Authorities Assert Revolt Saved the Country From Coup by Communists ARRESTS. 1964 By EDWARD C. BURKSSpecial to The New York Times
  16. Anti-Red Law Asked By Military in BrazilBRAZIL‘S MILITARY FOR ANTI-RED LAW. 1964 By EDWARD C. BURKSSpecial to The New York Times
  17. Brazil’s New Regime. 1964. New York Times
  18. Levine, R. M., & Crocitti, J. J. (1999). The Brazil reader : History, culture, politics (The Latin America readers; Latin America readers). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  19. Ribke, N. (2011). Telenovela writers under the military regime in Brazil: Beyond the cooption and resistance dichotomy. Media, Culture And Society, 33(5), 659-673.
  20. Baiocchi, G. (2006). The Civilizing Force of Social Movements: Corporate and Liberal Codes in Brazil’s Public Sphere*. Sociological Theory, 24(4), 285-311.
  21. Soifer, H. D. (2013). State Power and the Economic Origins of Democracy. Studies In Comparative International Development, 48(1), 1-22.
  22. Roberts, C., Popping, R., & Pan, Y. (2009). Modalities of Democratic Transformation. International Sociology, 24(4), 498-525.
  23. Cowan, B. A. (2016). Securing sex : Morality and repression in the making of Cold War Brazil. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Submitted: 20 January 2017 thread_-communist-rebellion-during-brazils-military

From Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_military_government#cite_note-17

The fall of João Goulart worried many citizens. Many students, members of the Catholic church, Marxists, and workers formed groups that opposed military rule. A minority of these adopted direct armed struggle, while most supported political solutions to the mass suspension of human rights.[16] In the first few months after the coup, thousands people were detained, while thousands of others were removed from their civil service or university positions.
In 1968 there was a brief relaxation of the nation’s repressive politics. Experimental artists and musicians formed the Tropicalia movement during this time. However, some of the major popular musicians Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, for instance were arrested, imprisoned, and exiled. Chico Buarque left the country, in self-proclaimed exile.[citation needed]
The first signs of resistance to this repression were seen with the appearance of widespread student protests. In response, the government issued the Fifth Institutional Act in December 1968, which suspended habeas corpus, closed Congress, ended democratic government, and instituted other repressive features.
In 1969 the Revolutionary Movement 8th October kidnapped Charles Burke Elbrick, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil. The resistance fighters demanded the release of imprisoned dissidents who were being cruelly tortured in exchange for Ambassador Elbrick. The government responded by adopting more brutal measures of counter-insurgency, leading to the assassination of Carlos Marighela, a guerrilla leader, two months after Elbrick’s kidnapping. This marked the beginning of the decline of armed opposition. In 1970, Nobuo Okuchi, Japanese consul general in Sāo Paulo, was kidnapped, while Curtis C. Cutter, U.S. consul in Porto Alegre, was wounded in the shoulder but escaped kidnapping. Also in 1970, Ehrenfried von Holleben, West German Ambassador, was kidnapped in Rio and one of his bodyguards was killed.[17]


Also submitted introduction assignment. thread_-dominique-awis-171psc53514402

19 January 2017

Four Days in September

Film (1997)


The film is “loosely based” on the 1979 memoir O Que É Isso Companheiro? (in English: What’s This, Comrade?), written by politician Fernando Gabeira.[3] In 1969, as a member of Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR-8), a student guerrilla group, he participated in the abduction of the United States ambassador to Brazil, negotiating to gain release of leftist political prisoners. MR-8 was protesting the recent takeover of Brazil by a military government and seeking the release of political prisoners. But, the military increased its repression of dissent, MR-8 and ALN members were tortured by the police, and democracy was not re-established in Brazil until 1989.[3]

Gabeira later became a journalist and politician, elected as congressman from the Green Party.


The film is a fictional version of the dramatic events of the 1969 abduction of the American ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick (played by Alan Arkin) in 1969. Elbrick was taken in Rio de Janeiro by the Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR-8) with help of Ação Libertadora Nacional (ALN). Gabeira (played by Pedro Cardoso and named Paulo in the film) as a student joins the radical movement after the military takeover of the Brazilian government. He and his comrades, led by Andréia, gradually decided to kidnap the ambassador as a protest, and are shown mostly planning and executing the kidnapping. Paulo is portrayed as “the most intelligent and uncertain of the kidnappers.”[4]

The film explores Paulo’s love affair with Andréia, the guerrilla leader. It suggests a kind of friendship developing between Paulo and Elbrick. The ambassador is portrayed as a decent man who shares some of his kidnappers’ frustrations regarding the Brazilian military dictatorship, but who feels obligated to follow orders he might disagree with.

An epilogue touches on political history after the kidnapping, when repression continued.


The main characters include:


Revolutionary Movement 8th October


During the military dictatorship in Brazil, it was formed by Brazilian Communist Party members who disagreed with the party’s decision not to take part in the armed resistance against the military government, the so-called Dissidência da Guanabara (DI-GB). The name Movimento Revolucionário 8 de Outubro was taken from another organization, which had been recently destroyed by police repression. As the dictatorship’s propaganda boasted about police efficiency in the suppression of “terrorists,” the DI-GB started taking actions under the same name, as a way to demoralize the regime. The new organization defined itself as Marxist-Leninist. It was the main force behind the kidnapping of American ambassadorCharles Burke Elbrick in 1969, the basis of the film Four Days in September.

In the late 1970s, it conducted a thorough autocriticism for its participation in the armed resistance against the dictatorship. Under the leadership of Daniel Terra, it defined the struggle for “democratic liberties” as the main task for the Brazilian left. As such, it became active inside the MDB, the party of the “allowed opposition,” under the leadership of Orestes Quércia. It had an important role in the reawakening of the students’ movement in 1976-1977.

However, in 1978, the MR-8 again shifted its policies. It came to believe that the “national issue” was more important than the “democratic issue.” It never abandoned the struggle against the dictatorship, but it became increasingly aggressive against other leftist tendencies, particularly the Trotskyists, frequently seen as antinational and supportive of “petty-bourgeois issues” like feminism, environmentalism, and gay rights. Then, the MR-8 became increasingly isolated within the left, prompting alliances among most other tendencies against its provocative actions.

While it had played an important role in the students’ movement in 1977, when the working class and unionist movement came again into political play in 1978, the MR-8’s role was marginal or even frequently negative. Then, it developed an intense political enmity towards the unionist leadership of the ABC Region, which later gave birth to the Workers’ Party. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and other leaders of the party and its union branch, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores, were described as social-democrats,yellow unionists, imperialist agents and accused of dividing the opposition against the dictatorship, the MDB.

With the end of the dictatorship, it was the only significant part of the Brazilian left to remain within the PMDB, the continuation of the MDB. Most other tendencies joined the Workers’ Party while the Brazilian Communist Party and the Communist Party of Brazil relaunched themselves as independent political parties. As such, the MR8 is a bit of an oddity in Brazilian politics, as it considers itself “Marxist-Leninist” but is not organized under democratic centralism and operates within a bourgeois centre-to-left political party, in direct contradiction to the Marxist-Leninist tenets of independence from bourgeois organizations.

In the late 1990s, it somewhat Became a reformist like the other leftist tendencies and became a more moderate socialist group, even supporting Lula’s successful run for presidency in 2002 and later his government. At the same time, it increased its nationalist streak.

It publishes a twice-weekly newspaper, Hora do Povo.