The Democratic Revolution and Student Activitices in UC Berkeley campus

During the mid-1960s, political change took place with rapidity and on a scale unseen in the United States since New Deal. Post -New Deal liberalism reached its high-water mark with a flood of federal legislation and a series of Supreme Court decisions that bolstered democratic rights and ex-paned the role of government in promoting social well-being. Further how it happened in that time? Mr. Savio spoke to a crowd of over a thousand students and their supporters protesting a ban on political activity on the University of California-Berkeley campus. Just before the protestors sat down inside main campus administration building , Savio told them, “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.”

This paragraph indicates how incredible terrible situation was consisted in…….

How The United States has been changed after World War Two

A second defining development during the half century  after World War Two was a multifaceted struggle to make democracy more meaningful. the United states fought World War Two, as it has fought most of its wars, in the name of democracy. But democracy had a very different meaning at that time than it would when the century ended. In the middle of the twentieth century, millions of Americans were denied basic citizenship rights. Formal political power was much less evenly distributed than it later would be, individual rights far less robust, and openly discriminatory rules and practices widespread. who could vote, how legislatures were constituted, who could use which public facilities, who was allowed to work in which kind of job, and how the criminal justice system operated all were very different in the mid 1940s than they would be a generation later. In businesses, families, schools and churches, on playing fields and in communities, the hierarchies of power and opportunity were structured by race, sex, religion, and ethnicity. Authority was wielded by fewer hands,  with fewer challenges and less consultation, than we now take for granted. Furthermore, the postwar struggle by African Americans for freedom, rights, and equality catalyzed a democratic revolution that transformed the United States and echoed around the world. Expanded notions of rights and democracy and new modes of political action spread from the struggle for racial justice to ever more arenas of American life, changing ideas and practices in local communities, national institutions, and intimate private relations.But even as this democratic revolution reached its peak, power began moving out of the public realm and into private ones, especially the corporate world.

after analysis of American Empire, after World War Two, American way of foreign policy and way of empiricism have been changed a lot. On later, it has impacted on rest of the world.

Gangs of New York

“The best single thing that has happened on the streets on New York in the past ten years is the re-emergence of teenage gangs… These young people are standing up for life, and if their courage lasts, they will help this city to survive.” p. 49


The re-emergence of gangs became a consequence of urban renewal ushered in by Robert Moses, the burnings, and financial downturn of the time. Land redevelopment and the construction of Cross-Bronx Expressway turned South Bronx into a Necropolis. Those who could afford it moved out, but the majority lived on through the destruction of their homes and neighborhoods. Businesses were closing, people were losing their jobs. Nobody cared about the affected population of poor Hispanics and blacks.

Then the slumlords stated burning buildings. Apartments abandoned by those escaping the Bronx, became primary targets for insurance arsonists. Burning became so profitable that buildings were set on fire every day in the mid 1970s. The burnings symbolized the figurative and literal destruction of the Bronx at the same time. On one hand, whole blocks were cleared out by fires, and on the other, burnings seemed like an appropriate response to the growing sense of abandonment that was felt by the inhabitants of Bronx.

And with that sense, unemployed and angry young men found solace in the gangs. Most referred to them as families, and its members as brothers and sisters. Gangs presented a chance to be a part of something, to be around like-minded people. They gave a sense of purpose and freedom. And they certainly presented plenty of chances to take out all the built-up anger. Gangs existed as long as there was conflict. Constant struggle for turf and respect kept pouring fuel into the “fires” of Bronx. Gang activity bred more gang activity. Kids started joining at younger ages, seeking protection or even just friends. As something that spawned from the socio-economic decline of South Bronx, at their peak, the gangs started to turn against poverty and violence. Relabeling themselves as “peace organizations,” they started advocating for truth and peaceful co-existence between gangs.

Jeff Chang describes peace between gangs as the first step to their eventual decline. Without fuel, the “fires” in the Bronx subsided. When New York Post columnist Pete Hamill wrote that, “(gangs) will help this city to survive,”  I think he was referring to the effect their eventual demise would have on the city.

Chapter 13: The Politics of Stagnation

Instructions:  Let’s try to generate a list of the key terms and concepts in this chapter. For the category assigned to your group (see Blog Group List), each group member should produce at least one blog post from Chapter 13. Use the “New Post” function to start creating your entry. The title of your post should be the name of the term; pay attention to the other posts so you avoid repeating terms. A post should consist of :

(1) a specific person, event, organization, or institution,

(2) a (brief) relevant quote from the text

(3) a short (no longer than one paragraph) summary of how the term fits into Freeman’s argument about the era. Why does he mention it? 

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to categorize your post under “American Empire, Ch. 13” so you can get credit for your post!

Chapter 12: The Landscape of Decline

Instructions:  Let’s try to generate a list of the key terms and concepts in this chapter. For the category assigned to your group (see Blog Group List), each group member should produce at least one blog post from Chapter 12. Use the “New Post” function to start creating your entry. The title of your post should be the name of the term; pay attention to the other posts so you avoid repeating terms. A post should consist of :

(1) a specific person, event, organization, or institution,

(2) a (brief) relevant quote from the text

(3) a short (no longer than one paragraph) summary of how the term fits into Freeman’s argument about the era. Why does he mention it? 

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to categorize your post under “American Empire, Ch. 12” so you can get credit for your post!

Gang Culture in the Bronx

The hope and optimism of the 60’s exploded with the assassinations of leaders like RFK, MLK , and Malcolm X. These feelings of despair and hopelessness combined with the post Robert Moses conditions of the Bronx, set up the perfect conditions for the gangs that sprung up in The Bronx in the late 60s and early seventies. Chang argues that youth movements usually spring up and last for 5 years,  putting both the youth and civil rights movements of the sixties and the subsequent gang activity in a perfect time frame.

The Ghetto Brothers were a revolutionary group of young people that emerged around 1968. Formed by the four Melendez brothers, it also included Charlie Suarez and Black Benjie. Although involved in gang activity, the group was taken under the wing of their teacher Manny Dominguez. With this, they attempted to make a transition from a gang to an organization. The Ghetto Brothers attempted to organize a gang truce in 1972. They were a great example of the youth energy that arose from the ashes of the sixties optimism.

One very interesting aspect of the ghetto brothers was their expression of their youthful energy and political ideology through their fun energetic music. The new youth movement that would spring up in the Bronx after the Ghetto Brothers disintegrated in 1973 would be influenced by the energy and sense of community of the Ghetto Brothers. This lead to the block parties that would eventually become the foundation of hip hop.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Ch. 1 and 3

The chapters discuss reason for the downfall of Bronx. It is interesting to note that Robert Moses’s plans for New York City can cause such destruction for one community.  When I first learned of Robert Moses, it was about his funding for High Way expansion into the outer boroughs as well as Long Island. He used the funding to build Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This park still exists today and it is a big part of the Queens community because it has become an iconic symbol of the Unisphere and all the free resources such as swimming pool, soccer fields, and BBQ pits. The destruction of Bronx caused by Moses’s plan is a shocking comparison to the result of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.


Moses’s plan destroyed South Bronx and its community. Landlords made more profit from destroying its property than improving it and collecting rents. This resulted in more apartment buildings being damaged and abandoned. There was a lack of funding into South Bronx as well as lack of police officers in the community. Teenagers often had to join gangs for their own safety. These gangs were often the police of their community and they kicked out drug addicts and protected their turf. Eventually the gang activity escalated into violence with their neighboring gangs. The view people had about South Bronx grew worse as people saw images of collapsed and abandoned buildings and images of teen gangs and violence.


“Fires of Abandonment”

“So the Vice President travels to Europe and Japan, the Secretary of state to the Middle East and Russia, the UN ambassador to Africa. No one of comparable stature comes here.” Chang, pg 24.

As the streets of the Bronx turned into a hell on earth, the government lacked participation to prevent the corruption from the building owners to escalate into such chaos. Countless families were victims of not only the danger provided by the gangs that were forming at the same time, but also from being misplaced from their homes due to the greed of these building owners. These “slumlords” would hire junkies or thugs to set their buildings on fire in order to collect insurance money for the damages. Slumlords as well as insurance companies would benefit from these arrangements as more policies were sold. My question is where was government intervention when entire apartment buildings would burn to ashes and hundreds of families would find themselves homeless on a weekly basis? The government surely failed the citizens of the Bronx to provide a solution to this fast growing problem. The comment of New York’s democratic senator, Patrick Moynihan, “the time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from ‘benign neglect'”, was what finally caught president Nixon’s attention. The government took some action regarding the crisis the Bronx was suffering by cutting back on social services to the inner cities, and by so, removing more than seven fire companies from the Bronx. Unfortunately, this action resulted in what was called “a ‘contagion’ of fires” leaving behind blocks of abandoned destroyed buildings which later on would serve as clubhouses for the developing mass of gangs and cliques.

Two Tracks and the Cross Bronx Expressway

Throughout the 1960’s people across the nation people were raising their voices against the injustices they felt were happening in their world. The Bronx was no exception as people mobilized under the standard of many causes. Towards the end of the sixties the architecture begins to change, literally. Chang describes the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway, Robert Moses’ enormous road that would allow residents of New Jersey to quickly traverse the Bronx and go into the suburbs of Queens. The project led to the mass exodus and displacement of Bronx dwellers. As the people and jobs left the neighborhoods began to deteriorate as apartments remained empty and unkempt and then were destroyed by fire in order to collect insurance and have some profitability and with this came the demise of the social movement of the previous generation. The Bronx had been converted into rubble and as Chang puts it: “The gangs were a vanguard of the rubble… They had no reason to sing to sweet harmonies. They were the children of Moses’s grand experiment and the fires had already begun.”

As the Bronx began to re-segregate there was a resurgence in youth gangs in the Bronx as turfs were divided violence ensued both among themselves and against other people and authorities. They were the terror of the streets but they also became a respected source of power in the community. In the early seventies with this enormous social following some gangs, like the Ghetto Brothers, took it upon themselves to look beyond the beef and violence to the possibility of peace and change in their neighborhoods. In a momentous, yet somewhat insincere, occasion the gangs met after the death of Black Benjie  made peace very publicly and later privately. It was made clear to them that they were not each other’s enemy anymore.