Contentious Politics in the United States*

by Postwoman

‘To understand protest in America, one must understand protest and one must understand America. … The problem of protest in America is really an issue of the relative successes and failures of groups based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, region, and class when they attempt to mobilize and confront capitalist democracy in America: its institutions of weak catch-all political parties, strong courts, a locally rooted Congress, a nationally elected president, federalism, nationally and internationally entrenched corporations, and its corresponding cultural ethos of egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez-faire’ (Lipset, 1996).

‘In short, a study of protest in America is a study of a historically concrete group-institution nexus’.

* Mark I. Lichbach (1998), Where Have All the Foils Gone? Competing Theories of Contentious Politics and the Civil Rights Movement