Tag Archives: political parties

Klan Activism, Political Polarization, and Party Alignment in Southern Counties

We want to highlight that Rory McVeigh, one of Mobilizing Ideas’ Editors in Chief, wrote a post for the London School of Economics blog on American Politics and Policy about Ku Klux Klan activism and voting in Southern counties.

Motivated by the questions about whether social movement activism can bring about change, the research shows that counties that experienced Klan activism in the 60s also show a higher percentage increase in Republican voting from 1960 to 2000, leading to an underrepresentation of the Democratic Party in Southern counties today.

You can read his post here.

His blog post is based on his ASR paper “Political Polarization as a Social Movement Outcome: 1960s Klan Activism and Its Enduring Impact on Political Realignment in Southern Counties, 1960 to 2000” with David Cunningham and Justin Farrell.

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Mapping the Sem Terra of Brazil

By Federico M. Rossi

The Movimiento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST)–the Rural Landless Workers Movement–is the main social movement organization (SMO) of the land reform/tenure movement in Brazil. The origin and characteristics of the MST are traceable to three processes: the social consequences of the Brazilian modernization of agriculture in the 1980-1990s, the emergence of Liberation Theology in the 1970s, and the legacy of pre-1964 coup land struggles.

Origin and goal. The MST was founded in 1984 as a result of the coordination of peasants’ local struggles for land. In 1975, during the last authoritarian regime, the Brazilian Catholic Church created the ecumenical Commissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), the commission for the organization of rural Comunidades Eclesais de Base (CEB). Inspired by Liberation Theology, the purpose of the CPT was to organize peasants for land reform (Poletto and Canuto 2002). Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Latin American Movements

“Come to the streets, but without parties”: The challenges of the new Brazilian protests

By Ann Mische

As Mimi Keck and Rebecca Abers described in a thoughtful set of posts here last month, Brazil has recently experienced its biggest national protest wave since the impeachment movement in 1992.  Coming as they did on the heels of the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, and beginning to ebb just as Egyptians were returning to the street in huge numbers (with tragic consequences), the June 2013 protests were, in equal measures, exhilarating, perplexing, and troubling.  Keck and Abers have provided excellent discussions of the historical context and political questions raised by the protest.  I’d like to take their discussion a step further to ponder some of the analytical and tactical issues that I saw in play, focusing in particular on the intense rejection of partisanship that was one of the hallmarks of these protests. In the process I hope to raise some broader questions about the relationship between social movements, political parties, and institutional politics the recent wave of global protest. Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Latin American Movements

Roe and the Gender Gap

By Christina Wolbrecht

As a teaser for our March essay dialogue (launching on March 4) on the legacy of Roe v. Wade and the long-term trajectories of reproductive movements, we’ve asked Christina Wolbrecht, Associate Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, to comment on abortion and the partisan gender gap.  Her full essay on this topic was published at Mischiefs of Faction.

The Roe decision, forty years ago this year, sparked a heated political battle over reproductive rights that continues to this day.  Among the consequences, many believe, was the emergence of the partisan gender gap, the tendency of women to identify with the Democratic party and to support Democratic candidates to a greater extent than do men.  This belief is not an accident:  The women’s movement (specifically NOW), fearing a loss of political influence following the failure to achieve ERA ratification, first drew attention to the gender gap in presidential elections and sought to link it to the parties’ positions on women’s issues, such as abortion and the ERA, in the early 1980s.  The expectation that abortion drives the gender gap remains popular; this past Fall, well-known FiveThirtyEight polling analyst Nate Silver attributed the on-going gender gap in presidential elections to Roe and abortion specifically.

As intuitively appealing as such claims may be, the association between abortion and the gender gap has been directly contradicted by three decades of social science research.  I take a closer look at the partisan gender gap and the question of whether abortion is the culprit in a blog post on the political science blog, Mischiefs of Faction.

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Getting Emotional and Acting Rationally: The Relationship between Emotion, Identity, and Collective Action

By Eric Groenendyk

In the first half of the 20th Century, pluralism and related group theories were a major force—if not a dominant force—in political science.  Politics was viewed as a clash between pressure groups that would arise naturally in pursuit of shared interests.  However, everything changed after Mancur Olson (1965) pointed out the inherent flaw in this logic.  From a purely rational standpoint, individuals may share the desire to attain a public good—be it clean air, food safety regulation, or even democracy itself—yet, because public goods are non-divisible, each individual has an incentive to free-ride.  According to Olson, this was why, as Schattschneider (1960) had already pointed out, large public interests seemed to lose out to narrower “special” interests. Continue reading

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The Winter Chilean Students Said, Enough!

By Eduardo Silva 

Over the past 20 years, Chile earned a reputation as a case of successful transition to democracy and market economy; the very image of a prosperous, orderly country in which institutions channel and contain conflict.  Political leaders decoupled their parties from social organizations, foreswore mass mobilization as a political instrument, and, where the public is concerned, primarily used parties to get voters to the election booth.  In the Chilean collective psyche, pundits assert, mass demonstrations are overwhelmingly associated with political destabilization and the breakdown of democracy – chaos.  To be sure, diminished labor unions, environmental activists, indigenous peoples, and students occasionally mounted protests.  But these were usually small, isolated, easily controlled, occasionally channeled back into institutionalized politics, and soon forgotten.  In this context, the cycle of massive student demonstrations that gripped Chile from June to December 2011 marked a distinctive change in the characteristics and relative importance of student protests in that country.[i]

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