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The politics of affluence Europe in the 1960s & 1970s Presentations available at http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~swolin Follow link to courses & ES2000 From stringency to affluence Economic miracle in the 1950s results in sustained growth in western Europe

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the politics of affluence

The politics of affluence

Europe in the 1960s & 1970s

slide2
Presentations available at

http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~swolin

Follow link to courses & ES2000

from stringency to affluence
From stringency to affluence
  • Economic miracle in the 1950s results in sustained growth in western Europe
    • Annual growth rates of 5-6% in 1950s & 1960s
    • Full employment in Northern Europe
    • Importation of ‘guest workers’ from Mediterranean rim
    • Growing sense of wellbeing, welfare by early 1960s
social changes
Social changes:
  • Urbanization:
    • Shift from countryside to towns
    • Towns to cities
  • Changes in work
    • Further industrialization, then shift to service sector
      • Growth in new service sector occupations
      • Growth in public sector jobs – needed to run expanding welfare states, systems of social protection
religion social control
Religion & social control
  • Decreasing religiosity
    • John XXIII & changes in the Roman Catholic Church
    • Less inclination to instruct from pulpit
    • Changes in Protestantism?
  • Diminished social control:
    • Less inclination to censure television or films
    • Possibility of divorce opened up
    • Gradual removal of prohibitions on homosexuality
class differences
Class differences
  • Attempts to ensure more equal life chances – e.g. through comprehensive schools
  • Greater upward mobility – for some
  • In Northern Europe decreasing sense of deprivation: everyone is better off –
  • UK: differences in speech, social mores continue
  • France & Italy: sharper tensions, reflecting late industrialization & strong position of Communist trade unions & Communist parties
changing lifestyles
Changing lifestyles?
  • Housing
  • Shopping
  • Clothing
    • Blue jeans as a leveler -- blurring of class distinctions
  • Transportation
  • Emergence of youth culture
  • Leisure
    • Music
    • Television
    • Vacations
  • Broader exposure
    • Americanization?
political consequences
Political consequences:

Competing hypotheses:

  • An end to ideology: ‘the democratic class struggle’ could go on without apocalyptic ideologies, red flags, May Day parades’
  • Post-materialism: those coming of age in affluence & relative security have the freedom to pursue post-material (quality of life) values: Erst das fressen, dan die morale’
changes in parties party politics
Changes in parties & party politics
  • Centre right takes credit for new prosperity:
    • British Conservatives,
    • W. German Christian Democrats,
    • Gaullists in France
    • Christian Democrats in Italy
  • So do Social Democrats
social democratic parties
Social Democratic parties:
  • Abandon Marxism, doctrine of inevitable class conflict…
  • Pragmatic leaders emphasize increasing the pie rather than dividing it
  • Emphasis on fairness, equality of life-chances
  • Managing capitalism rather than public ownership
  • Evident in
    • SPD: Bad Godesberg
    • British Labour…
    • Scandinavia
    • Netherlands & Belgium
but not everyone agrees
But not everyone agrees:
  • Emergence of left socialist parties in Norway, Denmark, Netherlands…
    • Reject of strong cold war, pro-NATO orientation of Social Democratic parties,
    • Insist on reality of class conflict
    • Yet reject state socialism, Soviet domination
  • Ongoing divisions in British Labour Party:
    • Further nationalization of industry
    • Foreign policy:
      • NATO membership v. unilateral disarmament
      • Europe
emergence of new conflicts tensions
Emergence of new conflicts & tensions
  • By late 1960s, not only the cold war, but also Viet Nam as a backdrop
    • Civil rights movement & anti-war protest in the US
    • Doubts about arms race, Soviet threat
  • Growing activism, questioning authorities, search for alternate lifestyles, e.g
    • Emergence of JUSOs (Young Socialists) in W. Germany
    • PROVO & dissident groups in the Netherlands
    • Events of May 1968 in France
    • Hot Autumn in Italy
events of may 1968
Events of May 1968
  • Begin with demonstrations protesting limits on visiting hours in women’s residences
  • Spread throughout university system, public institutions, with occupation of buildings
  • Result in general strike, massive demonstrations, barricades in streets
    • At height, 10 million of a workforce of 17 m are out on strike or occupying buildings
    • Economy at a standstill
  • Counter-demonstrations launched
resolution
Resolution
  • De Gaulle and his premier (George Pompidou) initially hesitate
  • Efforts of the Communist Party, (PCF) to channel or stop the demonstrations
  • CGT (Communist Union) turns political demands into economic demands
  • Massive wage increases granted
  • Protests dissipate when De Gaulle dissolves parliament, calls new elections, blames Communists (‘Party of Fear’)
may 1968 in context
May 1968 in context
  • Protests, occupations reflect deep-seated grievances
    • Combine modes and techniques of 1960s (occupations) with modes from French Revolution – barricades in streets
  • Sufficient to make regime more attentive and more responsive – but not completely so
  • Continued protest potential, though rarely manifests on same scale
    • Cf. 1990s protests against education reform
the hot autumn in italy
The Hot Autumn in Italy
  • Autumn 1969
  • Wave of strikes and demonstrations, some spontaneous
    • Rapid spread
  • As in France, a heady political moment,
  • Long term:
    • Increased benefits for workers
    • Increased support for left, especially Communists
    • Communists nearly brought into government
  • Civil society begins to assert itself:
    • 1977 initiative results in a referendum legalizing divorce
was there an end of ideology
Was there an end of ideology?
  • Left and right moved toward each other
    • Agree on desirability on managed economy and the social protections of the welfare state
    • But, Social Democratic parties retain commitment to socialism, understood as a fairer distribution of wealth
      • Example of Swedish Social Democratic Party
  • Left socialist parties remain
  • Student groups, extra-parliamentary pick up & use fragments of Marxism
    • e.g. JUSOS in Germany
    • Red Brigades in Italy, Baader-Meinhof group in Germany