I found Howard Zinn’s chapter The Unreported Resistance and his analyses on the protests throughout American history to be very compelling and informative. Every movement or political agenda always has two sides to it. As we have discussed, history is written by the victors so the opposing side is often undervalued and unreported. Zinn focuses on the resistance during the 1980s towards the end of the Cold War. At this time, it was clear there would not be a nuclear war like many thought in the 1960s. However, the United States showed no signs in slowing its production of nuclear weapons or decreasing its military budget. Citizens began to catch on to the Government’s unjust spending actions and movements started in the grassroots in churches, meeting halls, and homes. These small movements were all fighting a similar cause and once they realized they were not alone in their cause, action could be taken and they could make a difference. The Nuclear Freeze began to sweep across the nation and gain support by Americans of all classes and political views.
It is important to look at what else is going on in History at the times of these progressive movements. America often moves in cycles, whether that is the boom-bust cycle of the economy or the progressive/conservative cycle of public opinion. When the United States is not in conflict and the people are not as worried about external threats, they are more progressive on domestic issues because they have the time to worry about them. Following the Iranian Hostage Crisis, only twelve percent of Americans believed we were spending too much on the military. However, in 1983, when the possibility of an attack or war became less likely, forty-eight percent said that too much was being spent on arms. I also thought Zinns comparison of the 1980s to the 1960s to be very intriguing. The same people who were protesting for civil rights and dodging the draft in the 1960s were now teachers and sometimes parents to the children of the 1980s who were dodging the new draft and had a newfound sense of political consciousness. It is crazy to see college kids have an impact on history and see that their voice matters because we are all now part of that same demographic and we can impact history for the better.