A Winter of Discontent: The Nuclear Freeze and American Politics

Front Cover
ABC-CLIO, 1990 - Political Science - 294 pages

The nuclear freeze movement grew more quickly than even the most optimistic activists thought possible, as large numbers of Americans became convinced that there was something wrong with United States defense policy and that they could do something about it. This analysis provides the first comprehensive history of the nuclear freeze movement, approaching it from three distinct perspectives. Changes in the politics and policy of nuclear weapons created an opportunity for a dissident movement. Intermediating forces in American politics influenced the situation. The efforts of activists and organizations to build a protest movement and their interaction with American political institutions provide the third perspective. A Winter of Discontent addresses both the broad spectrum of movement activity and the political context surrounding it.

The text explores the challenge of the nuclear freeze movement to the content of United States national security policy and the policy making process. By analyzing the freeze, a theoretical framework for understanding the origins, development and potential political influence of other protest movements in the United States can be developed. The book also strives to integrate analysis of peace movements into an understanding of the policy context in which they emerge. This volume is essential for courses in social movements, strategic policy, American politics and political sociology. Antinuclear freeze activists and students of peace studies will also find this work invaluable.

 

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Contents

Continuity and Conflict
27
How Much Is Too Much?
49
4 The Arms Race and Domestic Political Mismanagement
65
Volatility and Consistency
81
6 The Defection of the Elite
93
7 The Public Face of the Nuclear Freeze
119
8 The Roots of a Nuclear Disarmament Movement
137
9 Defining and Unifying the Nuclear Freeze Movement
157
Attacks from the Left and Right
209
The Smothering Embrace
221
14 Changing the Politicians
241
15 The Freeze after the Fall
253
The Nuclear Freeze and Protest Movements in the United States
267
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
275
INDEX
279
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
295

10 A Strategy to Reach the Public
171
Eruptions of Activism
195

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About the author (1990)

DAVID S. MEYER is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. He was active as a local organizer in the nuclear freeze movement and has worked as a researcher at the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies.

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