The Retro Revival always acknowledges and often emphasizes the many aesthetics of years gone by, and it sometimes seems like we don’t reference the changes that took place over time that molded the society we live in. It is easy to forget why we are reviving concepts of the retro culture in the first place, so we decided to start a mini-series of monthly publications about eras of social change that helped fuel major transitions in American culture. Where better to start our journey than talking about today?
In today’s society, we can observe vehicles of change about nearly everything. In macrocosmic levels, look at the protests that have taken place in the US regarding remaining unrest for the political elections this year for an example of what fuels social change. Persuasion can be identified everywhere to support the needs and wants of the greater majority. But let’s take into perspective a microcosmic, less-political experience: in Harpie’s town, there are debates currently ongoing about the use of local emergency services versus outsourcing. People have actively come out to argue their positions to try and keep local services local, indeed. Another grassroots movement earlier that we all recognize from the site, DORIS, sought after preserving a one-of-a-kind landmark. These are all acting as agents of change. Regardless of context, however; one theme remains constant: these activists want to change the minds of those in charge. They fuel others to think critically about their lives, what programs affect them, and the communities they live in. Collectively, this is what drives changes to our environments.
So let’s examine some classic tactics for instigating change that has been utilized for nearly 200 years. Sit-ins, protests, walks and congregations, petitions, and even legal battles have been waged to help people modify their situations. Take a look at DORIS and their use of almost every method aforementioned, Stand with Standing Rock and their weeks-long sit-ins that captured international attention, Occupy Wall Street in a similar fashion, or even the Justice Democrat Movement which focuses on regulating the party’s standards of conduct. When an activist or group of activists disputes a suggestion or challenges the status quo, using tactics helps gain media attention and the hope for recruiting more like-minded thinkers.
During these arguments, influential figures (most often) try to maintain the simplest, most subjectively compelling circumstances they can. They act in such a way regardless of if it compromises the integrity of sacred land (Standing Rock), public interest (Occupy Wall Street), or even the necessities of life, like water (Standing Rock, most pipelines).
Every single one of these change directives has roots and derivations from past experiences. Standing Rock, for example, has themes back as far as the Battle of Wounded Knee. As baffling as it sounds that in 2017 we are still having fights erupt over land demarcation, it is all the same. Not only does Standing Rock suffer the damages to their land, but we also run a high risk of potential water contamination. Sound familiar? It should: think about Flint, Michigan or the constant problems that the Levittowns experienced in tap water becoming contaminated with domestic washing machine wastes. All these things have some historical counterparts.
Occupy Wall Street is probably an estranged twin of the Tammany Hall corruption ring except in the finance world. The people in lower classes got sick of hearing about higher values of companies that they shared stocks in while their wages and stock values did not see any of the increases that others in the upper echelons bragged about. How are the average people supposed to feed their families when the richest rich don’t feel like sharing? The lack of trickle-down, much like the withheld wealth from Tammany Hall from 1954-1934, serves as a reminder of why these protests are, in fact timeless.
Democrat Justice Movement seems to be instigated as a result of people trying preventative measures against another LBJ tactic. (Author’s note, LBJ [Lyndon B. Johnson] had a reputation for using intimidation against individuals who he felt would challenge his opinions. He would use his imposing figure to stand over other people as they spoke to him while in office). While this seems petty, it has more to do with ensuring that no representative abuses power or oppresses another person or group. In order to prevent acts of bullying or intimidation within the political party, the Democrat Justice Movement seeks to impose higher standards of conduct on the entire party.
Where does the change end? Well that’s easy: changes never end if we continue to strive toward a classic vision of a happy community. Stay curious, darlings.