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SOCIOL 1A06 (735)

Politics and Social Movements

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Sandra Colavecchia

February 26 , 2014 Politics and Social Movements Instrumental vs. Structural Marxists Instrumental Marxists: economic elites control the government, because: 1. Economic elites become political leaders 2. Government officials refer to economic elites for political advice 3. Big Business support political parties through campaign donations Figure 18.4 - Society contributions Who is giving the money? Businesses (economic elites) = receive a fair amount of money from businesses (Political Leaders) Structural Marxists - We live in a Capitalist society, this reality = political leaders must recognize the reality that big business try to control - Government is constrained to work within capitalism and cannot ignore what the bests interests of capitalists - Corporate taxation has declined (steady pattern, public infrastructure = we must pay towards taxes for improvements) Power-Balance Theory - How power shifts over time - Contrasts = talks about change over time - Power not only held by elites by others as well - Example: cross-national comparisons in rates of unionization - How many citizens are unionized? It tends to enhance political participation - Linked to levels of inequality = higher rates of unionization in Sweden than in Canada - More socialist governments - work in the direction in reducing inequality based on class and gender - Sweden has a wider distribution with who holds power and narrowing of income inequality Power-Balance theorists argue that… - The distribution of power in society does change, sometimes massively State-Centered Theory - State (Government) can really shape politics - Take on a life of its own, and apart from economic elites - Example: the discussion of voter registration in America - The U.S.A. if you are not registered to vote, you cannot vote - Those who are disproportionately unable to vote: the poor, children, immigrants - Barack Obama rewrote the rules. He was able to increase voter registration among racial minorities and the poor. - His campaign was different because it was well funded and funded differently. Strong financial base and based on a lot of small checks by
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