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A Nation of NeighborhoodsImagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America$
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Benjamin Looker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226073989

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226290454.001.0001

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Elementary Republics and Little Platoons

Elementary Republics and Little Platoons

The Neighborhood Self-Government Movement

(p.231) Eight Elementary Republics and Little Platoons
A Nation of Neighborhoods

Benjamin Looker

University of Chicago Press

The 1970s witnessed the rise of a radical and assertive drive for neighborhood sovereignty and self-government, a program that emerged in part from New Left activist and intellectual circles. United only in their disdain for the centralizing tendencies of postwar liberalism, leftists, libertarians, counterculturalists, and alternative-technology proponents joined in unstable alliances, imagining the neighborhood as the basic unit of the nation's political life. Focusing on a constellation of little-known theorists, activists, and institutions—Milton Kotler, Karl Hess, the Alliance for Neighborhood Government, Washington's Adams-Morgan Organization, and others—chapter 8 explores the cultural and intellectual impulses undergirding this fractured movement. In the end, the chapter suggests, elements of the burgeoning New Right would find partial success in appropriating these ideals of neighborhood self-reliance and autonomy, harnessing them instead to a free-market ideological project.

Keywords:   autonomy, self-government, neighborhood, movement, New Left, New Right, Milton Kotler, Karl Hess, Adams-Morgan

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