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By Manuel Luis Martinez

Rebelling opposed to bourgeois vacuity and taking their countercultural critique at the street, the Beat writers and artists have lengthy symbolized a spirit of freedom and radical democracy. Manuel Martinez deals an eye-opening problem to this characterization of the Beats, juxtaposing them opposed to Chicano nationalists like Raul Salinas, Jose Montoya, Luis Valdez, and Oscar Acosta and Mexican migrant writers within the usa, like Tomas Rivera and Ernesto Galarza.     In an cutting edge rereading of yankee radical politics and tradition of the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, Martinez uncovers reactionary, neoromantic, and infrequently racist traces within the Beats’ imaginative and prescient of freedom, and he brings to the fore the advanced stances of Latinos on player democracy and innovative tradition. He analyzes the ways in which Beats, Chicanos, and migrant writers conceived of and articulated social and political views. He contends that either the Beats’ severe individualism and the Chicano nationalists’ slim imaginative and prescient of citizenship are betrayals of the democratic excellent, yet that the migrant writers awarded a fantastically radical and inclusive imaginative and prescient of democracy that used to be really countercultural.

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Extra info for Countering the Counterculture: Rereading Postwar American Dissent from Jack Kerouac to Tomás Rivera

Example text

When compared to his diatribe against the automobile in Vanity oJDuluoz, this passage from On the Road is remarkable: Mad barefoot Indian drivers cut across us and surrounded us and tooted and made frantic traffic. The noise was incredible. No mufflers are used on Mexican cars.... " yelled Dean. " He staggered the car through the traffic and played with everybody. He drove like an Indian. He got on a circular glorietta drive ... and rolled around it with its eight spokes shooting cars at us from all directions, left, right, izquierda, dead No Fear Like Invasion 27 ahead, and yelled and jumped with joy.

The rise of the radical democratic movement culture of the 1960s resulted from a complex set of post-World War II events and antagonisms: union conservatism, anticommunist hysteria, growing divisions between union and nonunion workers, mass migration, and deepening racial conflict in the North, South, and Southwest, along with the growth of a small, patriotic, vocal ethnic middle class culminating in the first phase of civil rights victories. These actions were certainly as "frightening" to the white American subject as the communist threat.

Again, David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd is a classic example. " "Autonomy in an inner-directed mode ... is no longer feasible. To understand why this is so requires a glance at the powerful bulwarks or defenses for autonomy that an era dependent on inner-direction provided and that are no longer so powerful today. These include, in the Protestant lands, certain attitudes toward conscience, and everywhere, the bulwarks ofwork, property, class, and hierarchy as well as the comforting possibilities of escape to the frontier" (Reisman 296).

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