Friday, April 10, 2009

Lessons in Movement Building from Oklahoma Socialists

"American Marxism: Lessons in Movement Building from Oklahoma Socialists"

An evening with Jim Bissett, Chair and Professor Department of History and Geography, Elon University, North Carolina

Introductory Comments by Scott Carter, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, The University of Tulsa

April 20, 2009
7 PM
Lecture Hall Helmerich #219
Collins Business Building, The University of Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104

In his provocative book "Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920", Professor Bissett chronicles the rise and fall of the Socialist Party of Oklahoma during the first two decades of the twentieth century, when socialism in the United States enjoyed its golden age. To explain socialism's popularity in Oklahoma, Bissett looks back to the state's strong tradition of agrarian reform.

Drawing most of its support from working farmers, the Socialist Party of Oklahoma was rooted in such well-established organizations as the Farmers Alliance and the Indiahoma Farmers Union. And to broaden its appeal, the Party borrowed from the ideologies of both the American Revolution and Christianity. By making Marxism speak in American terms, the author argues, Party activists counteracted the prevailing notion that socialism was un-American.

Come hear Professor Bissett speak about this fascinating history and the lessons that can be drawn from it for 21st Century movement building.
Sponsored by the Social Science Interest Group of The University of Tulsa

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