"Guerrilla theater…in the guise of red, white, and blue bunting”: The People’s Bicentennial Commission and the Politics of (Un)Americanism

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Hall, S (2018)
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This article explores the battles over ‘Americanism’ and ‘un-Americanism’ that swirled around the People’s Bicentennial Commission – a radical, populist organization that sought to promote fundamental economic change during the mid-1970s. Although it was founded by Sixties veterans, the PBC was sharply critical of what it saw as the New Left’s abandonment of Americanism. As the nation prepared to celebrate its 200th birthday, the PBC sought to present itself, and its radical programme, as representing the ‘true’ spirit of the American Revolution. For its conservative critics, though, the PBC’s patriotism was little more than a ruse, designed to trick ordinary Americans into supporting what was, essentially, a dangerous (and un-American) force.
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    On 4 July 1976, millions of Americans celebrated their nationÕs 200th birthday with

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