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Left Face Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies

by David Cortright, Max Watts

Left Face Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies Synopsis

Based on more than one hundred interviews and group discussions with low-ranking soldiers, conscripts, and volunteers, this volume provides a unique perspective on the history, and analyzes the current status, of soldier unions and resistance movements in more than twenty countries. Beginning with the isolated, spontaneous incidents that characterized military protest in the mid-1960s, the study traces the changing profile of resistance movements in the conscript armies of Europe; the volunteer forces of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia; and the armed forces of Portugal, Chile, Iran, and the Phillipines. From the information and data collected, David Cortright and Max Watts hypothesize that resistance among low-ranking soldiers occurs only in countries with a high degree of capital accumulation, a new concept they refer to as the Threshold Theory of Military Resistance. Support for the Threshold Theory is based on data extracted from in-depth descriptions of the origins and organization of military unions and protest movements in Holland, West Germany, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Spain, East Germany, and the Soviet Union, as well as in countries below the threshold. A detailed examination of the United States army's resistance activities after the Vietnam conflict, its attempted unionization, and its continuing struggle with lack of discipline and low morale completes the global scope of this work. It will offer military sociologists, scholars, social scientists, soldiers, and veterans a singular survey of the dynamics of protest within the military around the world.

Left Face Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies Press Reviews

A sympathetic account of the effort to create soldier unions over the past 30 years. Much of this effort has been the consequence of anti-war and left-wing resistance movements in the US and Western Europe. Pages are set aside for the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe (including the events of 1989 and 1990), Chile, Iran, and the Philippines, but the emphasis is on the West. The sympathies of both authors are with the Left; they are clearly hostile to the military establishment. Cortright, a former director of SANE, is severe in his criticism of the failure of Congress to allow soldier unions. Watts, founder of a left-wing West German newspaper, is an uncompromising critic of the Bonn government and the Bundeswehr. The underlying thesis of this well-written book is that resistance among enlisted men is heaviest in the highly capitalized nations where young people are most skeptical of authority. Furthermore, movement away from materialism in the postindustrial society of the 1980s and 1990s has further intensified the opposition to the military. Although, Left Face might appear to be polemical to some readers it is nevertheless a forceful presentation of a viewpoint that must be considered in any study of the role of the military in a democracy. General and undergraduate readers. -Choice Left Face makes a contribution to military sociology by reviewing the literature on soldier resistance and adding more recent data. -Contemporary Sociology ?Left Face makes a contribution to military sociology by reviewing the literature on soldier resistance and adding more recent data.?-Contemporary Sociology ?A sympathetic account of the effort to create soldier unions over the past 30 years. Much of this effort has been the consequence of anti-war and left-wing resistance movements in the US and Western Europe. Pages are set aside for the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe (including the events of 1989 and 1990), Chile, Iran, and the Philippines, but the emphasis is on the West. The sympathies of both authors are with the Left; they are clearly hostile to the military establishment. Cortright, a former director of SANE, is severe in his criticism of the failure of Congress to allow soldier unions. Watts, founder of a left-wing West German newspaper, is an uncompromising critic of the Bonn government and the Bundeswehr. The underlying thesis of this well-written book is that resistance among enlisted men is heaviest in the highly capitalized nations where young people are most skeptical of authority. Furthermore, movement away from materialism in the postindustrial society of the 1980s and 1990s has further intensified the opposition to the military. Although, Left Face might appear to be polemical to some readers it is nevertheless a forceful presentation of a viewpoint that must be considered in any study of the role of the military in a democracy. General and undergraduate readers.?-Choice

Book Information

ISBN: 9780313276262
Publication date: 30th May 1991
Author: David Cortright, Max Watts
Publisher: Praeger Publishers Inc an imprint of ABC-CLIO
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 296 pages
Categories: Warfare & defence, Demonstrations & protest movements,

About David Cortright, Max Watts

DAVID CORTRIGHT is a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous publications include Soldiers in Revolt, as well as numerous articles on peace and military resistance issues that have appeared in newspapers and national journals. MAX WATTS presently lives in Annandale, Australia, where he studies and writes about the evolution of socialist countries, applied Marxism, and rank-and-file soldier resistance movements. He has authored numerous articles in Australian, Asian, American, and European journals and newspapers.

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