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Limits of Political Strategy

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Limits of Political Strategy

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  • September 2012
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Article Review
Limits of Political Strategy: A Systematic View of the African-American Experience This article written by Lucius J Barker reviews the political systems used by African-Americans from the 1950s to present day. Barker states that "a systematic perspective incorporates a broad range of factors that must be considered in a constitutional context that guides not only the choice of goals and strategies, but also signals the relative chances of success in the outcome of interest conflict." This article does a very good job of outlining and analyzing the systematic perspective that Barker talks about. The political strategies that Barker discusses in this article are litigation, direct action, and electoral politics. Barker also does a fantastic job contrasting the political strategies and showing both sides of the issue. I would first like to talk about the effects of litigation had on the African-American experience. The first advantage to litigation that Barker points out is that litigation as a political strategy is about law and reasoned argument whereas electoral politics is about popular support and political influence. He discusses the fact that as a minority who in the 1950s had very little political influence turning to the courts for influence through litigation may have been the only option available to them. He goes on to say that this specific political strategy was chosen by Marshall and his colleagues not by accident, they were aware the fact that the interests of African-Americans needed more representation. Barker finishes this section by highlighting Marshall's success in bringing about changes in the law, however it also touches on the larger issue that even though this litigation strategy brought change it still did nothing for the everyday life of African-Americans. The next part of this article talks about direct action politics. At the time this is exactly what was needed, the changes that were taking place needed to be more...

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