The Civil Rights Movement Essay

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The Civil Rights Movement lead nonviolently by Martin Luther King in the 1960s is an important era to examine when analyzing the extent to which the ideology of Carl Schmitt remains relevant to domestic conflict outside of the interwar period. Schmitt’s theory assists in understanding the racial segregation in the United States as political. However, while King identified similar critiques of liberalism as Schmitt, he believed that nonviolent direct action was an effective, politically engaged method which sought to obtain equal civil rights for African Americans as opposed to usurping power from the state. While not inherently political, Schmitt argues that societal realms such as economic, religious, cultural, and for the purpose of …show more content…
With this distinction, the possibility of conflict is an ever present possibility which is necessary for the nonpolitical group to be engaged politically. Schmitt maintains that the enemy must be seen as something “existentially something different and alien so that seeks to existentially eliminate the opponent as opposed to competing with them economically, debating them intellectually, or contemplating ethnic symbolism.” The American state contributed towards the politicization of the African American ethnic group by decisively treating them as existentially inferior both leading up to and during the civil rights movement. King argued that the state had decided that African Americans were internal enemies based on their being treated as an existentially nugatory “other.” Schmitt held that a state declares their enemies “whether the form is [...] explicit or implicit, whether ostracism, expulsion, proscription, or outlawry are provided for in special laws or in explicit or general descriptions.” (Schmitt 47) Therefore, it is clear that both the Northern and Southern United States created a friend-enemy dichotomy albeit in different forms. The North psychologically victimized the African Americans while the South was more physically brutal and repressive (King #1 28). In both cases, a sense of intense separation was fostered which indicated that this was a highly
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