1

The first issue for those at “the bottom” was housing. The government expected for these

poor people to live in these small apartments that were not well taken care of. These apartments were deteriorated, unpainted, ill-lit, and also rat-infested. After several attempts at the housing authorities, the tenants gained nothing but a bunch of empty promises. The Human Rights Commission tried to help a little, but their help could only go so far. They filed numerous reports on the building-code violations and sent them to the different landlords, but that was all that they had the power to do. In order to get things done the tenants took measures in their own hands. This led them to force the landlords to do repairs by embarking on a rent strike. Over time, the rent strike progressed into a peaceful picketing movement at one of the worst slum lords suburban home. After about two months, landlords began issuing eviction notices. One tenant was actually forcibly barred from her own apartment. When she tried to enter the apartment she was arrested and charged with assault and battery. This act was supposed to persuade the other tenants to withdraw themselves from participating in the rent strike, and that’s just what it did. Some of the tenants eventually gave in to the rent strike and starting paying and some just gave up and moved out. They realized that there would be no change and that the landlords will continue to threaten them with that eviction notice hanging over their head. One resident stated that, “There is no way us tenants, no legal way we can fight a landlord.” (511) The residents quickly learned that laws such as those involving outrageous building violations were not as enforceable as opposed to those dealing with the eviction of tenants and the collection of rents, which are very enforceable. Another issue of those at “the bottom” was the issue of the traffic lights. The residents of a specific neighborhood intensely desired a traffic light at the intersection of the infamous Avon Avenue. The residents felt so strongly about this certain issue because so many children were

mutilated and killed by speeding cars at that very intersection. Others just simply found it dangerous to even attempt to cross the avenue. The members of NCUP gathered about 350 signatures on a petition, and began several other campaigns to get their point across to the mayor and the City Council. The mayor agreed that there should be a traffic light on Avon Avenue. The only factor setting them back was the approval of the City Council. Still nothing was accomplished after a month of inaction. This time when they went to city hall they were told that a traffic light would cost $24,000 and that was too expensive. This drove the residents to protesting and picketing Avon Avenue, which usually blocked traffic. Stop signs were installed on the side streets but still no traffic light to halt the main traffic on Avon Avenue. Several more months went by of inaction when the residents learned that the Mayor didn’t have the authority to install a traffic light. This news sent the protestors into a rampage. They went back to picketing and blocking traffic on Avon Avenue, but this time a few of them were arrested. The Municipal officials continued to inform them that a traffic light will be installed soon. After all of this, State officials communicated to NCUP that a traffic light can only be installed after they conduct a long study of traffic conditions at the intersection on Avon Avenue. Since no one had valid proof of why a traffic light was needed, the State needed data that would indicate the amount of times accidents has occurred at the intersection of Avon Avenue that only a traffic light could have prevented. Believe it or not, to this day those citizens still haven’t received their traffic light. Both of these issues proves the fact that “even when a group demonstrates unusual durability (NCUP) it still may be unable to outlast the decision makers.” (520-521) In these examples, the decision makers were not trying to please the people at all. They always came back with some type of excuse. Pressures of the lower class that are less visible tends to get more

of a response from decision makers. These issues also demonstrates how protest activity cannot be considered a sure manifestation of a pluralistic influence system. (530) Michael Parenti’s approach was definitely pluralistic. I believe this because he exhibited how he believed that power is widely yet unequally distributed among many interest groups. In this article he mainly discussed one, NCUP, but there are plenty more out there. Even though all of the interest groups are trying to gain something, they end up competing against each other to control public policy. In conclusion, Parenti did a great job in expressing how the political system of pluralism really works.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.