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Duluth, Minn.; Duluth, Minn.--Politics and government; Duluth, Minn.--Communities


Duluth, a "boom and bust" city with a marginal economy, has a unique position outside the mainstream of American life that adds a different dimension lo the understanding of community politics. Settlement patterns have contributed to the development of separate "business" and "labor" subcommunities that are substantially alienated from and hostile to one another and have rarely been able to cooperate in any civic endeavor. Operating within the framework of a political system caricaturing that of Minnesota as a whole, the two subcommunities reversed the pattern of local concern found in other cities; labor became the progressive force in local matters while business played a highly conservative role. Since World War II, the decline of the city's established economic base hos been completed. At the same time, the Democratic-Farmer- Labor Party has emerged as the dominant political party locally. Its leaders, in alliance with organized labor, have tried to do something about Duluth's predicament. In J 956, they secured a major change in the city's form of government that was designed to open the door to progress an other fronts. Ta do so, they forged an alliance with the business community that, at least temporarily, transcended the city's normal cleavage. While the constitutional change was of little immediate importance, the effect of the alliance was ta convince community leaders on both sides that cooperation for civic improvement was possible, thus opening the door lo a series of government-aided developments that may hove for-reaching consequences for Duluth's economic and social well-being.

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