Socialism Art Nature

A San Francisco student challenges the claims of an AlterNet writer that U.S. youth resistance has been crushed.

DO YOU think that young Americans are self-absorbed products of consumer culture? That they’re too submissive before authority? Do you see youth today as passive and apathetic, nourished by the soft glow of television and computer screens?

If your answers are yes, you’re at the wrong website. But you might appreciate a recent article by psychologist and social critic Bruce Levine, titled "8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance."

In reality, Levine made one of the oldest mistakes in politics when he wrote that “it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.” There’s a long record of self-important intellectuals who have declared that this group or that will never resist oppression, only to be proved wrong—and sometimes in very short order.

 … I find it weird that an older radical like Levine—he was born in 1956—feels so comfortable explaining what makes the kids tick these days. Shouldn’t he consider letting young activists speak for themselves?

 … But it won’t advance the struggle for justice one inch to bemoan the inability of young people to overcome these obstacles just yet. Our responsibility today is to engage in the social movements and struggles emerging today in order to gain the experience and build the kind of organization we’ll need for the future. In that spirit, I’ve prepared a list of my own.


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