Ingrained in our human nature is the fact that our young have the most physical energy and, due to their lack of experience facing life on this planet, they are bolder and blessed with more fearlessness than s/he will generally have as a matured person.
I propose that today’s episode of the cyclical ‘youngsters’ revolutionary movement’ is, like most recent uprisings, a wasted opportunity for a real and radical revolution, and that one reason it is being wasted is because, as in every generation, the young can’t benefit from the experience of its elders, septuagenarian Sanders aside.
It’s not about history, it’s about recent history.
The political movements belong to the youngsters, as it should be – with the exception of the seniors and the disabled people’s movements, which are not controlled by the young. But as we did in the 60s and 70s, today’s youngsters don’t want to hear their elders’ experience: they think we totally screwed up and, consequently, our experience is being dismissed. But there’s more to this tradition of dismissiveness of all things old.
It is a fact that capitalism is an economic system based on the production of disposable objects for a society trained into the culture of compulsive consumerism. Every product is created with an expiration date in mind; digital gadgets are made to be unsatisfactory and passé few months after having been bought. Is like the businessman said to Jennifer Lawrence’s character in the movie Joy:
“I don’t want people to buy a mop at $20 and never by another mop again. I rather they keep buying my mop at five dollars 50 times over again“.
Human experience, meaning age, also becomes disposable: once you slow down with age as a worker, you too will be replaced by a younger and less expensive worker.
Today, I can clearly recognize (with anxiety) with my experience in the 70s, how our youngsters are being influenced and manipulated through the invisible forces of the MSM’s frequency-shifting opinion-shaping carrier waves, if I may say, and Silicon Valley’s tech giants’ golden calf of digital software: good for putting them to sleep and for spying on them when they are awake.
I was part of the anti-war movement in the 60s and 70s; I remember all that energy and facing with determination and fearlessness the brutality of the police-state. I also remember not heeding my elders’ warnings about how things come to pass, and about how many are always left behind physically or mentally broken after the movement fades away. They were talking to me and us from the ‘been there’ point of view: tread carefully and have a plan.
We certainly learned too late about how the state infiltrates the movement, manipulates its emotions, use plants to distort the political goals and to create divisions in the movement. Despite all of that, we achieved few reforms and haggled some concessions.
Then, in my late 50s, I joined the OWS movement when it started. I remember reading that online Adbuster manifesto calling us to go to Zucchoti Park on September 17. Out of curiosity, and skeptical that anyone would go, I went; the rest is history. I even stayed one night (I chose the worse one, the stormy and cold one in late October). So, I had the opportunity to observe our young’s enthusiasm and impressive intelligence in action.
But I also saw many of the same problems I experienced in the anti-Vietnam war movement…and there was no way I or anyone else could have warned the youngsters about it: they could not hear us. Some of the ‘elders’ there, we chatted about noticing the same experiences and many of the same mistakes. I will not discuss these here in this post, I just want to give a general feeling of what happened. I will only say that, IMHO, the fact that it was a leaderless movement didn’t help much, and probably facilitated its infiltration by the DHS.
As in the 60s and 70s, there were many missed opportunities to do more. One thing this generation is failing to do, just as we failed to do, is creating their own enduring political structure to challenge the power of the oligarchs: a third-party not controlled by the paws of the powers that be. As long as we are struggling for own well-being, ignoring that the next generation will go through the same shit, different year, humanity itself will continue moving forward at a glacial pace. In the millennium of the globalists, looking back at the pros-and-cons of the 1800s history of the international workers movement could net us all a vision for the future.
At the end, the OWS and BLM youngsters will be able, as we did after the 70s, to go home with the badge of courage that is the scars of bashed heads, arrest tickets, lung problems from inhaling all that pepper spray…
…and the knowledge that something was achieved. It usually takes time to recognize the achievements.
By now, the old and new oligarchs (the tech giants) have taken control of our social institutions, they are armed to their teeth through the police state and the military that protects them, while making sure, through gun control laws, that we can’t challenge them physically. The next generation will find it even more difficult than this one to fight the ‘establishment’.
OWS came and went, and here we are fighting against each other over Trump, Hillary and Bernie.
We haven’t learned much yet, have we?