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Got a revolution?

Jefferson Airplane, Woodstock 1969: Got to Revolution

I am dumbfounded at the passivity of today’s young people, particularly recent college graduates. If they got any education at all for the money they spent on a college education, then they ought to be able to see that they are among the designated losers in an already almost-lost class war being waged by the corporate and political elite against the people of America.

My generation would never have put up with it. Even if we lost the struggle, we’d be in the streets raising raising hell and having a good time at it. To quote Jefferson Airplane from the song they sang at Woodstock in 1969:

Look what’s happening out in the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Hey I’m dancing down the streets
Got a revolution got to revolution
Ain’t it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolution got to revolution
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it’s time for you and me
Got a revolution got to revolution
Come on now we’re marching to the sea
got a revolution got to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of america

The statistics are appalling. Surveys show that 85 percent of this year’s college graduates will be forced to move back home with their parents. Their average student debt is $27,200. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that at least half of college-educated people under age 25 are unemployed or working for low wages in dead-end jobs such as bartending. A survey showed that 71 percent of recent college graduates wish they’d done something differently while they were in school to better prepare for the job market. In other words, they’re blaming themselves.

I already detect that some young readers are about to click the comment button and say that this is a generational problem: That my generation, which grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, got all selfish and self-indulgent as we aged, in spite of our youthful idealism, and that we screwed up the world. Don’t bother, because that’s just right-wing propaganda. The vast majority of we Boomers who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s worked our butts off all our lives to raise the generation that’s now moving back home. The tax money we Boomers paid out was the greatest source of revenue this country ever had. This was not a generational failure, this was a right-wing project: To capture the government and regulatory agencies to serve corporate interests, to shift the tax burden down, to redistribute income up, to starve the schools and the social safety net, to shift government expenditures toward profitable business projects such as war, to privatize profits and socialize costs, and to saturate Americans with propaganda so that we blame the poor, the hard-working, and the weak for the country’s problems while building right-wing hero myths around weak-minded, sociopathic pipsqueaks like Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

Right-wingers say that the country is broke. Ha! The United States is richer than ever, so awash in cash that new speculative bubbles may again be forming. Corporate profits are at record highs. The rich are richer than ever, and paying far less in taxes than they used to. There is plenty of money, but all the gains are going to the top. In Reaganomics, you’ll remember, that was the excuse for reducing taxes on the rich and ending regulations on corporations and Wall Street — it would create jobs. How’s that working out for you, recent college graduates? And how do you like the new line that’s coming out of the corporate propaganda machine, that college degrees are a hoax? That’s the new propaganda line: It’s not that economic elites are capturing all the new wealth and productivity gains, it’s that college degrees are a hoax.

Each year, about 3.2 million young people graduate from American colleges and universities. There must now be millions of college-educated young people unemployed and/or living at home. What the devil are they doing with all that free time? If they organized themselves and took to the streets, they all by themselves would have the power to take back the American democracy from corporate control and to get this country’s wealth back into the hands of the people who produce it rather than the greedy, unproductive hands of those who skim, scam, exploit, and tax-avoid their way to the top.

How I wish that today’s young people would start raising a little hell and pushing back against the elites who’ve eaten their lunch and offshored their future. Taking to the streets and civil disobedience are very effective strategies. Right-wingers know this. That’s why rich oilmen like Charles and David Koch pay good money to organize those fake little made-for-TV Tea Party rallies.

If you’re looking for an organization to get started with, consider U.S. Uncut. They’re a sassy new disobedient but non-violent organization going after greedy corporations and the corporate capture of government. They need help starting local chapters.

You don’t even have to have a revolution. You only need to claw back the American democracy from the corporate forces that have bought it with their obscene profits, and shout down the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine.

Right-wing propaganda update: This is from a transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show yesterday:

LIMBAUGH: Young people are moving back in with them. Their moms and dads! And some of these people moving back in are 35 and 40. How old are their moms and dads? 60 and 70, try. But they’re 60 and 70 and if they can afford their worthless offspring moving back in with them, just how poverty-stricken are they?

Another update: Ken Ilgunas has written a response to this post on his blog, “Why aren’t we revolutionaries?


  1. Rene wrote:

    Greed (“business school”) and ignorance are being institutionalized (see link below as example).

    I don’t believe that taking to the streets will really produce the change we need; the powers that be don’t care for the opinions of others, and the mainstream media doesn’t cover these protests though they are happy to give right wing groups inflated coverage.

    Individual actions seem too small and the government is being run by the corporations. Could it be that grassroots / cooperative efforts might be effective? For example, the Transition Town movement.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Jade Northrup wrote:

    First of all, you’re kind of blaming the victims a little bit here. Student debt is incredibly higher than it was in the 60s. It’s hard to turn on and drop out when you will go to prison if you don’t meet your student loan payments. I know a lot of people in their 20s keeping their heads down and trying to pay off their educations.

    Second, the confluence of globalization, the republican takeover, and the environmental crisis have been expanding since the late 70s / throughout the 80s. When most of these kids weren’t even born. So they are coming of age in a world with a basically fascist police state. The stakes are higher because they’re all debt slaves to get a degree. And there are less jobs than there were in any generation since the 30s.

    So yeah, it’s human nature to be pretty “frozen” in the face of that.

    Source: am 37, have lots of friends and coworkers in their 20s.

    Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

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