Why Don’t Kids Protest Anymore?

A couple of weeks ago I got worked up overyour typically bullshit nostalgic comment over at Susie’s place:

Now-a-days our younger folks are too engaged on these fucking
machines to get out into the cold (or heat) to raise HELL; but, guess
what? They’ll stand in line all night long to be the first to purchase
the latest version of an IPOD. CRAZY!

Yeah, kids today, with their long hair and their rock music. You never see THEM at protests.

Look, just because campus activism doesn’t look exactly like it did
back in the Glory Days (and I mean that in the Springsteen sense)
doesn’t mean young people are all shallow and stupid now. That’s as
simplistic as saying Baby Boomers were happy to protest when it was
their asses on the line in a war but can’t be bothered to get off them
for their kids.

And readers here of all places should know that judging a generation
by what you see on TV (long lines for iPods and stories about kids
showing they titties on the MySpaces) is dangerously shallow.

Here in Chicago we had protests before the war that shut down Lake
Shore Drive. We had young people throwing their bodies onto cars. That
was on TV. Lots of young faces here:


And I remember a great deal of rhetoric about those stupid kids and
how they didn’t understand that protests didn’t work because people
tried it in the 60s and it didn’t lead to anything good. Something I
strenuously disagree with, but still.

If you yearn for the days of protest, ain’t nothing stopping you
from doing it tomorrow. Go take to the streets and the university
professors’ offices and your congresscritters’ halls. Join Code Pink,
they’ve always got something going on. Find another group to hook up
with if this only interests you if there’s a billion other people doing

And direct your anger at a media establishment (both online and off)
that belittles protest and those who engage in it, because that’s
really to blame for your skewed perception.

This example wasn’t available to me at the time, but the kids are protesting just fine when it’s something that pisses them off enough, as evidenced bythings like this:

On Monday, about 100 students defied warnings from campus police and
entered Wheeler Hall declaring they were going to hold an “Open
University.” About 40 students have spent the night in the building in
sleeping bags. The daily schedule is created by participants and posted
at “Live Week.”

Joseph Agredano, 20, studied for his linguistics
final between protest duties at the information booth. Mr. Agredano, a
third-year transfer student and interdisciplinary studies major from
Moorpark, Calif., joined the movement for the September campus walkout
and became one of the dozens of students arrested on the second floor
during the November protest and takeover of Wheeler.

Agredano, who says his education is paid for by financial aid, said he
was protesting because he believes “education is a right. Higher
education should be accessible to any person.”

Good kids. Have a cookie.


11 thoughts on “Why Don’t Kids Protest Anymore?

  1. Disagree with you a bit here. I don’t think you can really compare the few protests before recent wars to a movement of protest and other actions that went on for years aimed at ending the Vietnam War.
    It would be interesting to look at the role that the draft played in the protests of 60’s and the lack of it in relation to today’s wars. I’d say those in the 60’s were more involved because the stakes were higher given they could be drafted. And given the number drafted more were at risk
    But arguing which generation is better misses the bigger pic. What we should have looked at, and God knows we never did, were the lessons learned from Vietnam. Of course Goverment learned to ditch the draft or else risk the people in the streets to stop wars and also keep the scope of war to manageable minimum less people complain…we can see now how that has worked out for us in Iraq and Afghanistan and somewhere down the line gov’t will look again at it and I shudder at what they’ll come up with.

  2. Hopefully “the kids” have learned that in order to get anything done you work your ass off behind the scenes to get a guy like Obama elected. Noisy public protests are so… teabag. Like listening to your parents’ music.

  3. Jesus Christ, there were a couple of MILLION of us out on the streets of London right before this fucking awful war started, and when we came home and turned on the news, we got about a 2-minute mention, with a radically deflated crowd estimate. Trust me: there were that many of us. We were on that march for hours, and never even made it to Hyde Park, that’s how huge the crowds were. Straight down the memory hole, that one.

  4. What could end up mobilizing this generation by the tens of thousands is Jobs…well lack of Jobs once they come out of college

  5. There is a major disconnect between the protests of the kids today (and yes, there are still many of them doing some form of protest)and the overseas wars because there is no mandatory draft…and one of the few writers I’ve seen to seriously address that disconnect – from the returning soldiers’ point of view, at least – is Ethan Brown in “Shake The Devil Off”. Not sure if it would seriously impact people’s willingness to take to the streets if they realized how many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were looking at trash in the street here and, thinking it concealed a bomb like back in the war zone, drove erratically to avoid it, but the mental toll this is going to take on the increased numbers of troops being sent off to try and finish what Dubya started needs to be scrutinized.

  6. But arguing which generation is better misses the bigger pic.
    See, I should have just said this, and left the rest of it alone, because this is my point exactly. So my generation wins … or yours does … so what? Where does that leave us to go? What do we DO now?

  7. First thing we do, A, is not let up on Obama over Afghanistan or Iran.
    Jim Hightower’s got a column up at the Texas Observer about this.
    We’re sending 30,000 more of our kids to die for Hamid Karzai? WTF?
    Finishing what Bush started? We should have his @$$ in jail as well as Karl and Dick’s,
    and thoroughly repudiate everything he ever did in office. That would be Change to Believe In.

  8. The current generation don’t need to protest and get the shit beaten out of them. They have the internet. They got Obama elected. And they are going to change the world. Just watch and be amazed.

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