Tonight’s musical selection is “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC. It’s that time of year when you hear nothing but Christmas music out and about. I’m not a big Christmas fan. In fact, this song and the Peanuts Christmas album are pretty much the only tunes that don’t make me hate the whole month.
It might have something to do with the fact that I used to work retail.
It seems almost weekly that some oldster will take to the mainstream media to decry the “Millennial” generation — those people now in their twenties, calling them lazy, useless, hopeless. The infamous “worst generation ever” speech on Newsroom is an example of this trope, and I hate it. I have many friends in their twenties, and they are some of the most passionate, activated, hard-working people I’ve ever met, yet the odds are stacked against them in a way no generation in memory has faced.
In These Times has started a series called Generation Hopeless? about young people, their future, and their political place in the world. Here’s the title essay from Matthew Richards:
Occupy didn’t fail due to the lack of a “clear message.” It didn’t fail due to a lack of structure, organization, hierarchy or visible leaders. It wasn’t because Occupy wasn’t radical enough, or wasn’t reasonable enough, or was “too polite” in its protests. It wasn’t because of the narrow-mindedness or egos of the activists.
Occupy was doomed to fail from the start because it faced challenges no other U.S. social movement has had to face. Occupy was created in the midst of a Category 10 shitstorm that involved a hostile American social climate, decades upon decades of brainwashing, a media black-out, an unrelenting foe and an unprecedented amount of police repression.
The Occupy generation was taught from a young age that strangers are to be feared. We were told not to associate with our neighbors. We were made to believe there is a child molester behind every corner and a razor blade in every piece of Halloween candy. We make superficial friendships on social media that make us feel more isolated than ever. Under these conditions, it is incredibly hard for any social movement based on mutual trust, understanding and shared experiences to flourish.
In addition to this, city councils across the country curtailed access to public space. The Occupy movement then became about reclaiming a place to meet.
But the Occupy movement didn’t stand a chance to build a mass movement when the police kept evicting us, and most of the General Assemblies were about how to protect ourselves from police violence. There was too much intimidation, and we didn’t have the time or the influence or the physical space to ever make it sustainable. When the parks were cleared, people resorted to social media, because it’s the only place where my generation knows to go.
But Carl Davidson responds, “If Occupy is a Battle, the First Round is A Success:”