“This is not an issue of Democrats versus Republicans. It’s about human lives, student lives; it is an issue with the morality of humanity, not about a political debate between two parties. It’s about saving lives.”
These were the words of a teenage student from the Parkland, Florida high school where 17 young people were recently gunned down by another young person poisoned by hate. These students have organized, marched and confronted politicians who refused to reign in the NRA and weapons merchants, joined by student walkouts across the country. They are calling for an end to the violence, the ideologies of hate and the militarization of the society they are inheriting.
Their fire and determination have shown the world a youth movement that is clear and unafraid—as did the youth of Ferguson, and all across the country, who protested and organized against the police murders of their own, taking to the streets, shutting down business as usual. They are interfacing with Black Lives Matter and the defenders of DACA, to speak truth to corrupt power. They are joining forces with teachers across the country, and with others fighting to survive.
As Henry A. Giroux wrote recently in Truthout: “At least for the moment, young people are refusing to live with a modern system of violence that functions as a form of domestic terrorism. Engaged in a form of productive unsettling and collective dissent, they are fighting back, holding power accountable and giving birth to a vibrant form of political struggle.”
The young are in the forefront of many of the new organizations and mobilizations, in defiance of an old order that is killing them and stealing their future. They are not going to stand by while they and their brothers and sisters are gunned down and set up for lives of poverty, job insecurity or joblessness, and even homelessness, or a lifetime weighed down by student debt.
The ruling class can’t solve the problems of a collapsing economic system and society, as automation replaces ever more jobs. They can’t offer our young people anything but increasing inequality, terror and lack of opportunity. This generation has known nothing but these conditions, which get ever worse, imposed by increasingly fascist police state terror. This generation is also smart, adaptable and connected, through social media and a vibrant global culture. Not tied to the decaying ideas of the past, young people are open to visionary new ideas, and are organizing to make them real. They are idealistic and also practical, and they want to heal the social system and the earth, kicking off the chains of destruction.
Humanity is on the cusp of a whole new way of being, something we have dreamed of down through the ages but never had the material means to achieve for all. The younger generations increasingly view a cooperative system in a positive way, many seeing socialism as superior to capitalism. They understand that the future, their future, is up to them and to all of us, and are stepping up to see that it is one of life, liberty and human promise, not destruction and death. We must support their struggle to make this everyone’s reality.