the youth thing

Peter Frase pefrase at hotpop.com
Sun Mar 30 19:31:57 MST 2003


At 05:46 PM 3/30/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>My hunch from limited info. (I'm in Japan and not
>the US right now) is that youth of the US are
>more against the war and the military than people
>35 and older.

I'm not sure how true this is. Several polls have indicated that the
under-30 group is *more* pro-war than the population in general, although
polls are of course a crude and inaccurate measure of these things. (See
e.g.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/03/23/IN92660.DTL.)
But my gut feeling is that young people are not necessarily more anti-war
than older folks. Particularly for people my age (22) and younger, who
essentially came of age in the post-Cold War "humanitarian intervention"
period, I think that the nature of America's imperialist role in the world
is less clear than it is for those who lived through the Reagan years,
Vietnam, etc. Add to that the general ignorance of current events endemic
in the young, and I think you can see where a sizeable pro-war bloc could
come from.

That said, there is a sizeable minority which is extremely politicized and
vehemently opposed to the war. In watching the national student strike
organizing done by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC),
I was particularly amazed at the amount of mobilization going on at the
high school level. Teenagers are much more activism-inclined now even than
when I was in high school, and I think that a lot of that has to do with
the higher profile of left activism ever since the 1999 Seattle WTO
protest. I know that the year after Seattle, I started to see a lot of kids
coming to my University who had been radicalized and turned on to activism
by hearing about that protest or seeing it on TV. Now the high profile
anti-war movement is accomplishing the same thing on a much larger scale.

We are coming out of a long period in which youth were relatively
demobilized and unpolitical. I think things are beginning to turn around
now, but there is still a ways to go.

Peter





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