Friday 8 February 2019

Malcolm Harris: “Kids These Days”.

This is a different post. It may sound too pessimistic, even by my own already pessimistic standards, but that’s not what makes it different. What makes it different it that this is also a rather personal post. That may make it less than interesting to the general reader. More sensitive readers may find it depressing.

At any rate, I understand if they leave at this point.

Men in my family die at an early age and at 57 I’ve already outlived my dad (and some of my male cousins) and am in the process of outliving many of my uncles (and some of my male cousins). Let me put it this way: if I’m not definitely past my “use by date”, I’m getting there.

Frankly, I’m not sure the end of the journey, which I feel may be approaching, is such a terrible thing. You see, I’m a rather unlikely beast: a pessimistic Marxist. Unlike most Marxists, I look at the future with dread. An early exit may spare me that future.

Don’t get me wrong. I ain’t on a suicidal watch. For one, because I haven’t fully overcome the instinctive fear of death. I am too much of an animal for that. For another because I wonder about those I’d be leaving behind, particularly the young ones.

As a working class man, a socialist, and a Marxist of my generation, there’s no denying I failed. Although we had resources our predecessors could not even imagine, we couldn’t create a better, more rational, egalitarian, freer world. Maybe it was the “objective conditions” (as some Marxists would say); maybe it was weakness or cowardice or stupidity. It doesn’t really matter now: what’s certain is that we failed. And I fear the young, who will be called to carry the torch we carried so poorly, may have to learn everything from scratch, instead of learning from our mistakes. It’s a sad indictment to older generations but our greatest legacy is the knowledge of the mistakes kids must avoid.

This interview between two millennials (h/t David Ruccio) gives me some hope. The future still looks frightening, but at least some kids may be learning, even if they didn’t learn it from me. Without further ado:

Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism.
Author Malcolm Harris on why millennials need a revolution.
By Sean Illing. Feb 4, 2019, 8:20am EST

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