Tuesday, June 19, 2007

old and young punks and activists

My old punk friends complain about feeling alientated at shows, and not knowing how to relate to the fire in young people who are struggling with things we've already come to conclusions about, and complaining about bad tactics of young punks at our small little protests in our small little town. Like there was a Critical Mass bikeride recently, and at the end of it, someone locked themselves to the doors of an abandon Bank of America, and they were shouting out the ways the Bank of America was actively killing the world. My old punk friend left. I mean, I probably would have too. He said there were parents with kids there, there were lots of people who didn't want to get arrested, and it just seemed like how many times do we have to repeat the same tactical mistakes, alienating people, getting arrested.

Yesterday I was talking to Finn and he was saying that the generations in activist circles are so small. Like a couple years brings a whole new generation, and a lot of the people who two years ago were active, now have disapeared, and there's no one to pass down the lessons learned from experience.

I see a lot of my older friends giving up. Losing passion. I hear them say things like "I used to read a lot and now I almost never do." And I think it is so essential that we figure out ways to support eachother in growing older and staying committed. I think it is so important that we continue to challenge ourselves and eachother. I think it is so important that we try and figure out how to pass down our experiences and the lessons we've learned without being condescending, and without telling young people that they shouldn't try things anyway, even if when we did the same things we failed. Sometimes you have to learn things for yourself.

And we need to make more of an effort to talk to talk to young people, like when I heard about that Critical Mass, I was thinking I would have left too, but I probably would have tried to find the people who organized it later, talked with them later in the week, asking them what were their goals with that action, and talking about the importance of letting people who come to a protest know if they're going to do something in an effort to get arrested. Talk about the ideas of symbolic action, media, buliding mass movement, building visability, or small, cohesive groups. Talk with them, instead of saying "this isn't for me anymore".

And I think young people should know that for the most part we are a bunch of babies, scared of their fire and scared of their judgement, and unsure of our place in things anymore. Some of us may be bitter and jaded, but most of us are little fraidy cats and would probably really love to be asked questions about what we experienced, what we learned.

1 comment:

Sean "Goblin" Aaberg said...

Reminds me alot of when i was getting into the scene element of Punk & going to shows & volunteering at the Infoshop & stuff like that, & being full of the same fire & energy that i am now, but the older people didn't seem clear on what they wanted to achieve, how to achieve it or much of anything else really. There was always alot of talk about community, but it came from fundamentally alienated, anti-mainstream people, alot of which were vegetarians & had other obscure lifestyle choices, so what community were they talking about? They were definitely intimidated by me, but also really condescending, much as people who look towards a status quo continue to be condescending to me. I figured out after a while that the activist world wasn't what it said it was, & that it was wholly something else, that i should avoid, like a glue trap for rats.