Monday, February 28, 2011

generation gaps

Hal Pepinsky,,
February 28, 2011
“Societal rhythms in the chaos of violence” is chapter 3 in my 1991 book on “the geometry of violence and democracy.” In that paper I gave at a criminology paper in 1989, I foresaw that an east/west divide was giving way to a north/south, religiously based divide.
My analysis was built on the premise that political/cultural/economic change is most at issue in adult child conflicts. What today are being called “revolutions” are essentially clashes between youths and adult elites. In 1989 as now, I see fault lines between generations cracking open worldwide. Indeed, the ways we ravage one another as we ravage our earth mother ultimately manifest themselves in earthquakes and volcanoes. From Christchurch to Tripoli, youth are bent on disrespecting and bringing down their elders. Globally, the tension between ruling class gluttony and impoverishment, condemnation as in criminalization, and finger-pointing at youth (and foreigners) for causing all “our” problems…all this tension has built up worldwide with virtually no release since the fall of the Soviet Union.
No human force can stop political aftershocks from continuing to erupt. Heads of rulers and “protestors” alike will continue to roll. For starters, from Sudan to Cote d’Ivoire to Libya, there is no foreseeing how long entrenched national rule can hang on, on limits to suffering and horror in the interim. And then there is the challenge of how to replace a regime without mimicking its predecessor, as a South African visitor recently reminded me In the case of the end of apartheid and the rise of the ANC in her homeland.
I keep looking for one kind of progress: That it is too simple to reduce any political issue to a debate, especially when it comes to what young people like the colonel who took over power in Libya in 1969 (who even came into power with a “green book” to rival Mao’s “red” one), or in less bloody form for a new generation of US president who came to power in 1993, or Tony Blair in Britain, achieve when youth take over. May debate over whose views ought to prevail be transformed into setting up new forms of governing ourselves, where first and foremost youth are presumed to equal representation and respect in our daily lives—at home, at school, in the workplace.
By 1989, I had come to recognize that children are the ultimate underclass—who like and at greater extremes than adult women get used and abused and forced to subordinate themselves to adult wisdom. Of course the current global generation quake will work its course in different places. Along the way, this time around, I wish we can pay more attention to the despotism of adults as a group over “their” children. Maybe we could settle down our relations among ourselves and with our mother. Love and peace--hal

1 comment:

  1. The destruction of the "life interest" of children is the source of both flaps of the big carrion bird of war: the up-flap being the exploitation of lower classes by upper classes, and the down-flap being the use of the young from one group of exploiters to do battle against the young from another group so that one of the two groups of exploiters can advance in their position on the global power food chain.

    If the life interest of the youngest generation were to be focused on and provided for for a mere three generations, this entire vicious circle would be broken and we might even be able to avert total disaster world-wide. But it appears to me that there is no time for this.