“You Say You Want a Revolution?”

A picture is worth a million words. There seems to be a difference of opinion throughout Europe (and in America, too) concerning money, and debt. Also, some mild disagreement about who should pay the price and make the sacrifices, and who should get bailed out.

Schoolgirls link hands to protect a police van during student protests in London. -- Peter Marshall photo.

Baroque in Hackney reports that a younger generation — “The Kids” — is seizing responsibility because their elders are cowed by the powers that be. Ms. B’s post is enlightening. I urge you to read it.

How far will the wealthy elites in Europe and America push the children of the former middle-class? If you want to know which way the wind is blowing, please read this article by Jonathan Jones from The Guardian. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“For this picture tells a lot, very quickly. It tells us the menace of violence is real as anger grows among groups directly afflicted by the coalition’s cuts. Yet it also reveals that most protesters are peaceful, idealistic, with a sense of history and of the gravity of their actions. Most of all it tells us how amazingly young many of them are.

Future historians may well write that the Conservative-Liberal coalition was doomed the day schoolchildren took to the streets to assert their right to a university education.”

People are protesting in the streets in France (Social Security); England (college tuition); Ireland (budget cuts); and the European Union is getting ready to bail out the biggest banks in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and maybe Italy. The U.S. already bailed out its bankers, and people protested with their votes.

So this is the way it’s going to be? The rich get richer; the middle-class get screwed?

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right”

— The Beatles

I’ve written about the consequences of what I would call “capitalism off the hook” before. I didn’t think the reaction in the streets and at the voting places would be so swift or serious.

With apologies to Buffalo Springfield, I don’t think it’s paranoia. I think, “There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

Mr. Jones of The Guardian describes what’s happening as follows:

“We can look at this picture and see a mass movement rapidly evolving as a generation goes beyond merely taking to the streets and starts finding a larger meaning in its rebellion, and imposing order in new ways. What these girls are showing us is that this is not just about rage. It is a defiant stand for youth and hope.”

Do you think President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke understand what’s happening?

“The Kids” and their “cowed” parents understand that they’re being screwed. Government leaders understand the consequences of tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for the poor.

The wealthy elites understand that they’re screwing the poor, and what’s left of the middle-class. The wealthy always believe they have a right to exploit the poor.

So it looks like it’s the Powerful elites against “The Kids.” You can call it “class warfare,” if you want. I’m afraid that the Powerful will make precious few concessions to “The Kids,” at least not without an ugly struggle. How it will play out, no one knows.

— John Hayden

5 thoughts on ““You Say You Want a Revolution?”

  1. Pingback: Street Protests in London and Dublin « Maryland On My Mind

  2. The System against The Kids. We’ve been here before. Only this time, the kids have all got Twitter and Instant Messaging and may well be formidable.

    “The wealthy always believe they have a right to exploit the poor”: by and large true, but perhaps truer to say that there will always be some people who believe they have the right to whatever they can get by fair means or foul, and they will tend to become wealthy because of their ruthlessness, and then be wealthy, ruthless and exploitive (and pass those values to their young)?

    In the end, it’s a problem of the human heart. And no, I can’t think of a solution, offhand.


  3. John, this was an interesting read. Unfortunately for these kids the GFC has occurred during such a crucial part of their lives, impacting on their future in monumental ways. My heart goes out to them!
    We here in Australia have been less effected by the GFC than other parts of the world, but we are well aware of it’s fallout elsewhere in the world, particularly in your country. I think capitalism was always going to have it’s downfall. Perhaps it is a time in history, when we can all start to look elsewhere for meaning and purpose in our lives.

    Thanks for expounding on this important subject. I enjoyed reading this post!


  4. Thanks Monica! Some disenchanted (or perhaps fearful?) Americans and Europeans have a fantasy of escaping to Australia or New Zealand. In this troubled world, many would envy my sister-in-law and my niece, who live in the U.S. and have dual citizenship in the U.S. and Australia. Dual citizenship! Might be worth more than an insurance policy or a million euros.

    Come to think of it, maybe it’s time for me to apply for a passport, after all these years.


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