Many of us older lefties were radicalised by a previous generation that lived through the Great Depression and passed on to us through writing and song-line the stories of injustice that was perpetrated on the poor and vulnerable in those times..Who can forget Steinbeck’s ;“The Grapes of Wrath” or John Dos Passos ; “USA” trilogy and many other harrowing tales ( I have to apologise for my lack of Aust’ authors, but unfortunately those mentioned were the ones that caught my attention in those days) and then there was Pete Seeger and The Weavers , Arlo / Woody Gutherie and many others as well…enough to add to our parents stories and personal experiences to paint a colourful picture of the times and the tyranny.
I, myself came to the radical camp in my mid to late twenties, through the above and my own personal travels through Australia as a journeyman carpenter..I have written of some of these experiences.. ( eg: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/morning-glory/ ) I became radicalised through a growing resentment toward the callous disregard of those “haves” toward the many “have-nots”..It was not through unemployment, nor lack of consumerable capacity, I for one, unlike my parents generation, never had a thought until my thirties about marriage and housing etc..
But what we see these days with a new generation radicalising is perhaps for the wrong reasons. We see anger at an incapacity to own housing or a lack of permanent employment or casualisation of the workforce..many are but “consumerables”, all real and worrying circumstances to be sure, but many are the effect of a system rather than the cause..and I have to wonder if what is not being addressed is the cause.
I can remember the circumstances that first awoke in me a need to leave my old world behind and strike out on an adventure into the wild, wild world without adult supervision and security of employment..a time when many “Boomers” simultaneously “walked away” from our parents stultifying social lifestyles and workplaces..I wrote about it here:
Unfortunately, after so many years struggling on the periphery of poverty, boozing, nefarious substances and in many times wretched rental accommodation, many of us returned to the security of permanent employment and consumerism even if to just to get a decent meal!..and set about establishing ourselves in the comforts we thought we deserved..The result being the unforeseen situation we have now, where the younger generation is locked out of inner urban housing and their job opportunities shrunk to the predatory aims of a vicious neo-liberal market.
The younger generation now needs to radicalise from the ground up. They need to understand the basis for radicalisation..that the foundations of social equality and fairness is the first priority and is needed to support the building of larger and more substantial structure of a decent society, that will benefit not just those fortunate enough to land a decent, well-paid, permanent job, but those who move in and out of casual employment, those who are disabled and those of vulnerable or impoverished means..in short, we have to re-construct “The Society” that the likes of Turnbull and the IPA wish to destroy. Reconstructed on the foundations of a socialist program of equality and fairness.
I, like many tradesmen of my generation, was very fortunate in my capacity to be able to build the family homes we had from the ground up..with raw materials scraped and scabbed from building sites and quarries (and there’s a few tales in those circumstances!)..such opportunity is outside the capacity of most of the younger generation now..and the universal building codes throughout Australia forbid many owner builders from any ad-hoc construction, no matter how strong or secure it may be. I started full time work in the building trade at 14 yrs and what ever I got I got through my own efforts, but that is not to say such opportunity is afforded this next generation..My children who have good jobs (not in the build’ trade) are still unable to plan too far ahead for the future..this lousy LNP govt’ has stolen the dreams of many of the younger generation and sold it on to corporate profiteers like slaves to the market place..a curse on them all!
And THIS is the core of the need for radicalisation; to identify and crush the foul breath out of Neo-liberalism and its prophets. And THIS is where we of the older generation need to encourage and share our experiences to give leadership to this next generation of radicals, because to be radical is the only real solution to “keep the political bastards honest” even and especially in our own supported party and shine a light on where they go astray from bringing down policy suitable for what Jeremy Corbyn calls ; “For the many , not just the few”.
We have come a long way from those heady days of social liberation of the sixties and seventies, and it is time to hand the baton over to the young and fit to cry liberation in the streets..for it will never end while there are the scum and the greedy and the opportunists in the right-wing community to take advantage of every chance to screw over their fellow citizen when they see an opportunity.They must be crushed, hunted out and suppressed before their infections spread like a foul religion through the minds of the lazy and indolent among us.
I owe it…We…owe it to the future.