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I am conflicted on this issue. In the 1960's and 1970's we had the counter culture which cast the younger generation against their parents. It was driven my resentment against the austerity of the 1950's, the Vietnam war, racism, civil rights, anti-Apartheid, anti-militarism and led to pacifism, flower power, recreational drugs and a cultural explosion in pop and rock music and many other art forms.

On the whole it was a very positive experience, but it also led to familial splits, estrangements, a social distancing were some parents/older people were identified with the enemy. They has come through an entirely different set of experiences - the Great depression, WWII, the holocaust, rationing - which had shaped their generation in a very different way.

I don't sense as much of an inter-generational divide this time around. There may be the occasional raves and youth protest parties like Podemos, but no international counter-culture like the last time around.  And this is despite this being possibly the first generation, in a long while, which may be poorer than their parents.

I'm not even sure about that latter point. Certainly inequality has been rising, encouraged by neo-liberal globalisation, privatisation and austerity, and most wealth is in the hands of the elderly. But younger people now take for granted what we couldn't even dream of - their own cars, smart phones, the internet, home entertainment systems and eating/drinking out regularly in a wide variety of cuisines when the chip shop was the height of our aspirations or affordability and a cheap Chinese meal was the height of exotica.

But overall I am driven my a sense that inter-generational relationships are better than they used to be, with older people more prepared to adapt, and younger people more prepared to make allowances. Maybe I am just very fortunate in that regard and the dominant experiences in other societies may be different.

Certainly I am struck by what seems to be a fracturing, atomisation, alienation, commodification, and distancing of relationships particularly in the USA, and perhaps being nationalist movements in Europe - to a degree even technology can't ameliorate. Trump seems to me to be leading a protest of the privileged and ageing against the diminution of their powers.

But I'm not sure. Your views are welcome...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 08:36:36 AM EST
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