In the shitstorm haze of recent political events, you might have blinked and missed the unscripted encounter in which young college student Trevor Hill asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (avowed neoliberal technocrat) the following:
“According to a Harvard University poll last May, 51% of young voters between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support capitalism. The Democratic Party inarguably failed to inspire young leftists during this election cycle, who voted in overwhelming numbers for the farther left candidate during the presidential primary elections … What is the Democratic Party going to change going forward in order to capture and inspire the new generations of leftists who feel as though the party is failing to stand up for left wing economic values?”
(Trevor was citing this study.)
The exchange was off-script. He was supposed to ask a personal question, some garbage about HBO’s “Veep” or something, but Trevor decided to ignore that and ask a real question to the dismay of CNN. None of that is what matters, nor Nancy Pelosi’s “Sorry, we’re capitalists” response. What is significant is that a generation of young people – while being told they’re lazy, entitled and straight up baffling to this asshole – face a reality of lower wage jobs, greater competition for those shitty jobs, and far less economic security and social mobility than their parents experienced.
After the event, Trevor Hill ended up joining a socialist organization (The DSA – which saw a rise in membership during the Bernie momentum) and I would speculate he wont be alone. The god-awful 2016 election presented us with 1) neoliberal technocracy, and with it more militarist imperialist actions in the Mid-East, and expansed competition for low-wage jobs (see the TPP) and 2) a festering white supremacist/pro-rape orange-coated fascism. Nancy Pelosi thought we should have been excited about those options?
The old neoliberal order died the moment Obama stepped out of the Oval Office. We have witnessed this openly fascistic administration bluster past such roadblocks as legality and morality. Simultaneously, it turns out those youngsters might have figured out this is a stupid system that empowers white supremacy, unleashes outright terror on women, trans and immigrant people, and will leave them poor, uninsured and blocked out of a good education. But all that lefty shit aside, fucking humanity is at stake.
As he watch fascism emerge in his own country, Antonio Gramsci wrote that “the old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.” But worry not. This is the time of monsters for sure – but we know heroes emerge as well.