‘Generation on fire’ youth march

June 29, 2021

From the July-August 2021 issue of News & Letters

San Francisco—I participated in the Sunrise Movement youth march, “Generation on Fire,” June 10-14, from Santa Rosa to San Francisco, around 80 miles. It was a part of a 266-mile march that began in Paradise, the site of the 2018 Camp fire, one of the most devastating in California history. In May another march like it went 400 miles across the U.S. Gulf Coast.

All of them mean to raise awareness of how the climate movement relates to every other issue: economy, racism, socialism, etc. Some of the younger people were asking what is socialism and we had lively discussions about it. The socialism we discussed was what a truly post-capitalist society would look like, not just social democracy.

The person I spoke to most, from National Sunrise Movement, went on all of the Sunrise trips. We walked 10 miles the first day. He was on board with what we have to say. He is interested in the ideas. I explained negation of the negation as a way to talk about a new society not as an end, but as a new beginning. There are not “ends,” the only constant is change. There is no “end of history.”

At overnight stops there were a lot more discussions. Some concentrated on what could be called “socialist experiments,” like Venezuela. It is clear that establishing socialism is not easy. Even if/when you can overthrow the existing government, what then?

It is a wonderful experience to see activism combined with a real discussion of ideas of where we’re going and what our activism means.


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