Over at The New Inquiry, Malcolm Harris is taking a look at the dismal circumstances today’s young people find themselves in. Youth unemployment is at record levels. Youth arrest rates are skyrocketing even as youth crime plummets. College tuition is going through the roof, as is youth debt, and household incomes of youth-headed families are lagging far behind those of other age cohorts.
And that ugliness is the cause, Harris says, of Occupy Wall Street:
It isn’t a stretch to call the recent wave of American occupations a youth movement. Originating from student struggles against high tuition — in California, New York, and most militantly, Puerto Rico — the occupations channeled young Americans’ fear and insecurity into often inchoate action. … President Obama sold himself so successfully to young Americans by mirroring our hopes for post-Bush reform that the resulting disappointment is directed more toward the hope itself than the man who never stood much of a chance of fulfilling it. It’s in this situation, when reform in the government and in the workplace feels exhausted, that the framework of liberal aspirations and demands collapses. And Occupy Wall Street is the most palatable instantiation of this post-hope politics by process of elimination that we’re likely to see.
There’s a lot more to Harris’ piece, and it’s all worth reading, so go read it.