It's worth remembering that people over 40 have not approved of almost any student/young person-dominated protest movement since 1950. We tend to falsely remember that there was a wide moral embrace of MLK and the civil rights movement, when in fact he was disliked by a majority of Americans (even more disproportionately so by older white Americans) until well after his death, and the same for the civil rights movement in general. The early SDS of the Free Speech movement and the Port Huron statement was seen as a fringe group of weirdo leftists by older Americans, and later antiwar campus protests were what enabled Reagan's political acension in California. Protests for feminism and women's rights and for gay rights were persistently mocked and disdained by the conventional wisdom of older Americans throughout the 1970s. The anti-apartheid movement on campuses was seen as useless and uninformed. Occupy was widely derided by tribunes of the mainstream.

So I'm not sure this is a new situation. Considering that some of those movements in retrospect seem incredibly important and others not so much, I don't think conventional disdain for protestors is a good guide to whether they have philosophically coherent goals, reasonable political objectives, or will have a meaningful impact or not. The disdain seems structurally hard-wired even when the causes change and the organizational clarity or lack thereof is different.

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Apr 26Liked by Laura McKenna

But It's also worth remembering the Red Guards of China, I suppose, if we're going to go down that path of selective historical memory?

There is no iron law of history which predicts that the youth will always know better than their elders, that's basically just wishful thinking.

But when your movement is actively praised by the Iranian mullahs, I do think you should take another look at the aims and goals of your movement

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That's a pretty old Cold War gambit that keeps people from having to think about the people closest to them. "Outside agitators" in some form or another. Right and left (and even center) in the US have fans in surprisingly awful places, and the Internet is full of forces that want to pull us one way or the other just to see us fight.

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I rarely comment on Substack but I must clear up the misconception about age. BDS & campus protests against Israel are being commandeered almost entirely by people aged 40-75. Professors, activists & foreign operators/$ who have been indoctrinating kids for 25 years in a shallow oppressor-oppressed narrative that didn't even exist in the 60s, 70s, 80s. I should know--I unfortunately know these folKS, all too well.

Anti-semitism has been rampant on campuses for decades now, thanks to boomers and X'er profs who promote it, mainly by teaching a very shallow and anti-intellectual in-group, out-group way of thinking about social justice. For decades in the humanities, anyone who engaged in the post-modern Marxist jabbering was rewarded, while thoughtful students & scholars were dismissed. I was one of them; I fled American studies when I realized that identity flexing, not thought, was driving its scholarship.

It is no surprise to me that white students in the left have gravitated to anti-semitism--it takes them from being the scapegoat to being able to finally join the in-group and scapegoat someone else--in this case, Israelis and American Jews who support Israel. (And of course, scapegoating Jews is as old as time so easy to fall back on.)

Look--I am Scotch-German. I've got no skin in this game. Except that I have a mind, and a history in the left, and can see it is astoundingly cruel what is being done to Jewish students, to Israeli people on campus and in the world right now. The society that the idealists of the 60s wished for, with all people living in harmony, is not the world view of the occupation folKS. The campus left was long ago taken over by abject bullies who wish to take names and ultimately lynch their perceived "enemies," all in the name of their own narcissistic fantasies.

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Michael Powell - antisemitism is flaring, all governing. Students are conflicted. Few Jews feel they belong. Sadly, a self-loathing is real. Among Jews and others. Hamas is pleasing and abusing the Palestinians that elected them. Hamas and Hezbollah, is Iran Inc. Antisemitism is the constant. Campus protests are simply a function of classic antisemitism and the confused identity of Jews that have not assimilated. Jesus isn’t selling. Love isn’t selling. Hatred is selling, marketed by a self absorbed cowardly self-loathing liar - The Orange Man. Republican are fascist.. that started long ago. The reformation did not work. Lincoln was dead. And the Negro was not emancipated. The Negro was crushed. Separate but equal was another lie. And American ambivalence is terminal.

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