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Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others Paperback – April 15, 2007
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"The Original Punk Parent Zine." Ariel Gore
The Future Generation is one of the most committed, radical and inspiring zines ever produced, anywhere. Jeff Bagato
What I've always loved about her zine is that it goes beyond just parenting. She really makes an effort to fit parenting into the greater context of the world. Sean Stewart
About the Author
A pioneer of the genre, especially when it comes to mamazines, China Martens started The Future Generation in 1990. She was a young anarchist punk rock mother who didn't feel that the mamas in her community had enough support, so she began delivering articles on radical parenting to her compañeras in an age before the Internet made such a thing easy.
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Becoming a mother just shy of her 22nd birthday in 1988 when "most punks weren't parents and most parents weren't punks," China started The Future Generation as a way to find and connect with other subcultural parents. In the subculture where she'd lived actively for years, China felt disconnected and easily recognized a void in her peer's consciousness in terms of child-related issues. She didn't know then that her cutting edge drive to put those new mama feelings and observations into zine form would years later inspire an entire new generation of subcultural parents and mama zinesters, even if her "squat daycare revolution" wasn't ever realized.
A full decade after the first issue of The Future Generation came out in April 1990, I was a new mama myself when I discovered China's The Future Generation writings in her regular Slug & Lettuce column. Because her writing is warm, accessible, and the kind of raw that's full of emotion and honesty, I felt an immediate need to get in touch with her to thank her for helping me feel less alone in my new mama life.
When the next issue of The Future Generation zine came out (issue #11), I ordered one right away. When it came in the mail, I knew I was going to love it from the cover alone. No Baby Gap modeling here, the toddler on the cover looked real - adorably tousled from outdoor fun. In the background, the parents hanging out at an outdoor punk show racked up immediate points too. The same kind of real life, rough around the edges parent and kid imagery is captured again here in the zine-book - pregnant synchronized swimmers in bikinis, naked baby buns running down an empty road, mama bands, mom and daughter photo booth strips, tattooed parents, demonstrations, collages, and breastfeeding babies.
When I started reading that issue #11, I loved it even more. From the introduction where I felt like my new mama life had been captured (I read I wasn't the only mama who had trouble getting out of the house and managing baby fussiness in public) to the excellent first-hand experience-based advice I'd need years down the road ("The Angst of Being The Parent of a Young Teen"), I became a loyal fan. No mainstream parenting magazine tripe here - nothing insinuating how inadequate a mama I'd be for not doing things the status quo way - no generic checklists for juggling baby and housework. I never missed an issue after that.
Now having this zine-book, where I can read the best of the issues I'd missed, is like finally understanding a complete conversation after only having come in at the tale end. Because parenting is a journey full of change and self-exploration, just like or kid's childhoods, the zine-book captures China's journey - and then some.
There are numerous pieces on the desire to network with other anarchist/punk/subcultural parents as well as essays on being on welfare, tuning into kid's physical and emotional needs, fostering freedom and responsibility in children, going after hopes and dreams, nurturing children with respect, anarchist child raising, struggling, when motherhood sucks, single dads, violence, sexuality, schooling, non-punitive discipline, class-conscience children's liberation, breastfeeding, politics, resistance, and family history - all of it written through China's single mama lens while she focuses on raising her daughter, the both of them surviving, living and growing together and in their communities.
Without a doubt, this book will go down as a parenting classic for the future generations.