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Letters from Young Activists: Today's Rebels Speak Out Paperback – October 25, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an anthology of writings by young activists trying to make the world a better place. I am impressed that this collection communicates with both other generations of activists and parents--letting them know that they are going to communicate their politics. Northwestern University Law Professor Bernadine Dohrn (a former member of the Weather Underground) provides an introduction giving her own experience with community organizing, but does not patronize the contributor perspectives.
It also acknowledges that inter-movement politics themselves are not as egalitarian as we sincerely want them to be. Because we have lived under the dominant society, activists also are prone to racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and ableism despite our wanting to believe that we are automatically above it. Changing the world is impossible when the movement itself is not in order.
Reading their impassioned words took me back to my own burgeoning political consciousness and the frustration I felt at being the only one who 'saw' and cared about issues. A book like this is essential to inspiring youth and letting them know that they are not alone.
I've since found that my best activism comes from my first noticing problems in my own environment. Thus, it's not at all surprising that the youth are tackling the same issues which personally confront them.Read more ›
I couldn't say I read one convincing argument throughout the entire book. I realize these are informal letters, but it comes across more as whining than a plan of action, unified by a sense of need for change (which the editors purport it to be).
As an example:
"I believe it is the fault of the United States educational system that my mother has been on the streets since she was thirteen years old; that my parents and many other parents divorce; that I, and many other children, have been sexually molested; that incest continues to occur; that my mother, like many others, abandoned my siblings and me; that my mother, father, other parents, and youth have been in and out of prison, that my sisters and brother word at fast food restaurants; that my sisters get pregnant at a young age; that my cousins and friends are dying because of gangs; and that the cycle of violence continues."
That's some belief. A lot of the letters, this one especially, ooze a total lack of self responsibility. Not to say that this isn't a bad state of affairs, and that schools can't be improved, but try to find any proof of the correlation in this article and you'll be wasting your time.
Don't let your children read this if you're worried about exposing them to poor ideals of self-responsibility, or if you're worried that their idea of what an argument (with facts...) might be negatively affected.