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Nov 2001 • Vol 1, No. 6 •

The Silenced Majority

by Bonnie Weinstein

One of the greatest pleasures in having children is meeting, getting to know and enjoying the friends that they make throughout their lives.

Both of my sons and two of my nephews are house painters and work together on the same jobs. Their friends are fellow housepainters, truck drivers, members of other building trades, supermarket employees, etc. Out of the whole group of the kids I’ve met maybe one or two have gone to college. They have jobs now but the things all their jobs have in common—even the college kids’ jobs—is that the hours are not guaranteed; they have no benefits; and the pay is too low to allow them to live in a house or apartment by themselves. They all have to share housing with family members or roommates even after they get married or have a family of their own.

In the mornings, when the painters don’t have enough money for Starbucks my youngest son and the crew he rides with stop over for a cup of coffee before going to work. I get up early, make coffee and listen to the latest load of crap the network TV is trying to unload. While they’re drinking their coffee and watching with me I always try to listen carefully to the comments these young people make about what they see on network TV.

This particular morning we watched Bush’s pitch to the kindergarten set to send in a dollar to help the poor Afghani children that he’s bombing. Standing behind Bush was a group of very young children. My oldest nephew remarked that he wished that one of those kids would ask Bush for a dollar for lunch. He was incensed that Bush would use innocent children, many who go hungry every day, to further his murderous war.

Then news came on about the accidental bombing of the Red Cross Supply house in Afghanistan by U.S. forces. My 22-year-old son’s life long friend (they were three when they first met) commented that it was like Bush to go and bomb all over the place. I pointed out how all the Democrats were supporting Bush or his budget or both. He said, “They’re like gangs. The biggest and baddest gangs! Do what we say or we will kill you! And all the money and oil belongs to us now!”

Gang warfare

All of the young people I have come in contact with seem to agree unanimously on the following: Their own financial circumstances are getting worse. Government officials and politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, from the President on down, have been exposed as morally corrupt liars and crooks over and over again throughout their lifetime. The police continually harass them at every opportunity. They do not trust or believe the government or the police. While they don’t believe in terrorism or want to be bombed or poisoned, they don’t believe that war is the answer. They believe the war is all about control of Middle Eastern oil and the wealth and power that come with it. They know that the Democrats and Republicans lead a giant and powerful gang owned and controlled by the wealthy few who have a stake in owning and controlling this oil. They know they will not benefit from this war no matter what the outcome. They know the war is not to fight terror since they face police terror in their lives on a daily basis while the same politicians argue that police terror is necessary to maintain “law and order.”

These kids are not fooled. The politicians have exposed their hypocrisy to them. I have not met one of these young people who were in favor of the war or took anything that Bush has said to be the truth except his vow to kill whomever he declares is an “enemy of America.” They have no faith in politicians in general or in the system as a whole.

In the sixties the government and its owned and controlled media countered the giant antiwar marches with the myth that the silent majority of people in America supported the government of the United States and its war against Vietnam. Of course, it wasn’t true. The proof of that came when our government was forced to bring our troops home and admit defeat. The massive antiwar movement was supported by a huge majority of the people here and around the world. That is what ended the war!

More kids are in jail than ever before

Our young people are the silenced majority. They speak out clearly against the system in their music; they expose the violence that surrounds them in their lives every day; they rap about police brutality and the war on drugs which is really an all out war on them; but their voices are discredited and they—as a group—are deemed criminals. They’re constantly rousted by the cops and falsely arrested. They are routinely searched without cause. More kids are in jail now than ever before in the history of the world. In fact, California has the highest percentage of its population in jail than any country in the world! The voice of the young is considered criminal because they tell the truth about their lives. And the truth they tell is not pretty.

Ninety percent of the people support the war? They have not counted the voice of the young. The youngsters I know, don’t have faith in the electoral system and they don’t vote, so they don’t get polled. They are opposed to this war. They have been criminalized, degraded, discredited and silenced. The reason the little old lady holds her purse against her when she sees a teenager in the street is directly due to the degrading and cynical picture painted of the young by the capitalist media.

The future of humanity as spelled out by Bush and his allies is not pretty either—years of war, repression and economic sacrifice. What kind of government wages war throughout the world to maintain their power and control and, at the same time, wages war at home against their young? What kind of society makes their own young people their enemy?

We must raise our voices in solidarity with our children and join them in the fight against both of these wars. Our children are the whole planet’s future. Let us not fear them or silence them. They sense the treachery of capitalist society. But they need our help! We must teach them how to build a better world—a socialist world—without war, racism, and poverty. It is our only hope for survival.





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