Home | About | Donate

50 Years After 1968, Can the Young Change Politics? A Striking New Poll Says Yes


50 Years After 1968, Can the Young Change Politics? A Striking New Poll Says Yes

Richard Eskow

Fifty years ago, in the dust and fire of global youth activism, everything seemed possible. The political world was a cloud filled with chaos and opportunity, pain and promise. The young were a powerful force, even a world-changing one.

Could they become that force again?

As many Millennials vote for the first time today in state primaries from New Jersey to Iowa and California, a new poll of their views offers some intriguing glimpses into the future.


Dear young people, please review the history of the following song (note the message on the guitar) and then get out and VOTE for your future!


The speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 may have sealed his fate; just so, the extemporaneous eulogy for King that Robert Kennedy delivered in Indianapolis the following year may have doomed him.

It’s as fine a piece of political oratory as this nation has produced; it came not from a team of speechwriters, but straight from one man’s anguish, and showed how he had matured in his thinking. It’s worth noting that there was no rioting in Indianapolis that night, unlike most other major US cities with large African-American populations, and Kennedy’s spontaneous and heartfelt engagement with the crowd was at least partly responsible.


Pelosi, the Clintons and other dyed in the wool Democrats (politicians AND many voters) are indeed totally comfortable being a “capitalist party”. The 1985 Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation institutionalized that focus.

Our local Hillbots and Obamabots continue to blame Nader for Dubya’s 2000 POTUS appointment and blame Sanders for Trump ascending the throne in 2017. Until they acknowledge that it was Bill Clinton’s triangulation and the DNC waiving a Florida recount that installed Dubya, and acknowledge that it was Obama’s corporate pandering and Hillary’s arrogance that opened the door for Trump, the Democratic Party will not even think about corraling capitalism the way FDR did.


50 years ago, being 17 years old, the son of two lifelong Republicans, I embarked on the task of bringing our troops home from Vietnam through non-violent protest.

Our government then, did not accept our right to protest and although I and many others were there to speak our minds non-violently, I was made to dodge rubber bullets and breathe in way too much tear and pepper gas.

Fast forward 50 years to today.

Our government is just as committed to the expansion of Empire as before, and are taking steps to criminalize protest.

I have only one piece of advise for this younger, coming of age generation.

Do “not” put your trust in “this” government, including both parties.

Form a new party of the people.

Do it now.


Ditto my 1968 experience, finding out the hard way that your local police are armed and dangerous, followed by my low draft lottery number that kept me in the fight until POTUS Carter granted draft resistors amnesty during his first month in office in 1977, at which point the fight against the Raygun “revolution” was already beginning…a fight that forty plus years later has not ended.


Woody Guthrie? LOL! Obviously, you know nothing at all about the music culture of Baby Boomers in 1968!


Down Boy.

Woody’s music transcends time.


Obviously you don’t know that he had a son named Arlo. Or, you’ve never heard of a guy named Dylan.
I came from a large middle-class family. There were 4 record players in the house. There were high quality AM-FM radios with antennas longer than your arm.
Do you think we all lived in a cave, or what?
I heard so much music, plus that damn piano we all played and plunked at, I wanted to sleep outside. Especially so, when it interfered with my playing 45s, while watching my baseball games.
Top 40 AM was for car trips with your parents. And, I still have their 78s.


I like Eskow’s optimism about the prospects for millenial voters changing the possibilities.and I hope he’s right.
He’s off on a fact however. The Kent State murders took place two years later, not in 1968.
One hopeful event that did take place that May but was not mentioned, was the Catonsville Nine draft board raid, that led to hundreds of similar repetitions over the next five years, subsequent to which actual conscription ceased and even draft registration was shelved for the balance of the 1970s. Fifty years later the spark of Catonsivllle is reprised in the witness of the Kings Bay Plowshares, acting nonviolently for disarmament and against racism two months ago, and now awaiting trial for that peacemaking.
Transforming our voter base and outlook for the better, sure. Conscientious action for justice and peace, and at a personal sacrifice - priceless!


So are you basically saying that had either Clinton or been further left, Bush II and Trump would have not been elected? Because aside from the recent rise of these millenians to voting age, the US adult population in general is very adverse to moving left. Bill Clinton only won the presidency at all because he was able to convince the US populace that he was a “new democrat” who would not “raise their taxes, impose new regulations on their bosses, and coddle black people and other last good-for-nothings.” The same was true, (along with slick marketing of the totally undefined “Hope and Change” meme - leading Ad Age magazine to declare Obama to be the “2008 Brand of the Year”) with Obama. Hillary lost because just enough voters in three rust belt states feared that she would continue the “job killing policies of the extreme leftist Obama”.

I will now be accused of being a “shill” for the Clintons because I am stating this obvious fact. We on the far-left are a tiny minority - totally off the map and invisible in US political culture, we will need to wake up to this fact before we can do something about it.


1968 wasn’t the only year that the young have led the way in the movement for social justice. For example, Martin Luther King led the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 at age 25.


“Most Millennials want “a strong government” to manage the economy, and most millennial Democrats have a favorable view of socialism.”

Some things work better with capitalism and others with socialism. Why not let the people decide these things instead of by corporate bribes to politicians?

“Still, there are hopeful signs. There is a rising wave of activism among Millennials. They are running for office, organizing political actions, and taking other steps to become involved in the political process. Members of the generation that follows them have organized against school shootings, and have done so in an intersectional way.”

Unless these young politicians are immune to the corporate bribes required to be elected, aren’t they falling into the oligarchy’s trap?

Direct Democracy. No politicians, just salaried employees to carry out the will of all the people.


If lowering taxes is Republicans main vote getter, why not abolish all taxes and go with a Wealth Cap established by yearly referendum? Even Republicans would vote for it.



The dems, at least the old party ones, remain clueless, and puppets of corporate amerika, that means serving the Evil MIC !


Because aside from the recent rise of these millenians to voting age, the US adult population in general is very adverse to moving left.

I think you may be drinking the MSM Kool-Aid on this one:




“For the times they are a changing”


Am I the only one who remembers that the Kent State (and Jackson State) massacres were in 1970, not 1968? This isn’t only trivia. In the course of those two years, the anti-war protests became much larger and touched hinterlands as well as the more elite universities and urban centers where the movement was centered at first.


The Democratic Party establishment is already interfering with elections at a furious pace. With the help of the CIA and their media they will prevent any democratic change that forces the far right to share power with these young people ( which are mostly politically centrist ).


The “leftism” of today is already the political center, and has been
for many years. Most Americans support a single-payer medical system,
gun control, abortion rights, more regulation of businesses.
The so-called “center” is a fabrication of politicians and media
that take the side of the rich.