May 31 – Yippies and Yuppies
Reading the response to my yesterday’s post, I’’m struck by the thought of what happened to the participants in the Vietnam anti-war movement: coopted by the system, many of them eventually became yippies.
Ciny Sheehan announced that she is stepping back from the activities so far pursued by the anti-war movement, partly because of divergent directions, and partly because of the burden on her personally. But she repeated several times that she had come to realize that the movement is up against the imperial agenda of corporate America.
I’m sure that is a big step for Cindy Sheehan who, like most middle class Americans, were not brought up on the literature of class warfare. So it should give us pause. The same spirit of initiative that made Cindy found a movement when her son was killed in Iraq, has now led her to cast off the education and training she was given all her life to accept without question the system that has made us the richest country on earth – and the greatest empire.
I’m confident that in future efforts, she will explore new paths for America. Common sense tells us these will eventually lead to a middle way between what the Europeans call “savage capitalism” and the planned economies by which the Soviets, Chinese and others tried to create more egalitarian societies.
The question is, will today’s activists be more resistant to co-optation than their forebears of the seventies, or will Yuppiedom prevail?
The challenge of global warming, that will require serious government curbs on industry, is now playing out in the tug of war over the EPA’s newly decreed (by the Supreme Court) responsibility to regulate greenhouse gases. This battle could represent a turning point not only in the fight against global warming, but in the recognition that government is there to serve the well-being of the human community.
This philosophy is what enabled the Scandinavian countries to reach a level of civilization that the rest of us can only envy. Their social-democratic systems have been duly dismissed by the media. Yet they not only provide for their own, they are in the forefront of humanitarian aide to victims of brutal regimes that suit the needs of empire.