Seth Gordon (sethg_prime) wrote in little_details,
Seth Gordon

Teenage communists! ☭

(Northeastern United States1, upper-middle-class neighborhood, present day)

When I was in high school, back in the 1980s, one of my classmates was a communist. You hear Tea-Party-types today getting themselves all in a lather about President Obama’s “socialism”, but this guy was the genuine article: he belonged to the Progressive Labor Party, a Stalinist group founded by people who were kicked out of the Communist Party USA for being too left-wing. He was a lean, square-jawed guy who would enthusiastically explain the ideology of class struggle to anyone who would listen, and he had an air of intellectual intensity that was... very Lenin-like. I could totally see him living for weeks on end in a cave, living on military rations and preparing for a march on the capital; I could also see him calmly signing a death warrant for a former comrade who had been convicted of counter-revolutionary activity.

Anyway, since then there was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and since then we’ve had Occupy Wall Street. Furthermore, the Internet provides ways for like-minded people to reach each other, and to convince not-so-like-minded people, that were completely unavailable when I was a teenager. In sum, I have no idea what “hard left” high-school students are like these days. So if you know such a student—or if you are such a student—I would love to know:
  • What parties/factions/movements do such folks belong to? (Is that whole “belong to an organized political party” thing a very 20th-century idea?) Which particular writers (incl. bloggers) are they inspired by?
  • How do they fit into, or clash with, the social environment of their school? What kind of relationships do they have with classmates who don’t agree with them ideologically?
  • What kind of volunteer work do they do on behalf of their causes?
  • What relationships do they have with people who share their ideology—either people their age at other schools, or elders in the movement? A political movement, like a high school, has its own internal social structure; how do they fit into it?
  • How do they see their identity (gender, race, sexuality, economic class) as informing their politics?
1Well, it’s an AU, but for the purposes of this question I’m not sure that matters.
Tags: usa: education: high school, ~government (misc)

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