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Editorís note: This column is excerpted from the book, ďThe Future Is Up To Us: A Revolutionary Talking Politics with the American People,Ē by Nelson Peery. Send your thoughts to info@peoplestribune.org. To order the book, send $12 to Speakers for a New America Books, c/o Peopleís Tribune, P.O. Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654-3524.

To reach the young people, weíve got to reach them with a vision. The revolutionary movement is not going to grab the young people on the basis of their poverty. The only way to get hold of young people, say of thirty and under, is as visionaries. Itís up to them to create this new world. To do this, though, we have to tell them what they are going to have to do.

One, they have to accept an ideology that says they are less important than the movement as a whole. The strength of the bourgeois ideology is exactly the opposite. It says, "The hell with all that! Iím all about me."

We have a big job to do and yet the young people are the most open to revolutionary ideology. We simply have to tell them, "Look, you can either sink down further, or take the steps that involve a certain amount of sacrifice, which isnít sacrifice at all, for a cause. What choice do you have? You either contribute or end up as a police statistic."

The first step is to live the kind of life that allows you to contribute. Do some reading and studying and be an example to the people you associate yourself with. Learn to exemplify the revolution. Some people try to make that example by wearing leather jackets or black boots. What attracted me to the movement was the intelligence, straightforwardness and social activity of the communists. It wasnít their leather jackets. I can remember a time you could spot a communist woman a mile away. She had a black leather jacket and motorcycle boots. That attracted few people. The thing that attracted me was that they were socially active. They kept their nose clean. I donít mean from the law, but they didnít get involved in things where their neighbors would say, "I donít want my kid around them."

One of the major things that attracted people was that revolutionaries had a purpose. They were into something; they were doing something. Above everything else we learned to live a life that did not contradict what we are trying to do. You donít have to be a monk. Dance, drink your beer, drag race, do whatever you want to do but do it in such a way that it doesnít contradict the goal.

For the revolution, as for life itself, the tasks of the young people are the same.Theyíve got to learn to be whatever they are trying to be. A youth movement must learn how to create the new world they are going to occupy. People over sixty are not going to have too long a time in this new world; they are not going to create it.They can help prepare the youth, and help them prepare themselves for this new world. This is the reason we want to organize the youth.

We cannot build a revolutionary youth movement with those who are simply incensed with the system. We concentrate too much upon trying to build with people who are angry with the system. We donít need malcontents, we need thinkers with a vision of the kind of world that is possible.

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551, info@peoplestribune.org.
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