How to interest young people in saving Social Security?

Dr. Wolff, I live in Southern California and witnessed unbelievable levels of homelessness and despair among young people during road trips I have taken throughout the West in the past two years. In the age of the "gig economy" where Uber runs radio spots urging people to get their "side hustles" going, young folk have no security in the present and face a bleak future if Trump and the austerity hucksters have tbeir way. How can the young be reached and, most importantly, be mobilized? The mendacious memes of Paul Ryan, who claims he wants to save Social Security, need to be effectively neutralized (Trumped. If you will).

Official response from submitted

An old man, Bernie Sanders, galvanized millions of young people into a powerful political force. The young can be reached by anyone who has (1) a solid critique of the political economy of a declining US capitalism, and (2) a reasonable plan of what changes to make to give young people (and everyone else) real hope for the future. If we do that, the young will be moved, excited not only to save Social Security but to make the many other changes this country so badly needs. I do a good bit of public speaking and traveling around the US and my audiences include a growing number of young folks, more all the time. The politics represented by Clinton and Trump are making their ugly last gasps. The component of the young in the mass demonstrations across the country against Trump's actions on refugees is yet another sign of what is possible. Organization to mobilize: that is the key next step.

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  • Daryl MacFarlane
    commented 2017-02-01 10:17:41 -0500
    Richard Wolff’s answer seems appropriate in the context of thinking about the one objective of how to save social security within the way our society currently operates.

    However I think it would be much more effective to mobilize a type of movement that fundamentally challenges capitalism itself at the structural level, namely a movement based on worker-control, such as worker-cooperatives and socialism (which is based on worker-control over the workplace). A movement that places all its energy on strongly advocating for worker cooperatives as an alternative to capitalism would make the idea spread much more and encourage more people to establish cooperatives together with other people. capitalist can always abolish institutions like social security through the political system, because they are established through the political system and handled entirely by the government. We absolutely must think beyond trying to reform capitalism or saving 80 year old concessions that the capitalist class had to make due to the existence of powerful unions (which were based on socialism), which no longer exist. If our society falls to an absolute low due to capitalist abolishing the few people friendly policies that we have, this is a great opportunity to present an alternative to the system itself, but a strong, popular movement for worker-cooperatives and socialism must exist in order for this to happen. Focusing to much on bringing back past reform policies in the midst of a collapsing society is the wrong path to take. The people need to start the development of an alternative society on the ground level, by building worker cooperatives and establishing worker-control all across the nation. indeed, if worker control covered a whole community, then it could be expanded to community control.
  • Daryl MacFarlane
    followed this page 2017-02-01 09:51:13 -0500
  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-01-31 22:59:50 -0500
  • Michael Williams
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-01-31 22:36:25 -0500