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Youth too scared to rebel  
Posted by Breakfast of champions on February 29 2008, 10:18 » Uploaded 29/02/08 12:06  

Youth too lost, scared to rebel say '68 veterans

By Sylvia Westall

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:35pm EST

BERLIN (Reuters) - Forty years after Dany Cohn-Bendit's flaming red hair and infectious smile became a symbol of idealized rebellion across Europe in 1968, today's students face a more fragmented fight.

Cohn-Bendit, now 62 and in the European parliament, says the difference between students then and now is simple.

"We had a much more positive feeling towards the future. This makes the social movement different from the ones you see today. Now there is more anxiety and fear."

The 1968 generation wanted to revolutionize society, battle against authoritarianism and demolish what they saw as the old social order. In the United States, demonstrations against the Vietnam War triggered massive peace marches worldwide.

Forty years on, those involved in the protests of 1968 say modern activist campaigns lack the force and scope of the movement which helped give birth to them.

Campaigns today may back a cause, they say, but they do not aspire to change the world in the way the '68ers sought to. Then young people, seeing authority embodied by monolithic institutions, envisaged a radically different social order based -- according to taste -- on Marxism, anarchism, or free love, with slogans such as "Be realistic, demand the impossible".

Where protesters in Paris 1968 lifted paving stones to build barricades and hurl at police, today market economics in its many forms reigns virtually unchallenged in a globalized world, and some from the 1968 generation argue that consumerism has dulled students' rebellious spirit.

Students face much tougher competition for jobs and much greater pressure to conform: for some, even the tame rebellion of self-expression through social networking sites on the Internet is a peril, risking rejection from future employers.

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