View Full Version : Using Children for Political Capital

Mota Boy
06-11-2005, 11:50 PM
During the Civil Rights movement, black leaders allowed children to march. During these demonstrations, the children were exposed to a wide variety of dangers which not only threatened their mental and physical well-being, but their lives. They faced vicious police dogs, vicious police men, and firehoses (now firehoses are powerful on their own [there's even a documented incident, ironically enough, of a firehose catching fire from the water's friction] but during this era, firehoses used to "calm" crowds were actually two hoses fused together through a device that had a smaller exit area than normal, creating a force of water powerful enough to break bones. This was used against children.

You're outraged that this was used against children. So am I. So was America. In fact, one of the turning points of the Civil Rights movement was the death of four little girls in a downtown church, bombed because it was black. Dozens of bombs went off in Birmingham during the sixties, but one made the national papers... because four little girls were murdered in it. As a nation, we may have disliked blacks, but little girls... we all had little girls. This turned a corner - this and other images of children getting pummeled by police.

This expediated the movement. This saved dozens... perhaps hundreds... maybe thousands of black lives. Because four girls died. Now, nobody wanted them to die. I seriously doubt that any member of that community would give up the chance to trade places with them, but they were still placed in harms way. Children were allowed to march. Those weren't the children that died, but children were still allowed to march. And it was images of children getting hurt that allowed more people to sympathize with the "negroes" than woud've sided had it been "uppity" college students acting alone.

You remember what it was like when you were eleven or twelve - Hell, many of you still are - you knew as much as adults (trade secret - you never know as much as adults until you're your age, then you realize how stupid you were for ever thinking you knew as much as you do know), you could decide for yourself whether or not you wanted to fight for racial equality. Who the hell is going to stop you from going? As an adult... well, this raises many questions.

When is a person old enough to decide for themselves when they want to risk their lives for a cause? When can you allow an individual to risk themselvse for the good of a greater cause? How much should we weight the value of the individual we know against the greater mass with which we share a bond but do not know personally? Should this be a mathematical problem? I don't expect sure answers, or else I'd be giving mine. Perhaps when the dawn's light sobers me up I can bullshit a good enough answer, but I don't know if there *are* answers to certain questions - when does a kid become an adult - when does the life of many people outweigh the life of a few? Comments, theories, poorly-though-out responses are all welcome.

06-12-2005, 12:29 AM
Gladly my mother was a communist before I was born.

But I don't know. I wouldn't take a kid to a protest that has a chance of getting violent. Something like a protest held in wherever the WTO conference is held, those might get out of hand what will all kinds of activists on the move.

In here, kids do protest themselves. For example, there are financial cuts being made in education quite a lot and since the young population is getting smaller, certain schools are put together and some are shut down. Same with libraries. Many times kids and teachers from a certain school have staged a protest outside the or on the stairs of our Parliament building.

Of course, this was Finland, and I doubt anything was threatening these kids' lives when they put themselves in that situation.

So I don't really know. I'd say if you were being oppressed, you have the right to do something about it, but I'd say that parents should advice their kids to stay in and out of political protests etc.

06-12-2005, 03:56 AM
Usually no. Children have no place in a setting of indoctrination. This is why I am firmly against the institution of the Boyscouts, (and to not seem like some whacko anti-American, I'm also against the concept of the 'Pionieri').

However, when it came to the black liberation movement and the mobilization of the Black Panthers, I would say it's quite important. It's documented that Black Children at the time had low self-esteem *because* they were black, that was what was vital about the Black Pride movements, to eliminate the social prejudice of growing up in an ethnically insecure environment. Besides going to church isn't political activism.

The age at which children should enter politics, I would say, is from 14. In Denmark we have incredibly succesful youth movements. And this is fantastic because, for example, the Unions have been facing larger bouts of hopelessness (they've stopped backing the social democrats, and obviously going more to the right won't help the union cause, yet they have no faith to the parties of the further-left. So the unions just seem to have a feeling of being lost.)

And I've sat in at meetings where 14 year olds have discussed 'fighting the nazi-threat' (this, isn't just a made-up threat, we are very close to Skåne, a city in Sweden with a high concentration of neo-nazis. and they do have 'marches' and the village people tend to be very grateful when the nazis are chased away.) But it's ridiculous, they don't seem to have an idea how dangerous this can be. Which is why I hate kids, especially when they call themselves anarchists, but that's a whole 'nother rant.

06-12-2005, 04:09 AM
God, this is tricky. The protective part of me says no and personally I would not let my child march for something, anything unless it was at least 12. And if there was a risk of violence, no way at all. On the other hand even children should have the right to raise their opinion because they have opinions too and not all kids are stupid. Some have brains, good ideas even though they might be a little too idealistic about them. But let them act, they'll learn a lot.

As for the adult thing, 18 is way too young to consider an adult (generalisation, again not applicable on everybody). And even in your twenties you're still maturing and experience shapes your views.

06-12-2005, 06:17 AM
i agree with the above post about 18 being too young to be classed as an adult (i'm 20 now and when i think back to being 18 all i see is a little girl).

i don't think children should be allowed to march just because their 'own' opinion tends to be heavily influenced by family rather than solid facts (although there are exceptions to this).

god i'd hate to think that parents would take their children out to march to prove a point or make a point more media 'friendly'.

06-12-2005, 10:03 AM

06-12-2005, 10:47 AM
i agree with the above post about 18 being too young to be classed as an adult (i'm 20 now and when i think back to being 18 all i see is a little girl).
Is anyone else going to find this ironic, considering what Mota Boy wrote?

06-12-2005, 01:31 PM
I thought Skåne was a region, not a town.

Anyway, wow, I had no idea about the neo-nazis.

06-12-2005, 01:49 PM
i agree with most of the view against children Marching. I personally wont let my children march, Not for the fact it may turn violent but for what else they would be exposed to. Childhood these days are getting shorter and shorter and i believe that children SHOULD be aloud to enjoy these years.

06-13-2005, 12:48 PM
And I thought the point was going to be about how people only cared about the little girls and not the blacks...

I think this is one of those questions that is more interesting to ask than to answer. You can ask it, think "hmm... that is an interesting question..." but really, after that, there's not much else to say...