On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T

By   /   November 13, 2014  /   150 Comments

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Either join us in our fight to change the world or get out of our fucking way.

Protesters+Outside+G20+Summit+London+iH7U0YB9ZWKx

One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that setting up my own blog with various other writers is not likely to make me any money, either – he knew someone who had done the same and after a year was still wasn’t making any money off advertising. He believes my issue is “I don’t take advice well” and my swearing puts people off. I would have thought my radical intersectional feminist ideas and disdain for the government and establishment would be more offensive to some than the word “fuck” appearing in my blogs, but obviously not.

This guy at my mums’ work with all the unsolicited advice was of course a baby boomer.

A baby boomer or member of the ‘greatest generation’ telling a millennial how to live their life is nothing new, as anyone under the age of 30 can tell you. Last year I was working in some café in Melbourne as a kitchen hand. I had recently been fired from a well-paid bar job the day after Christmas and had to find work, any work, to pay my rent, so I found myself washing dishes and working under a baby boomer head chef who made Robin Thicke and Redfoo look like the patron saints of sexual equality. One day he decided to rant about “my generation” or “those young people”. He told me the economy is so bad because my generation is lazy and we just need to stop complaining and take any job, because “back in his day they took what was given to them and got on with it”.

As I turned to wash the massive pile of dishes I was being paid below the Australian hospitality minimum wage to do, I couldn’t believe he could not see the irony in his words: I have two undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees – but here I was, willing to work a low-paid job to make enough money to pay rent and buy food, at age 28, without complaining. I have spent the last ten years taking any job, no matter how underpaid, no matter how few hours, no matter how depressing, to make enough money to scrape by. You can’t really live off minimum wage. Millions other people on poverty wages around the world, like the striking Walmart workers in America, will tell you the same.

So here is some advice for baby boomers, who feel the need to give unsolicited out of touch and unhelpful advice to young people – like they have a clue:

Don’t tell us we need to work harder, because in your day “you took any job offered and did not complain”. Your wage was far more likely to match your living costs and there was no massive unemployment crisis when you were in your teens and early twenties. Don’t tell us we need to give up on our dreams and just take that McDonald’s job and be happy with our lot because we should be THANKFUL we even have a job. You should care what happens to us. We are your children. “Millions of young people are finding themselves forced to contemplate 50 years of fear, debt and depression” wrote the journalist Laurie Penny. Is that the life you think we deserve?

Don’t tell us we are selfish and narcissistic because we like selfies and Facebook and feel better about ourselves when we buy pretty things we probably do not need and likely cannot afford. “Diagnosing and labelling people [narcissistic] whose struggles are far more environmental or learned than genetic or organic” wrote Dr. Brene Brown “is often far more detrimental to healing and change than it is helpful.”

We need to humanise problems; this is how we can shed some important light on the issues young people face today. We live in a celebrity-soaked culture that tells us being ‘ordinary’ is worse than death. We are raised in a culture that tells us being superficially loved by many is more important than being deeply loved by a few. It should therefore come as no surprise to baby boomers that so many young people are obsessed with taking selfies and promoting themselves on twitter, Instagram and other social platforms.

Stigmatising young people as narcissistic or self-centred is unhelpful; young people are simply reacting to what Brown calls ‘a shame-based fear of being ordinary’. They are reacting to a capitalist system that values the individual over the collective and puts profit before people.

My generation are often acutely aware they are measured by the profit they can turn, not by how much they give back to their communities, or how deeply they care about the problems in this world. This was proved by my mother’s colleague who saw no worth in my writing or volunteer work because, so far, it has made me no money.

Don’t think you baby boomers have ANY idea what it is like to be young in this world, right now.

Most of you don’t.

The majority of you don’t know how it feels to go to university and be saddled with massive debt, because university was free for you. You don’t know how depressing it is to earn those degrees and tick those boxes only to spend most of your twenties desperately looking for any work. And then, when you get a job, it is either underpaid or you are underemployed so sometimes you go without food. Being hungry sucks, but working a dead end job with no hope of moving up sucks even more. The political magazine New Statesman said last year that my generation will be the first generation in a long time to be poorer than their parents.

Stop telling us not to imagine better and stop telling us to “just work harder”; the only thing that makes this world a bearable place is those people who dare to imagine a world that is better. “The most important battles are fought on the territory of political imagination” wrote Laurie Penny. I know so many of you lost hope after the Seventies. I would have too under the same circumstances. The government just did not listen to you. Seeing as you know what being ignored feels like, maybe you should start listening to us? We are starry-eyed and full of impossible dreams – just like you were – and have naive ideas about taking back the power from the corrupt governments and greedy politicians and corporations who sit safely behind their platinum titles.

Yes, we want it all. That does not make us selfish. Please stop telling us that. It actually makes us fearless.

We – the consumerist, selfie-taking brats – have started some of the most powerful social movements this century has witnessed; from the Arab Spring protests that toppled dictators, to the youth-led Occupy Movement that forced massive income inequality onto the public agenda, to the protesters in Greece who graffitied the words “fuck heroes, fight now” and braved tear gas and violence and sometimes death so their government would hear their voices rising up against suffocating austerity measures, to the young democracy protesters who started the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong: we know how to stand up.

Courage is contagious.

We are not waiting for a Che Guevara or Martin Luther King to lead the charge. Our movements are often leaderless because we want to lead together – this is democracy in action. My generation knows you can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill a revolution. We learnt that from you, baby boomers. We value intergenerational wisdom and knowledge despite what so many of you think.

Our movements are about the collective, not the individual. This is in radical opposition to a capitalist system that cares only for the rich, detests the poor, and has failed so many of us. Leadership in the most recent movements has come from the bottom of the pyramid not the top.

We are still learning. We have made mistakes and will continue to do so. We understand that failure is part of the process of achieving colossal, long-lasting change. We are prepared to keep getting back up over and over again.

Perhaps those of us who have taken up arms and joined the struggle for change will eventually become jaded and frustrated with incremental change and give up, like so many of you did. Fighting when so few hear you is tiring. Some of us will go and get those corporate jobs we mocked and buy shiny cars and big homes we cannot afford and forget our dreams. And then it will be our children’s turn to dream of the impossible and try to change the world. And thank God so many of them will.

A world without dreamers, change-makers, social dissidents, and the optimistically naive would be a dystopia. Where there is hope, there is life.

We live in exceptional times. Our world is dying. We have polluted it so badly with carbon and gas emissions that our climate has been irreversibly effected. Sea levels are rising and more climate change-effected natural catastrophes are eminent. Whole islands of mostly indigenous peoples will drown and be washed away. The Carteret Islanders of Papua New Guinea and the Taro Islanders of the Solomon Islands have become climate change refuges and have already paid the price for our ruthless greed and callousness. Naomi Klein said in her book ‘This Changes Everything’:

“In our wealthier nations, we will protect our major cities with costly seawalls and storm barriers while leaving vast areas of coastline that are inhabited by poor and Indigenous people to the ravages of storms and rising seas.”

Our politicians have declared wars in our name with neither, our support or our permission. Obama’s video game technology of killing through drone warfare is being used, mostly, to terrorize and kill innocent civilians in distant lands. One of Obama’s first actions when he first took office, was to bomb an African nation. Please tell me again why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?  America has declared a state of permeant everlasting war, western democracy is being consumed by a police state.  In New Zealand, Prime Minster John Key would rather pump money into a flag referendum and go to war than feed kids living in poverty a healthy, nourishing lunch.

This is pure insanity.

We know our world is fucked up. We do not have all the answers, but we are searching for them – we are trying.

I think it is worth telling you what my mum, who is also a baby boomer, said in response to some guy at work telling her how her daughter should live her life:

“My daughter is incredibly passionate about what she does. I fully support and encourage her creative endeavours”.

My mother is a solo parent who went to university in her forties. She worked multiple jobs while studying to feed and clothe both my twin sister and I and is now saddled with debt she will likely never repay. My mum works in the public health sector which is nearly always underpaid. Some baby boomers understand what it is like to be young in this world and to struggle, but so many need a reality check.

So, baby boomers. Either join us in our fight to change the world or get out of our fucking way.

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About the author

The Daily Blog contributor

WEBSITE: www.acitivatingtheglobalposse.com TWITTER: https://twitter.com/#!/GGrucilla

150 Comments

  1. adam says:

    As a disgruntled x gen may I say – about bloody time your generation got angry. You all took your time, did the shit work, and now you may hear, that liberalism is a nasty nasty system designed to oppress at a cheap cost.

    Because if your generation don’t fight – slavery is a very real possibility.

    Don’t rely on x-gens too much, most are fubar – either crying in their milk, drug fucked, or just a waste of space.

    Kia Kaha Chloe

    • Liberty4NZ says:

      I think you are talking about neo-liberalism, which is quite different to liberalism.

      • Amy says:

        Actually, liberalism was originally used to describe what is now called neo-liberalism, libertarian, classical liberalism, or progressive (depending on where you are, the overall Libertarian movement is messy as to what everyone is all about). It’s usage now is slightly different in that it still advocates for tolerance and social freedoms, but originally liberalism was used by people who also advocated for total liberty in economic areas.

    • Chooky says:

      +100 great post Chloe King!

    • Steverino says:

      Seems like Chloe would like to be the voice of her generation – good luck, but expect brickbats from both other generations who think hers is wrong, and from others of her age group who not only disagree, but also resent any claim she speaks on their behalf.

      Most of the statements above would seem misguided to anyone who was a teenager in the 60’s – the world is actually a lot less fucked-up now than then, by any reasonable measure. Fancy a return of the cold war? The Vietnam war? Conscription? 6 o’clock closing perhaps? The lack of women rights?

      I would agree though that university fees/student loans, rising house prices, privatisation, employment law changes and the decline of the welfare state has made it tougher now for those under 30 compared to then.

      In effect there has been a trade-off – there is greater freedom, but less security, and less equality.

  2. Finn Jackson says:

    Brilliant article. Exactly what I’ve been wanting to say but don’t have the guts to.

  3. Boundary-Runner says:

    I am a Boomer. We Boomers will go down in history as THE most selfish & self-absorbed generation ever to walk the Earth. Ironic that we label Millennials such…Freudian huh! We have created a world of quite extraordinary inequality and as we reach our ‘Golden Years’, we are still devising ways to own and control everything. I am not typical. I rent a house alone, helping my 3 Millennial kids grow wiser and more capable of creating a worthwhile life with joy as it’s core value. I have gifted them all that I once owned. I applaud your sentiments, your energy, your passion and your obvious commitment to your values. I send you my best wishes and encouragement. Your blog may not be getting you any money but it is priceless.

  4. Janine says:

    Some of us baby boomers ( not the ‘greatest generation’, that was supposedly our parents, but the largest generation) love our youth and we support you in everything you do.
    The future is yours!

  5. Suzyiam says:

    Who do you think started the fight to change the world? Who do you think fought for women to have an equal voice? Who fought for equality, against apartheid, against nuclear weapons, who raised the first environmental concerns. Have you ever heard the song ‘damn the dam’? Who protested with everything they had against the Vietnamese War?
    BBers were the first generation born with the ‘death imprint’. The first generation born conscientiously aware of humankind’s ability to destroy itself with the push of a button. The first generation not to rely heavily on humanity’s belief in immortality, instead are more aware that they are indeed mortal – that one day they will simply be ‘worm food’.

    Baby Boomers have lived with more reality than humans have for thousands of years.

    Yes they were conned by consumerism, their parents had no previous experience, it was new, and there were no rules, but then so have the GenX & Y’s.

    Did you stop to think that maybe the Baby Boomers got tired. Maybe they think that as they fought for all those things when they were young that the subsequent generations would get off their self-absorbed butts and do their part now? Apparently not – apparently you want them to have the energy they once had, and to keep fighting so you don’t have to. Some of us are – but we get no credit for it – and we don’t ask for it either – which is why you probably don’t know about it.

    The very reason you have been able to write the article you have is because Baby Boomers opened the way for freedom of speech – had you written that over a century ago – you would probably have been hung!

    Do you have any idea on what it was like to be young in our time? We were born after two world wars and a major depression – in a world that after so much suffering wanted change. You were born after years of affluence. Each generation must learn its own lessons from their experiences. Get out there and make your own.

    • Crickey says:

      Share your sentiments, and sorry that “we” are being divided…..and so ruled.
      I have started actively supporting Labour, having passively done so as a nurse for 30 years. I am increasingly concerned at the ever dividing “masses” into factions, even within Labour we are now asked to “choose” whose camp we are in. We will simply have National in forever if we fall for this. If all those unhappy with National United, we would easily return to a decent society.
      Billy Bragg reminds us that cynicism is the biggest enemy of socialism, so I endlessly try not to fall for the tribalism, and I wonder if Chloe’s anger is misdirected? ( without trying to sound patronising)
      I remain bemused by a comment I read around the election
      ” if you want my vote you have to earn it”
      And yet daily we see people dying for the right to vote, or even to speak out, a worrying attitude.

    • David says:

      The sad icing on this comment’s cake of self-congratulation is the last line about “years of affluence”. Chloe isn’t asking baby boomers to have the energy some of them once had. She’s asking them to stop stamping on her and my generation for trying to pick up that fight, despite a worse economy, a deeper ecological crisis, and a more entrenched foe.

      There is a deep generational conflict brewing.

    • fatty says:

      “Did you stop to think that maybe the Baby Boomers got tired. Maybe they think that as they fought for all those things when they were young that the subsequent generations would get off their self-absorbed butts and do their part now?”

      Cheers for the pep talk.
      Don’t worry, I’ll ‘get off my self-absorbed butt’ in 20 years when I’m finished paying off my education. But it won’t be here, I’ll be in a country that doesn’t shit all over its youth.
      I ain’t sticking around in NZ to support the retirement of Kiwi boomers. Good luck. You’s made your lonely retirement homes. Enjoy.

      • Crickey says:

        And what country might that be then?

        • aidan says:

          Straya, mate. Kiwis are leaving there in droves for fairer wages – and many to leave their student debt behind, never to return.

          • Crickey says:

            Sometimes because they can’t afford to pay interest accumulated by student debt, which is pretty tragic.If someone believes the grass is greener somewhere else, hard to stop them seeking newer pastures.
            I would rather they stayed a help turn it around by voting Labour/ Green

        • fatty says:

          Algeria Argentina Barbados Bhutan Brazil Cuba Denmark Ecuador Egypt Estonia Fiji Finland France Germany Gibraltar Greece Italy India Iran Ireland Kenya Kuwait Malta Mauritius Morocco Nepal Norway Oman Pakistan Peru Poland Russia Saudi Arabia Scotland Somalia Spain Sri Lanka Sweden Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey United Arab Emirates Uruguay
          Venezuela

          • Ne Oublie says:

            Suggest you do a bit more research into some of your chosen destinations. “Frying pan into fire” methinks?

      • Suzyiam says:

        Well sunshine, I’m a youngish baby boomer, and completing PhD because there is no work for me unless I want to accept the minimum wage, despite years of work experience. I have a $54,000 student loan, and yes an insurance policy to ensure it is repaid should I die.
        I lost my savings in a finance company bust – as a consequence I lost my home. I am completing my academic career, one I started at 34 yrs of age after raising 4 kids, so I can work till I die.

        You think your youth was shat on? In my youth we had the choice of being a typist or a ‘domestic goddess’ – you’ve had far more choices thanks to us fighting for them. If you’ve chosen not to make them most of them, then at least take responsibility for that.

        BBers are starting to retire after paying taxes for over forty years. Taxes of which they were told were so high because part of it was going toward a fund for when they did retire, and now you’re prissy because they are claiming what they have paid for, and you don’t get to spend it.

        My dear, with an attitude like yours, I’d rather sit in a retirement village without your visits – at least I’d be with like minded people who respected all the previous generations had done and provided for them. Yes, we also thought they’d made mistakes, but we are wise enough to know they did the best they could with what knowledge they had.

        Enjoy your overseas excursion – make sure to close the door on your way out !

        (Did you ever stop to think that the elderly like retirement homes because ppl like you, fortunately the minority, aren’t in them?)

        • fatty says:

          “Well sunshine, I’m a youngish baby boomer, and completing PhD because there is no work for me unless I want to accept the minimum wage, despite years of work experience. I have a $54,000 student loan, and yes an insurance policy to ensure it is repaid should I die.”

          Yes, neolibralism sucks. Which generation voted that in while at the height of their earning power? Which generations have only known neoliberal post-secondary education?

          Opposing a generational critique by pointing out one or two bounded contexts or personal experiences *is* simplifying the debate, not challenging it. It’s the same logic as someone pointing to a poor Pakeha person and saying ‘Treaty reparations are racists because some Pakeha are poor’. Also the same logic as a mens rights activist pointing at a male victim of domestic violence and minimising the reality of domestic violence.
          I’m not saying gen x & y suffer the same historical oppression as women and Maori, but dismissing generational debate is very problematic. Anyone with even a basic understanding of our taxes and house prices over the past 50 years can see that.
          And let’s stop pointing towards the 60s and 70s as decades of the new enlightenment. White dudes still rule the world, they just have more control over money and resources. Hardly anything to cheer about

          • raegun says:

            NO-ONE voted neo-iberalism in, no-one, it crept in under the radar in the form of Roger Douglas in the Labour party, you can forgive those of us who couldn’t see that one coming.

            • fatty says:

              That makes a nice neat black & white story about the evil people and the good people…except your argument doesn’t hold up when we acknowledge that neoliberalism has been voted in every election since 1987.
              Since then it has been so ingrained and so normalised that we don’t see another option. Each generation should ask itself ‘what did we get and what have we passed on?’.

        • Grace Eastwood says:

          The fact that you would think it better to rot alone in a retirement home then be visited by a young person kinda says it all, that and your attitud of expectancy. Ever go to a hospital in the last forty years? Use a road maybe, the light of a streetlamp? It might interest you to know that your tax dollars paid for that, so you see, you dont have to feel as bitter and twisted about all those lost dollars.

    • Chloe King says:

      I said they got tired. Did you read the whole blog. Clearly I am getting out there and making my own, cos I am an activist and a writer and an artist. But thanks for the advice, and for proving my point. x

    • Chloe King says:

      and dear god BB did NOT start the fight to save the fucking world? What planet are you on? Each generation picks up the struggle. BB did not fight for women to have the vote it was the generation before. Fact check before you make claims yo’.

      • Crickey says:

        I have been interested in feedback, and what people who have experienced more years of life than myself, some differences, but also perennial issues, Shakespeare 600 years ago realised what it is to be human remains the same.
        You Chloe have also proved my point, that we are being divided and ruled, and your anger is misdirected, whilst I appreciate your energy, why would such a one eyed, generalised blast of blame be useful?

      • Suzyiam says:

        Perhaps it is you that needs to do some checking.

        Where did I say BBers fought for women’s vote?

        I said they fought for them to have an equal voice. Despite women having a vote, they were grossly under-represented in matters of power – esp in the media – reduced to writing recipes and giving fashion advice. BBers demanded equal voice – the right to be heard in political and public matters – our mothers were happy to let the men ‘the head of the family’ do the talking.

        I’ll take your apology as given. If BBers are to blame for anything, it was the manner in which we closeted our children and failed to teach them attention to detail.

        • Gen says:

          (Suziam) The writer clearly stated that her piece does not refer to all BB’ers… and based on your pursuit of growing your skills/ability to earn through your mind it clearly does not refer to you. I can’t figure out why your not pro this article… everything you have said as a response seems to be in line with the thinking of the writer. I bet BB’ers who are closed to progress/equality and won’t give positive solid advice to young people frustrate you too #confused

    • Grant Buist says:

      The Boomers were the first generation large and influential enough to shape the world entirely for their own benefit – which is why the rest of us are now suffering. The younger boomers were also the first 20th-century generation born INTO affluence. Haven’t they handled it well?

      • Ne Oublie says:

        Does this include the BBs of Asia and Africa? Maybe those in the affluent “Developed” nations are the ones “suffering” from SAARS – Self Absorbed Anal Retention Syndrome?

        • Sarah says:

          The baby boom was a developed country phenomenon tied to the end of WWII and otherwise declining birth rates.

    • Shona says:

      Thank you Suzy,you saved me the effort. i am tired of being blamed as a Boomer for the faults of the capitalist system so many of us have never stopped fighting. So many of us have lived our lives based on the values espoused in the 60’s and never turned away from them. Oh and I have being saying fuck loudly and frequently since I was 14 years old and I shall be 60 next year.It is the boomers who are on the front lines of defending the NZ environment , still. And I worked my guts out so my children would not have shoulder all of their varsity debt. I agree it is wrong to saddle the young with debt. Do not think Chloe that the majority of Boomers do not understand the bullshit your generation is having to deal with. Your mother’s work mate is a sexist more than anything else and almost certainly largely illiterate in terms of internet use.

      • swordfish says:

        Shona: “So many of us have lived our lives based on the values espoused in the 60s and never turned away from them…..”

        As BOUNDARY-RUNNER so rightly argues, you – like SUZYIAM – are not, in fact, typical of your generation. Look at the age breakdowns from Opinion Polls over recent years – it’s the 50 and 60 somethings who are the most fervent supporters of the Key Government. Overall, a pretty affluent and selfish generation (I’ve just turned 50, so I’m on the cusp of this cohort myself – though I prefer to think of myself as an elderly Gen-Xer).

        The thing is: despite all the recent ‘Heroic-Boomer’ historiography and associated journalism to the contrary, Boomers were by no means overwhelmingly liberal or progressive in their younger days. There always existed a far greater conservative and Right-leaning component to the generation than Boomer historians have acknowledged.

        And as Chloe so rightly says, Boomers did NOT invent progressive thinking (once again, despite all the Boomer propaganda from journalists and historians over the last 3 decades). My Grandmother, for instance, was heavily involved in the highly-successful Public Service Equal Pay Campaign of the 1940s and 50s. But it’s pretty rare to hear much about it from middle-class first-wave Boomers because it disrupts their self-celebratory historical narrative in which “A New Generation with a New Explanation” suddenly invents progressive ideas at some point around 1967 or 68. Instead, all the emphasis is placed on the importance of highly-privileged Boomer ex-boarding school girls like Sue Kedgley and their involvement in what was, in fact, the SECOND phase of the Equal Pay Campaign. The women of the First phase were clearly the wrong generation (for middle class Boomer historians) and the wrong class (given that many came from fairly ordinary backgrounds). That’s just one example.

        And I have to say that my low-income “Silent Generation” parents (born early 30s) were taking my brother and I on numerous anti-Vietnam War marches from 1965 on – well before the relatively small cohort of university-educated first-wave Boomers suddenly discovered it was a particularly trendy thing to do.

        The great irony, of course, is that so many affluent first-wave Boomers (born mid-40s to mid-50s) have spent their entire lives spitting venom at older generations who – in stark contrast to the indulged Boomers – actually had to live through the Great Depression and War. Looks like – what goes around (finally, at long last) comes around.

        • Shona says:

          I am not disagreeing with you Swordfish. I have always made my peers uncomfortable with my lifestyle and values. For me and my life partner our values were never a fashion statement. We have frequently been told we are wrong, weird out there etc. But at his stage in life we are bored with being proven right. However we enjoy the utterly bewilderment of our peers these days as we sell off our woodlot and replant with young people working with us. We have more friends under the age of 40 than in our own age group. Ce’st la vie. But the people we do the hard yards with in protecting the environment are Boomers. They have knowledge and the skills for the job. So go figure.

    • Chooky says:

      yes we had our fights…women’s liberation, equal pay for equal work, gay rights, anti-nuclear fight ..contraception, rights to safe abortion.etc etc

      ….but Chloe is correct….her generation has a formidable fight on their hands….youth are the new poor .They are saddled down with tertiary education debts and interest from a very young age. They have very little hope of owning their own houses ( their birthright is being sold out from under them to the wealthy speculators …and many of them from overseas …by John key and his bankster corporate friends) They have very poor worker rights to earn and fight for a good living. Jobs are scarce and competition is hard

      …Unless you have a rich daddy …you can be f..cked before you even start

      ….i would not presume to tell Chloe’s generation what to do…except to say that if you organise and fight …many of us will be behind you all the way!

    • Boundary-Runner says:

      Hey SUZYIAM…very poignant piece. My experience after 59 years, is that in the main, BB’s are not as you or I. I live amidst a highly affluent group, whose clear intent is continued accumulation without consideration to the generations following…their own children and grand-children!
      You are obviously quite aware, but I am not so sure that you are representative of our BB Generation. The mere fact that you are writing here, is proof of your outward-thinking perspective. So, whilst your sentiments are understandable, they are rare in our generation and I believe the Millennials need our guidance rather than our criticism.

    • Joss says:

      Ridiculous to imagine that any generation has a claim on the politics of resistance. It wasn’t the boomers who wrung the welfare states out of our overlords, it wasn’t the ‘greatest generation’ who toppled the Tsars, it wasn’t the um, centennials (?-1900ers) who took on slavery and suffrage and the 8 hour day. I could go on. Generational griping is silly. The ‘99%’ can’t be anywhere near 99% if it doesn’t include the boomers. There’s so damn many of them, and they are at the apex of the life expectancy graph. The bulge will be with us for another 40 years! I know those oldsters can be difficult, with their awful ‘music’. We’ll just have to learn to tolerate the “Beatles”, and the “Stones” for the sake of inter-generational solidarity.

  6. FreeManNZ FreeManNZ says:

    This was a refreshing viewpoint seldom seen in the media. There are plenty of people like your good self who see the issues that the world faces in terms of environmental disaster, economic collapse and the systemic failures and corruption of government. So, you’re not alone.

    There are actually people of all generations who hold your views and would support what you’ve written. For example I marched along side some Boomers in the TPPA rally on Queen St recently. I guess I say this as a warning against generalisations. Nonetheless your perspective on those of that age group spouting these baseless platitudes is still valid. Their comfort breeds contempt.

    By the way, I couldn’t get your website (http://www.activatingtheglobalposse.com/) to work. I corrected the spelling you’ve listed as I thought that was the problem but still just get an “Apache is working” message, so maybe it’s misconfigured.

    • Saint Nick says:

      Amazing writeup Chloe, I’m a Gen-Xer too and feel really proud of you taking a stand. What you just wrote is worth a lot.. just not in NZD right now :). I’m at the stage of “crossover” where I protest sometimes but I’m still comfortable in the capitalist system. It takes huge courage to put yourself out there to be exposed by derision by the general populace. Maybe one day I can complete the crossover.

  7. Graeme O'Brien says:

    What great things to hear from the next generation except it is or at least nearly all is a load of crap.
    Where the under 30s protesting? Where are the Uni students supporting the fight against the TPPA & GCSB no where to be fuckin seen! Too busy liking shit on facebook and pretending that makes a difference. Blowing roses up each others arses saying how they are too busy.
    Every protest I organise against the TPP it is the over 30s that turn out the people who are busy trying to pay the rent & feed the family. I have seen people over 70 that make under 30s look like what they are lazy useless wankers.
    If you want to write something write it to your own generation and ask when was the last time you got off your ass and fought for the country and freedom that your forefathers died for.
    If you don’t like it do something about or be prepared to suffer a lot more and then pass it to your children.

    • Where the under 30s protesting? Where are the Uni students supporting the fight against the TPPA & GCSB no where to be fuckin seen!

      Graeme – if you’d been at the anti-TPPA protest last saturday, you would’ve seen where several hundred young people were; http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/11/10/nationwide-day-of-protest-captures-public-attention-on-tppa/

      The images captured that day show just some of Gen X at the protest. I have about 60 more showing the youthful faces of discontent.

      And when Matt Pike belted out protest songs from the 1960s/70s it was truly the spirit of the 1960s, reborn.

      • Geoff Lye says:

        I agree with you Frank .

        I was in hagley park last Saturday when at least 2 or 3 thousand people arrived from the protest march down riccarton road .

        At least 30 or 40 % of the people in the march would have been teenagers and people in there 20’s.

        So the younger generation are getting off there butts and doing the hard yards and it was pleasing to see.

      • Graeme O'Brien says:

        Several hundred, where were the thousands? I saw students protest fee hikes the other day, but hang on that effects then directly doesn’t it.
        FYI was not only at the protest I organised the one in Nelson, 350 people how many students?? bugger all. Where was the student union? buggered if I know they never answer, couldn’t even get them to give me a date to promote enrol to vote for the elections. Actions not words count, now more than ever.
        I have been on the street gaining support for the protests and what do I hear from students, oh that stuff, who cares, I going overseas, got better things to do.
        If students don’t like low pay, fee increases, and anything else the poor things think they are entitled to then why don’t they organise? protest the places & people that force this on them.
        I know because they are waiting for someone else to do it for them. If you don’t like something stand up and fight back or sit down and shut up. You get what you deserve and if the TPP gets forced on us because of the indifference and selfishness of the “younger generation” then they haven’t seen anything yet!

    • Chooky says:

      “Where are the Uni students supporting the fight against the TPPA & GCSB no where to be fuckin seen!”

      …many of todays students come from either wealthy families and are smug right wing and insulated from the real world …or they are on struggle street and working so god damned hard they dont have time to protest and get political ….they are struggling to survive

  8. Tim O'Shea says:

    Hey Chloe.

    Your opening paragraph (i..e “there’s no money in doing that”) reminded me of the Mt Albert candidate meeting for the recent election.

    Melissa Lee (National list MP) made several comments about “getting people off the benefit” and never once mentioned anything about job creation. She then went on to say that it wasn’t the govt’s job to create jobs after I reminded her that National had failed to keep any promises relating to this.

    The icing on the cake was when she said something like “how are we all going to get rich by doing (this/that)” to which the whole audience groaned and sighed. She had absolutely NO idea of why there was such a reaction – she was totally confused !

    National people obviously think that the only thing that matters in life is profit and getting rich – this certainly gave me an insight in to what drives them and their policies !

    • Chloe King says:

      it really is not enough to hassle people who are on welfare into jobs that are underpaid and do not reflect their skill sets. It is depressing and you cannot maintain it. National is about fast fixes. Which we all know only last for a short time. That is why so many become part of the revolving door at winz.

    • grumpystilskin says:

      I know Melissa Lee, many people don’t realise that she is from a very, very wealthy family..

  9. Liberty4NZ says:

    I am a Gen X with a baby boomer boss. I can totally relate. She tells me I am too intelligent to be doing my job and that I should have a tertiary education. I feel like firing back at her about the fact that she got her degree for free. She is condescending and looks for ways to cut my wages back, sometimes does the easier parts of my work herself so she can allocate harder work to me, things that are outside my job description. She is constantly looking for ways to “screw more out of people”, while paying peanuts. She cries poor with the budget she has, whilst appears to spend wastefully. She is a proud John Key voter, heaven forbid she have to pay capital gains tax on her multiple retirement properties. Gen Yer’s are saints compared to the many greedy and selfish baby boomers. My mother, for example, lives in la, la, land who views anyone without property and a substantial bank account, a loser.

  10. George Ryde says:

    If financial, gender, racial, class, opportunity inequality isn’t enough now we have generational division.

    It’s none of the above it’s the efffing system. Divide and rule practice does not need any more categories.

    KNOW THY ENEMY.

    • It’s none of the above it’s the efffing system.

      And some sectors of society (in this case, Baby Boomers) know how to work the system better than others, I suggest.

      • George Ryde says:

        Of course they do Frank as will many of the following generations. But some B.Bs still want to bring down/challenge/change the system.

        • Indeed, George. I am one of them.

          At the same time, I recognise that I benefitted greatly from the system – especially prior to 1984.

          It beggars belief how young folk can advance themselves when, upon leaving University/Polytech, they are saddled with $30,000-80,000 debt; housing is pushed further out of reach; job security is next to non-existent; and if you’re setting up a business, you not only have to repay a bank loan and student debt but have to compete with cheaper overseas operators; and wages/salaries are suppressed to compete with Australia (http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/confirmed-national-welcomes-low-wage-economy/).

          For the first time, we are leaving things worse for the younger generation than when we got it.

          I, for one, should have done more during the Clark-led Labour years to encourage more change to improve matters.

  11. david says:

    Good on you Chloe,
    Its about time your generation became angry and demonstrated against what you see as injustice. I am now 60 years young and demonstrated against the Vietnam war outside the US embassy in London, demonstrated against the bomb, demonstrated for change for a better world…..unfortunately a better world was hijacked and is still to become a reality. I sincerely sympathise with the plight of youngsters nowadays – minimum or slave wages, debt from the time you leave school and almost no chance of renting, let alone buying a house. We did strive for a revolution……..maybe its your generation that needs to grab hold and make it happen now!

  12. robert atack says:

    Yeah Chloe if your generation understood how totally screwed you are you would be a darn site more upset.
    But 99% of humans including the ‘youth’ don’t want to know …. yet 😉
    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/
    You will be lucky to be alive after 2035 )
    22after.com is all our futures

  13. Kate Davis says:

    While I empathise regarding the unsolicited advice, I don’t agree with you at all. This isn’t a generational divide it is a political & class divide.
    As pointed put by many on FB, the Twitter & the comments above, we have a lot to thank the boomers for. The second wave for one! We are both benefiting from the gains of the boomers.
    I am gen x, not a boomer. I’m pretty sure you are lumping us all in the ‘old’ camp. Ageist much?
    You & I both operate in a highly political environment. We have mutual activist friends, but as for your generation…where were they at the polling booths in September?
    Is your rage not really for the neo libs & conservatives? Mine is.
    It relates back to Slacktervism being motivated into activism.

    • Chloe King says:

      dont pull the “young people dont vote card” give them something to vote for, you have more options at fucking McDonalds.

      • Brian Smith says:

        I agree with large portions of your blog regarding the greed and selfishness of baby boomers however your retort to the comment ‘where were they at the polling booths in september?’ was pathetic. This is a very valid point and if your generation wants change, they can at least vote for parties that are closer to their ‘ideal’, probably Mana or Greens. But instead they didn’t vote at all! Great, brilliant, that’s gonna make a difference for sure! It plays into the hands of National- exactly want they want- to discourage voting, so they can be assured of winning. It annoys me that Russell Brand promotes not voting- although I guess his bloody (the elite won’t give up power without a fight) revolution won’t require voting, anyway!!

      • Kate Davis says:

        Then give yourselves something to vote for. Why does someone have to do it for you? I don’t understand. If your not happy with the lineup…

        They don’t vote. Fact. Still the lowest demographic turn out. Every generation slags the generation before. It’s a cliché coming of age rite. Again, I don’t think it’s generational, I think it’s inequality & a class divide that expressed through politics.

        Nobody likes being told what to do but I just don’t believe being an arse is restricted to a generation. Good grief the young Nats at uni…..

      • Suzyiam says:

        They have something to vote for – they have their futures and that of their future children. Just like we did.

        Again you promote that others should do it for you?

        Do it for yourselves – you don’t like the system, you don’t like that there has been change you feel negatively affects you, you don’t like anything …. well change it, and you can’t do that by not voting.

      • Waz says:

        I’m 51 and agree with everything you’ve said in the article and comments.

        I hope you stay engaged, despite all the patronization and down votes you’ve received.

        It’s been a huge surprise how blinkered people are.

    • David R. says:

      I’m glad someone said this. I don’t think it’s a generational conflict at all – that’s bullshit. I’m over 50 so I probably fall into the ‘unsolicited advice’ category, but maybe people who have lived through two generations do have a legitimate perspective, whether you like it or not.

      This is to do with ethics and ideology, it’s got nothing to do with generation. I have peers at least as radical as anyone here, and others who are staunch defenders of the reactionary right. It’s nothing to do with age.

      For what it’s worth, as university students and young adults we were much more involved in various issues – the anti-nuclear movement, environment, civil liberties, anti-apartheid, wage and employment campaigns. And many of us have had dish-washing jobs to survive, literally. And lived through an era of 20 percent interest on mortgages. This is not the only generation that knows “how to stand up”, not by a long way. Chloe should at least have the decency to get her facts right before insulting us.

      When someone starts lecturing us about democracy, stop to think what it means. It means everyone in society is represented and can express a view, and government is accountable to everyone, not just a chosen few. It sounds like Chloe got pissed of with a few remarks made by a few people and has turned this into a generalised attack on a whole generation. I wasn’t silenced 30 years ago and I’m not going to be silenced now just because my generation is somehow politically unfashionable.

      • Molly says:

        It sounds like you were at university at a time when student unions were compulsory, and much more politically aware and active.

        Add to that the focus of university education now, to get a career to get you money, the change in the diversity of those attending and you start to see how the cards for students are stacked very differently.

        Also, it has been reported that some of the student unions have been stacked with Young Nats and likeminded people, and so – invitations to visiting lecturers and presentations have had a decided narrow viewpoint.

        And then they have grown up in a culture of celebrity worship and consumerism that we failed to challenge in visible ways.

        Students and young people now – who are politically knowledgeable and active – have had to delve through a morass of misinformation and ridicule to even become informed. (By the way, I don’t consider the Young Nats politically knowledgeable – just well schooled).

  14. Lee says:

    Post 40 GenX here, so I guess that makes me the enemy, too. I’m always having a go at our so called Leaders and activists, anyone of any age (well, not under 18) because of the endemic, demonstrable reluctance towards self awareness, research and intelligence, but total love of Voice Volume, that drives me up the fucking wall.

    I’m “certifiably thick as shit” as I have no degree and no desire to own one…or as Adam above put’s it, “Drug-fucked, fubar’d and milk-whimpering waste of space”. But even I can see the huge rhetorical and conceptual contradictions in the post by Chloe. If any of what she wrote is how she really feels or thinks (and I very much doubt it, because self-definition is impossible using words), then she’s neither a feminist, a lefty, a revolutionary or the New Hope.

    People are thick. Why must they broadcast it so often? It’s not that being thick is inherently offensive, unappealing, wrong or should be silenced, it’s that the range of themes within thickness is getting smaller and smaller. I hate thinking like I’ve heard all this shit before. Go further in, Chloe, really dig into your thickness. Dig deeper than any thick person went before. Bring back something we haven’t heard. Entertain us!

    All the shit Chloe’s been eating, the Xers and everyone else down ate too. Some ate too much, some not enough. The ones that didn’t eat enough are especially concieted. Don’t believe the hype that all Boomers had it sweet. Haven’t you ever wondered where they got their sadistic streak from? Holy hell, who would want to be born during or just after the war to recovering veterans, most of whom would have been psychotic or psychopaths just to be able to have survived the environment? Ever wonder about that? And their parents who had the same problems. Ever wonder how long that sort of stuff stays in families? Had it sweet? Yep. Right.

    My Boomer olds were emotionally rat-fucked. Doesn’t help me to forgive them, just explains the source of the evil. I met the place it came from too. It’s just the world fucking people up and then letting them go wild like it so often loves to do.

    We can only guess at how your generation will be judged by the next, Chloe, but it won’t be a positive review. None of them have been – ever.

    But what does it matter, eh? That’s the only redeeming feature of the Xer’s: we know it’s all fucked, that it can’t be fixed, and when it all gets too much we just switch off and wonder what would have happened if Kurt hadn’t died and how cool it would be if the Foo Fighters didn’t exist.

  15. The 5% the Left needs to recapture says:

    I don’t give a shit about your use of strong language, but find the sweeping stereotyping of an entire generation based on anecdotal encounters with a couple of individual fuck wits highly fucking offensive.

    • Chloe King says:

      I pointed out #NotAllBabyBoomers …. and honestly this is pretty standard response by so many BB. Try talking to young people about what I have pointed out. This was not a personal attack.

      • The 5% the Left needs to recapture says:

        You spent half the article complaining about the stereotyping of your generation by BB’s, and the other half stereotyping BB’s yourself.
        Mentioning your Mum as an exception doesn’t dilute the contradiction in that

        And by what crystal ball do you divine that I don’t talk to young people? Oh, and where is your mandate to speak for them as ‘your generation?’.

        Or anyone for that matter. If Occupy taught us anything it was that there is almost no support among the good citizens of Aotearoa for a major change to the current system.

        You will learn what the BB generation learned. Real change occurs when activists connect successfully with significant percentages of a society.

        The world doesn’t just move aside because of a bit of trash talking from a tiny minority.

        • Real change occurs when activists connect successfully with significant percentages of a society.

          Really?

          I would’ve thought that real change occurs when activists force significant percentages of a society to confront an issue, whether apartheid, unjust wars, nuclear free, etc.

          • The 5% the Left needs to recapture says:

            Frank, you can find ways of putting an issue in front of people who aren’t necessarily looking for it, but you can’t FORCE them to come to any particular view.

            You need to CONVINCE them of the rightness of your case, and inspire them to believe that with their support you can create meaningful change.
            They will only come to you through free will.

            I’ve been involved in Vietnam, Manapouri, Nuclear Free, Apartheid, MMP, and many environmental activism’s that produced significant change through that educational process.

            But I’ve never seen a very small minority group produce any kind of meaningful change by simply telling people to ‘get out of the fucking way’.

            Have you?

            • I was thinking more of the anti-apartheid movement, “5%” (you really need to come up with a more user-friendly pseudonym). But I guess there are social issues where convincing the populace is necessary (eg, anti-nuke legislation). Or other times you have to drag them along, kicking and screaming (eg, repeal of Section 59).

              I guess there are separate causes and cases and no one size fits all…

  16. countryboy says:

    Fuckin’ brilliant .

  17. Vicky Robertson says:

    Great article – young people will/are struggling with student loan debt. Limited jobs, very low pay. Ridiculous house prices, and annoying advice from wealthy people who somehow think that they must be so clever to get where they have got.
    There are these blinkered, unempathetic, types in all generations.
    I notice that, as far as I know, there are no politicians whose backgrounds are in the arts or creative industries. I wonder if that is the reason we seem to get the same environment destroying, wage gap widening, unimaginative policy that is playing havoc with the lives of future generations and the planet they will inherit.
    When will enough of the population pay attention enough to realise the politicians and media have a self interested agenda that benefits a few, and causes so much misery to the young, the elderly and the poor.

  18. Hopeless Idealist says:

    Brilliant article. You articulate my frustration perfectly. Keep battling.

  19. Marcus says:

    Whatever happened to the baby boomers? The young men and women who bravely stood up and said they didn’t want nuclear arms, war, pollution, apartheid and racial discrimination? They found the ultimate solution to any form of misery – money! I’m afraid that seems to happen to every generation, when they grow up and discover money they are hooked for life. My generation is no exception.

    • Interesting…

      Chris Trotter called Baby Boomers “permissive”. In terms of liberalised drinking laws, economy, labour/retailing, I would suggest that the permissive culture of the ’60s and ’70s as “evolved” into a permissive culture of Individualism. The Permissiveness of the ’60s and ’70s has gone from social issues, sex, drugs, anti-war – to shopping/consumerism as a recreational activity; unrestrained importation of cheap goods; ‘flexible’ labour laws (to meet the needs of rampant consumerism); etc.

      The ” baby boomers – the young men and women who bravely stood up and said they didn’t want nuclear arms, war, pollution, apartheid and racial discrimination” didn’t go away. They just found alternative “interests” instead. In the ’60s and ’70s it was protest against ‘The Establisment’/money; sex, and drugs. Now it’s aspiring to be The Establishment/money; sex, and alcohol.

      • Once was Tim says:

        Exactly Frank. I sometimes look around at my peers and wonder how and why – the once were Coromandel ‘hippies’ now more concerned about their property values…. people who once protested against the conservatism of their parents and who are now emulating the worst aspects. Your explanation seems fairly sound to me. It’s a shame their former lifestyles didn’t prepare them for a greater understanding of generations that followed. In many cases they (the boomers) seem to justify their change with platitudes like “we had kids and grew up a bit” – they’re often piss heads with a few speeding tickets or a drunk driving charge under their belts. Somewhat hypocritical and holier than thou at times.
        I take heart at the ‘not all boomers’ bit above – hopefully they’ll be amongst the New Zealand Spring – that’s if there’s anything left of NZ when it comes time

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        Maybe Chris Trotter was just envious of those enjoying the new sexual freedoms with broken down barriers and “permissiveness” then? Perhaps he missed out, he felt?

        The student revolution was more than just about permissiveness, as far as I can vaguely recall, not having been part of that generation itself.

        There were a fair few societal changes that came as a result, but of course, society did not change quickly, and some of the revolutionary energy gradually waned, and many started to somehow conform to a mixture of past and new realities.

  20. Dave says:

    Baby boomers are simply beneficiaries of two historic processes.
    The first is the inheritance of accumulated wealth from previous generations who have now almost completely died out.
    The second is the gains made by a militant working class in the wake of ww1 and ww2 now under serious attack, if not dissolved completely.

    This has meant not only did they have a particularly good start, but a frugal departing generation has left them considerable capital. We shouldn’t condemn the baby boomer generation for this however. Marx pointed out something along the lines of; you may choose, but not under conditions of your choosing.
    This has left the baby boomers material interests considerably closer aligned to capital than historically ‘normal’, thus their apparent conservatism is no deficit of morality, but a ideological perspective, one despretely clinging to the precipice of annihilation. Further many baby boomers are currently the best and most active generation of revolutionaries. we must remember and be inspired by this.

    That even under capitals most favourable conditions, even with the collapse of the soviet union and the declaration of the end of history, even with the rise of neo-liberalism they kept the revolutionary flame burning.

    Truly, capital creates it’s own gravediggers.

  21. countryboy says:

    By the way … if you want to get angry and anarchistic ? Get in line .

    Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of the Banks and money fetishists more than a creative mind that’s spinning with rage .

    PiL
    ‘ Rise ‘ .

    http://youtu.be/Y15BIYhGCwc

    Anger is an energy … amature doco but interesting .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRrU94nVsYE

    Wait , wait ? Hear that I hear ?

    ” Boom ” goes a baby ! hahahahaha ahaha !

  22. Chris McMahon says:

    Chloe you are an inspiration.
    The old have disparaged the young forever.
    Be strong.
    Those of us who have fought the good fight down the years want to give you a hug.

  23. Paul says:

    I am a Boomer.
    My generation is shameful.
    So many had it all and then pulled up the ladder.

  24. Leslie says:

    some of us baby boomers were in the struggle way before you knew about it. Some of us are leaders and teachers. Some of your generation may be the beneficiaries of our experience and our work. This is not a struggle that will end in your own lifetime, don’t be part of creating division by offering generalisations, by stereotyping an earlier generation or by stigmatising one that will come after you. Neither approach will be helpful in the struggle for an open society of fairness and equity. These aims are intergenerational.

  25. Mark Chitens says:

    Try it again, but without the ad hominem. – ScarletMod

  26. Ben says:

    I am a baby boomer and compared to young people today I had it easy. I left school, walked into ‘a job for life’, got paid well, was able to buy a house reasonably easily and bring up children in comfort.

    It is no consolation to you but I fear for the future of my kids and the futures of people like you.

    sadly I think most baby boomers are incredibly selfish, and possibly I am too. We have accumulated wealth and housing but any suggestion that we might share our good fortune is met with cries of outrage.

    • David R. says:

      “I think most baby boomers are incredibly selfish … We have accumulated wealth and housing but any suggestion that we might share our good fortune is met with cries of outrage.”

      Seriously? I don’t know where to begin debunking this; suffice to say, dude, you really need to get out more. Much more.

  27. Ian Andrews says:

    There’s nothing new in the “older generation” giving advice to a “know it all” “younger generation” , and recalling their own youth through rose tinted spectacles.

  28. Peter Archer says:

    Well said, Chloe. Tell ’em how it is! Because, some of them obviously have no idea, like that dork of a chef you mention.

    People like him make me feel ashamed of my generation. And, yes, we did have it a lot easier. When I dropped out of university, on my ‘first time around’ at uni, at age 19, I drifted into several short-term jobs (this was in the late 1960s, and employers were DESPERATE for workers. I got a job ‘helping’ to assemble farm harvesting machinery, at a factory in Chirstchurch, and the pay, for what was unskilled labouring type work, was AWESOME. And, when I drifted away from that job, when I got bored and just did not turn up to work on a Monday, I soon drifted into another job, pumping petrol and greasing cars.

    And, when I got sick of that, and decided to knuckle down and get a long-term ‘proper’ job, I turned up at the telephone exchange and was hired on the spot as a trainee technician by the Post Office, and soon worked myself up into a very well-paying career, that lasted 20 years. I was a “Senior Technician” within four years of starting that job, and the pay was AWESOME, and they would hire any young man with a minumum of three eyars at high school.

    I recall, a year or two after starting in that career, one morning our boss, the Supervising Technician, calling us into a staff meeting, and PLEADED with us to try and persuade our mates to come and join up as trainee teachnicians, because the Post Office was so DESPERATELY short of staff, they were considering opening up the career-path of technicians to women! Shock horror! This old guy (he would have been aged about 50), was desperate to avoid having to work with women as technicians! A few years later, of course, they did just that, they abolished gender discrimination in the Post Office, and elsewhere, but that’s another topic.

    Yes, things were TOTALLY different back then, and for baby boomers to arrogantly give ‘advice’ to today’s youngish adults, based upon their own past experience at a similar age is just arrogant hubris.

    • CenntralScruutiniser says:

      Thank you for owning that experience. Many of your generation are reluctant to.

      My own father left school at 15 with bare passes in a couple of School C subjects. He immediately had several well-paid jobs to choose from.

      By 20 he’d bought a family home in a reasonable suburb in Christchurch. He now lives in a semi rural lifestyle area in Auckland, with acres of land. (We’re not in touch).

      Sure, he worked hard, but most people do. The difference between his life and mine was the ladder of opportunity involving employment, housing and living costs.

      I have significantly better education, work a good white collar job and in my late thirties have less to show for it, asset-wise, than he did as a twentysomething junior train driver in the ’70s.

  29. Mrs Puggles says:

    Ad hominem deleted. A repeat performance will earn a permanent ban. – ScarletMod

  30. Lindsay says:

    Some time later in your life you will be less angry. Every generation (though I loathe lumping individuals into arbitrary groups) has their cross to bear. Those before yours and mine (late baby boomer) were heavier.

  31. Crickey says:

    and actually Chloe, we are all “fucking angry” and busy voting Labour, and knocking on doors asking others to do the same, if you don’t believe that is the answer, by all means DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE ABOUT IT

    • Crikey, do you have any idea what it takes to write a blogpost?

      For many, it looks damned simple; sit at keyboard; punch keys randomly; and – voila! – a detailed blogpost in under ten minutes.

      Well, in a Parallel Universe, that might be the case.

      In this Reality, it takes time; effort; motivation; and a willingness to “put yourself out there” for all and sundry to criticise and make inane jibes like

      DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE ABOUT IT

      I’ll tell you this for free, Chloe and other bloggers (whether Left or Right) spend hours each day thinking of issues; researching a topic for stats/facts/quotes; put words together; re-writing; proof-reading; submitting…

      It looks easy?

      It ain’t. Trust me on this.

      I think you get the gist of what I’m getting at here; Chloe is doing something. She is raising issues for us to consider; mull over; and hopefully engender some thoughful debate.

      Think about it. If she hadn’t spent an entire evening offering her thoughts and beliefs with us – what would you be doing? Watching tv? Certainly not reading her considered blogpost for you to respond to.

      • Kate Davis says:

        Good call Mr Macskasy! Well played.

      • Crickey says:

        Fair enough Frank, and yes Chloe, you have ignited a debate with your efforts, and I applaud you for that.

      • Russ says:

        “She’s doing a great job”…. A job which obviously confines her to our mass of poverty stricken citizenry. Her choice.
        I read Chloe’s blogs on occasion. Generally around 1600 words of complaint. 1600 words which could constitute around a dozen cover letters towards job applications. The hours spent dreaming up another grizzle de jour’ could perhaps be better spent… what with all that valuable education and all?
        But what the hell would I know, I’m over 30 and busy doing my best each day at work… to make sure I can show up again the next day.

      • Suzyiam says:

        Yes, and its a hell of a lot less energy required than scrambling to the top of a public building to hang a banner, or fighting with police in a front line at a rugby match, or sneaking past your parents & neighbours to spend the night stuck in a leaking boat to support a radio station that the establishment didn’t want.

        Writing a blog takes intelligence and some effort – and Chloe certainly has the makings of a good writer – she will be one of our nations leaders one day – and whilst blogging is a ‘way’ of doing – it is something that is being ‘done to death’ – Chloe and people like her need to find, just like we did – new and exciting ways because sorry, blogging is very quickly becoming ‘same old’.

        • Chloe and people like her need to find, just like we did – new and exciting ways because sorry, blogging is very quickly becoming ‘same old’.

          And yet, Suzyiam, note how influential one of the most vile, right wing blogs became in this country? So influential that it is now part-subject to a government inquiry. Certain right wing attack-blogs became the second strand of a two-track political process.

          Far from blogging being ‘same old’, it is filling a yawning void left by a MSM that is now superficial and focused on sensationalism rather than indepth reporting on issues. When “ordinary” citizens do a google search on an issue, they are just as likely to come across an article in the Daily Blog, as they are the Dominion Post.

          On occassion I have noted TV current affairs shows like Q+A and The Nation reporting issues that, ‘coincidentally’ (?) had been raised on The Standard, or Kiwiblog. Let’s not sell ourselves short in this respect; blogging is a democratised means of people having a voice.

          As newspapers lose readership, on-line reporting assumes greater importance. (Hence paywalls going up around previously free media like NBR.)

          Blogging may take “a hell of a lot less energy required than scrambling to the top of a public building to hang a banner, or fighting with police in a front line at a rugby match, or sneaking past your parents & neighbours to spend the night stuck in a leaking boat to support a radio station that the establishment didn’t want” – but we need to get those ideas out there in the first place. Social media and blogging does that, so activists know why a banner needs to be hung from a public building.

  32. Mike in Auckland says:

    Chloe, I understand your anger, and I may agree, that a lot of that so-called “baby boomer” generation have settled for their comfy quarter acre pavlova paradise lifestyle, on borrowed money to buy a bungalow style house, to have one to two car households, to now have some savings and “investments”, while they may in earlier years have voted Labour, but who now vote National under Key. They are happy with house values going up, so they can sell for a gain one day.

    Yes, a lot, probably the vast majority of them, may fit such a money focused, cost benefit evaluating mindset, who have dim or patronising views of the younger generations. This is nothing new though, human generations have always changed, and they tend to become more selfish or “pragmatic” when getting older, they mostly become a bit more “conservative”.

    This may be a problem in some ways, but hey, they are NOT ALL like that. It is not fair to throw people into categories or drawers, same as it would not be fair of those just described members of that “baby boomer” generation to do the same with younger people.

    There are actually also a fair few older people who have not managed to work and save to own a house or more, to have investments, to be well off and at least well secured. There are also a fair few who had interruption in work, who have perhaps not worked for longer periods, who may have illness and disability, and who do for other reasons not fit the image described as a bit of a stereotype. Also there are still some politically active “baby boomers”, who want to change the status quo, for a better society.

    We need change, we need change at all levels, and the selfishness and materialistic, consumerist mindset is not owned solely by “baby boomers”. I know many young people going to uni or not, who are only focused on their careers, on getting well paid jobs, on earning much money, on starting a business and so forth.

    I fear the problem goes beyond of generations, it is one of massive proportions, and we better attack the issues, the flaws and faults, and not personalise or generationalise them too much.

    This problem of young generations loaded with student debts, facing precarious employment, facing a ruthless market economy, neoliberalism, and a commoditisation of all our life, deserves to be raised, but it is a global one. Many young people admire the internet entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg and others, the tech generation entrepreneurs that got super rich. They use their technologies daily, allow mass harvesting of user behaviour data, of browser information, for advertising, for expanding business, for mass manipulation, it is perhaps time to realise this also, that many that use Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and all these other providers daily, are actually supporting the status quo.

    Those companies do (partly forced) also cooperate with the NSA and GCSB, and we must realise the massive challenges all this creates for alternative minded people, who want a better, fairer world, where we can be PEOPLE again, not just numbers, consumers, tax payers, statistics.

    That is the size of the challenge, not one generation.

    • I fear the problem goes beyond of generations, it is one of massive proportions, and we better attack the issues, the flaws and faults, and not personalise or generationalise them too much.

      This problem of young generations loaded with student debts, facing precarious employment, facing a ruthless market economy, neoliberalism, and a commoditisation of all our life…

      Now there’s the problem, Mike.

      Since 1986, there have been seven tax cuts;

      1 October 1986 – Labour

      1 October 1988 – Labour

      1 July 1996 – National

      1 July 1998 – National

      1 October 2008 – Labour

      1 April 2009 – National

      1 October 2010 – National

      At the same time, we have had cutbacks in what were once free or nearly-free state-provided services and seen the introduction of user-pays such as tertiary education; prescription fees; GST; etc. Other social services have been cut altogether.

      Let’s take, for example, a certain gentleman who lived in a state house (taxpayer subsidised); his solo-mother received asocial welfare and Family Benefit (taxpayer funded); and he received a near-free tertiary education (taxpayer subsidised) with most likely a student allowance (taxpayer funded).

      That man is John Key.

      So not only did he receive a near-free University education – he then got seven tax cuts. Effectively he and other Baby Boomers (like myself) cut tax-revenue which funded near-free tertiary education.

      Let’s take another example.

      A solo-mother recieved a training incentive allowance to gain a free tertiary education – plus State support to buy her own home. She later went on to become one of the country’s highest paid civil servants, earning $268,500 + perks + a gold-plated super fund.

      That solo-mother is Paula Bennett. (And she later canned the Training Incentive Allowance in 2009, so no other solo-parents could benefit from that policy.)

      Those are a couple of examples.

      This was an issue I blogged about back in August 2011 – http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/greed-is-good/

      In my life experience I have seen six Prime Ministers come and go. I’m now on to my seventh – perhaps the most mendacious and manipulative of the whole lot.

      My first experience with how self-serving an older generation could be was in regards to the Kirk government’s compulsory super-fund enacted in 1972/73. In the 1975 election, Muldoon promised to scrap it; repay everyone’s contributions; and replace it with a pay-as-you-go National Superannuation Fund.

      New Zealanders were told of the necessity to save for investment; to save for our oncoming bulge in retirees; and to save so we wouldn’t be so reliant on overseas borrowing.

      Did New Zealanders listen? In a pigs-eye they did.

      Instead voters voted for Muldoon and Labour’s compulsory super-fund was duly scrapped. (I recall getting a refund of about twenty bucks. Yay. *pffft!*)

      It has only been recently that economists/commentators have publicly lamented that had voters not been so incredibly short-sighted/selfish, and had we kept the compulsory super-fund, New Zealand would have been financially self-sufficient and our savings worth around $278 billion (http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9916584/Compulsory-super-would-be-worth-278b). We would have been buying up Australian assets – not the other way around.

      Instead, Australia implemented it’s own compulsory super savings fund in 1992 (now worth over A$1.6 trillion as on mid-2013). And have bought up our four biggest banks in the process.

      In 2008, Key promised tax cuts valued at several billion dollars – despite the GFC hitting western economies and government surpluses evaporating as the tax take dwindled. It was an irresponsible promise – but the older generation – Baby Boomers primarily – voted for it.

      In 2011, Key announced partial state asset sales and despite polling showing that around two thirds of people were opposed, National was re-elected into government.

      Baby boomers are the ones with property; generally in well-paid jobs; and benefitted from free education which increased their earning capacity. At the same time they have voted for tax cuts and asset sales. Obviously one funded the other.

      On 20 September, voters were given a choice between voting for a government that would build 100,000 houses – or a government that might build a few dozen. Baby boomers voted for the latter.

      Why?

      Because if Labour followed through on it’s promise to build 100,000 houses – what do you think would happen to the values of all those rental properties owned by Baby Boomers? So Baby Boomers voted en-masse for a party that they were fairly confident would do very little (the LVR notwithstanding) to address rising house prices. Shortage of an item equals higher price. And with no Capital Gains Tax…

      If anyone doubts the impact of rising house prices – consider that home ownership has dropped over the last twenty years.

      Overall home ownership has dropped from 1991, when 73.8% of households owned their own home (or held it in a family trust) – compared to last year’s census which now reports 64.8% home ownership (or held in family trust). In Auckland, home ownership rates are worse, 58% today, compared to 64% in 2001.

      Yet, as home ownership dwindles, the number of properties increases as more are built (albeit at a snail’s pace). That means more houses in fewer hands, whilst the rest are forced to rent.

      Since younger generations are handicapped with high student debt (which baby boomers generally don’t have); stagnating wages (forcing many offshore); and an uncertain employment future (or under-employment), they simply don’t have the economic clout to buy their own homes. They are forced to rent.

      Other economic commentators have made the observation that the Baby Boomers benefitted hugely from socio-economic policies pre-1984. Since the introduction of neo-liberalism those same socio-economic benefits have not been made available to younger generations.

      Little wonder that as Baby Boomers near retirement age, both Labour and National are vying for their votes.

  33. Mike in Auckland says:

    And where does this leave new migrants, taking on many jobs, some very lowly paid, whether they are young or older, as too many New Zealand employers still rather only employ their “English speaking” own folk. For many migrants, or temporary permit or visa holders there is often only work that some others do not feel inclined to do. Some even get exploited in restaurants and elsewhere, sadly by their own, as a news out today revealed about a Vietnamese restaurant in Christchurch.

    Surely, we have more than a generational challenge, here, and while we may criticise each other’s generations for their attitudes, the government does all to divide and rule already.

    I fear we may not achieve much with assisting the government with attacking each other, various groups and so. Some other solution is needed.

  34. cassie says:

    It was the 8o’s “Economic Reforms” that fucked up our dear old New Zealand, the way it was then. (Godzone R.I.P.)

    At this time most Babyboomers were busy working/raising kids.
    ..JUST LIKE TODAY, they were CONNED..

    Just like today,
    -TOO BUSY TO NOTICE the gradual (and SNEAKY) subterfuge/deception/psychological warfare that was underway to destroy everything that NZers believed in.
    VIA the POPULAR MEDIA used to disseminate new political slogans..

    Called “Globalisation”.
    It came from outside of NZ
    But certain NZ politicians/Business Roundtable members were determined that it be implemented. (you can thank the likes of Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, etc)

    BACK THEN JUST LIKE NOW, people easily politically DECEIVED

    (YES I AGREE THOSE BABY BOOMERS WHO DON’T REALISE THE TRUTH OF WHAT’S HAPPENED,or HOW,
    -CAN JOLLY WELL SHUT UP!!!!)

    I am HORRIFIED at this “Globalisation” CON.
    THAT’s the SOURCE of the real problem.
    “TPPA” a symptom….and the fact of NZ prime Minister about to sign = TREASON because it entails NZ’s LOSS of SOVEREIGNTY..

    Globalisation = ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.

    • raegun says:

      If anyone is able to think clearly and can extrapolate things out, it becomes easy to see that globaliztion can only but lead to a one world government, I cannot see it doing anything else, and that will require one hell of a heap of authority to be applied for it to work.
      Oh and who’s system will prevail?

  35. cassie says:

    EXAMPLES of BRAINWASHING SLOGANS that came out repeatedly used by the Media in the 90’s

    “Self responsibility” -Everybody responsible for themselves.
    (= end of the concept of social responsibility)

    “User Pays”- people pay for Everything. (Including MP’s Retirement gratuities.)
    This was when all former State services were transformed into for Profit Businesses.
    This was when education became a luxury, instead of benefit for the whole.

    “knowledge economy” ( raising kids to serve “the economy”)
    “Tomorrows Schools” (schooling kids with only enough to serve “the economy”=dumb , like slaves)

  36. Excellent distinctions Chloe! You are spot on. Young people today are doing what they have been taught to do…go to school and get an education. However, the education being provided is not enough to succeed in the 21st century. Massive student debt, underemployment, and as you mentioned, settling for low paying jobs just to pay the bills. We have an education system that is still teaching for the industrial age, which we are not in any longer.

    Many “well meaning boomers” have been so conditioned to believe the only way to work is to work for an employer, and are stuck in their conditioned beliefs of the “way we have always done it”. Change is constant in life and in business. It’s important to recognize what has worked in the past, is not working for today’s youth.

    A big missing link is teaching young people they absolutely can follow their dreams and passions….take their knowledge, ideas, skills and education, combine it with all the technology options, dreams and passions and find ways to BE the creators of their own work. There is no longer such a thing as job security. The only job security there is, is the willingness to think out of the “conventional wisdom” and go out and create your own work.

  37. millsy says:

    I don’t think that the Baby Boomers have any right to criticise young people when they bloody well know that when they were young they could just walk into any job they wanted. You cannot do that anymore. Even qualified teachers and nurses are struggling to find work.

  38. Save NZ says:

    You are falling into the MSM discourse that ‘baby boomers’ are to blame for your plight. Maybe use social media and your education to get more politically aware. The National party and MSM are diverting blame for your plight on another generation not on the actual cause. If in doubt blame the parents I guess, not think about voting on mass/ protesting for another outcome if you feel so strongly. P.S I am not a baby boomer.

    • jmh2000 says:

      I agree, I’ve been concerned that the media is deflecting criticism onto an entire generation who are blamed for the difficulties faced by the young today. My parent’s are baby boomers and I bring up the tail end. I am a similar age to John Key and I can see that the ladder was hauled up after me. Talking to others of my age, we don’t feel that this was a move in the right direction. Yes, we voted Labour but, to be frank, where did that get us? More of the same.

      I would prefer to see this energy directed to those in charge, rather than spread across a whole generation. It’s hard to fight a wealthy establishment so I imagine it would be more effective if the generations worked together. Maybe that it what ‘the establishment’ is afraid of.

  39. Nick says:

    As a Baby Boomer I feel compelled to give Chloe some advice despite the warning not to. It is Fear your generation.

    My generation did all sorts of things that any generation with their opportunities would do. We did some idealist things like all generations do. But having fought against apartheid, against state spy legislation, for environmental issues etc taught me one thing about my generation, any generation. It is that activism and commitment is always limited to a small cadre, the rest of the people just blindly go ahead doing whatever they need to regardless of the issues around them. You need to fear those for whom “it does not matter”, for whom “I’m all right Jack”, for whom “its not me so I dont care”.. In every generation they are the majority.

    • Chloe King says:

      the thing is as I pointed out our planet is dying – we don’t really have the option to fuck this struggle up and go buy houses e cant afford because if we do not change EVERYTHING about the way we LIVE there will be nothing left to even fight over.

      • Nick says:

        You and I are in such alignment on that one. I despair daily because I know what we have to do and wont. Then what happens is that you run into the wall of collective denial (or willful ignorance). That’s not generational, it is individual. When faced with the awful spectre of resource and societal collapse most people just go into denial mode and insist you are the problem. My response is equally hard nosed: the sea level is rising because of you, and some of us are building our alternative lifeboat, if you are not aboard we wont be able to stop you drowning.

        As I have aged my tolerance for willful denial and self interest has paradoxically made me the same: if people want to ignore the warnings they can go and die with the environment they insist on screwing over. The planet will sort itself out without them.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        Your energy and outspokenness deserves respect, and also some fair criticism. I totally support you on your environmental and some core other concerns. We need more activists, and you must be congratulated and encouraged to speak up and out, even if some may be questioned, what you say. At least you generate lively debate, which in itself is something we are missing in society.

        I despair so often, when seeing around me, when being on the bus, or walking down streets here in Auckland, how every second or third person simply walks around like a zombie staring at screens on tablets, smart phones and whatsoever. New technology has its place, and can be useful, but the way it is largely being used, in combination with the ever present consumerism, generated by endless conditioning and brainwashing through media, advertising and even social interactions of ones participating in it, are huge challenges and dangers.

        People have largely forgotten to talk, to communicate, to discuss and debate face to face, in the way we as humans are designed to naturally converse and behave. Some do so, but most seem to limit this to formal talk at work, in small social environs and the likes.

        The new technologies enable the commercial and state powers (neoliberal or whatever) to apply mass manipulation, and it is used for that, and much tweeting and chatting is not really “enlightening” discussion.

        We need to reinvent, recreate lively activities and discussions, at universities, at other institutions, at public events and activities, and we need to find ways to interact with the less active, we need to generate interest and willingness to think, challenge ideas, to take more action than just write here on blogs. I am sure you and others do your bit, but maybe the real challenge is going to the unis and so, where earlier effective “revolutionary” actions and movements started, and organise students, organise people in general.

        Presently, what I witness, hear and see, is depressing, as indifference, or resignation are everywhere. Too much narcissistic behaviour is found instead, many being about me, my career, my job, my new acquisition, my this that and the other.

        My fear is we need an economic and ecological collapse or major calamity of sorts, before people wake up and see what is really important, that society can only function as a society, not as a mass of actually rather disconnected, screen staring individuals, following prompts to just work, study, consume at at times party, drug and booze in clubs, to try and get some balance.

        The challenge is to involve people, without that, all efforts will just be a puff in the air.

      • Kate Kate says:

        Young people are having kids as if nothing is happening to the planet. These kids born now will have nothing. How much are they going to hate us All. I would be really worried about the kids born into this denial and lack of care about climate change hence their actual future survival is at stake. They will grow up and see RED! I see this situation as a human rights issue. Imagine being asked ‘what did you do to save the planet?’, and all these parents don’t seem to be doing much at all or even seem to really give a toss, except Lucy Lawless and the Green Party. I made a conscious decision with my husband not to have kids. This is a truly scary reality, and once climate change slaps us in the face it will be too late. Who cares about the greedy baby boomers and all their lotto wins in property investments, I’d rather not be one of those hoarders it is uncool. I do believe the system is now a set up, by them, for them, cronyism, nepotism..John Keyism… Most of them have no taste, big ugly empty looking houses, yuk. Leave them to their ill gotten gains, it is meaningless, turn your back on them, make your life different. Don’t waste any energy on the greedy ones they love misery and people at ‘the bottom of the heap’ that’s what they get off on. If you act like you care they have won one over you, they think your jealous and a loser anyway, if your not a bloody accountant, lawyer or a doctor. Go the Tiny House Movement the dumpster divers the rain water harvesters, the Earth Ship builders, the alternative sustainable life stylers live with less. We don’t actually don’t need much. Fuck them, have a better funky life, who wants to be tied to their gravy chain of bull shit anyway it’s all fake. Get out of Auckland where progress is ‘ to pave paradise and put up a parking lot’.

        • Nick says:

          You prove my point re every generation having activists….you quote Joni Mitchell (baby boom babe) about “pave paradise and put up a parking lot”.

  40. Rogaldo says:

    Here’s one baby boomer who agrees with the entirety of your essay.
    mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  41. Reading mosat of the comments here, I was struck by a familiarity…

    As if I’d read these words before… Angry young person… Defensive older generation…

    Bingo! It’s what my generation said when wee railed against our parents – Rob’s Mob – who lived their comfortable middle class lives, even whilst ignoring social, gender, environmental, human rights, peace, gay/lesbian, etc, issues.

    We (my Baby Boomer generation) castigated our parents for putting more weight on watching a game of rugby from a racist regime – than joining the fight against apartheid.

    Rob’s Mob refused to give up power and make society fairer for women, Maori, gays/lesbians…

    We stood on the moral pinnacle and condemned those who simply didn’t care. We swore to change the world. So we did.

    Thirty years later, Chloe and her generation launches the same criticisms at us (Baby Boomers). The anger of the younger generation – but now directed at us middle aged, ex-hippies.

    Well, we did change the world. In many ways for the better (gay rights, improved gender equality, anti-nuke legislation, prostitution law reform).

    In other ways, we have become our parents.

    • David R. says:

      “I was struck by a familiarity … As if I’d read these words before… Angry young person… Defensive older generation… ”

      Well observed, Frank. However you also have made the point that generalisations risk defeating themselves, so while you are correct to a degree, it is also the case that we have in our midst the opposite: a compliant younger generation … angry older generation.

      That’s why I think it’s a polarising distraction to suggest our political struggles are generational in nature. Chloe returns to a core issue when she focuses on one of our most contentious and perilous issues, the destruction of our planet, a.k.a. rampant habitat destruction and over-population.

      I’ve got no idea how many BB’s are ‘wealthy’ and complacent or how many are living on the edge of debt and still politically astute and active, but it’s irrelevant and you don’t need to look far to see how many BB’s are leading or actively engaged on the front line in any number of vital, current issues. To write off the majority of a generation as being out of touch and swollen with unhelpful advice is at best naive and … well, out of touch.

  42. Darien Fenton says:

    Chloe – agree one generation shouldn’t give advice to another. I ignored it anyway. I remember well how frustrating it was being labelled, put down and written off as a young person who knew nothing. While I was able to get jobs, I remember the friends who died in accidents that should never happened. I remember those of my peers who had babies because abortion laws didn’t allow them to do otherwise – and the pain that went with that. There’s a big gap in my life of friends lost who succumbed to drug addiction and then there were those who were locked up because they dared to protest, including me. But please let’s not get into an intergenerational pissing contest – about who has it harder. My generation, my children and grandchildren need you to take up the fight. The fight may be different. But we need each other. I stand with you.

    • Crickey says:

      Absolutely Darien, giving names like “baby boomers” and “Generation Y” etc, simply falls for the “divide and rule” trap.
      listening to each other, rather than talking at each other, hearing how it really was in last generations, and how it feels to be young in this generation will unite us, give us a chance to create a groundswell against the appalling values of this government

      • Darien Fenton says:

        The funny thing is the older you get, the more you appreciate the previous generation/s and their struggles. When I was young it meant nothing to me that my dad was a socialist, and my granddad a miner turned MP. The biggest thing in my day was the threat of nuclear war and I thought the older generation didn’t understand. I never talked to them about their lives while I had the chance ; and I deeply regret it now they are gone. Lesson is we should learn from all generations – the young and the older.

  43. dave brown says:

    What are generations?
    People born in the same 20 year span.
    How serious is that in explaining why young people today face a collapsing capitalist world and global climate catastrophe?
    Not very.
    The global capitalism system has been experiencing booms and busts since the 1880s.
    Even before that it was an economic crisis in Britain in the mid 19th century that forced settlers of all generations too emigrate to the British settler colonies including NZ.
    Maori of all generations bore the brunt of that settler colonisation.
    Generation as an explanation of events is fallacious.
    It appears to be a cause but actually masks the real cause, social class.
    In the 1880s workers of three generations fought to create unions.
    Bosses of all generations tried to stop them.
    Both classes and all generations fought or were caught up in the Great Maritime strike of 1890.
    Women of all three generations fought for the vote in the 1890s.
    Men and women of that 70s and 90s generations were conned into dying for the British Empire in “The Great Wrong War” by the bosses of that same generation.
    The great bust of the 20s and 30s affected all generations, but divided NZ by class. Class consciousness began to rise again.
    Labour came to power on that wave of consciousness promising we could all escape the working class and become ‘middle class’.
    Men and Women born in the 20 years after the first war fought and worked to fight the second wrong war.
    But those who died in the greatest numbers were the workers and working farmers who made up the front lines in a war fought for the economic interests of the imperialist ruling classes.
    I was born during the Bataan Death March of April 1942.
    I benefited from the post-war boom only because previous generations of workers had fought and died to defend their rights and living standards under constant attack for the ruling classes.
    But when the post war boom ended with the Vietnam war in the 1960s I already knew what side I was on in the class war.
    With each succeeding generation born, including my own children and grandchildren, that class consciousness has not changed.

  44. Anna Sutherland says:

    Gen Xer here. Unlike some others of my generation commenting here, I don’t think Chloe is lumping us with the boomers at all. We were the first generation to accumulate student debt, many of us are now raising families while struggling in a precarious employment market.

    One of my favourite conversation topics is the differences I perceive in my generation and the one that follows us. Basically, I think the youth are more loving than my generation. I think homophobia, racism and sexism will struggle to exist in the world you are creating.

    And while I agree to some extent with commenters who are saying we should reduce divisions, and not engage in inter-generational conflict, I think it is fair to say that the boomers won the lottery and kept the winnings all to themselves.

    Gen X is a bit defeated. I think we just accept that we will be unlikely to have Gold Cards or retirement at 65. We came of age with the mantra “times have changed” which generally meant certain policies were no longer beneficial to baby boomers, such as free tertiary education.

    A capital gains tax would be a worthwhile first step towards reducing the generational inequalities we are living with. But as we found in September, it’s a hard sell to voters, especially those usually older people with investment properties, for whom it would be like turkeys voting for an early Christmas.

  45. guy says:

    under 30s fuck i waa washing dishes in melbourne 41 yrs old looking now im 43 getting a equivalent of the dole for 24 7 care of my dementia ridden cancer suffering 99yr old grandmother who would cost the country a fucking fortune in hospital while my parents piss around like spoilt teenagers spending more money in a year than ive made in fifteen, wheres my overtime, my holiday pay. fuck the babyboomers sitting on the fence because they have money in the bank so are compromised is the primary reason things dont change, if the next banking collapse takes their wealth then things will change real fast. sooner they shuffle off the planet the better we will all be, literally not metsphorically, in contrast my 99 yr old gran and her generation were generally stand up people, i remember my 82 yr old uncle telling me in the 80s that if they pulled the crap roger douglas was pulling they would have gone down to parliament lined them up and shot them as traitors. gone are the dsys of community. fuck anglo american culture. just hope the fckn terrorists win.

    • raegun says:

      While the anglo american culture may not be the best in the world I am damned if I want to be having walk around in a burkha should the terrorists win.
      A different sort of revolution for me, please, one that does not use poaching of elephants for the ivory to fund themselves

  46. Anneleise Hall says:

    Hi Chloe, I’m a few years off being classed as a boomer, so guess I’m an early GenXer. I totally share, validate and appreciate your anger and frustration at the current system, however I’m not sure the way this blog approaches the issue is going to be helpful in getting the outcome you want.
    I have worked in both the media and sustainable community development so have a good and clear understanding of the realities we are facing as individuals and collectively.
    I will also say that some of the most passionate, tireless and effective people I have worked with on things that matter are boomers, then GenXers. We have had so many meetings, discussions and tried so many things over the years to engage and mobilise young people in the quest to move beyond the current status quo to little avail.
    There are always going to be people of every generation that prefer to believe MSM and spin, or are committed to self-satisfied self-interest.
    Attacking them and belittling them is more likely to further entrench their narrow minds in their own world view.
    My experience is that it is a waste of time and energy to expect them to change.
    Instead we have had all our major successes from working in ways that empower, engage and create hope. We focus on what is working and put our energy into growing it. We simply begin, person by person, project by project, to do things that move towards what we want to create by identifying shared values and common ground.
    We deliberately choose not to empower the current paradigm by creating an “us” and “them” instead see all beings as being on a continuum of awareness. Some are simply not ready to face realities so we must lead by example.
    Other comments on here about young voters not mobilising to vote are very valid. There were voting options for people who wanted no student loans or fees, who believe people should come before profits and that we must urgently respond to global environmental issues.
    A huge number of young people chose not to exercise the right to vote – if a significant percentage had bothered to vote for what you say are the issues that concern Gen Y, this current balance of power may have looked quite different.
    When we include non-voters and non-enrolled it is evident that this current Government is only representing 30% of eligible voting NZers, who are probably doing quite nicely thank you, although for some it was the “lesser evil” if the comments and social discourse post election is anything to go on.
    I think to say that boomers are the problem is an oversimplification. It is a paradigm created by corporate dominance, vested interests and a corrupt and flawed global economic system that has become parasitic under unchecked capitalism that is the problem.
    Some boomers have worked it that is true, and others benefit from it but WE – all of us who are unwilling to support a collapse agenda – are the ones who must change it because there are many, many more of us.
    We will do that by finding hearts, minds and bodies that share basic values and are willing to put aside differences for a common good. We are living in an abuse paradigm, the only way we will make traction is to be proactive, not reactive in all our words and actions, refrain from blame and shame, act consistently and powerfully being clear on what we are or are not willing to tolerate as citizens, that is what mobilises people and generates energy otherwise it is just same shit different pile.
    And lastly sincere thank you for your volunteer work and your efforts. The non-market economy is the glue that holds our communities together. Warmest wishes.

    • Chloe King says:

      well as someone who was part of the Occupy Movement and taught high school it really is not that hard to get young people motivated. Overwelmingly the most powerful movements we are seeing today are youth lead. I appreciate you feeling I have not approached this blog so well but I am getting a bit tired of being told how to write my words and my truths. It is not that I do not take criticism well it is just I am the one putting myself out there and reaping both the praise but also pretty abusive emails and tweets alot of the time from people who do not like what I say.

      Also it is only GenX’s and BBoomers who keep telling me this blog is creating a “us” vs “them” set up, but mostly those from my generation who read it want to discuss the issues Ive raise like YA KNOW the fact our planet is dying.

      • raegun says:

        The health of the planet is the ONE thing I, as a babyboomer, want us to face, square on. Perhaps the greatest protagonist of this is Sir David Attenborough, who probably doesn’t quite qualify as a boomer, by grace of the fact that he is probably a tad old.
        It is very difficult to get heard over the noise of the “right” and “left” squabbling with each other, and with the pressure put on people to just fight for an existence. I believe the latter of those two is very intentional and is a construct designed to keep us too busy, too exhausted to stand up and fight back for this precious earth, while the controllers get on with the business of destroying it to line their own pockets

  47. Kim Dandy says:

    The ladder is well and truly up!

  48. raegun says:

    You are going to vote, folks, I know that seems an anathema to a lot of you, but better to get a semi-sympathetic govt that a totally unsympathetic one, surely
    There is power in the ballot box

  49. Lizzy says:

    I’m 34 and so I’m not a boomer – but I am old enough to look back on my 20s and the decisions I made where money and career are concerned and realize where I made mistakes. Here is my advice:

    You can do work that is interesting and impactful. You can do work that makes good money. You can have great work life balance. Pick one of those three options. After a decade or so in your career, you might end up with two of those options but don’t count on it.

    Second piece of advice is that should you ever want children, one of the two parents needs to be in the “makes money” category, the other in the “work/life balance” category. Your other options are a horrible, miserable struggle to survive and never really thriving or having no relationship with your kids, which leads to a host of other problems down the road for everyone involved. You might wonder how to get into that “make money” category without such ridiculous platitudes as work hard. Great question – money making is a skill that involves knowing how to manage people, money and how to sell. It is like playing guitar in that it requires some dedication but is generally possible regardless of formal education. Check out books on this topic from the library, I’d recommend books on low cost start ups.” Rich dad, poor dad” was another interesting find.

    Finally, real change is possible but there is a reason why lobbyists and political strategists are paid so much – they know how the system really works and how to get things done and I promise you, they don’t spend 40 hours a week writing blogs and going to protests. If you really want your efforts to go someplace, learn the system. Use the bulk of your time getting experience in the machine. Don’t feel compelled to pick the side that you agree with – you’d be surprised how much you might learn from how “the enemy” gets things done. A shortcut to this effort is always money, but that’s not always required.

    Good luck, I stand in solidarity with you.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      You have apparently “adapted” well to the rather selfish society we have, that is not what I would recommend, as I have such as you in my family. The conformists usually determine the trend of society, sadly, but they are also usually very short of ideas, shy of true responsibility (apart for their own immediate well-being and interests), and they have too little wider social conscience. They are about THEMSELVES, and THEIR immediate family and whatever, they do not tend to look beyond the tip of their noses, they usually have no comprehension of the greater picture.

      No, this advice you give is NOT what I recommend. We need a new social order, a new awareness, a new sense of community, not career, business and self protection above all else. We may as well sign off and let Key and gang carry on, and do the rest. I am sure you will recommend people will “wisely” consider and “adjust”. NO thanks.

      • Lizzy says:

        I didn’t say that you shouldn’t make an effort to change the system, just that protests and blogs won’t get you there. Think of how hard it is to change yourself – just to lose 5 pounds or quit smoking or keep your bathroom clean. What makes you think if you can’t change yourself that you can change several billion people? Be realistic about your goals and be strategic about them – few things are sadder than huge amount of time and energy wasted when the goal could have been achieved with smarter tactics.

  50. Michele says:

    Interesting blog Chloe, and responses also. I got politically active in the 80’s and well, we tried to stop Roger Douglas and Student Loans, and the Employment Contracts Act, protesting and educating… but we lost! I noticed a lot of other people in Wellington just continuing on with their lives, getting BMWs and brick cell phones, and I thought why don’t they care? Still don’t know, but they still don’t care, and vote accordingly, and now we are all lumbered with more right wing neo liberal crap over the years. Rising social inequality and pollution, more abuse and addictions, I mean now we have cell phone addictions, FFS. It definitely is a class war, and gender, and environmental, but us humans, we have this energy, we can fuel it with hate, anger, love and fear. And then we can be manipulated on it by Leaders, the media, advertising etc. Be careful of which emotions you favour – I always thought the anger I felt should be turned into doing something constructive to change things, but do try and show your love more, to animals and other humans, that is surely the best thing about being here on this beautiful planet, plus the lovely food and wonderful cultures and interesting art and music. It is not all politics, although important, it is one of the dividers amongst us, just like religion, and can ruin your life, if you let it. I will never understand why people are so into thinking they are right about something, rather than whether it is ethical. And if you prove them wrong or selfish, they will just attack you to keep their denial going as they go to check their bank balance, or something. Corruption is rife among human beings and some will do anything for money – and power – I hope the Green revolution will change this planet, and that is not the Green Party, who are just a small part of it. Biodiversity, renewables and sustainability are the new world and my career advice would be to try and get into that field somehow, if u really hate dishwashing like I do and f*cken minimum wage, and having opinionated dumb males give you verbal shit, well, just accept that there are a lot of jerks in our world. If they’re not rapists, murderers or child abusers, they are probably ok, and so are u, if you are not one of the above categories. ‘Be yourself,’ that is all we can do, just try not to react to much to all the shit that is going down! The rich will never blow up all their own real estate – which is why there is never a nuclear war, just the threat of one – if you get what I mean. Good luck and hope to hear more blogs from u.

  51. ian shaw says:

    Unacceptable language. – ScarletMod

  52. Z says:

    The most offensive advice from BOOMERS! is with regards to the property market. “Live within your means”, don’t expect to live in a three brd with a real bathroom the first time around b/c you need to start with a tin shed and a long drop and work your way up the property ladder.

    This from the generation at the very top of the ponzi scheme that is our residential property market.

  53. Ovicula says:

    The biggest difference I can see in regards to these issues is that when we had a prick of a boss, we didn’t blame everyone else his age for his behaviour. We recognised that he was from a different class. It wasn’t until punk game along that age became a real issue, with their stupid mantras about not trusting anyone over 30. Their music sucked too.

  54. Julie says:

    Why the hell is there a comment war over whether Boomers or Millenials have it tougher?
    It’s DIFFERENT. It is not comparable. Therefore pointless to fight about.

    Why not just accept that both have different struggles. Why not be positive?

    I think that Chloe’s point was for Boomers to stop misguidedly criticizing what they don’t understand.

    To Boomers: Yes. There are many dropkick lazy Millenials. But the majority are actually pretty hard working. It’s not easy. I don’t know about other countries, but last year the NZ Minister of Education made a speech which was (for a politician) very honest. He basically said that they are trying to create a force of workers of higher education. Which is fantastic. But he also said that the jobs for them aren’t likely to be created until about 20 years from now. That means that more highly educated people are competing for a shitty job with a huge student loan to the boot (the fees for university have gone up by over 30% just in the few years that I have been studying).

    In your time, you could go into an aprenticeship or start work with a relatively low level of education and work your way up into the management. Nowadays there is no chance of high position without education. It is not easy.

    My point is that things are different now. People with degrees who flip burger patties aren’t lazy or stupid. They are simply struggling to get something better.

    Criticism is not helpful in any way. Telling kids who are trying that they aren’t working hard enough is not helpful.

    Be encouraging. Cheer the kids on as they fight the corrupt governments and fight to further equality and rights. Support them and be proud of them and perhaps be reminded of yourselves.

    To Millenials: Be grateful to Boomers. They have worked hard and they have had it tough in a way that you could not begin to understand. They deserve nice comfortable retirements. They were brave and hard working and they have laid so much groundwork for the future that we want.

    To everyone: stop being keyboard warriors and picking on each other. What is the benefit of fighting others to prove that your life sucks more? It’s stupid. Choose your fights better, you’re all special.

    To critics of what I advocate: Yes I am optimistic. No, I am not blind to current and past problems. You don’t like what I say? Well, you are welcome to your opinion.