Youth Movements

Richard Ivan Job’s “Youth Movements: Travel, Protest, and Europe in 1968”, discusses the events that caused unrest in Europe and led to its integration. It describes the movement of young people across Europe and its impact on politics across the boundaries of the countries. Symbolically, 1968 marks the turning point when the territorial authority of the nation-state and the privilege of the national community for personal identification were both under assault. According to Richard, the movement of the youth across the countries led to an exchange of ideologies and political views that contributed to the state of unrest. The ease of movement across the countries enabled many young people from the middle-class backgrounds to travel frequently and form a community and camaraderie of their own that transcended their different nationalities and origins and created a new community. These qualities have challenged the dominant state powers’ frontiers, which were used to segregate, contain, and frequently close the access for groups across society.The author seems to argue that the ease and freedom of movement led to a change of culture to European integration where people were allowed to move freely within European countries. Moreover, through ideological and physical movements, youth in the late 1960s strived to create their own sort of European community and challenged the national demarcations of power.

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Jeremi Suri’s “The Rise and fall of an International Counterculture” is about personal happiness and satisfaction among individuals that led to the search for a more fulfilling life by all generations. “Ideological competition in the Cold War encouraged citizens to look beyond material factors alone, and to seek a deeper meaning in their daily activities”.People felt the need to break free from the traditional views of what was ideal and seek new ways that suited them better and made them more satisfied with their lives. This was characterized by sexual liberation, social use of drugs, new types of music, new modes of dressing and adoption of new roles that were traditionally not considered suitable for them. People challenged authorities and refused to follow the assumed path in their lives that were meant to follow and fought for what they wanted. They demanded reduced food prices, better work conditions, and, most significant, a change in political leadership because they felt the authorities did not understand their needs. An example of this counterculture was shown in a survey conducted in 1964 by Soviet Union authorities which revealed that more than 4 out of every 5 students refused, in spite of severe threats, to heed the call of leadership for the “virgin lands” cultivation and development of other patriotic communist projects.The young generation was especially restless seeking to live in better conditions compared to the older ones, such as their parents. Apparently, these young citizens had lost the combination of intensive nationalism and pervasive fear that motivated public enthusiasm and conformity during the years after the Second World War.This empowered them to revolt against the authorities and fight for their rights. According to Jeremi, change in ideologies led to people seeking to fully accept a popular culture of personal freedom, without the any restrictions imposed by a public discipline and an inherited culture of self-control.

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Both authors seem to agree that the mixture and exchange in ideologists were the cause for the new sense of freedom that was felt by the people living in many European countries, as well as the American societies. Suri writes that “prior moments of revolution had had an international quality, but the simultaneity of countercultural activities in so many societies in 1968 made that year seem unprecedented in promise and peril for those living through it”.According to Richard, the Cultural Revolution in Europe occurred as a result of the interaction of the youth from different countries and exchange of ideologies that gave rise to activism to advocate for the freedom to move across nations without any restrictions. Young people were increasingly viewing the world in international terms and participating in it in transnational ways.These interactions empowered people to rebel against laws that they did not consider beneficial to them. According to Richard, this was shown in the movements that called for the eradication of national frontiers and support among the youth, despite their different nationalities.In “The Rise and fall of an International Counterculture,” the people started seeking for better treatment from employers and lives that were more meaningful to them, discarding what was traditionally required of them.

In addition to the above, both authors recognize the role of the young people in propagating the rebellion and revolution within their societies. According to Richard, this sense of collective purpose and identity inspired “cross-pollination” as young people swapped books and ideas, visited each other, organized and corresponded demonstrations of mutual support and facilitated the revolution.Suri’s article also agrees on these views as Suri writes that instead of working with the “machine” for personal benefit, intelligent young men and women pledged to place their bodies, literally, on the gears, to stop the normal functioning of society with their blood. Such actions encouraged the spirit or rebellion and revolution and challenged the authorities to make rules that catered for its people.The policy of Cold War condemned for decreasing the social change, as a matter of fact, legitimized and encouraged counterculture.The youth adopted as their own the ways of other nationalities. Holmes describes the 1960s culture as associated with a “tone of confrontation,” which took place daily, whether in the matter of politics, clothes, sexual morality, art or religious piety.Suri gives arguments to this by writing that “young people started to dress differently; they began to talk differently, and, yes, they had sex differently during the 1960s. In both cases, these new ways once adopted were integrated into their day to day lives”.

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The argument by both authors is that the interaction of people with new ideologies was a major contributing factor to the revolution and counterculture of 1968. In Richard Ivan Job’s “Youth Movements: Travel, Protest, and Europe in 1968,” this has been proved by the support the revolution got from youth from all over Europe by demanding for the removal of national frontiers that were restricting their freedom of movement across the European nations. The movements and activism of the young that culminated in 1968 helped lay the cultural foundation for the transformation of the Common Market into the European Community and its subsequent expansion.In addition, young people from the European countries were allowed to move within their institutions of higher learning to pursue their education without much restriction. In Jeremi Suri’s “The Rise and fall of an International Counterculture,” people became enlightened and realized that there was more to life than the fulfillment of material needs. This was a positive influence as the people were able to demand better conditions and search for ways of enriching their lives. It focused on unrealized ideological and spiritual demands that people believed were being stymied by the dominant leaders of the Cold War and the Cold War itself.The authors show how interaction of people with others from different cultures influences their perception of their own and may lead revolutions and rebellions in order to get a better life and more liberation.

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