“We Fight To Win” by Hava Rachel Gordon is an enlightenment to the general society to consider and take seriously the role of the youth and the adolescents in political activities. For a long time now, youths have been relegated to minor roles when it comes to making key political decisions. This has been detrimental as it is the youths, being the majority electorates who are affected whether negatively or positively by these decisions.
Gordon therefore tries to highlight the various ways in which the youth and the adolescents have been trying to rise to a level where they can significantly influence major political decisions. She also highlights how the government and the major political actors, who are mostly adults in their mid lives, try to stifle the young people’s efforts and passions in political activism.
Gordon points out various inadequacies enshrined in the school system that stifle these political activism passions in the young people. According to her, schools focus on citizens-in-the-making model, a model that discourages activism but instead encourages passive production of passive non critical citizens. This the government does by “political sanitation of school clubs” and also by failing to include a curricula that is focused to students learning about social justice (Gordon 69). The system only concentrates on producing non-activists citizens lacking zeal and courage to quest for social justice and equity.
Students though have counter mechanisms of ensuring that their voices are heard and acted upon. Gordon says that the students have gone ahead and created “clean bathrooms” campaigns as well as mobilized the youth to involve themselves in youth centers campaigns. In Portland, students have gone ahead to form student unions that enable them to speak with one united and common voice.
There are hindrances though to their efforts as Gordon points out. There is lack of proper interconnectivity among the schools and so often, teachers and students fail to form strong alliances. The adults also lack the time and energy to participate in protests and demonstrations thus being unable to fully back the youths and the adolescents. In school mobilization is also a hindrance to the youth’s efforts (Gordon 70). They have although despite these hindrances been pushing their efforts to also include non students’ members as well as older individuals in the society.
Gordon has indeed highlighted the major issues of youth activism which in most cases are looked down upon. She has indeed shown that the through the Youth Power (YP) a political activism group that the young people will indeed change the dynamics of politics in days to come. The book is a motivator to the youths to participate actively in the quest for social justice.
1. In what way will youth activism change the nation’s political sphere?
2. Should the teachers be actively involved and fully support the students yet they have a defined job?
3. How can the youths raise money to fund their activities?
Important terms used
1. Activism – This is the urge for a group of individuals to raise their voices against various the ills in the society.
2. Social Justice – This refers to each individual’s rights in a society being respected irrespective of that individual’s status in the society.
3. Equality - The need to have a society have access to opportunities on fair terms.
Gordon, Hava Rachel. We Fight to Win: Inequality and the politics of youth activism. New
Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2009. Print.