No other cohort has felt the wrath of capitalist crisis more than youth in the US. Finance capital has leveled over a trillion dollars of debt on the shoulders of students. The US has the highest rate of child poverty in capitalist countries. Youth joblessness stands at 10.5 percent nationally. This number doubles for Black and Latino youth in the US. The jobs that do exist are in low-wage sectors. The stranglehold of finance capital over housing, education, and healthcare has created a perfect storm where people under thirty in the US are now poorer than those who have retired.
It should come as no surprise, then, that young people in the US see themselves as working class rather than the often trumpeted term "middle class."
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up