Are older people angry enough to riot?

Perhaps it’s post 9/11 malcontent, or AdBuster’s imminent Occupy Wall Street action, or just that I’m susceptible, but talk of civic uprising is in the air and this arresting post from the Guardian’s JoePublic blog struck a nerve. Will deteriorating conditions for older people in the UK galvanize them to take to the streets?  The article compares older Britons to the marginalized youth who rioted in August, observing that those over 65 “are already much more likely to be institutionalized than any other group and make up a growing proportion of the prison population.” Powerful analogy. (Thanks to Senior Planet for bringing the article to my attention.)

Another parallel is to the movement for rights the disabled, where activists have overcome stereotypes of passive helplessness by turning to direct action and confrontation. The result?  Disabled people report “official attitudes rapidly changing from being humored and patronized to being treated with hostility and aggression.”  Progress of a sort. As I wrote in an earlier post, when the young take to the streets, we salute them.  Why not the old? Righteous anger has its place at any age.

2 thoughts on “Are older people angry enough to riot?

  1. This will be very interesting to follow. I’ve been in my share of actions over the decades, and the fire still burns within, but any number of injuries, falls, and general deterioration have forced me to be much more circumspect in choosing my methods of protest. Each painful, cement-smacking injury has brought me to the ER and necessitated a long period of rehab. It seems to be a downward slope. Maybe I still have too much to lose, but I can imagine if things were to get really bad I would have no choice but to get out there and fight. My fallback plan for many years has been to commit a major felony and then go to prison. Three hots and a cot, doncha know!

  2. When I read this post my first thought was: Elderly are less likely to participate in public protests because rioting is easier when you are younger. Yet when elderly do protest, it can be so much more powerful, solemn and beautiful. Shortly afterwards, however; I ended up questioning the aforementioned premise and grew more puzzled as to why there isn’t an elderly movement yet. The reasons appear to be much more complex and obscure.
    Since i consider myself an openminded person it blew my mind that right away I came up with so many obstacles to an elderly protest. for example; fragile health, passive attitude, being tied down by family, Facebook not being exactly big among the oldest generations. but upon closer inspection none of those are insurmountable, and all are very much based on stereotypes society drills into us. which brings me to the next point. If we, younger generations, don’t have faith in the elderly; do they have faith in themselves? how does self esteem correlate with aging? is it possible that the older people have become convinced themselves that this world is no longer theirs to change?

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