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Are Young People Killing Capitalism?

A newspaper editorial looks at how young peoples views are reshaping politics

Posted on
May 03, 2018

Polls are showing millennials views on capitalism are shifting, what could this mean for future political candidates? Find out what Newsday's Mark Chiusano thinks.

May Day, that boisterous international socialistic celebration of the worker, is in the modern era not so big in the United States. Politicians and other officials tend to do their worker obeisance in September on Labor Day.

But attitudes among some young people toward socialism vs. the status quo appear to be shifting. A 2016 survey by Harvard’s Institute of Politics found that a majority did not support capitalism. After the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 2016 election, some socialist groups are growing and some candidates are seeking office.

That might be the energy gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon is tapping into this week. On Monday, she walked a picket line with Columbia University graduate students. And on May Day proper, she joined community group Make the Road New York’s May Day march on Wall Street to oppose the actions of some financial institutions. A spokesman for the group says Nixon reached out about participating after the event was publicly advertised.

Nixon’s march with Make the Road is a local dig at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who reportedly threatened unions and others who fund the group over its support for his opponent. But her deliberate May Day actions seem to be another attempt to draw a distinction between Nixon and Cuomo, who has the endorsements of major labor unions, but like other Democrats, is staying clear of big May Day events.

Such a political calculation naturally has upsides and downsides. Some more traditional Democrats might be turned off by a more radical campaign tilt. Others will see Nixon, a longtime union member as an actress, standing up forcefully for worker rights. Either way, she’ll have grabbed some attention for the day.

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