Commercializing Childhood: The Corporate Takeover of Kids’ Lives

Source: Multinational Monitor

Susan Linn is associate director of the Media Center at Judge Baker Children’s Center and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is also co-founder and director of the coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). She is the author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World (2008) and Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (2004).

Multinational Monitor: How much advertising and marketing is directed at kids in the United States? How has this changed over the last 20 years? read more


Vermont Peace Activists Occupy General Dynamics Weapons Plant

On May 1st, International Workers’ Day, ten peace activists in Burlington, Vermont entered General Dynamics and locked themselves together in the main lobby of the building in protest against the company’s weapons manufacturing and war profiteering. University of Vermont student Benjamin Dube, one of the dozens of other activists present at the event, leaned out a window of the lobby, and pointed to the GD building, explaining, “This is the gas tank of the war machine, and we are the sugar.” read more

Actors in Trono performance

Teatro Trono: Youth Theater in Bolivia


Teenage actors parade barefoot onstage, jumping and pounding drums. Others walk in with notebooks and briefcases overflowing with papers. Each actor spouts fragmented political speeches. The play depicts revolts and counter-revolts throughout Bolivian history, ending with a dramatic exchange between a mother and the ghost of her dead son, tortured during a dictatorship. “Don’t cry, Mom!” the ghost says. “I died bravely even though they gouged my eyes out and tore me apart. Don’t cry!” read more


Radical Citizenship in Wartime, from Vietnam to Iraq

Struggles over civic status have been said to characterize youthful rebellion, especially that of the Sixties. Such battles over who counts as worthy of which human rights are, of course, all the more urgent in times of war. So it is worth interrogating the concepts of youth protest and radical citizenship as we plot our way out of the course set by the current power brokers.

It is particularly appropriate to be having this conversation today, December 4, the thirty-seventh anniversary of the Chicago police murders of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, two young, energetic, and brilliant organizers who gave life and meaning to what society is supposed to be about: empathic people deeply engaged in how the world does and could function. A dynamic speaker and humble leader, Hampton was 21 years old and poised to enter the national leadership of the Black Panther Party at the time of his murder. His murder in 1969 had a chilling effect on not just the Black Panther Party but the radical movements of the period overall. The blatant pride with which the Chicago police carried out the murders was the visible manifestation of J. Edgar Hoover’s then-classified note in an FBI memorandum around the time saying that African Americans needed to understand that a Black radical was a dead radical, as far as the state was concerned. read more


Rapping in Aymara: Bolivian Hip Hop as an Instrument of Struggle

At 13,000 feet, the hip hop movement in El Alto, Bolivia is probably the highest in the world. The music blends ancient Andean folk styles and new hip hop beats with lyrics about revolution and social change. As the sun set over the nearby snow capped mountains, I sat down with Abraham Bojorquez, a well known El Alto hip hop artist. We opened up a bag of coca leaves and began to talk about what he calls a new “instrument of struggle.”

We were at Wayna Tambo, a radio station, cultural center and unofficial base of the city’s hip hop scene. Bojorquez pulled a leaf out of the bag to chew and said, “We want to preserve our culture through our music. With hip hop, we’re always looking back to our indigenous ancestors, the Aymaras, Quechuas, Guarani.” He works with other hip hop artists in El Alto to show “the reality of what is happening in our country. Through our lyrics we criticize the bad politicians that take advantage of us. With this style of hip hop, we’re an instrument of struggle, an instrument of the people.” read more