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PALM LATITUDES

STATE OF MIND : Comrade X

November 20, 1994|R. Daniel Foster

I despise going to lectures alone, and knew I couldn't drag just any comrade to a discourse titled "Generation X and the Communist Manifesto Today." To make it a memorable evening, I needed an Xer who had actually read the tome. After much searching, I chose Eric.

As we enter the Pathfinder bookstore on Pico, Eric tells me he has subtitled the talk "Slackers of the world, unite." Inside, 30 people fill a small room trimmed with posters of Che Guevara. A stocky young man is going on about class struggle, how capitalists are raking in profits off our labor and how Xers are disillusioned by the cynicism of bourgeois institutions and politics. I look around the room; most of the audience is past 40.

A new national movement called the Young Socialists formed in August and now boasts 20 chapters, says Evenhuis, 24. The moment is ripe, he says, for proletariat Xers who have been raised in an era of alienation and social disintegration "to form a fist like the fingers on a hand to smash the capitalists out of their positions." He's a regular John Reed.

Eric all the while is plying my ear with commentary: "This is bogus with a capital B. Complete irrelevant drivel. The victim role is the fatal flaw of Marxism from day one. It's a spurious argument because we no longer have one working class like the serf class in the 19th Century. Yes, there is class struggle. So what? So you move beyond it and develop some ingenuity to exploit your neighbor."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday January 8, 1995 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Page 5 Times Magazine Desk 1 inches; 17 words Type of Material: Correction
In the Nov. 20 Palm Latitudes article titled "Comrade X," the name of the writer, R. Daniel Foster, was mistakenly omitted.

Eric, I should point out, is a trust funder from Beverly Hills who now manages Hollywood rental property for his family. "Cynicism is my life," he says. "I was raised on it, thrive on it and anyone with a brain would do the same." Cynicism, clearly, is the opiate of the slacker.

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