5 Better Places for a Protest

The New America Foundation has a California outpost. Ex-Los Angeles Times staffer Joe Mathews is among the think tank's in-state fellows.

In an early March blog post, Mathews uses the occasion of college students protesting higher school costs to point out the relative futility of holding these rallies on campuses (where they are preaching to the choir) and outside the State Capitol building ("a waste of time," Mathews says).

Instead, Mathews offers up "5 Better Places to Protest Than a College Campus." They include: gas stations, freeways, and retirement communities.

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[Read the full post -- the above will make sense.]

Mathews' leading recommendation, of his five, is unsold homes. He writes:

"This would be my preference if I were a student-massive student protests outside homes that have been empty and on the market for months.

"Why? Because -- as USC demographer Dowell Myers and other researchers have pointed out -- if California doesn't produce many more college graduates and high-skilled workers than it currently does, the unsold home will be the future of the state. The state needs a new generation of upwardly mobile people who can buy the houses of boomers who are just starting to retire.

"This would be a memorable sort of protest. It would bring home "? literally "? the point that higher education matters in a very street-level way. And it would remind California's older votes that they have a personal stake in the future of today's students, and of the success of higher education. To seniors who say California can simply cut its way to the future, the question is: who is going to buy your house?

"The symbolism of such a protest would be powerful. The dream of your own home is essential to the American dream, and the California story. And the protests would provide a new twist on the Prop 13 revolt. So scan the real estate listings, kids, and get to work."

Photo Credit: The image, from a San Francisco protest, accompanying this post was taken by Flickr user spotreporting. It was used under Creative Commons license.

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