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As peaceful protests throughout the nation continue to encounter violence from police, Millennials and Generation Z have become all too familiar with the intricacies of our government and the way it does –or does not – protect its people. Many in these generations are outraged at how the federal government was quicker to go to war with peaceful protestors than it was to battle COVID-19.

Photo by Karimi Karagania. Courtesy of

Millennials and Generation Z have gotten a bad rap in recent years. Detractors say they eat too much avocado toast, therefore they’ll never be able to buy houses. Or, that they are killing the diamond industry. One thing that Conservatives probably don’t want you to know is that Millennials and Gen Z are having conversations and pushing for change.

They are the ones out on the streets peacefully protesting. They are the ones signing petitions, donating to organizations and politicians. Perhaps this is why many were being scooped up randomly off the streets of Portland by unmarked soldiers in unmarked vehicles.

Social Media has become a platform for these generations to spread information. It recently has become a place where teenagers, as well as 20-and 30-somethings share information on the current socio and economic climate. Due to the treatment of protestors, not just in Portland but all across the country, the discussion has turned to fascism.

“Fascism is capitalist decay,” wrote Vladimir Lenin.

Early warning signs of Fascism.” This social media post has been circulating through Instagram stories and posts. The warning sign was written by Laurence W. Britt in April of 2003, highlighting the common signs of fascism.

Britt compiled the list after researching seven fascist regimes including: Hitler’s Nazi Germany; Mussolini’s Italy; Franco’s Spain; Salazar’s Portugal; Papadopoulos’ Greece; Pinochet’s Chile and Suharto’s Indonesia.

The list states conditions such as:

  • Powerful and continuing nationalism
  • Disdain for human rights
  • Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
  • The supremacy of the military
  • Rampant sexism
  • Controlled mass media
  • Obsession with national security
  • Religion and government intertwined
  • Corporate power protected
  • Suppression of labor power
  • Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
  • Obsession with crime and punishment
  • Rampant cronyism and corruption
  • Fraudulent elections

This list is alarming. It has started many conversations among Millennials and Gen Z, mainly in its connection to what is currently happening in Portland and the potential for it to happen in other major cities across the country.

That perception has been furthered as we have witnessed the violent treatment of peaceful protesters in Aurora and the Jeep that came crashing through that crowd. If a vehicle hadn’t rammed into the Jeep causing damage and stopping it, the scene would have been much grimmer.

Highlighted among people’s concerns on social media is that the protester who tried to shoot out the tires to stop the Jeep (he ultimately missed the Jeep and injured three), was arrested. But the driver and passenger of the Jeep who terrorized the peaceful crowd have suffered no repercussions. In fact, the Aurora Police Department drove the occupants of the Jeep to the airport afterward.

The inequity is notable.

Millennials and Gen Z are finding their voices and using their social media platforms to enact change, spearhead knowledge and hold people accountable. President Donald Trump is clearly aware of this as he tried to blacklist the poplar TikTok app favored by this generation. With the way the tides are turning, Instagram may be next.