Alyssa Battistoni in n+1:

IN 2007, WHEN I WAS 21 YEARS OLD, I wrote an indignant letter to the New York Times in response to a column by Thomas Friedman. Friedman had called out my generation as a quiescent one: “too quiet, too online, for its own good.” “Our generation is lacking not courage or will,” I insisted, “but the training and experience to do the hard work of organizingwhether online or in personthat will lead to political power.”

I myself had never really organized. I had recently interned for a community-organizing nonprofit in Washington DC, a few months before Barack Obama became the world’s most famous (former) community organizer, but what I learned was the language of organizinghow to write letters to the editor about its necessitynot how to actually do it. I graduated from college, and some months later, the global economy collapsed. I spent the next years occasionally showing up to protests. I went to Zuccotti Park and to an attempted general strike in Oakland; I participated in demonstrations against rising student fees in London and against police killings in New York. I wrote more exhortatory articles. But it wasn’t until I went to graduate school at Yale, where a campaign for union recognition had been going on for nearly three decades, that I learned to do the thing I’d by then been advocating for years.

More here.