May 26

Read up, Rise up

Our pick of the best reads about protest

Our last TeenFilm, How to Survive a Plague, gave a picture of what took place during demonstrations by AIDS activists in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Our Teen members we quick to draw comparisons between the protests they saw on screen and climate protests taking place today across the world, and so this week’s reads bring together pieces that help explain the AIDS crisis and the negative role that can be played by pharmaceutical companies alongside inspiring accounts of protest and its role in society.


Young people are increasingly becoming the face of climate change protests here in Belgium as well as abroad. In the U.S., they are also at the forefront of a movement aimed at strengthening gun laws. Read Danielle Tcholakian’s account of the role of social media in their activism in this piece for Longreads: Are the Teens All Right?

A visual account of how protest has changed in the US in the last century by Eric Maierson in the New Yorker: A Century of American Protest.

Interested in the impact protests are capable of having? This article in The Economist examines a study into the effect that demonstrations have on elections: How Protests Can Effect Elections. 

A very different kind of protest is described by Amanda Kolson Hurley in this piece for City Lab, where she describes the emergence of a temporary settlement as a way of trying to force government action on poverty: The Protest Town that Embodied MLK’s Final Dream.

In Print:

How to Survive a Plague by David France. If you were intrigued by the stories told in the film, find out more in the extensive account by its director in this memoir of the same name.

Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. For those of you wondering why the drug companies in the documentary were so slow to react to the epidemic, this account of how pharmaceutical organisations work will give you an insight into some of their shadier practices.

No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein. One of the key political thinkers of our time looks at ways to resist threats to freedom and democracy in a time when change seems more urgent than ever.

Have we missed anything? Email us at teenclub[at] with your recommendations!