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The open source campaign that aims to build a more youth inclusive politics

15 April Apr 2016 1129 15 April 2016
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Amongst young people in the EU, there is a growing belief that the formal structures presented as the only way to ‘do’ politics simply aren’t working. When parties trade power and voting doesn’t seem to change anything, for today's youth casting a ballot feels ineffective and disempowering. They feel that democracy has been reduced to a darkened, solitary polling booth once every five years, and that there is a lack of real opportunities to effect change. As a result, young people are opting out.

Faced with a political system that doesn’t respond or reflect them, young people are trapped in a vicious circle of disengagement. When young people don’t vote, politicians feel they can be ignored, and policy reflects this – right across Europe, responses to recent economic crises have disproportionately affected lower age brackets. Disenchantment and mistrust increase further, and the result is a system where young people’s perspectives simply aren’t considered.

How can the will of the people be represented when such a large part of society simply isn’t accounted for?

But far from being apathetic or disinterested, young people are rejecting out-dated formal political structures in favour of more direct action, such as campaigning for causes that matter to them, like in Greece with the anti-police protests, or participating in social movements, online and offline.

It’s not that young people aren’t political – they’re just sick of structures that don’t deliver. Democracy needs to be rethought in response


To meet the critical challenge of youth disengagemetn, the League of Young Voters (LYV) and the European Youth Forum (YFJ) are leading a Europe-wide reflection on how politics can #youthup.

#youthup is an open-source, youth-led campaign with three main priorities:

1. Crowdsourcing & researching the best ideas, with workshops, and a freely downloadable toolkit, as well as detailed empirical research on youth participation, democracy and social movements.

2. Building a community of campaigners of youth activists from all across Europe, who are working on common causes.

3. Proposing concrete actions for political change. The best ideas from the #youthup workshops will be voted on at youthup.eu, and brought directly to decision-makers in a high level event in 2016.

To learn more about #youthhup, visit their website here, or watch the video below:

Photo credits: Youthup