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