Youth power – Don’t ask – Take

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Aoife Moore is not happy.  The young people of Ireland are suffering because they don’t have a seat at the table [of power] she thundered in a recent article.

Focusing mainly on the youth wings of political parties Moore tells us the young are bullied, harassed, their complaints go unanswered, they’re not viewed as important, all of which is driving them away from politics.

Nothing will change, she asserts, until the grown-ups give the young a seat at the table of power.

This bizarre idea that young adults are children waiting for the ‘grown-ups’ to hand them power portrays a serious lack of understanding about the role young people play in politics.

Instead of whinging about being ignored by those at the table of power the young should be upending that table and forcibly taking their rightful place in the governance of the country.

Young people should be organised and focused in challenging the ‘grown-ups’, they should give no quarter in their determination to gain power and implement their policies.

The regular injection of political radicalism by the young is one of the mainstays of a healthy democracy.

Sadly, such political radicalism has never taken root in Ireland and forced emigration is the principal reason.  The primitive economic strategy of boom and bust has always suited the ruling establishment.  In boom times friends are looked after, when bust inevitably follows ordinary citizens are made to pay and forced emigration is just one of the costs.

Banishing young people to the four corners of the world removes political radicalism from the body politic thus eliminating any threat to the stale but very comfortable political establishment. 

This is why successive Irish governments, unlike most other governments in the world, have staunchly refused to grant a vote to emigrants. Out of sight, out of mind and forever out of power has always been the self-interested strategy of the ruling political class when it comes to young people.

Those who remain behind are usually politically apathetic or become members of youth wings of the establishment parties.  Within these ultra-conservative entities the young morph into clones of their ‘grown-ups’. They are quickly indoctrinated into the ways of political gombeenism which includes stamping out any sign of political radicalism – and so, the rotten establishment wheel continues to spin.

But change is coming as we’ve seen from recent elections but it’s not coming from the lost youth in the establishment parties that Ms Moore is so concerned about.  It’s coming from outside the ruling political class, from an increasingly radicalised electorate determined to create a decent country not just for the young but for all citizens.

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Aoife Moore

Young Irish citizens: Time for revolution

youth-has-never

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Lorraine Courtney is not happy about how the State treats young people.

We are owed a place in society, a voice in politics and the media; jobs created for us; houses built for us and wages that we can live on.

Young people are not apathetic, but we are disaffected. Everyone I talk to has a thousand opinions on the political and economic situation. That’s not apathy. But changing things at a top level seems so unrealistic that we go back to the ground, and it’s impossible to try to change things from there.

So, she lists her entitlements and then states that, really, there’s not much we (young people) can do about the situation.

It’s impossible to try to change things.

Here’s a mad idea.

Do what students/young people have been doing for decades in practically every other Western country when they come up against rotten/corrupt administrations.

Get off your butt. Demand that student unions give up engaging in polite protests against fee hikes and unites to form a radical movement to lead the youth (or even the nation) in a campaign against political corruption.

Come out from your colleges and your parent’s comfortable homes and join the water protesters (made up mostly of children, middle aged and elderly citizens) who have already set the revolution ball rolling.

Then, and only then, will the young and every other citizen get real democracy, accountability and a decent society.

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Lorraine Courtney