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(en) motmakt.no: It does not stop voting if you want to decide [machine translation]

Date Wed, 14 Mar 2018 09:13:48 +0200

This text is written by one of Motmakts members. Motivation has no leadership that speaks on behalf of the members and the views in this text are not necessarily representative of the vision of the entire organization. We encourage open discussion of political disagreements both inside and out. The text is written by Sonia ---- Each time it is approaching an election campaign, we will hear where the undefeated youth is in voting or engaging in politics in general. Public figures from politicians to celebrities go out with the call to become politically active by giving their voice. But does the myth of the undefeated youth vote with reality? ---- In 2016 came the report "Generation What? Young people and optimism. A pan-European view» which has mapped the attitudes of so-called Millenials (young people between the ages of 18 and 30) about democracy, prospects and community participation in 14 European countries.
Not surprisingly, the numbers showed that on average more than half confirmed that they did not trust politicians who did not represent them and they believed that they are actually ready for a revolution. The countries where the youth had the greatest representation of these points were Greece, Spain and Italy.

What this revolution implies is not spoken, but direct action was mentioned in the report as a preferred democratic tool rather than voting in the elections. The youth also participated in political activity through voluntary work, direct action and other activities based on cooperation, solidarity and self-government.

Here in Norway, the statistics look a little different, and according to the memorandum "Electoral participation in different age groups. Historical development and updated figures from the parliamentary elections 2013 " At the previous parliamentary elections in 2013, there was a statistically significant increase in voter participation among young people in the age group 18 to 25 years compared with the 2009 parliamentary election. Nevertheless, the participation of young people in Norway is almost 20% less than older groups.

Economic crisis and distrust of the democratic system
The youth in crisis-sustained countries are represented by those who least trust their politicians and thus do not want to be active in the election campaign. They do not want to have to choose between two subjects, they want to find new management models. The idea of a revolution is no wonder when the politicians in these countries have known to be loyal to the Troika and the IMF more than they are to their own people. That is, many countries function as oligarchies dressed as democracies.

When the crises expire and affect so many people, self-organized solidarity moves as local support, which is highly politically targeted. This is not uncommon and it is a natural reaction we see appearing across the boundaries under various forms of organization to cover basic needs created by system failures. The mistakes are rising economic crises, high corruption among politicians, increased unemployment and thinner social networks combined, making people discover their own solutions.
The image of undefeated youth is far from real because democratic practice is more than voting.

In Norway, the political and economic picture is far more stable for the time being, but in recent years we have also seen an increase in participation in direct action as self-organized groups for food and clothing, trade union work, demonstrations, protests or signature campaigns to counter political decisions such as has weakened the living conditions and rights of many people in the country. This very much thanks to social media, where young people have the opportunity to exercise their political commitment
between the elections.

A special interesting book, "Ruthless Youth? New Engagement in An Old Democracy» by Guro Ødegård, just the myth of unmarried youth in Norway dies. It shows that "low trust in adult authorities contributes to oppositional attitudes. This type of opposition is important as it provides the basis for political mobilization. "At the same time, the author points out that" some paradoxes when political authorities take action to integrate youth into politics. Research shows, among other things, that political youth arenas initiated by adults, such as municipal youth councils, are, to a small extent, unable to include the forms of participation and themes outside the traditional party politics. One consequence is that political authorities listen to youth who adapt to the system, not those who challenge it. Thus, there is a risk of putting groups of socially disadvantaged young people on the sidelines of Norwegian politics.

Invitation to vote, an authoritarian thought
So, if we continue to work on the conclusion of the book, it is necessary to ask ourselves a question: where ethical are calls to vote?
We must understand that non-voting can also indicate that they have lost confidence in the parliamentary system while at the same time engaging in other forms of political work. What about listening to how they would like to create a new democratic system based on direct democracy, solidarity, justice and good living conditions for all?
The attitude of pushing youngsters by playing the wrong conscience or trying to make them believe that by voting they have some political involvement is authoritarian and very little democratic.
Young people and other people of different age groups must not be encouraged to just that, but we can listen and facilitate their participation to be more active in creating other peaceful alternatives to political and social engagement. It is quite authoritarian to think that the youth must learn that indirect democracy is worked only through exercising the right to vote when there are other governance models for social and political organization that are more fair, environmentally friendly and engaging than putting their vote every four years.

Freedom to choose and right to attend to your own premises

The reports on young people in Europe should be a thought weaver for all. Failing to participate actively in a democratic system with strong neoliberalist structures can mean that many want to create a new democratic system considered as an alternative.

I believe that those who feel represented by existing political parties can vote for them, but people who do not feel represented by politicians or the current democratic system should not vote nor shall they be held responsible when the results of the election campaigns do not go beyond expectations. Everyone is going to get their political commitment expressed in the way they want, because it may be in these terms where we find the compensation for the existing democratic system.

I wish society could listen to those who do not want to vote. Both young and old, everyone certainly has good ideas about what kind of society they want to create with alternative political models.

The text was first published at Maddam "The Myth of the Undefeated Youth"

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