In December 2008, in Athens, a "special security officer" shot dead a young student, igniting demonstrations, strikes and riots. Young people were at the forefront of the protests, in a country with a long tradition of youth participation in social and political movements. Several commentators at the time spoke of a "youth rebellion".
Following severe austerity measures in 2010-11, there were again mass demonstrations and strikes, culminating in the "movement of the squares" – protests against the destruction of private and social life. Young people were again prominent, lending enthusiasm and spirit to the movement.Hurrah! Hurrah for 'young people'! They'll leas us into world socialism before the...
Then there was nothing. As economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013, the youth of Greece became invisible in social and economic life. The young have been largely absent from politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe. On the fifth anniversary of the events of 2008, barely a few hundred young people demonstrated in Greek urban centres. There was no tension, no passion, no spirit, just tired processions repeating well-known slogans. Where were the 17-year-olds from five years ago?They grew up..?
The answer seems to be that the European youth has been battered by a "double whammy" of problematic access to education and rising unemployment, forcing young people to rely on family support and curtailing their independence.Translation: they realised they couldn't live forever on political fervour. Unlike Laurie Penny.
Matters cannot continue indefinitely along these lines. Frustration is mounting among both young people and their parents. But if those who make policy refuse to acknowledge the problem, major change could be delayed for a long time. The result would be a massive accumulation of sullen anger across Europe, with unpredictable outcomes. Those who care for social development had better take notice."Yeah, you just watch out, world! You wouldn't like us when we're angr - ooohh! Squirrel!"