By Cal Sorensen-Karklis
What is clear in the hearts and minds of society today is the growing divide in generational thinking, both for better and worse. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the youth of today are generally not interested by political parties, community groups, churches, and trade unions. Yes there are a few small amounts of young people engaged this much is true but on overall in the 1950s – 1960s the membership of these groups was far greater than it is today especially among the youth. Why is this so?
There is no denying the fact that the Baby Boomer generation went through a great deal of fun and rebellious mayhem with the revolutionary thinking of the 1960s in pop culture and politics with such events as JFK’s new frontier, Whitlam, civil rights, feminism, Vietnam, Woodstock and the Beatles all occurring against the backdrop of challenging entrenched conservative ideals of yesteryear. This in itself didn’t lead to the gradual decline of engagement, however. Gen X had its own moments with Michael Jackson, Aids, Midnight Oil, the early 1990s recession, and the end of the Cold War. Both generations had a great deal of engagement in the society of the era in its institutions you just have to pay attention to the historical footage and the marches.
But why not Gen Y and Z? Well simply put there are many reasons why the never-ending greed of the 1980s neo-liberal agenda opened up a mindset which led to productivity of all else which did spark some technological advancements, yes but driven by corporate profit over all else which ultimately cut the egalitarian dream short.
This has caused ripple effects forward into time. When you really think about it both the newer generations are as opinionated as the previous ones it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the messaging in music like Hilltop Hoods, Green Day or see the resentment towards the Iraq War and concern on climate change issues. But with that said my generation and the one after me are being bombarded with information and disinformation in a digital world. The power of a pic and a tweet can do a lot, monkey see, monkey do. But it should be noted too that the youth of today campaign very differently in this world.
Even though membership numbers of organisations in our institutions once prospered, organisations such as Get Up, The Youth Climate Coalition, and the emerging anti-gun movement in America have all done well because they harness traction and attention on singular issues. The youth of today are broad thinking but do so with so much information in a do it yourself economy which has huge implications in mindset and thinking. Especially today, where there is a lack of ethical guidelines and teachings in place in such a changed environment. Where education is looked upon more with an emphasis on self-interested economic sense than just one based on satisfaction and dreaming big for everyone on a community level. This, in turn, has created an influx of careerist opportunist without guidance in our workplaces and beyond.
What is promising, however, is Gen Y’s are becoming more understanding of how to broaden their engagement with growing results but Gen Z still seems caught in the crossfires for now. What is clear here is a cultural change from tall poppy syndrome from older generations towards younger generations and one where both need to work together to learn off each other.
Young people don’t like being siloed with cheap gimmicks. Eventually, like anybody, they want a say. This, in turn, strengthens democracy, which is why many are turning to the extremes of the Left or Right at present in some nations across the Liberal order.
One good thing the Australian Labor Party has done recently is introducing party codes of conduct to handle bullying. Another great project in the works that the trade unions, ALP and Fabians are part of is the introduction of such a training program to mentor our future activist and cultivate their skills sets by teaching them ethically for them to grow.
If the institutions adapt to the changes while ethically recruiting and training then a future ruled by monsters can be avoided, yes a future worse than now is still possible despite Trump. A future that looks for a vision of hope for a better tomorrow.
The Labor Academy:
This project is accepting donations and support.
Time will tell if these initiatives will work in the long run but one song sums it up perfectly.
Billy Joel’s song – We Didn’t Start the Fire puts it best:
“It was always burning since the world was turning”.
To keep in touch with future Fabians events the QLD committee is also looking to fundraise donations for the creation of a magazine. Feel free to check out the link below:
Callen is the Secretary of the QLD Fabians Branch of the Australian Fabians Society, is a member of Crime Stoppers, and is a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person with a strong commitment to community. Callen has worked in the retail, media and market research sectors and is currently a student at Griffith University.
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