YOUTH PROTESTS SPREAD FROM SPAIN

by: Blaine Skrainka

May 28, 2011

On the heels of the global recession and European sovereign debt crises, youth protests fueled by and organized via social media have exploded.  Along with the macroeconomic and social erosion within the EU, the uprisings are undoubtedly influenced by the Jasmine Revolution that continues to metastasize through the Middle East.  Unpopular politicians including Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany, and downright corrupt figures like Silvio Berlusconi of Italy have proven easy targets for youth indignace .  The recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF, has further reinforced the distrust of the political elite and bankers.

The Youth Movement in Spain has been a recent catalyst for the continental-wide actions to come.  As with previous uprisings in the Middle East, the coalition is a loose-knit group organized on Facebook and given a voice through Twitter, but at times with conflicting and unclear goals.  Some more serious minded protesters complain of free riders bolstering an image of lazy and confused group of kids.

With an estimated 45% youth unemployment rate, it is of little surprise that the well-educated out-of-work Spaniards would not sit idly by.  While some of the calls are vague and ideological, such as “elimination of the privileges of the political class”, tangible and realistic policy ideas exist as well.  

The youth of Spain and the EU surely recognize the dangers of ballooning sovereign debt but must wonder why the austerity measures are coming most harshly on the backs of the average citizens, and not those responsible for the casino-style economic disasters.  The youth in the United States should demand the same answers.

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