In Spain there are more than seven million young people between 15 and 29 years old. There falls an important part of the electorate. Despite this, their participation in institutional politics is lower than in other age groups. Almost half of young Spaniards define their main feeling towards politics as mistrust, according to data from the Youth Institute (INJUVE).
The youth situation –which this Friday commemorates its world day– in Spain it is strongly marked by job insecurity. It is one of the European Union countries with the highest youth unemployment. Something that worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Margarita Torre, co-author of the Institute's 2020 report.
Spanish youth are considered more liberal and progressive than other age groups. They also define themselves less as conservative than those over 34 years of age, according to the Sociological Research Center (CIS).
In 2019, the group that most attended a demonstration or act of protest was, precisely, that of young people between 18 and 24 years old, followed by those between 25 and 34 years old, according to the CIS. “My only participation in politics has been going to demonstrations, because I prefer to fight for specific things so that the parties do something than to vote for a party that is not going to do anything without social pressure,” says a young man interviewed by elDiario.es.
“There is a blockade of the emancipation plan, young people cannot be adults, they do not have economic independence, they are eternally young and eternally precarious. That leaves them out of the system and this in some way opens the possibility of mobilizing to change it," he says. William Foucepresident of Psychology without Borders.
“Young people participate differently. Less in the more conventional politics, in the institutional one”, comments the psychologist. He adds that "today it is known that the real configuration of the parties, including the new ones, leaves young people on the sidelines and this is a problem for our democracy."
Fouce invites parties and institutions to reflect on his proposals. “They must work in social networks and give young people a leading role so that they are the ones who define the alternatives and initiatives. But this must be a real power."
The president of Psychology without Borders states that young people feel "unattended by politics" and "as if it doesn't suit them, since their needs are not met." Fouce assures that “in a situation of maximum precariousness, the majority of young people decide to live from day to day, since the future is presented to them as uncertain, stable work or professional identity do not exist and this influences their participation in politics. less conventional.
The issue is not that they participate less in politics, but that they participate in a different way: "They are more activists" and "more from social networks". Online activism is a form of political participation that is on the rise among the younger population. "That participation is more ephemeral, but also more international, without borders and more direct."