To be 20 years old in 2018: activism, yes, but 2.0

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Avoir 20 ans en 2018 : le militantisme, oui, mais 2.0

To be 20 years old in 2018 (1/5). Fifty years after May 1968, "Le Monde" devotes a series of articles to young people today. First part: their relation to commitment.

Advocate. The etymology miles ("Soldier") remains, but the military ardor (militare, "To be a soldier"), she has gone out of fashion. Forced marching, regimentation, supervision do not stick with the individualism in vogue. Militancy is not dead. He just moulted. Forms of commitment have been revised, youth has freed themselves from tradition, and is campaigning in their own way.

" To those who think that it does not make sense anymore, I say that, on the contrary, militancy for another world has never been so topical. We must commit ourselves and not let others decide our future without moving. " Leonard, 23, could not stand " of [S] e feel helpless ". "Awaken the laziness of commitment Is a desire widely shared by French youth. Request " if young people still have ideas that are important to them » Pauline, 22, an activist in favor of "Greater transparency of the political debate ". In this world "Too often deaf to the word of young people"Gratien, a student from Lille, does not recognize himself. According to one Credoc survey conducted between 2015 and 2016 among 4,000 young people aged 18 to 30Nearly half (47%) of young people feel that their opinion does not "count".

Fifty years ago, on both sides of the barricades of May, one acted under flourishing banners that united and united. The flags were multiple, the groups sometimes groupuscular, but the collective was the norm; the internal debate - interminable, including riots - was the custom. This was particularly the case in the Communist Party, where membership - in all its forms - was sometimes worth a lifetime. For several years, the political parties have been hit hard by the crisis of mistrust experienced by the various wheels of representative democracy, and recorded a haemorrhage of activists. To contain it, they introduce procedures for the least flexible, where a simple click is worth joining. " Today, when young people mobilize, it is out of step with institutional, partisan and governmental politics. The engine of engagement is the cause, not the affiliation, explains Anne Muxel, research director at Sciences Po's Center for Policy Research, who has written extensively on the report of young people to politics.

Depoliticized but hyper-connected, young people are far from losing interest in life in society. They feel concerned, protest and manifest. Since the attacks of November 13, 2015, nearly one in two young people consider that their freedoms have been reduced. All those who responded to the call for evidence launched on Lemonde.fr express, each in their own way, the same refusal: that of "To sit idly by". They and they made the "Choice of insubordination", wish "Defend their ideas", resume freedom of expression "To those who have power and who take it", "Denounce absurdity and serious acts", "Fight against injustices".

"Great ideological DIY"

In the actual context "Harassment and attacks", young people like Sonia, 22, feel in them "The expression of a feeling of greater solidarity". They consider that talking "Of love and sharing, happiness and solidarity" East " very serious ". Gratien, the Lille student, does not hesitate to quote Gandhi ("Be the change you want to see in the world") when it's about "Revive [his] spirit of revolt and indignation ». They refuse "False promises" and " powder in the eyes " and want to fight for a "Future in common", for what they think " to be fair ". So, they get busy. In ecology, sport, feminism, the fight against discrimination, solidarity, peace in the world, education, health, among others. Politics, too.

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That's right, young people do not commit to life until death. They do not intend to register in History, but bet on the concrete. The effectiveness of a punctual commitment for specific causes. Already in the 1990s, the sociologist Jacques Ion called this form of commitment to "Post-it". We stick and take off, with a "Less concern of durable and massive implantation". A position far removed from the sacrificial commitments of May 1968, as there were among Marxists or Trotskyists, for example.

"The commitment is now de-ideologized. He refuses any leadership "Anne Muxel, research director at Sciences Po's Center de recherches politiques

There, now, immediately. It is necessary " to mark the hit ". With fervor, bend a government. Before the time, prevent a reform from happening. But thanks to a " exit door ", from a " free will " preserved, of a "Reversibility" possible, as Anne Muxel points out. One day, they go down to the street to "yell" what they believe. They boycott, occupy or strike, out of solidarity. Another day, they feel "Manipulated", "Recovered", "invisible", or "Disgusted", and swear then that "Finally, it's useless". And the next day, they protest again. It's according to their mood, their needs. The revolt of the moment and the surrounding dreams.

If some ingredients of yesteryear remain used, as evidenced by the door-to-door (large-scale) campaigns of Barack Obama in the United States or Emmanuel Macron in France, the essential has changed. "The commitment is now de-ideologized. He refuses any leadership "continues Anne Muxel. She mentions the example of the Nuit debout movement, which carried "Many different aspirations", refused to appoint a leader and stumbled on the issue of its political outlet. "We live in a very big ideological DIY", estimates Mme Muxel. According to the researcher, the most active young people represent only 1 to 2% of their age group. But voluntarism and commitment far outweigh this marginal fringe:

"Young people are neither sleepy nor apathetic. The individualization of the relation to politics does not mean that they do not have a sense of the collective. "

"Generation social networks"

All means are good. Mathieu, 25, is an author, actor and director. Through art and fiction, he intends to spend "Effective messages from below". This is how he conceives art, his "Commitment to [him] " : "Defend causes and points of view by being sincere without ever being moralistic". Arnaud, 19, Lyon student, also believes " the great power of activism of free and free culture on the Internet and on YouTube. The rise of communication gives way to a "soft" cultural militancy that is indeed influential.

Lack of time would be the first brake on youth engagement, as evidenced by the Crédoc inquiry. So the networks are not that bad. For Mathilde, 23 years old, community worker in a wastewater treatment plant, "To militate, it is no longer in the street but on social networks on serious sources". If volunteering faces some form of competition from activities, "To reconcile your professional life and your commitment is possible, essentially thanks to the Internet"says Cordelia, 24, a communications officer. For KC, 18, a student of history, " we do not force ourselves on the networks. We decide it. We can not help it. It is thus a militancy of the guts and the heart to defend its conception of the world ".

The very notion of "militant", now fallen into disuse, is slipped in quotation marks. "I'm not what we call a real" activist ": I do not manifest, I do not do politics and I do not belong to any group, recognizes Lilou, 20, studying in Montreal. Nevertheless, I silently militate through my daily choices. I push people to inquire, I m'insurge on social networks. " Like her, Soleane is " of social media generation ». As a teenager she has " quickly understood that being a lesbian, [her] life would be a permanent struggle ". So she decided to"to advocate "for [his] identity and extend [his] horizons to talk to minorities and fight persecution ".

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On the Internet, young people learn about the opinions of people, leaders, dissidents, and those who influence or "swing". They also confront the manipulation, the increased violence of virtual interactions. Sometimes confused, they do not know which saint to turn to, nor on which foot to dance. And yet. The feeling of not wanting to witness only the passing of time, or apprentices of previous generations, is pregnant. Through cybermilitantism, they get involved and take up positions by signing petitions online, sharpen their arguments by polemizing, sharpen their critical thinking by refusing the "fake". They question "What they have learned", are forging their "Own opinion", take part in social debates generated by movements such as #metoo.

"The best way to say is to do"

Entrepreneurial, they are not afraid to stage themselves. Selfies, videos, YouTube channel, to be "followed" (as a leader of the past?), It is necessary to federate, out of the ordinary. And for that, says Anne Muxel, "These generations are strong. They do not hesitate to be derisive, to use the diversion, the shift to send messages to the various organs of power.

If the culture of political protest and the incomparable power of digital have, according to Anne Muxel, "Trivialized the event", some of the young people remain behind. By lack of "Feeling of legitimacy", "Model", or " of confidence ". " Young people with low levels of education, inactive non-students or with a combination of withdrawal from work and a low level of education seem to have more difficulty identifying a cause for which they could commit themselves.concludes the Credoc inquiry. And Benjamin, an 18-year-old student, adds:

"Engagement is, in my opinion, present and possible, in a certain layer of society. It is not obvious for students from lower CSPs. "

At this feeling of"Social invisibility" mingle, from time to time, "A loss of meaning" for young people "In galley, more than others in life", who seems to be demobilizing. Alexis, 18, trainee in an SME, regrets, but "Without despair", "A France languishing" : "Many ordinary people have the illusion of protesting by reacting with a simple button on social networks, but that is vain. We live in a time when everyone gives their opinion on everything, right away, but few defend it. " To which Flora echoes, serving in an incubator of social entrepreneurs: "The best way to say is to do. "

Next article: work

Source: © To be 20 years old in 2018: activism, yes, but 2.0

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