Millennials

Canadian report shows Millennials have the highest insolvencies

Key findings from Hoyes, Michalos & Associates, one of Canada’s largest personal insolvency firms, show the Millennial generation are filing insolvency at a much faster rate than their entry into the workforce. Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials in 2011 comprised 28 percent of the Canadian workforce, rising to 34 percent by 2018. Their report shows that during this time, Millennials filing insolvency increased from 14 percent to 37 percent of insolvencies, an increase of 162 percent. After the Silent Generation (those 73 years old and older in 2018), Millennials are the most likely of any generational cohort to blame financial mismanagement as a primary cause of their insolvency, including the overuse of credit.

Nearly two in five insolvencies are currently filed by Millennials and this trend is on the rise. On average, Millennial debtors owe CAD $35,733 in unsecured debt when they file insolvency. Nearly one third of carry student debt with an average loan of CAD $14,311 in 2018, an increase of 4.2 percent from the previous year. The HM&A report points to student loans as a significant factor in the rise in insolvencies, where one in five insolvencies involved student debt and 64 percent of student debt insolvencies are filed by Millennials. Under Canadian bankruptcy law, student loan debt is not automatically discharged by bankruptcy or a consumer proposal unless the debtor has been out of school for at least seven years. According to Canada Student Loans, students typically take between nine and 15 years to pay off their student loans in full.

The average tuition cost for a Canadian university is now CAD $6,500 with in-demand programs costing more than CAD $20,000 per year. The HM&A report shows that tuition hikes are taking their toll on recent graduates as higher debt upon graduation is not sustainable and therefore contributes to many graduates declaring insolvency much earlier than in the past. Overwhelming student debt is primarily a problem for women, where 63 percent of student debtors in 2017 were female, up from 58 percent in 2011.

In 2018, almost half of all Millennial debtors had at least one payday-style loan, up from 40 percent in 2017.  Access to quick, low credit money is perhaps the largest debt epidemic facing Millennials after student debt, who need it to make ends meet month-to-month. Millennial debtors using a payday loan now owe a total of CAD $4,792 on an average of four loans, accounting for 15 percent of their total debt. Even more alarming, their average payday-style loan size grew from CAD $920 in 2017 to CAD $1,189 in 2018.  13 percent of all Millennial fast cash loans were for CAD $2,500 or more, up from 6 percent in 2017.

After declining steadily from 2013 to 2016, Millennials are returning to the use of credit card debt and lines of credit. As Millennials become older, they both apply for more credit cards and increase their credit card limits as their incomes rise. In 2018, Millennials with credit card debt owed an average of CAD $11,716 on an average of 3 credit cards, an increase of 6.9 percent from 2017 balances. Millennials are highly likely to use credit to pay for everyday goods and services, including entertainment, groceries, and clothes, as well as make online purchases with credit cards, which can lead to financial problems when credit is used to balance their budget. They often view minimum payments as just another monthly expense to be covered.

60 percent of insolvent student debtors blamed job loss or income related issues as a primary cause of their insolvency. Millennials are working, but it is not likely stable or permanent employment. The average Millennial debtor has a take-home pay of CAD $2,431, which is 3.9 percent less than the average debtor and 10.3 percent less than Generation X. After paying for housing, transportation, and living expenses, Millennials have only CAD $243 available to support unsecured debt repayment (excluding their mortgage and car payment), which is the lowest of any generational cohort. This is a problem when the average monthly interest cost on their debt is CAD $1,0334.

HM&A says the financial dilemma facing insolvent Millennial debtors is their limited ability to maneuver. While the average Millennial debtor income has increased from CAD $2,275 in 2017 to CAD $2,431 in 2018, that growth is not enough to cover debt repayment. In addition, Millennials are less likely to be able to refinance. The overall trend since 2013 is a percentage of insolvencies involving homeowners, however, Millennials are much less likely to own a home, especially those filing insolvency. Millennial homeowners who have entered the market likely bought at higher prices, limiting their ability to refinance.

The average Canadian insolvent debtor in 2018 owed CAD $49,289 in unsecured debt. HM&A also says the most significant trend in 2018 is the increased risk of filing insolvency faced by all ages; the average debtor lives paycheque to paycheque, which is why he uses debt to pay for everyday living costs. Canadians spend 40 percent of household income on housing, substantially more than the maximum 35 percent recommended by financial experts. Transportation costs take up another 19 percent and personal and living costs consume 31 percent of income, significantly more than the 20 percent recommended maximum. Only 9 percent of income is available to cover debts, an amount which is insufficient to cover even the monthly interest costs). This leaves nothing left over for savings or an emergency fund, and creates a cycle of debt reliance that leads to the use of payday loans, multiple credit cards and high interest term loans.

Since HM&A began their bankruptcy study eight years ago, total household credit has increased by 43 percent. Consumer debt, the types of loans dealt with through a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, rose 30 percent during this same period. An extended period of low interest rates made all this debt affordable and low rates provide a refuge against the economic consequences of all this debt. Delinquency rates remained low as did consumer insolvencies, until recently.

Bond bankers and investors at the annual meeting of the International Capital Markets Association in Stockholm warned that the heavy reliance on debt financing and slow economic growth are leading to the creation of debt bubbles, which risk destabilizing the entire financial system should a major shock occur. Ultra-low interest rates have prompted companies and governments to load up on debt faster than ever before, often selling bonds with less protection for investors. That has led to concerns that a turn in market sentiment could result in a credit crunch. Hans Stoter, global head of core investments at AXA Investment Managers told the conference, “There is much more debt in the world than there was before ... and most of that growth is coming out of debt financing with interest rates so low.” International Montery Fund (IMF) estimates show leverage in the system has increased 50-60 percent since the financial crisis a decade ago, with debt now worth some 230 percent of economic output globally.

How the Left Has Been Winning the Culture War

At the heart of Generation Identity is the concept of metapolitics. It is our raison d’être, it is at the basis of everything we do and it is indispensable to our struggle. To understand the effectiveness of our activism, one must first understand metapolitical action. So what is metapolitics? It constitutes a form of political activity that is primarily concerned with culture, ideas and values.  Instead of contesting for people’s votes via electioneering, we contest for people’s minds via on-the-street activism. We engage in a culture and information war, constantly aiming to feed our ideas into the political bloodstream in order to shift what we call the ‘Overton window’, that is the window of what speech is considered acceptable.  Our activism serves to normalise our ideas, to popularise our identitarian concepts, to spread awareness of our country’s biggest threats, to reverse the dehumanisation which patriots have been subjected to, to act as a pressure on the state and patriotic parties and to activate the silent majority. Watch Martin Sellner explore the theoretical background to Metapolitics Here.

History is littered with successful metapolitical movements like ours, the most recent and most monumental example of this being perhaps the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. The 1960s saw a seismic shift in the metapolitical landscape of both North America and Europe. A vocal minority noisily challenged the well-established traditional values of their contemporary society and managed to bring about a complete change in the zeitgeist. Traditional philosophies were supplanted by the philosophy of ‘progressive free love’. Who was at the source of this metapolitical success? Whilst it is difficult to pin down to one group or factor, we can attribute much of the responsibility to the ‘New Left’, a broad movement of activists who campaigned on issues such as feminism, gay rights, abortion, gender roles, drug policy reform etc. What is important about the New Left however, is that they, like us, wanted a complete overhaul in the values and culture of the status quo. They rejected the ‘Old Left’, thus they abandoned dialectical materialism, labour issues and the class struggle in favour of social issues and fighting for ‘minority groups’.

Their reasoning was that the Old Left’s focus on class was unsuccessful, and so they had a rethink, deciding that moving forward they were going to transition to the values of counter-culture, meaning they would push ideas that conflicted with the traditional social norms of the time. Their rejection of the Old Left is very similar to our rejection of the Old Right for their repeated failures over the past few decades. Through non-violent civil disobedience and activism, New Left groups created a counter-vision and counter-culture that appealed to the youth. Some famous examples of their activism include when 3,000 ‘Yippies’ (an offshoot from the hippie movement) took over Grand Central terminal in New York during their celebration of the Spring Equinox in 1968. In 1967, two Yippy leaders led an action that attempted an exorcism and levitation of the Pentagon, whereby activists surrounded the Pentagon and began chanting ritualistic chants. The idea behind this was to perform something that matched the absurdity of the Vietnam War.

For decades now, the left has been winning the culture war, and only recently have we witnessed a comeback from the right. We’re experiencing this cultural fightback in two main ways, one being alternative media and the other being patriotic street movements.  They are complementary and not in conflict with each other, since while one counters the ideology of multiculturalism in the digital space and helps redpill many normal people, we in Generation Identity mobilise those awakened people. We offer them a platform to do something, since they can embed themselves in the cultural struggle by partaking in actions, much like the New Left did during the 1960s. Generation Identity has scored immense successes already, as both Defend Europe campaigns yielded tangible results. While the first mission in the Mediterranean was ongoing, Italy decided to close all its ports to the NGOs and Libyan authorities banned them from their waters. After the second mission in the Alps, the French Interior Ministry promised to send troops to the French-Italian border to clamp down on illegal immigration. These two symbolic actions mustered enough pressure on the elites that they addressed the concerns raised. As opposed to staying at home leaving comments on online forums and comment sections, our members have bravely opted to get on the streets and do something for their country. For Generation Identity offers them a vision and a blueprint to affect real political change, rather than endless rallies and mindless edgy stunts. We channel the political frustrations of the youth into smart, creative, original and tactful activism. While doing this, we try to maintain our professional, disciplined, dynamic and organised image, as we understand the importance of all these things in communicating our message and shifting the Overton window. We play the long game, aspiring to capture the minds of the majority in order to shape public opinion and therefore redefine the parameters of the Overton window.  We provide the European youth more than just the option to like and share videos or vote every 5 years. We are the generation that have answered the call to defend what’s ours.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

Walk the Talk: The Importance of Showing Face

Consequences Matter

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a consequence is defined simply as ‘a result of something that has happened.’ Generally speaking though, we tend to associate the term with unfortunate or unpleasant experiences that follow our decisions; often bad ones. It’s both potential and perceived consequences that often prevent people from taking action or making decisions. But I wish to argue that no action is worth taking unless it entails them. No better example can be found within politics and political activity.

Opinions Are Cheap

Nowadays, the age of mass-movements is over. Party memberships have collapsed, and the only mass form of political participation consists of voting; although turnouts are at an all-time low and only general elections attract any interest. Yet even a rudimentary familiarity with the Internet and social media will expose a person to the sheer amount of opinions that are being thrown around and, seemingly, from all parts of society. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and an endless ocean of websites and blogs offer those brave enough to survey them political opinions of every colour. As the basic economic principle tells us, they exist because demand for them exists. What, then, are all these millions of social media-users doing with these opinions?
Usually, people just seek out confirmation of their prejudices. A conservative is unlikely to read the Guardian (unless he wants something to be angry about) and a liberal is unlikely to have a subscription to the Mail on Sunday. Ultimately, people want their sentiments echoed back at them; it’s nice to know people agree with our own perspectives and to see them having their cases being made for us. But why, if we’re interested in political ideas and developments, do so few of us get involved ourselves? Simple…Consequences.

Having an opinion is easy but representing and defending it before an audience is another thing altogether. After all, you might lose a debate, get called an unpleasant name or find yourself having to give up your already limited free time. People already more qualified are probably already out there doing it for you. Having now been involved in street-level political activism for a year, I can guarantee you that there aren’t nearly enough (regardless of your political alignment). And again, consequences are to blame. To advocate an opinion in the offline sphere is hard. It costs money, it ruins relationships, it’s bad for your health, it’ll affect your sleep, it’ll expose you to some of the worst the species has to offer…And that’s only a tenth of it. The simple fact of the matter is that most people don’t bother to represent their ideas in the public sphere because it’s challenging and intimidating. This is especially true for people who are, in some shape or form, fighting the establishment and the status-quo. But this is what makes them so special…

Actions Speak Louder Than Tweets

Unlike the Greeks of Antiquity, the politically active don’t have an agora in which to take part in decision-making or debate. Institutions are shut off to all but the elite and the wealthy and being heard in the cacophony of ideas a seemingly impossible task. They do it anyway. And Identitarians are there amongst them. Young men and women without political experience, support and (usually) enough funding give up their security, time and resources to have their say. Whether it be via debate or thought-provoking activism, they’re a veritable patriotic David fighting a globalist Goliath. And almost every single one of them ‘shows face.’

In Generation Identity, this short expression is what it says on the tin and so much more. Whilst it literally means, well, showing your face in photos, videos and in the public sphere, it also means fusing your political ideas with your identity. This is crucial. Unlike an anonymous Twitter account, a personality and a name can’t simply turn off their computer and delete social media posts in order to be forgotten about. This makes one’s opinions much more valuable and, in the long-term, mature. You’ll become fonder of them for having stuck with them through thick and thin, for having defended them against vast arrays of opponents who would like to see them extinguished. In addition, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll learn just how much you value your ideas, opinions and sentiments. For many people, they quickly decide that they’re not quite as crucial to one’s life as they once thought. In other words, showing face separates the sincere from the hobbyists.

Depoliticisation and a Coward’s Utopia

Before the Ballot Act of 1872, voting in Britain was a public affair. That is to say, it was exceptionally difficult to conceal who you were voting for. Whilst this could lead to all sorts of unpleasant and violent confrontations, it did mean that those casting a vote were determined enough to do so in the first place; it was no trivial affair. Nowadays, around 1 percent of the electorate read party manifestos, a very large percentage can’t name their MP and I’m willing to bet many millions have never heard of ‘bicameralism.’ Political organisation outside of the state-sponsored channels is unofficially discouraged, precisely because it can have such an impact. Lacklustre turnouts are hailed as ‘expressions of democracy’ when all parties concerned know fully well most voters were poorly-informed or largely disinterested. In other words, the powers that be don’t want any political activity beyond votes for ‘established’ political parties. They don’t wish to broaden the debate or stimulate a discourse. Those who revel in anonymity and exhaust their energies online are their perfect bedfellows.

A Few Concluding Remarks…

1) An opinion is a trinket if it isn’t acted upon and advanced in a practical way.
2) You’re not obligated to take anyone seriously who talks and doesn’t act.
3) Consequences ennoble our actions, they’re proof that we taken the, seriously as well-rounded human beings.
4) Anonymity is uncouth, unintelligent and a detriment to the development of the nation’s political life.
5) Identitarians and Generation Identity will always show face, use their real names and serve as living testaments to their ideas; come what may.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

Generation Identity's Response to ‘Generation Hate’

Ever since its inception, Generation Identity has faced fierce hostility from the established press. Continually and deliberately mischaracterising our words and our actions, it has worked tirelessly to undermine our efforts in bringing about a safe and secure Europe. Why has it done so? Because, with the guidance of globalist politicians and their vast wealth, it has identified that our movement is the single greatest threat to their monopoly on power. This is why, even in those countries where our movement is young and relatively small, we’ve received unprecedented coverage.

The latest attack on our movement has come from Al Jazeera, a Qatari propaganda outlet which has incessantly endorsed Islamist ideas and factions. Not satisfied, for instance, with promoting the extremist Muslim Brotherhood it also employs senior figures who praise terrorists as “pan-Arab heroes.” In fact, Al Jazeera has been accused of a number of unpleasant tendencies ranging from overt anti-Semitism to ingrained corruption. Despite this, the enemies of the Identitarian Movement have readily consumed its recent piece ‘Generation Hate’ without scrutiny or debate.

This piece focuses on ‘The Citadel’, a bar in the French city of Lille. This bar isn’t a part of Generation Identitaire but acts as its own, distinct political entity. As is widely known to locals, the bar serves figures and guests from various political backgrounds. Just as any regular pub has no role in monitoring the general conversation of guests and customers, the Citadel is no different; individuals attend privately. The documentary predominately follows the exploits of two figures (neither of whom are activists with Generation Identity). This is telling, for GI in France boasts thousands of members and many more associates. After ‘many months’ of undercover work, it seems that Al Jazeera was only able to pin-down two drunks indulging in nonsensical fantasies. Two instances stand out while this pair are being filmed. The first is a rant about using a vehicle to strike and kill Muslims. The second is a skirmish in the streets as the same individual pushes (and it seems punches) an Arab woman. Both of these acts are reprehensible and do not represent the established views and conduct promoted by Identitarians in France for nearly twenty years. The fact of the matter is that these Old Right hooligans drank at a bar that uses Identitarian iconography; this is the long and short of Al Jazeera’s great efforts to defame the movement.

Everything Generation Identity does is predicated on the notion of metapolitics. This is the theory that before political change can be affected, cultural change must be brought about. Violence of any sort is, as you might expect, totally ineffectual in achieving this. Culture, being a complicated and lived-in thing, must be approached with care and long-term discourses. Thus, before we even consider Generation Identity’s ethical qualms with violence, it’s clear that our worldview has no use for it even in strictly neutral terms. Every branch of Generation Identity carefully vets its applicants. It does so for several reasons. Firstly, it does this because it only wishes to attract intelligent, well-rounded and disciplined personalities. The second reason is to keep any persons harbouring undesirable tendencies away from the movement. This includes anyone who advocates violence, chauvinism or conspiracy theories. Our young branch in the United Kingdom has been exceptionally successful in conducting skillful vetting and immediately removing anyone who slips the net (which, in our case, has consisted of just one individual).

Generation Identity, the Identitarian Movement, is strictly non-violent, non-chauvinist and forward-looking. We reject violence as unethical. Indeed, we invite our fiercest critics to find an example of this within Generation Identity UK and Ireland or any other genuine branch. We hold steadfast to bold and radical ideas, ideas that we believe must be realised if our civilisation and values are to survive. We do so with the absolute belief that we can secure a future for our ethno-cultures peacefully and entirely within the law. While Al Jazeera and Co waste time with drunks in bars, real journalists will be documenting the full extent of Islamist terror throughout Europe which has, and continues, to claim dozens of lives each and every year.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

Netherland's Baudet says “there's a proper reawakening across Europe going on”

In an interview with German newspaper Die Weltwoche on March 25 in Amsterdam, Urs Gehriger spoke with Millennial leader Thierry Baudet who rose to victory in Dutch regional elections last week.

36-year-old Thierry Baudet is the founder and political leader of the “Forum for Democracy” (FVD, Forum voor Democratie). In the general elections of 2017 his newly founded party won two seats in the House of Representatives, with Mr. Baudet being one of the elected. In the provincial elections on March, held on March 20, 2019, FVD became the strongest party in the Netherlands. Mr. Baudet holds a Ph.D. degree in Law and has authored ten books, among them “The Significance of Borders” (2012), two novels, an introduction into Classical Music, and several collections of essays.


The Interview, Translated

Die Weltwoche: Thierry Baudet, you and your “Forum for Democracy” scored a great victory in the Dutch regional elections. Many media and politicians across Europe were taken by suprise. Did you expect that?

Thierry Baudet: Yes, absolutely! (laughs) I've always known that we were going to win!

DW: Were you expecting to win that big?

Baudet: Yes. I've always had faith in the Dutch people. I'm not surprised!

DW: What were the indications you would end up as the strongest political force?

Baudet: Well, we have of course maintained a leading position in the polls for a year and a half. We were basically already projected to win significantly. With a multiparty system, obviously, the success is always dependent on what the other parties do. You can either have one big competitor or several smaller ones. But to me, fundamentally, it doesn't really matter because I consider all the established parties as representatives of the same ideology.

DW: I don't see a fundamental difference between the classical Liberal Party (or whatever they call themselves), the Christian Democratic Party, the Labor Party, the Socialist Party and the Green Left Party. To me, all are basically the same. They are all representatives of the "liberal" or "liberalist" philosophy where emancipation of the individual is the ultimate aim. Maximum equality, maximum individual liberty. So, in one sense, we won. We're now the largest party. But if you add all the numbers of votes that all the other parties received, we're not largest, yet.

DW: Your party joined regional elections for the first time, and you won 13 seats.

Baudet: Yes. We've got 15%, now. But that's not the majority.

DW: Premier Mark Rutte needs to form a new coalition. Does he try everything to exclude you from the government?

Baudet: We don't know that, yet. I think they might try to encapsulate us, to control us by offering us some favors, some positions. And I think what they hope to do is gradually soften our viewpoints, our fundamentally different approach. That is at least what we're probably going to see in the coming weeks and months.

DW: Are you willing, under certain conditions, for a merger?

Baudet: We are willing to compromise for influence. We are very aware that we have a majoritarian system with proportional representation which demands a certain willingness to compromise. We've always said that we are willing to do so. But our position with regards to all the major questions of our time is not gradually different. It's fundamentally different. We represent a political philosophy that is fundamentally different. We want things that are contradictory to the political spectrum that has dominated the West since the French Revolution.

DW: Most of the media portrays you as the shooting star of populism, as a poster boy of right-wing extremism. What can you say about the program that you are promoting?

Baudet: We further what one can call an ‘Australian’ immigration model. By that we mean a fundamentally different approach to immigration. No longer are we going to look at how needy possible immigrants are of our support; we are going to ask ourselves if they are likely to contribute in a positive way to our country. We are very willing in terms of aid programs to support refugee shelters wherever in the world. We're very happy to help them there. But when it comes to immigration, to handing out passports to people, that is something that we're no longer going to make dependent on whether or not the person in question comes from a terrible situation at home, but from the answer to the question what he or she is going to bring to us. We have a fundamentally different approach to immigration from what was dominant in the West for the past several decades. We value the nation, our national identity, as a very important and very positive value that we need to protect.

DW: How do you want to implement this new immigration policy while you're a member of the EU?

Baudet: Well, that's why we want to leave the EU.

DW: After the elections, you said you won a battle. What does it mean for you to win the war?

Baudet: There's much more to it. I believe that aesthetically, for example, we've chosen the entirely wrong direction in the West. We've left tonal music behind. We've left realist or mimetic painting behind. We've left traditional architecture behind. I'm deeply opposed to the fundamental philosophical principles of modern architecture. I think it's fundamentally wrong.

DW: You want to turn the clock back?

Baudet: Absolutely.

DW: When did this train fall off the rail?

Baudet: I think one has to go back to the principles of the French Revolution which are equality, liberty, and fraternity. They have led to the two major emancipation movements — socialism and liberalism — and both are fundamentally flawed. The derailment, in turn, has come in waves. Modernism, a renewal of the radical elements in the French Revolution, which kicked in right after the First World War, set in motion yet another wave of mistakes. And then came the '60s. So, there have been several moments in the past two centuries.

DW: Socialism, liberalism... Where do you see conservatism in play?

Baudet: It’s the philosophy that starts from the understanding that we are paradoxical beings. We want to be free and, at the same time, we want to be embedded. We want to be individuals, but we also want to be members of a group. In a proper society, there's an equilibrium there, a delicate balance that has culminated in what we might call “the individual properly understood.” This reached its apex, I believe, in the eighteenth century, and was venerated in that great “swan song of aristocracy”, the nineteenth century. But now the individual has, of course, been “liberated” to an extent that we feel deeply atomized and unhappy. We don't know how to get back to the community anymore.

DW: The topic that shaped your world view is “oikophobia.” It is a term coined by your mentor, the conservative philosopher Roger Scruton: denying or hating your own culture. Is this what ‘oikophobia’ means?

Baudet: Yes. I think that under the influence of cultural Marxism, which started in the 1920s and became dominant in the 60s, intellectuals, politicians, artists, academics, journalists and, as such, the entire elite of our society have been bewitched by that idea. They came to believe that what stands in the way of utopia — whether a communist utopia or a liberal utopia — is bourgeois society, bourgeois traditions, the bourgeois way of life of ordinary people. That is why Le Corbusier wanted to destroy the entire Rive Droite of Paris. That is why all who opposed mass-immigration where denounced in the most vile ways. And that is why national identities had to be resolved into a “European Union.” Because, if you remember the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels considered those to be part of a bourgeois reality that hindered the formation of “true” loyalties between the laborers all around the world.

DW: “Oikophobia”: Is that a scientific term? Is there scientific research it is based on?

Baudet: It's a sociological term. I don't think that quantitative empirical research is very meaningful in the social sciences.

DW: You call yourself “the leading intellectual in the Netherlands”.

Baudet: (Laughs) I've said that many times!

DW: You're fighting the elite, and, at the same time, you are a crown jewel of the elite?

Baudet: Yes.

DW: How do you break a sophisticated philosophical content down to the common people, your electors, your voters? Do they understand what you mean to say?

Baudet: I think they understand that.

DW: They understand what you just said? That is pretty sophisticated.

Baudet: Yes. I think they instinctively understand that.

DW: When you speak to the people, how do you bring your message across?

Baudet: The same way that I'm now bringing it across to you. Of course, the exact wording and focus depends on the kind of audience that I have in front of me and on the kind of questions they ask. But I think, in general, people are very capable to get the point that someone is trying to make. And I don't think that all the misunderstandings that the newspapers fabricate resonate very strongly with the general people. Theirs is a kind of scholasticism. In the 13th century, monks would debate for years on end how many angels would fit on a needlepoint. These scholastic debates, that's what we have in the newspapers today. Like, “Is the speech that Mr. Baudet gave an echo of Italian fascism, or is it more like Francoism, or is it rather Germany in the 30s?” That kind of thing. The general public is like, "What?" They understand that all such comparisons are just ridiculous. They're making it up to show their fellow journalists how ‘righteous’ they are. The general people, they see someone who cares about their country, who has the intellectual inventory to fight the people currently in power.

DW: Before the interview, you said that you gave a speech in November 2016 praising Donald Trump.

Baudet: Yes. That was two and a half years ago. I met my fiancée on that day. It was just a week after he was elected.

DW: Donald Trump is known for very sharp and abrupt rhetoric. He's very repetitive. He's hitting the nail several times. When I listen to you, you are pretty much the opposite the way you are talking, the way you are expressing yourself.

Baudet: Despite that, I hope I'll be successful too. (Laughs)

DW: Well, you just have been amazingly successful.

Baudet: But I have been very repetitive too, my friend. Don't overestimate me. On our campaign trail I've been saying pretty much the same things, and I’ve been using the same examples over and over again for more than a year and a half now.

DW: Which are?

Baudet: The main themes of our campaign for the past elections were stopping uncontrolled immigration, fighting climate mysticism, and restoring purchasing power. Of course, we're going to have slightly different topics for the upcoming European elections. But, again, the main philosophy, and the main arguments, will remain the same.

DW: How did you succeed against this current hype of green environment politics?

Baudet: By just speaking the truth. I don't know how to answer this question in any other way. I simply declared I didn't believe in it. The green faith, in my view, is a heresy, it's a classical heresy, an immanent political theology. Mind you, it all comes down basically to a retelling of the Ark of Noah with an upcoming flood because of our sins, which we can then prevent by repenting. I believe that around the year 1000 we were caught up in similar fantasies.

DW: In general, conservative parties don't dare to say this. They go with the green wave.

Baudet: They are dhimmis. They submit to the parameters the left has set for acceptable discussion, for acceptable opinion. They succumb to the 'grand narrative' of their opponents. That's never a very smart thing to do. We, on the contrary, openly say that we are fundamentally opposed not just to their policy proposals, but also to their underlying assumptions. That's also why I don't say I want EU reform. and by the way I believe such reform to be impossible in the first place - David Cameron has clearly shown that. But we are not just against this or that aspect of the EU, this or that directive, we think the very philosophy that underlies it is wrong. The very idea that we should go beyond national identities and have some kind of “European” bureaucracy that manages our lives. Everything that is pertaining to the EU must therefore, in the end, be unraveled. The euro, the open borders, the common policies regarding fishing. The same is true for the whole climate change thing.

DW: You mean that the climate change is man-made, for instance?

Baudet: Yes. The whole thing is wrong. The whole thing about immigration is wrong, too. The parameters of the current political debate are fundamentally wrong.

DW: What exactly is wrong with immigration?

Baudet: The idea that we're all travelers, that we're all migrants, that we all come from Africa in the end and that therefore it doesn’t really matter how many of people we are now letting in to our countries. Or, take the idea that we have to admit people on the basis of some UN Refugee Treaty. That's just wrong. The whole idea is wrong. Someone obtains a right to be my fellow citizen because he or she is in a bad situation somewhere? I don’t feel that. I don’t think it’s true. I don’t want it.

DW: I've observed from the distance that you are on the offensive with a tremendous amount of energy and will. Where do you take your energy from?

Baudet: Classical music.

DW: Which one?

Baudet: Quite simply the entire classical tradition, from Bach and Mozart and Beethoven all the way to Brahms and Strauss and Wagner.

DW: Is there a certain type of music you listen to when you go in a debate?

Baudet: No, not particularly. But classical music has shaped my identity in a decisive way. It has shaped my aesthetic sensibilities, my philosophical outlook. I don't think it's possible to understand Europe and to understand the intimacies, the incredibly subtleties of the European spirit, without a deep understanding of European art. It's exemplary of the wickedness of the left and of the European Union, of liberal philosophy and globalist views, that they are so supportive of modern art and modern architecture, that they listen to pop music and propagate 'ghetto' lifestyles.

DW: You don't listen to pop music?

Baudet: Of course not. (laughs) It's impossible to listen to it!

DW: Not even Rolling Stones or Beatles?

Baudet: Well, I make an exception for the Beatles, but not for the Rolling Stones. The Beatles are the best fast food we have, let's say. But, still, it’s like a McDonald's burger compared to an actual meal.

DW: Aren't you fighting windmills with this attitude?

Baudet: Absolutely. I'm very much against windmills. I want all the windmills out of the Netherlands. Except for the old ones, of course. (laughs).

DW: But more to the point…

Baudet: Well, it's obviously true that the general public has always had folklore, and I don't expect 17 million people in the Netherlands to be able to reproduce the finer harmonic intricacies of Schumann's Piano Concerto. But society needs an elite that leads the way.

DW: Can you tell me what is at stake right now?

Baudet: Civilization.

DW: Western, Judeo Christian civilization?

Baudet: I'm not sure it's very relevant to add the adjective “western.” It's just civilization we’re fighting for. The good, the true, and the beautiful.

DW: But what are the pillars of civilization?

Baudet: Well, I think ultimately the aesthetic is the highest criterion. Our movement, like every political movement, is therefore also an aesthetic one. And true beauty, in my view, recognizes both the uniqueness of the individual, of every single individual in his or her individual life story, yet it also offers a language, a musical language or a grammatical language, or indeed a visual language, that implies a common frame of reference. So the problem of embeddedness, the problem of the modern world, you could say, is implied in the approach one takes to the arts.

The point of the several arts and crafts movements that arose in response to the industrialization in the second part of the 19th century, was that despite mass-production, and mass-society, and urbanization, and so on, we still need to feel embedded. That is why ornaments and facades, as well as the use of natural materials, were considered so important: they helped engender a proper sense of home for the spiritually homeless. The problem with modern architecture is that it emphasizes the ordinariness in such a way that it completely atomizes people. You can’t tell the difference between the modernist buildings in Brussels from those in Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang. Nor can you spot a difference between the individual apartments or offices in each of those buildings: they are all completely interchangeable and that makes people very unhappy, I believe, because they become completely interchangeable individuals in their mass apartment blocks. People want to have a house that is theirs. Even though such a house may not be very specific, or very grand, it is still their house, their place on earth, ideally with a little piece of land around it, with a neighbourhood they connect with — in short, something that makes them feel that they belong somewhere, that they have a certain place of origin and are part of a certain destiny.

DW: How were you brought up?

Baudet: I grew up in an entirely 19th century manner. I grew up in a very old fashioned family.

DW: Normally, teenagers will rebel against their parents. Have you ever gone through that rebellious phase?

Baudet: No. And I don't agree that that's normal. I simply don't think it's true. All this “rebellion” has been a very specific historical phenomenon that occurred in the '60s and '70s and was induced by teachers from a very specific philosophical school — the Frankfurt School that disseminated Cultural Marxism — and I think it will be regarded by future generation with great suspicion. In my view, it is entirely normal for children to love their parents, to be excited at the prospect of taking up responsibilities and to have pride in being part of a long chain of ancestry and offspring. So, I don't think it's normal for youngsters to be “rebels without a cause” and listen to Bob Marley while cursing their parents. And what I think has happened is that the current generation — i.e. my generation — has copied (entirely in line with my view) their parent’s ideas, in this case, their flawed ideas about the necessity to rebel. But finding nothing to rebel against they ended up with nihilistic pursuits. Wanting to be loyal to their parents by rebelling they just started smoking marijuana.

DW: Can I perhaps raise a topic you haven't mentioned? I think there’s something your readers want to hear about.

Baudet: Please.

DW: We are witnessing now, throughout the West, so not just in Europe but also in the United States, the development of a new vocabulary of political discourse. The names or the labels that people are trying to find for it are populism, or conservatism, or nationalism, or whatever.

Baudet: In each country we see politicians and writers and pundits that are trying to develop a new approach to politics and society which includes the cultural narrative, which includes the national traditions and recognizes the shared heritage of our shared civilization, our shared Western world.

And the great thing about this is that the people are so happy about these new leaders who are speaking about completely different values, who are forcing the establishment to have a debate on completely different terms. That's what Donald Trump did by bringing up issues a pollster would say, “Don't go there. Don't go there.” And that’s what we did in the Netherlands by making opposition to climate policies our main electoral theme. The winning ticket is bluntly to say that we don't believe in their stuff anymore. That we want something completely different.

DW: It's a paradigm shift.

Baudet: Exactly. A paradigm shift. That's what's we’re in for. Whether we are going to win these elections or the next, we see it everywhere in Europe now and that's very encouraging. Also, that is why I am looking forward so much to cooperating with other European parties. I think there's a movement going on across European countries, across individual party-lines. Rather like Romanticism, or the Reformation. A proper European movement.

DW: What is it called?

Baudet: If someone would have told Voltaire that he was considered a leading figure of the Enlightenment, he would have laughed. He would have said, “Enlightenment? What are you talking about?”

DW: Can you define that movement a little bit?

Baudet: I have proposed to call it Renaissancism. That's the label that I sometimes use in the Netherlands. It's the belief in a reawakening of the European spirit.

DW: But what is the common ground of us in Switzerland, you in the Netherlands, and for example the Swedes. What are the elements that bind us together?

Baudet: Well, that's a very interesting question, of course. Is our behavior explained by nature or nurture? It’s an ongoing debate between social scientists and biologists. Is it because of genetic material or is it because of culture that we tend to respond to the outside world in our typical manner? The last word has not been said about this. What explains behavior? It's an interesting question, but I'm not a Nobel Laureate.

DW: What I'm looking for is a common source. Is it a way of looking at life? Is it an outlook? Is it a source that we all drink from? Is it an ancient culture?

Baudet: You seem to be looking for a simple answer, like saying it must be the Bible, or, it must be Plato, or, it must be Beethoven.”

DW: That's too simple for you?

Baudet: I know that a certain way of life has developed somewhere and I wish to protect it.

DW: Finally, let’s focus on the May elections. Will you change anything in your agenda and your campaign?

Baudet: I think the most important thing for the upcoming elections is to formulate our position as a positive one. We’re not merely against the EU; we are also for European values, European culture, and European cooperation.

DW: The European elections are about sending members to the European parliament. Why do you try to get elected to a parliament that you are actually against? Shouldn’t you boycott the elections altogether?

Baudet: Yes. [Laughs and looks to his assistant.] What should we answer to that question? (Then serious again:) What I like about the thing that's going on right now is this: because a new political discourse is emerging, we see radical changes in the political establishment in almost every European country. I feel deeply European, but not supportive of the EU. So, I see the EU platform, now, as a meeting ground for allies. I'm very excited that we are going to work together with people from France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, et cetera.

DW: Have you already made contact?

Baudet: Yes. I've been in touch with people from those countries for years. It's not that we're anti-cooperation or anti-European. It's just that we don't think that we need a continental bureaucracy to manage our lives in every detail. And one of the most exciting and hopeful developments that I've witnessed in my entire life is this European spring that's going on. There's something new emerging and it's broader than just Europe. It's the West. We also see it in America, in Brazil, in Australia.

That's what I call a renaissance, or an awakening, or a gathering. Whatever term historians may find for it, I believe that we are part of a movement in the entire Western world that is going to change the direction that all our countries are going to take in the coming two generations.

DW: What makes you so sure about that?

Baudet: It's a hope.

DW: How do you get the maximum attention? Is there a strategy?

Baudet: No. I'm just being myself. I speak the truth, or even better: we are honest in our search for the truth. Our electorate understands that. We have identified a direction. We're pretty clear about certain parameters of it. We're very convinced that continental governance from Brussels is not the way forward. That mass immigration from Africa is not the way to improve our societies. And when it comes to something you asked about — what the defining characteristics of European aesthetics are, for example — we are happy to enter into an open discussion with others.

I think movements that have attempted to pin down aesthetic principles and have tried to force them on the outside world — like Fascism, for example — have totally failed. I mean, fascist architecture, to me, is very obviously missing the point, right? It shows that fascism is, at heart, a modernist movement. It's an oikophobic futurism, not a traditionalism. But all of this can be part of a conversation. And I think our voters feel that we are willing to enter into that conversation with them. To make a final point about Switzerland, what I admire about Switzerland is that, through the referendum system, it has maintained an ongoing conversation between the elites and the people. And that’s just great. That’s what I want for my country, too.

Bond and Belonging: An Interview with Generation Identity's Ben Jones

The Visionable: When did you join Generation Identity and what initially attracted you to the movement?

Ben Jones: I joined Generation Identity in January 2018. Before then I’d never been actively involved in politics; although I’d always had political sentiments. I’m somewhat unusual in that I didn’t join because of Martin Sellner or because of a particular action. I signed up specifically because Identitarianism and the European New Right resonated with me. They were coherent, bold and radical ... without resorting to the usual tropes of the ‘Right’ in the English-speaking world. These have been, and are, ineffective.

TV: In context of nationalism, what is your impression of Millennials in the United Kingdom in terms of worldview and vision for their future?

Ben: Millennials are effectively the first generation in history to lack an ‘example.’ That’s especially the case for young people of European descent. We’ve been robbed of the cultural and communal forces that other peoples have whether it be civilisational, spiritual or folkish. We grow up as social atoms without any real foundations, without ‘ways’ so to speak. A sense of national belonging and a cultural inheritance provide focus and grounding. How are we to conduct our lives as young Europeans? The answers lie with our forebears.

TV: Can you speak broadly to the types of people GI resonates with? Are GI supporters predominantly students, young professionals, or cross-generational, and are they of similar or differing political and socio-economic background?

Ben: Generation Identity appeals to a whole host of personalities and characters. Naturally, we’re a youth movement. So, we appeal to students, young professionals and older persons who are tired of the established political currents. I can’t speak of the make-up in Continental branches, but in the UK we still have a stubborn class-system. Our members and activists come from all aspects of the social strata. It’s something I’m exceptionally proud of.

TV: What are the most pressing issues facing the UK that GI addresses?

Ben: It’s been expressed to me by senior figures within Generation Identity that the United Kingdom is the most authoritarian state in Western Europe. I agree with this analysis. The country is rife with hysterical social and political figures who want to censor and silence their opponents. For many decades, our ‘right’ has been misrepresented by charlatans and incompetents. Generation Identity is the first organisation of its kind to emphasise real moral courage in response to this. In addition, the Great Replacement is sweeping across the country as we find ourselves becoming a minority in our largest towns and cities.

TV: What gives you reason to believe GI will be successful in reversing the Great Replacement of Europeans in their native homelands?

Ben: It all comes down to our ability to take young, passionate people and make them shine like diamonds. We give them the ideas, the theories and moral courage to mount a challenge to the status-quo. Already we’re developing ties with populist and patriotic parties across Europe. We’re campaigning to ensure they uphold their promises and avoid being put on the defensive.

TV: How has GI been mischaracterized, and by whom, and how do you address the false accusations?

Ben: Anyone who addresses the Great Replacement, opposes globalisation and mass-immigration, will inevitably be accused of being ‘far-right.’ The establishment, and its supports, use a lexicon in order to stifle debate and harass their opponents. Being called a ‘fascist’ for instance, is almost like being called a heretic in the 13th century. George Orwell recognised that terms such as this were being misused as early as the 40s. What the establishment is essentially trying to do is shut us off from the broader political discourse via fear of association. They know that when we’re given the opportunity to speak freely, our ideas resonate with millions.

TV: What would you like to share with anyone considering supporting or joining GI, and who may be hesitant?

Ben: If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re concerned about the future of your country, your people and your civilisation. Unfortunately, watching YouTube videos and sitting behind an anonymous Twitter account aren’t going to change anything; the day after tomorrow never comes. Generation Identity is offering you a means of making a difference in a peaceful, intelligent and, yes, enjoyable way. You don’t have any excuses left. The time for action, for change, is now.

 

Visionaries: the Vision and Values

The Vision

The Visionable aims to harness the potential of Millennials as the next generation of leaders to create an actionable vision for the future. Strengthened by cross-generational mentorship, Millennials will utilize the information, human networks, and a targeted set of tools offered by The Visionable to restore our democracies, cultures, and civilizations.

The Mission

The Visionable’s mission is to accomplish the return of democracy in our nations through a clear and actionable long-term vision. Now, more than ever, the West needs the values and principles of an international order of politically independent nation states founded upon the rule of law, free markets, and democratic sovereignty in societies comprised of a shared culture.

Our strategy is to inform Millennials with fact-based news and information that inspires them to create change within an influential grassroots network of citizens, voters, activists, thought leaders, and future representatives in government, innovation, and enterprise.

The three strategic pillars of factual ideas and information, an influential grassroots network, and pro-democracy tools will enable Millennials to lead the renewal of Western civilization where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society are valued, preserved, and flourish for generations to come.

The Values

The Visionable upholds the ideals of western nations and civilizations founded upon an international order of politically independent nation states. We believe the evidence suggests this natural organization of human beings provides the greatest opportunity for the best quality of life for all.

Shared Culture Citizenry

  • Societal Foundations upon Family and Heritage

  • Individual Initiative and Responsibility

  • Health and Scholastic Excellence

  • Compassionate Support for the Vulnerable

  • Conservation of Environment and Resources

Democratic Sovereignty and the Rule of Law

  • Direct Democracy of Representatives and Legislation

  • Responsible and Limited Governance

  • Freedom of Speech and Assembly

Free Market Economy

  • Creation of Wealth and Enterprise

  • Innovation and Competitive Advantage

  • Limited Regulation and Bureaucratic Interference

The Visionable also believes that the most effective solutions to the challenges facing the West are consistent with these core values.

Visionaries

Our subscribers and patrons create an online community where these Visionaries receive quality, fact-based news and analysis, the latest contextual articles on societal trends and issues, and opportunities to network and become active offline.

Visionaries value individual character that is rooted in honesty, integrity, and idealism expressed with civility and respect as we give our time and energy for a higher cause. Millennials are waking up to realize that many elements of modern culture are hypocritical and leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves and others.

We reject the ego-driven agendas of traditional politics, the mainstream news media, and crony capitalism.

We seek meaning and a spiritual understanding of our lives whether through the acknowledgment of the existence of an omniscient metaphysical reality, search for or follow a genuine spiritual path, or a strong sense of cultural community.

We eliminate or minimize the influence of consumerism, senseless and unrestricted hedonism, and social engineering that unnecessarily divides people rather than recognizes the inherent worth of human beings as integral in communities.

By acknowledging these, among other unique traits of the western Millennial worldview, Visionaries can clearly identify and preserve that which positively conceives the continuity of western civilization, and tackle the challenges we face, for better lives and futures.

LISTEN | The Agora - Episode 2

Welcome to the latest installment of Generation Identity's new podcast, the Agora.

Each episode will be led by UK Leader, Ben Jones, with activists from across the movement joining as guests.

In the second episode of the Agora, UK Leader Ben Jones is joined by activists Mark and Joe to discuss mounting censorship of patriotic ideas and the opportunities for a populist party in the UK. For those unfamiliar with the term 'Agora', it refers a "gathering place" or "assembly".

The Problem of Democracy

In his essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, George Orwell had this to say about democracy…

In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy…

This is the ‘problem’ of democracy that Alain de Benoist attempts to unravel in his work ‘The Problem of Democracy.’ What exactly is this elusive form of government that everyone claims to endorse and in so many differing ways? In many respects no man is better qualified to answer this question. de Benoist is the seminal thinker of the so-called European New Right (a name conjured up by the media), an intellectual movement that originated in the late sixties. A prolific writer of articles, books and journals, his interests have stretched from ethno-cultural identity and environmentalism, to Indo-European religion and a critique of capitalism. His intellectual rigour, respect for a free-exchange of ideas and disinterest in censorship has won him admiration from those on both the traditional Left and Right of politics.

de Benoist begins by suggesting that there are two fundamental ways of defining ‘democracy.’ The first uses an etymological approach. As many people are aware, the term stems from demos (the people) and -kratia (power, rule). In other words, it’s a form of government in which power lies with ‘the people.’ This is the prevailing approach throughout much of the world and, as a cursory consideration of the matter will reveal, it’s a hopelessly vague one. Instead, de Benoist suggests an alternative approach; an historical one. He contends that as the Greeks of Antiquity gave us the term (and the corresponding idea) we should look to them for answers.

Greek democracy had three principle features: isonomy (equality before the law, isotimy (equal rights to access all public offices), and isegory (freedom of expression). It was a direct form of democracy, in which all citizens could take part in the ekklesia or assembly. Citizens didn’t rely on ‘representatives’, they fully participated in the political discourse. Indeed, they were expected to as a part of their citizenship. Already, then, we see a stark difference between Greek democracy and the representative democracies of today in the likes of the Western world. The very term ‘demos’, which is of Doric origin, refers to people who reside in a given territory. This is the next crucial observation made by de Benoist. Greek democracy rested on the notion of citizenship which, in turn, rested upon shared ancestry, shared institutions and shared cultural practices. As de Benoist writes, ‘to be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland – that is, to a homeland and a past.’

With an almost ruthless and tidal analysis, de Benoist also confronts the notion that liberalism (understood in the classical sense) has no direct relationship with democracy understood in an historically. More than this, he challenges the notion that democracy is inevitable (as a product of linear history) or inferior or superior to any other form of government. He acknowledges that, whilst forms of direct democracy have always had a place in the European experience, it’s alien to other people and civilisations around the globe. He cites Moses I. Finley who wrote “It was that sense of community, fortified by the state religion, by their myths, and their traditions, which was an essential element in the pragmatic success of Athenian democracy.”’ He added, “in Greece, freedom meant the rule of law and participation in the decision-making progress, not the possession of inalienable rights.”

What ‘The Problem of Democracy’ really exposes is that the so-called ‘democracies’ of today share nothing in common with the democratic tradition of those who produced it; the ancient Greeks. But why should this matter? After all, the Greeks were organising themselves in small city-states in a radically different epoch with radically different challenges. It matters because human nature doesn’t change, regardless of the externals. Despite the romantic, melioristic ramblings of the classical liberals’ human beings aren’t simply ‘Individuals.’ We’re the product of an evolutionary discourse stretching back millions upon millions of years. A social species, we’re defined by our physical and cultural characteristics and a role and a place within an historic collective. This is why direct forms of democracy are so powerful. They’re predicated on participation. By participating in the political, in institutions and the culture that shapes them, we cease to be a social atom and find our place in the historical project that is our people.

Liberal democracies simply depoliticise society by creating a society of rootless, atomised ‘individuals’ driven solely by economic impulses. Our ‘participation’ is reduced to appointing alleged experts who then proceed to pursue self-interest uncontested until the next election. If the Greeks were right, the answer is simply a question of learning to govern ourselves as a people. No representatives, only delegates appointed by an ethno-cultural group cognizant of its roots and identity. This short book, or perhaps lengthy essay, is a must read for critics of the prevailing order, liberalism and globalism.

To conclude, a particularly powerful passage from its finale…

Democracy means the power of the people, which is to say the power of an organic community that has historically developed in the context of one or more given political structures – for instance a city, nation, or empire. Where there is no folk but only a collection of individual social atoms, there can be no democracy. Every political system which requires the disintegration or levelling of peoples in order to operate – or the erosion of individuals’ awareness of belonging to an organic folk community – is to be regarded as undemocratic.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

Are We Really Poorer Than Our Parents?

In recent years, many US politicians and journalists have warned that the millennials are at the risk of ending up “poorer than their parents.” The evidence certainly suggests that the Great Recession has led to wage stagnation and high unemployment among young Americans, who have soured on the idea of achieving the American Dream.

The just-released Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Annual Report on Generational Attitudes toward Socialism in America, for example, has found that 52 per cent of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist (46 per cent) or a communist (6 per cent) country. Conversely, only 40 per cent want to live in a capitalist one. Mercifully, Americans tend to associate socialism with the high-tax and high-redistribution welfare states of Scandinavia rather than the Marxist dictatorships of the days of yore.

Before they reject American-style capitalism, however, millennials should consider how prosperous ordinary Americans really are.

Economic prosperity is often measured in terms of personal income or wealth. Neither of those two measures, however, provides a full picture of people’s material wellbeing, for standards of living can increase due to either income growth or falling prices. People with stagnating incomes, for example, can experience material improvements if prices decline. Even people with falling incomes can be better off – as long as the cost of living decreases at a faster pace than incomes shrink.

As Ball State University economist Steven Horwitz wrote in his 2015 article Inequality, Mobility and Being Poor in America, “If the reason we care about incomes and wealth is because of what they enable people to consume, and thereby acquire goods that add to some broad notion of well-being, then it might also be worthwhile to look at some of the data on consumption to see what it suggests about … the real condition of the poor.”

Consider the cost and adoption of home appliances. As late as 1971, only 43.3 per cent of all US households had a colour TV. By 2005, 97.4 per cent of poor American households owned one. Similar stories can be told of washing machines, dishwashers, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves and vacuum cleaners.

As Horwitz noted, “Poor US households are more likely to have basic appliances than the average household of the 1970s, and those appliances are of much higher quality.” Not only do more people across the income spectrum enjoy access to previously unaffordable goods, but the speed of adoption of new products is increasing.

As W Michael Cox and Richard Alm from the Southern Methodist University showed in their 2015 paper Onward and Upward: Bet on Capitalism—It Works, it took about 50 years between the time that the telephone was invented and the time that 50 per cent of US households owned one. In contrast, it took just 12 years from the emerge of the smartphone for 50 per cent of individual Americans to own one.

Note that all this material progress took place even though the hourly wages of many American workers stagnated. Between January 1968 and January 2018, the inflation-adjusted average hourly wage in the manufacturing sector rose from $20.43 to $21.27. Manufacturing accounts for 19 percent of all US employment and wage stagnation among factory workers may be seen as analogous to the flat-lining incomes among millennials.

Source: W Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Onward and Upward: Bet on Capitalism—It Works

Source: W Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Onward and Upward: Bet on Capitalism—It Works

Bearing the above wage numbers in mind, how come most Americans can now enjoy goods that were previously owned only by the rich? 

First, it is important to note that hourly wages do not reflect the massive expansion in non-wage benefits, which rose from 19 per cent of wages in 1951 to 44 per cent in 2015. Today non-wage benefits include relocation assistance, medical and prescription coverage, vision and dental coverage, health and dependent care, flexible spending accounts, retirement benefit plans, group-term life and long-term care insurance plans, legal and adoption assistance plans, child care and transportation benefits, vacation and sick paid time-off, and employee discount programs from a variety of vendors, etc.

Also, many commonly owned goods have declined in price. In 1968, for example, a 23” Admiral colour TV cost $2,544 or 125 hours of labour in the manufacturing sector. In 2018, a 24” Sceptre HD LED TV cost $99.99 or 4.7 hours of labour in the same sector (all prices are in 2018 US dollars). That’s a reduction of 96 per cent in terms of human effort.

The upshot is that growth in nominal wages, or lack thereof, does not reflect the real changes in the standard of living experienced by vast majority of Americans. That’s something to keep in mind when young Americans contemplate the choice between capitalism and socialism.


About the Author

Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute and editor of HumanProgress.org

LISTEN | The Agora - Episode 1

photo_2019-03-18_16-07-40.jpg

Welcome to the first installment of Generation Identity's new podcast, the Agora.

Each episode will be led by UK Leader, Ben Jones, with activists from across the movement joining as guests.

This week's guests are London Regional Lead, Charlie Fox and North West Regional Lead, Charlie Shaw. For those unfamiliar with the term 'Agora', it refers a "gathering place" or "assembly". The Agora was the centre of the athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city in Ancient Greece, a place where people could come and discuss and debate with one another.

Einstein, Gandhi, and Dr. Gene Sharp: the Politics of Nonviolence

How can we hold our established democracies to account, and how can we ensure the change we want is long-lasting?

You’re likely familiar with the names Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, leaders who advocated for and led their movements by the philosophy of nonviolence. At least as equally deserving of widespread recognition is a man named Dr. Gene Sharp.

Dr. Sharp, who passed away in 2018 at the age of ninety, had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times during his career for articulating and advancing the cause of nonviolent action for change. His first book, Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power, was published in 1960 and included a Foreword by Albert Einstein, with whom Dr. Sharp corresponded with during his nine-month imprisonment in New York, having been arrested for civil disobedience against military conscription during the Korean War. Dr. Sharp’s books and publications on nonviolent struggle, power, political problems, liberation struggle, dictatorships, and defense policy have been published in over forty languages, most notably his 1973 three-volume The Politics of Nonviolent Action, a pragmatic political analysis of nonviolent action as a method for applying power in a conflict, and his 1993 handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, which has influenced resistance movements across the world.

In 1983, Dr. Sharp founded the Albert Einstein Institution, a non-profit organization that continues to support research and policy studies on strategic nonviolent action, and is committed to the defense of freedom, democracy, and the reduction of political violence through the use of nonviolent action. The Institution has consulted with resistance and pro-democracy groups across the world, from Asia to Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Dr. Sharp’s works are the ideological underpinning of the work for the Serbian-based nonviolent conflict training group, the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), which helped to train key activists in youth movements in the Eastern European color revolutions and the protest movement that toppled President Mubarak of Egypt in 2011.

Once people decide to be free, nothing can stop them.
— Desmond Tutu
Dr. Gene Sharp with Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution

Dr. Gene Sharp with Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution

How Nonviolent Action Works

It’s important for Millennials to have the tangible tools and tactics needed to design and execute our plans for lasting, positive change. When we understand how the game is played, we are equipped to rewrite the rules and change the game.

The following information are key highlights from Dr. Sharp’s book, How Nonviolent Struggle Works, to understand the dynamic between the grassroots and government.

In Dr. Sharp's view, all effective power structures have systems by which they encourage or extract obedience from the people they rule, and states, in particular, have complex systems for keeping people obedient. These complex systems include specific institutions, such as the police, courts, and regulatory bodies. They can also include cultural dimensions that inspire obedience by implying that power is monolithic, such as the dignity of a political office, or moral or ethical norms and taboos. Through these systems, people are presented with a system of sanctions, including imprisonment, fines, and ostracism, and rewards including titles, wealth, and fame, which influence the extent of their obedience.

Yet, a great strength can transmute into a great point of weakness in the face of contextual change. Dr. Sharp’s basic political assumption of nonviolent action is when people refuse to cooperate, withhold help or participation, and persist in their disobedience and defiance, they deny their opponents the basic human assistance and cooperation which any government or hierarchical system requires. When people do this in large enough numbers for a long enough period of time, that government or hierarchical system will no longer have power.

Where traditionally people have believed their options as either passive submission or violent action, Dr. Sharp presents a third alternative – struggle by means of nonviolent action, resting on the belief that the exercise of power depends on the consent of the ruled who, by withdrawing that consent, can control, and even destroy the power of their opponents.

Throughout his research, Dr. Sharp has observed the following demonstrable features of nonviolent action: as a technique, it occurs despite the absence of attention to the development of the technique itself; its practice is part spontaneous, part intuitive, and part vaguely patterned after a known case; it is usually practiced under highly unfavorable conditions; it is usually practiced with a lack of experienced leaders or participants; there are almost always no advance preparations, training, or consideration of strategy and tactics; and, its practitioners usually have little understanding of the technique or its history as there were no sources of information available to them to consult.

 

Why Nonviolence

A 2011 study by American researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan found that out of 323 civil resistance campaigns around the world, between 1900 to 2006, 53 percent of nonviolent campaigns were successful, whereas only 26 percent of violent campaigns were. Of regime changes that resulted in a functioning democracy, 42 percent came from nonviolent campaigns, and only 4 percent from violent ones.

Opponents prefer violence. Resistance violence is seen to “legitimize” violent oppression. The opponents may provoke violence by very severe repression, or they may employ spies and agents provocateurs. If it is publicly revealed that the opponents have acted in these ways, the news could disastrously undermine some of their usual support and power position. Disciplined nonviolent resistance will help to expose any such agents.

The requirement that movement supporters maintain nonviolent discipline is rooted in the dynamics of the technique of nonviolent action. Without nonviolent behaviour, the opponents’ repression will not rebound to undermine their power through political jiu-jitsu and the mechanisms of change will not operate. Nonviolent behaviour is likely to contribute to achieving a variety of positive accomplishments. Four of these are: winning sympathy and support; reducing casualties; inducing disaffection and even mutiny of the opponents’ troops; and, attracting maximum participation in the nonviolent struggle.

The introduction of violence by resisters will reverse the process which produces strength in nonviolent action, and will increase the effectiveness of the opponents’ control measures. Violence by resisters shifts attention to the violence itself, away from the issues, and away from the courage of the resisters and the opponents’ own, usually much greater, violence. The introduction of violence into a nonviolent struggle movement may weaken nonviolent discipline, contribute to a shift to violence, and even lead to the collapse of the movement. The use of violence by the grievance group tends to unleash disproportionately severe repression by the opponents and to reverse any sympathy for the resisters which may be developing inside the opponents’ group. Success requires that only nonviolent “weapons” be used.

Understanding Political Power

 

Importance of power

  • Power is inherent in practically all social and political relationships.

  • Its control is the basic problem between political theory and political reality.

  • It is necessary to wield power in order to control the power of threatening adversaries.

  • Social power is the totality of all influences and pressures which can be used by and applied to groups of people, either to attempt to control the behaviour of others directly or indirectly, or to accomplish a group objective or group action.

  • Political power is that kind of social power which is wielded for political objectives, especially by governmental institutions or by people in opposition to or in support of such institutions. Political power this refers to total authority, influence, pressure, and coercion which may be applied to achieve or prevent the implementation of the wishes of the power-holder.

Nature of political power

  • The monolithic view of power sees people as dependent upon the goodwill, the decisions, and the support of their government or of any other hierarchical system. It perceives power as emanating from the few who stand at the pinnacle of command. It considers powers to be self-perpetuating, durable, not easily or quickly controlled or destroyed.

  • The social view of power sees governments or other systems to be dependent on the people’s goodwill, decisions, and support. It sees that power as continually rising from many parts of the society. It views political power as fragile, always dependent for its strength and existence upon a replenishment of its sources by the cooperation of a multitude of institutions and people – cooperation which may or may not continue. Therefore, political power can most efficiently be controlled at its sources.

  • Established democracies function on the premise of the social nature of power. Yet, in practice, elites and bureaucracies have entrenched their spectrums and silos of power to levels of reduced transparency and accountability. In all democratic nations, people power is decreasing, and monolithic power is increasing, most clearly demonstrated in the European Union. People in established democracies have fewer options and decreased ability to exercise social power.

Therefore, it’s important to discern what your opinion is of the role of government, and why the translation of this belief has created “left-wing” and “right-wing” politics. The political left favours greater government involvement, and the political right favours less. Libertarians favour managing the basics. Millennials favour the basics led by community consciousness.

Sources of political power

  • Authority, voluntarily accepted by the people and therefore is present without the imposition of sanctions.

  • Human resources, the number of people who obey them, cooperate with them, or provide them with assistance.

  • Skills, knowledge, and abilities of these people, in relation to the skills, knowledge, and abilities the opponent needs.

  • Intangible factors, the psychological and ideological habits and attitudes, and the presence or absence of a common faith, ideology, or sense of mission.

  • Material resources, the degree to which the opponent controls property, natural resources, financial resources, the economic system, communication, transportation, and so on, that helps determine the limits of their power.

  • Sanctions, the enforcement of obedience, which may be violent or not.

Why do people obey

 Obedience is the heart of political power, and all government is based upon consent. The explanation for why people obey are multiple, complex, and interrelated:

  • Habit

  • Fear of sanctions

  • Moral obligation

  • Self-interest

  • Psychological identification with rulers

  • Indifference

  • Absence of self-confidence

Freedom is not something which opponents “give” their subjects. It is something achieved in the interaction between society and government. Pacifism doesn’t work, for this reason, because freedom is dependent on this relationship, this interplay. Freedom requires action for its own existence. Without it, dictatorships, communist, and fascist governments take hold because of the default consent they’ve been allowed by the people.

Structure of resistance

Withdrawal of consent becomes politically significant, and the opponents’ will is thwarted, in proportion to the number of disobedient subjects and the degree of the opponents’ dependence upon them. The key question then becomes how to implement this insight into political power. While individual acts may at times be scarcely noticed, the defiance of organizations and institutions – churches, trade unions, business organizations, the bureaucracy, neighborhoods, villages, cities, regions, and the like – may be pivotal. The ability of the population to wield effective power and to control that of its opponents will be highly influenced by the condition of these non-state organizations and institutions. It is these “places” where power operates that provide the structural basis for the control of the opponents. Where these independent bodies are strong, the capacity to control the opponents will be strong. When these are weak, so will be the controls over the opponents’ power. It is through these bodies that people can collectively offer noncooperation and disobedience.

Are You Really Conservative or Liberal?

When I read about clashes around the world – political clashes, economic clashes, cultural clashes – I am reminded that it is within our power to build a bridge to be crossed. Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine.
— Paulo Coelho

Humanity is a polarity existence and we exist in a polarized world, but we all contain an imperfect balance within ourselves of seemingly opposing forces. The most contentious of forces that divides humanity is morality.

Our personal moral foundations cause the greatest struggles for balance between individual liberty and social order. There are three factors that determine our moral foundations and why we are, or think we are, either conservative or liberal: biology, psychology, and our worldview.

A Divided Brain

Why is the brain divided? This is what psychiatrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist has sought to understand in over twenty years of research. He aims to prove there is a growing imbalance in our brains and help us understand how this makes us increasingly unable to grapple with critical economic, environmental and social issues; ones that shape our very future as a species. He believes that one half of our brain – the left hemisphere – is slowly taking power, and we in the Western world are simultaneously feeding its ambitions. This half of the brain is very proficient at creating technologies, procedures and systems, but it cannot understand the implications of these on the people and the world around it.

The right hemisphere understands the world. It sees the big picture of an interconnected world, understands relationships and body language. It is sustained, broad, open, vigilant, and alert, and creates art, intuition, interest, and imagination. The left hemisphere manipulates the world. It cannot make connections and sees the world as separate parts where details are important but not relationships, things and people are not unique and individual, and groups can organize the world into rules and bureaucracy. It is narrow, sharply focused, attention to detail, and sorts and files things into a system, perceiving people as body parts and can’t see how it all fits together. As human beings, we could not exist independently of either hemisphere, we need both perspectives through which to view and understand the world.

Dr. Helen Fisher’s research led her to understand how brain chemistry determines our personality and politics. Serotonin is more abundant in conservatives with traits including familiarity, being cautious but not fearful, calm and controlled, structured and orderly, fact-oriented and precise, having more close friends, networks, community, and an importance of belonging, being respectful, following the rules, conscientiousness, loyalty, and dependability. Dopamine is more abundant in liberals with novelty seeking and risk-taking behaviour, curiosity, restlessness, independence and self-reliance, impulsiveness, spontaneous decisions, physical and mental exploration, idea generation, mental flexibility and open-mindedness. Estrogen is the liberal with economic regulation and personal freedom, where Testosterone is the conservative with economic freedom and personal regulation. As we know, we all have these hormones in our bodies and imbalances create physical, mental, and emotional health issues.

 

Five Moral Foundations

Dr. Jonathan Haidt and a group of social and cultural psychologists sought to understand why morality varies so much across cultures yet still shows so many similarities and recurrent themes. Their theory, the five moral foundations, proposes that several innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too.

  1. Care/Harm: our mammalian evolution for empathy, attachment, kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

  2. Fairness/Cheating: the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism, justice, rights, autonomy, and proportionality.

  3. Loyalty/Betrayal: our tribal history in forming shifting coalitions, patriotism, and self-sacrifice.

  4. Authority/Subversion: our primate history of hierarchical social interactions, leadership, followership, deference to legitimate authority, and respect for traditions.

  5. Sanctity/Degradation: shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination, underlying religious notions of living in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way, the body is a temple that can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants.

Dr. Haidt and his colleagues’ research applied this theory to political "cultures" of liberals and conservatives. They discovered the current American culture war can be viewed as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/Harm foundation supported by the Fairness/Cheating and Liberty/Oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, determine morality using all six foundations.

 

Your Worldview

In his 1987 book, A Conflict of Visions, economist Thomas Sowell argues that the opposing moral values of conservatives and liberals are intimately linked to the vision a person holds about human nature, either as constrained (conservative) or unconstrained (liberal). Sowell argues that controversies over seemingly unrelated social issues such as taxes, welfare, social security, health care, criminal justice, and war repeatedly reveal a consistent ideological dividing line along these two conflicting visions, the Constrained Vision and the Unconstrained Vision. Depending on which view of human nature you believe to be true will largely determine how you believe issues should be addressed:

If human options are not inherently constrained, then the presence of such repugnant and disastrous phenomena virtually cries out for explanation—and for solutions. But if the limitations and passions of man himself are at the heart of these painful phenomena, then what requires explanation are the ways in which they have been avoided or minimized… In the unconstrained vision, there are no intractable reasons for social evils and therefore no reason why they cannot be solved, with sufficient moral commitment. But in the constrained vision, whatever artifices or strategies restrain or ameliorate inherent human evils will themselves have costs, some in the form of other social ills created by these civilizing institutions, so that all that is possible is a prudent trade-off.

Balance in a Complex World

Essentially, we are born predisposed to being either liberal or conservative at an intuitive and instinctual level, with our moral values predetermined by our brain structure, mix of hormones, moral emotions and reactions, and temperament. This explains why people can be predictably partisan about a range of issues that are seemingly unconnected. Yet both sides of the equation are valid, necessary, and true and can complement and balance out the negative extremes of the other.

As human beings, we have far more in common than what differentiates and divides us. We are all somewhat liberal and somewhat conservative and a person must no longer be both an economic and social liberal or conservative. All humans hold multiple contradictory beliefs and opinions at once, even when we recognize this inherent hypocrisy within ourselves.

Traditional partisan lines are changing in an increasingly polarized political arena. Most people, and likewise most Millennials, are broadly libertarian-minded progressive conservatives, where they do not necessarily feel compelled to hold others to the same value system they hold for themselves, they just want to live their lives and allow others to live theirs so long as harm does not cross the bough. When we can understand where the other person is coming from with respect to consideration of moral foundations, we are more likely to find a path forward that is more effective in dealing with the issues in a fact-based manner that can actually lead to positive developments and results.

Millennials: Saving Democracy by Changing the Game

Often by circumstance, generations of young adults propel our societies forward, with optimism, perhaps naiveté, and a refusal to abscond hope for a better future. The Millennial generation is increasingly disillusioned and distrustful of our democratic institutions, not because the institutions themselves are the problem, but because the people operating within them are. From politics and government to the mainstream news media, free speech and our justice system, we are facing a crisis of the legitimacy of our western democracies.

Lack of leadership, political dogma, entrenched and incompetent elites, and abdicating our responsibility to ourselves and each other has grown out of a sense of complacency and is leading us down a dangerous path. The stable foundation of our established, first-world, democratic societies is beginning to crack, not because of a lack of merit but because these institutions have been neglected and abused by decades of largely uninspiring, incompetent individuals in leadership positions, aggravating the same major issues they created. We have allowed, by inattention and inaction, special interests – whether they be politics, government, lobbyists, post-secondary classrooms, the legal system, or the mainstream news media – to determine our frame of reference for too long. The credibility of these institutions is crumbling fast, providing a new opportunity to determine what we think for ourselves, outside of their elitist narrow lens and scope of interest.

We must think outside of the box, at a time in human history when so much information and opportunity is available with the potential to improve our quality of life through innovative thinking and intelligent-risk approach. We cannot afford to allow our societies to decline further into weakness and susceptibility to the benefit of elitists whose mission is to control all of us for the gain of their personal, narrow agendas. The lack of leadership has led to a rise of fundamentalism across our societies, Western and otherwise, and is one of our greatest threats because so many problems are stemming from it: fundamentalism, or dogma, is the strict adherence to the fundamental principles of any set of beliefs. It is a central tactic of elites whose mentality is to control the rest of us and force us to conform to their agenda and worldview.

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

The overwhelming success of Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson’s messages to Millennials of pursuing meaning and personal responsibility in our lives are indicative of a generation eager and even desperate to live a life of value, created in what we positively do for the benefit of ourselves and others

Capitalism and democracy offer the field of potential for this positive benefit through individual effort to occur. In his 1992 book The End of History, Francis Fukuyama speculated that once we reached the end of history, where humanity had delineated a single, final form of the best political, social, and economic system – democracy and capitalism – that people may begin to fight against this system as a struggle “against the just cause” and “struggle for the sake of struggle” because there is no longer anything significant left to struggle against: democracy triumphed over authoritarianism and capitalism triumphed over socialism. Fukuyama warned that “if the greater part of the world in which they live is characterized by peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy, then they will struggle against that peace and prosperity, and against democracy”.

Most Millennials are live-and-let-live libertarians who see possibility in the diversity of humanity, not socialists who desire to live and force others to live by the choking, bland yolk of conformity. Postmodernists see the world inside out, as they seek to continually inwardly break apart every aspect of a human being into separate parts that are meaningless on their own, instead of recognizing their comprised value as a complex and unique human identity. The gullible and uninformed will soon wake up to realize they have been duped by militant postmodernists and socialist glorifiers who are attempting to implement their failed ideals on a next generation of assumed suckers.

The prosperity and abundance of opportunity the first world offers are currently being met with a fear-based attitude in the postmodernists and politically far-left, who need the struggle for the sake of struggle Fukuyama posited, their inner fear projected outward. In their own aimlessness, they seek to pull everyone else down into their confusion rather than grasp the liberating risk of charting their own individual path. They will not succeed; the end of history marks the beginning of personal actualization, which brings us full circle to pursuing and achieving meaning. Therefore, Dr. Peterson’s message is so powerful because Millennials are a generation in this point in history and time receptive to responding to what we know in our souls to be necessary and true.

 

Critical Issues Lacking Leadership

The European Union is one of the wealthiest regions in the world. Over a third of well-educated Millennials across Europe as a whole, and nearly half in countries such as Greece and Spain, are unemployed with limited prospects. Historically, Europe leans left politically, yet Millennial anger and frustration is fueling the rise of populist sentiment and nationalist movements across Europe. They see the EU and the establishment elites as creating and perpetuating the conditions resulting in their unemployment, compounded by the migrant crisis provoking an "us versus them" mentality as they watch their governments welcome outsiders while ignoring their own stagnant prospects for an independent life.

Regional ideological and political games threaten Canadian’s energy security and therefore economic prosperity and quality of life. Both governments and professional environmental agitators in British Columbia on the west coast and Quebec on the east coast repeatedly attempt to stall and block federally approved pipelines to transport Alberta oil and natural gas across the country for Canadian use and export, requiring import of the same from non-democratic and non-environmentally responsible countries such as Saudi Arabia. Prior to the discovery of oil and gas reserves in Alberta in the 1930s, the province had been one of the most destitute in the country. Today, Quebec, a province that refuses to concede new pipelines from Alberta to access its coast, does not contribute its weight economically to the country compared to its political influence but is the primary beneficiary of billions of dollars in annual transfer payments from Alberta, even while Albertans continue to struggle through a recession.

University campuses are increasingly ground for radical left militants threatening to shut down free speech and free thought in the juvenile name of toleration, equality, and “safe spaces”. By employing political tactics honed forty years ago, ideological veterans inside and outside of faculties are using Millennial students as – to use the term oft-attributed to Vladimir Lenin – useful idiots. The counterculture of students in the 1960s promoted dissent, challenge, and “dangerous” ideas on campus, but today these same tactics are causing violent riots to protest invited speakers, shouting down and silencing professors and academic staff, and calling everyone who disagrees with their platform “racist,” “transphobic,” or whatever other categorization suits the identity politicians that day.

The United States have the highest rates of conviction and incarceration in the world, particularly of African Americans and Hispanics. Many of those arrested are too poor to afford legal counsel or bail, so they’re represented by overworked public defenders, and prosecutors offer them terms whereby they plead guilty to serve a lesser sentence than the potentially harsher sentence resulting from trial – a no win situation that presumes their guilt rather than innocence first. The scenario contributes to and perpetuates systemic poverty, violence, crime, and the devastation of these families and communities, and worsens tensions between police (often over-worked and under-resourced) and the neighbourhoods they serve.

The greatest polluters in the world are developing and emerging countries, such as China and India, yet left-wing politicians in the West have taken the torch of reducing harm to our natural environments to an ideological and unsustainable extreme by punishing taxpayers with punitive fees and forcing industry toward predetermined end results rather than supporting an innovative process toward end goals. At this point in time, renewable energy is in nearly every case more polluting than fossil fuels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly scolded American President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris Accord, while the actions of Germany and the other signatories have scarcely come close to meeting their own targets. In Canada, carbon taxes (whether by that name or another) are imposed on citizens at all levels of government, whereby a citizen pays more on their electricity bill in taxes (including a federal goods and sales tax charged on top of the carbon levy itself) than for the actual electricity.

 

Toppling the Establishment Elite

In his latest book, Skin in the Game, Nassim Nicholas Taleb asked, “how do you own people? First, by conditioning and psychological manipulation; second, by tweaking them to have some skin in the game, forcing them to have something significant to lose if they disobey authority.”

According to Aristotle:

A man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality.”

“These are, (1) the humiliation of his subjects; he knows that a mean-spirited man will not conspire against anybody; (2) the creation of mistrust among them; for a tyrant is not overthrown until men begin to have confidence in one another; … (3) the tyrant desires that his subjects shall be incapable of action, for no one attempts what is impossible, and they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless ... Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property … The people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. The Pyramids of Egypt afford an example of this policy … all these works were alike intended to occupy the people and keep them poor. The tyrant is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.

Democracy, transparency, and accountability are being undermined by the increasing scope and size of government and unelected bureaucracies, filled with self-serving people, not “civil servants”. Bureaucrats ignore the decisions of elected representatives if it suits them, because they know there’s another election coming up when that representative will be voted out for unfulfilled campaign promises, by the bureaucrats who refused to fulfill them, but keep their taxpayer-funded, pension-collecting jobs with no consequence. With perhaps the exception of Switzerland, the balance of power does not lie where it should, in the decisions of citizens, but increasingly with politicians, politicos, bureaucrats – the elites.

This is the bureaucrats’ game. They behave as though they are untouchable, which breeds arrogance and stupidity among their ranks. They are unelected and know they have (often union) job security, while politicians and their politico staff cycle through every election cycle, if they even last that long. Bureaucrats know the public will blame the politicians for not getting things done, and because we continue to elect increasingly less competent politicians (with equally less competent politicos “strategizing” and advising them), we perpetuate this attitude among those who actually decide how our tax dollars are spent, and how many more of them they need to fund what are often pet projects. There are no consequences for these people, who get rich at our expense, off their exorbitant taxpayer-funded salaries, whining when they don’t get raises (completely ungrateful for their job security while the rest of the citizenry suffers in economic downturns), and contributing nothing of value because if they were our democracies wouldn’t be in the early stages of death. They are parasites. They need complicity of the masses to continue their authoritarian ways. Their goal, through never ending tax increases, carbon levies, and red tape, is to redirect the responsibility and blame by turning us against each other (the middle class versus the 1%) instead of solidifying against them and keeping us preoccupied with the daily stress and struggle of financial lack so they can continue along their merry way, unaccountable for their failures.

Entrenched elites believe they are entitled to carry on as they always have and dig their heels in deeper when met with resistance. Politicians, government officials, and bureaucrats are increasingly unrepresentative of and unresponsive to the grassroots of society. Corporations put profit ahead of what is right for a human life and what is right for our environment – people deserve to be compensated in a way that is commensurate for a healthy livelihood, not just the bare minimum of human rights or legislation.  Our “justice” system increasingly allows defendants to play the system for their benefit, delaying or even preventing justice for those who deserve it. The mainstream news media and Hollywood have become special interest groups, knowing when you control information you can more easily, and increasingly, manipulate the masses.

We believe that most people in governance and leadership positions – the elites, the politicos, and the bureaucrats – are not interested in bettering life for us and have proven they are in fact incapable or unwilling to do so. How many elections have gone by where you either haven’t voted, or at least considered not voting, because you felt the result would make no difference, even if a new government were formed with a new political party? The game is set, you don’t like the rules, so you choose not to play. The problem is, the players are the last people you want in these powerful, influential positions. Former UK Member of Parliament Douglas Carswell aptly labeled these oligarchical elites as parasites. 

Shine Out the Dark

Democracy is under threat, not because Millennials don’t value it, but because democratic institutions have lost credibility having been abused by the people who run them. Millennials believe government has the potential to create a lot of good and positive impact on society yet is failing to do so because of the people running the show. Neither do we necessarily think government has a lot, or should have a lot, of influence in society. We care deeply about freedom of choice, whether we choose to exercise those choices personally or not.

We cannot afford to lose our democratic rights and freedoms, yet we are: freedom of speech, freedom of thought and religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, personal privacy, the right to justice and equality before the law. These rights and freedoms are meant to ensure equal opportunity, but they and the strength of our democracies are now threatened by significant, growing problems that, if not addressed, will destroy our free societies. Stating this is not an exaggeration; most of the world does not live the way we take for granted. Generations before us fought and died to establish, preserve, and protect our rights and freedoms, and if we don’t pay attention, Millennials will be forced to make the same sacrifices. Now there are students on campuses spitting on the memories and memorials of the youth from generations ago, projecting their present-day privileged values on another era. In the twentieth century, war defined the generations protecting our right to freedom. Think about Europe at the start of the Second World War – how many people thought their democratic rights were secure, only to wake up one morning and see military tanks rolling down their streets? The loss of our democratic rights does not happen immediately, it’s like a frog in a pot of water being heated, slowly boiling to death. Many dictators and tyrants have used democratic means to gain power to govern antidemocratically. We are now at the simmer point.

We have elected ideologues instead of leaders, chosen fundamentalist doctrine instead of pragmatism and respect, resulting in less choice and flexibility for in our everyday lives. The elites treat tax dollars with little, if any, regard for the people from whom that money came. They don’t care about the poor, the middle class, or the 1%, they care only for themselves and the system that enables them. They force us to become more dependent on the state, leaving us helpless and unable to determine the best course for our lives, and unable and unwilling to protest in response, which creates societies that are unstable and susceptible to polarized influence and action. Millennials in socialist and communist countries (economic systems that have repeatedly proven throughout history to be failures) are the least interested, broadly speaking, of contributing to the positive improvement of their societies, likely because they feel limited or unable to catalyze change within the intensely controlled government structure. Over governance has choked financial independence from our citizens and burdened the Millennial and future generations with enormous debt. This is unsustainable, individually and societally, and must change.

To begin with, we need nuance. The elites who drive the conversation rely on outdated political ideologies because they don’t have any new ideas to bring to the table, which is why our problems get compounded. These elites don’t have the interest or backbone to allow necessary evolutions to take place, and narrowly believe from a closed-minded perspective that they can control every outcome with more regulation and more money.

Existing political parties, partisan organizations, and messaging do not resonate with Millennials. Across the globe we are witnessing political and governmental disorder because the people no longer believe and trust what the elites are saying and doing. Politicians including Millennial Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, American President Donald Trump, and French President Emmanuel Macron are a few examples of the “independent candidate” response from citizens to the challenges our democratic, capitalist societies are facing. Millennials will increasingly be at the front of the evolution of representation and governance going forward and will use democratic means against political, economic, and societal elites to achieve actual democratic ends.

Don't Dismiss Millennials

As the largest generation in history, there are approximately two billion Millennials worldwide at 30% of the global population and outnumbering Baby Boomers, who were previously the largest. In Western democracies, this breaks down to 180 million in the United States, between 10 and 24 million across Europe, and 5 and 9 million in Canada and Australia, respectively.

 Currently aged 18 to 38, Millennials will be 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Millennials vastly outnumber every other generation in developing and emerging countries, where the average age of some nations are in the low twenties and even high teens, as well as in many established democracies with their higher median ages. American Millennials alone are the third largest segment in the world, behind Asia and Africa, at 56% of the country’s population and 35% of the workforce. 

As Baby Boomer retirement accelerates, Millennials have come of age. Our generation are the leadership our societies need and are fully capable of leading the positive transformational evolution that’s beginning to take place. The legacy of Millennials, and what the future will look like under our leadership, will begin with the dismantling of that which burdens us and those who are incapable of adapting. We are already paying the price for the mistakes of previous generations. Now it’s up to us to take those lessons and apply them moving forward for the system to improve. We must accept the challenges we are faced with and choose to lead with solutions, otherwise our generation will become part of the problem as time goes on.

Millennials have skin in the game now. Born between 1980 and 2000, the oldest Millennials are in their late-thirties. We are well-established in our careers, and hold leadership, senior, and middle management positions. Many of us have families and homes. Millennials want to create positive change now, to serve as both our legacy and as the foundation of the futures of our children and beyond, and we are enabled to create this change quickly because of the advantages digital communication offers. We see how many of our peers are still unemployed or underemployed in what should be the most prosperous societies. We see the choices and opportunities, or lack thereof, available to us. We see how our taxes are being managed or mismanaged. We see how decisions are made, successful or ineffectual, and whether these strengthen or weaken our fundamental democratic and human rights. And we’ve reached the conclusion, particularly after watching our Baby Boomer parents struggle within the structures the eldest in their own generation created and beyond, that we will not live the same way.

 

Libertarians with a Social Conscience

Millennials differ from previous generations of young people in that we’ve grown up alongside the birth and development of digital technology; elder Millennials still remember dial-up internet and life before cell phones. We are globally-minded because that’s the experience and understanding of life we grew up with. Access to information does not mean Millennial values and attitudes are in a constant state of flux. All the information available to us provides greater understanding of the potential in the interconnectedness and complexity across our planet.

The inherent globalization in digital technology instilled in us the expectation of freedom – the right to search and learn, to travel and live elsewhere, to take risks and try unique life paths, and especially, freedom from fear and the abuse of the elites, which has developed into a strong desire to take on leadership roles that matter.

While Millennials are challenging the traditional workplace, consumer marketing, and fascinated by visionaries like Elon Musk, this disruption and innovation vision for the future is complemented with our love for old records and real books because we value the tangible and authentic. We strive for a tailored, customizable lifestyle and ignore unattainable hype, which is why traditional marketing and advertising no longer work.

With the Internet and spread of information worldwide, Millennials have unlimited access to information to inform our ideas on how to improve the state of the world. We don’t need government and media commentators telling us the right way to do anything. We look at these talking heads and ask ourselves, if they had known the answers all along as they claim to know them now, wouldn’t our societies’ problems be far fewer or on a credible path to resolution? Hypocrisy has been the most potent death blow to the credibility of institutions, from the Millennial perspective.

Millennials believe government has the potential to create a lot of good and positive impact on society yet is failing to do so because of the people running the show. Neither do we necessarily think government has a lot, or should have a lot, of influence in society. We care deeply about freedom of choice, whether we choose to exercise those choices personally or not. To put it simplistically, Millennials are libertarians with a social conscience. Live, and let live, and do what you can to improve the lives of others, or at the very least not cause harm.

Likewise, Millennials believe in the positive contribution potential business has for society, but we still prioritize our personal values – we believe organizational and personal values should be shared. We believe private business should be more influential in triggering economic growth than government, but that influence should be spread out, not monopolized. Despite what may be assumed, we rate non-governmental organizations and charities at the bottom of the list in terms of institutions that have influence and the potential to create positive change in society. 

Changing the Rules

These descriptions of Millennials are not entirely unique to Millennials – they describe human beings of all generations or of a particular mindset at a certain time of life. Much of what Millennials are facing right now are characteristic of a phase of life. What is unique, however, is the present context within which Millennials have come of age, and this context is the lens through which Millennials view both the past and the future and see why we are on the precipice of significant change.

For decades, the Baby Boomer generation created and reinforced certain cultural norms across society to their benefit. Evolution is supposed to take place but in democratic politics and government there has been minimal, if any, evolution. This is not to say revolutionary overhaul or lack of respect for tempered steps forward, but in many ways a devolution is taking place. In comfortable conditions growth and innovation stagnate, and robust and responsive leadership isn’t a priority when the whole system is based upon multi-level self-reinforcement of people used to getting their way. Millennials can’t afford to live this way, incredibly frustrated and disempowered to retain and maintain control over our own lives, unable to protect and defend ourselves from those who abuse our systems and institutions for their own benefit.

We have record levels of consumer (and public) debt and many are either unemployed or underemployed, unable to financially dig ourselves out and get ahead.

We can’t afford home ownership.

Our taxpayer funded public healthcare systems still require us to pay out of pocket for necessities like prescriptions, dental, or hospital care.

Increasingly unaffordable home prices, utilities, and property taxes (and sizes and lots that are older and smaller) mean we struggle to create stability, feel the accomplishment of ownership, and build equity for our future.

New parents are forced to choose between having income to provide the basics and being present to raise and care for families as healthy, happy humans for a healthy, happy society. Or we opt out of parenthood altogether.

Public education systems are failing to teach children basic math and literacy, let alone preparing them to become competitive adults in an evolving workforce, all while teacher unions demand lesser workloads and more pay and benefits, and administrators receive, in some cases, higher salaries than the national political leaders of our countries.

The cost of a parent or grandparent living in a retirement and long-term care home is equal to an indulgent mortgage.

We have no pension or old age security to fall back on.

Millennials want to make the world a better place. The inherent globalization in digital technology instilled in us the expectation of freedom – the right to search and learn, to travel and live elsewhere, to take risks and try unique life paths, and especially, freedom from fear and the abuse of the elites, which has developed into a strong desire to take on leadership roles that matter.

How Millennials Can Create Political Change, Now

Serbia and Otpor!

The former Yugoslavia was a country created in 1918. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and during the 1990s, Yugoslavia fell apart due to corruption, brutal war, multi-ethnic tensions, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and ultimately independence declarations by Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia.

Former Yugoslav President and Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milosevic became President of Serbia, and his regime was marked by corruption and violence. He refused to acknowledge the clear, democratic victory of an opposition coalition in the 1996 municipal elections, which defeated Milosevic’s party, and for the next 88 days, nonviolent protests brought Serbia to a standstill. Eventually, Milosevic capitulated to internal and international pressures. Yet, many coalition members turned out to be as corrupt as the communists, and the coalition fell apart, returning free rein to Milosevic.

In 1998, Milosevic introduced new laws restricting autonomy and freedom of expression at universities, and threatened independent news media. Outraged, a group of students led by Srdja Popovic founded the organization Otpor, meaning resistance, calling for the removal of Milosevic and the establishment of democracy and the rule of law. “Our ambition is to change the political consciousness of the Serbian populace,” said Popovic of Otpor’s goal to ultimately achieve transformation of political culture, by focusing on their primary objective first – removing Milosevic at the ballot box.

Otpor learned from the failures of other resistance movements, such as Tiananmen Square's democracy movement, which demonstrated you can’t win against military and police might. Like all dictators and tyrants, Milosevic maintained control of the populace through fear – the status quo of oppressive and corrupt societies. So Otpor employed the tactic of what they called “laughtivism” – enthusiasm and humor to combat fear and apathy. With irony and sarcasm, Otpor methodically mocked Milosevic’s power, from Jorge Luis Borges’ fundamental belief that "violence is the last sanctuary of the weak." Use humor to mock the oppressor, and mock their method of trying to discredit you.

Steve York, Bringing Down A Dictator documentary filmmaker, said of Otpor, "Every nonviolent movement has as its first obstacle the problem of overcoming fear. The Otpor kids were brave. They expected to be arrested, but they prepared for arrest with all sorts of publicity stunts and by training their activists how to behave when interrogated, by recruiting lawyers to help, by building solidarity. They calculated that their arrests, combined with their use of humor and ridicule, if sustained long enough, would persuade ordinary people to overcome their fear."

Otpor studied Dr. Sharp’s strategies for nonviolence and used them for the basis of their training manuals. Instead of protest marches and occupying plazas, Otpor used street theatrics – rock concerts, a lunar eclipse event featuring the eclipse of Milosevic's face, a New Year's Eve party in 2000 where the new year was rung in with the names and pictures of those who were killed in Milosevic's wars, and giving passersby’s on a busy downtown street a baseball bat to hit a wooden barrel with Milosevic’s face painted on it. They used lighthearted, low-risk tactics, to minimize the risk of violence, such as chasing officials while banging pots and pans, and offering police flowers to encourage defections. They tried a tactic used in Chile against military dictator General Pinochet, where people drove at half speed to slow the whole country down.

Srdja Popovich, one of the founders of Otpor! and the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Srdja Popovich, one of the founders of Otpor! and the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Not aligning with any political parties, Otpor organized a grassroots campaign against Milosevic for the 2000 election. Shamed by Otpor’s widespread grassroots support, the opposition coalesced around a law professor candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. On election night, Otpor and other independent groups had 30,000 trained volunteers at polling stations across the country to prevent fraudulent election results. Kostunica won, but Milosevic demanded a runoff vote, in an attempt to buy time and manipulate the outcome. Kostunica called for a general strike, and Otpor organized road blockades that brought the country to another standstill. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs gathered outside the Parliament building, and the police, whom Otpor convinced were Serbian citizens first, ignored orders to respond to the crowd. Milosevic admitted his defeat.

For over a year, thousands of Serbs had supported Otpor in their calculated strategy to undermine Milosevic’s legitimacy, turn the police and army against him, and force him to call an election. After the revolution, Otpor held the new government to account in its role as a watch dog, launching campaigns on government accountability, democratic reform, and fighting corruption. Otpor’s movement then turned into a political party, and eventually merged with the Democratic Party, with many of Otpor’s members elected to Parliament.

Otpor became a model for other youth-led movements across Eastern Europe, providing training in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. In 2002, Popovic and other Otpor members founded The Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). This non-profit, non-governmental, international network provides educational work related to strategic nonviolent conflict, and has been instrumental in training groups beyond Europe.

 

Tunisia and the Dignity Revolution

The term Arab Spring was coined in 2011, following the successful Dignity Revolution in Tunisia, to describe the wave of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East. Unlike revolutions in other nations in the region, only Tunisia was successful in overthrowing their dictator and transitioning to a functional, democratically elected government.

Over the past few decades, the population of the Middle East has exploded, with two-thirds of people currently under the age of 30. Tunisians, like many in the Middle East, face high and increasing levels of poverty and unemployment, with political corruption and repression. The Dignity Revolution began when a 26-year old street vendor lit himself on fire, later dying of his injuries, in a public square in response to police harassment, sparking nationwide protests. Like many young Tunisians, his university degree was not enough for him to find a job in a country with high youth unemployment, so Mohamed Bou'aziz began selling fruit to support his family, when police demanded bribes and then confiscated his vending cart.

In the initial protests, armed forces fought back and dozens of protestors were killed. As protests spread, however, they became more difficult to control, and despite President Ben Ali giving concessions to protestors, clashes and protestor deaths continued. After a month, a state of emergency was declared and President Ben Ali fled the country when armed forces refused to crack down on the nationwide pro-democracy protests. Protestors did not support the interim government, which disbanded Tunisia’s secret police force several months later before a Tunisian court dissolved Ben Ali’s political party, liquidating their assets and banning them from running in future elections.

After nearly a year of interim government, the first parliamentary elections were held in late 2011 to select a new assembly and draft a new constitution.  At nearly 70% voter turnout, a moderate Islamist party and their coalition with two secular parties won more than 40% of the vote.

Tunisians demanded employment, freedom, and dignity. Six years later, young Tunisians are still waiting for poverty relief, job creation, and improved economic conditions, and a fresh wave of protests have begun against the democratically elected government leaders’ failure to implement tangible improvements. Unlike the spontaneous initial protests of 2010-2011, these protests are organized by mainly university graduates facing long-term unemployment. Protestors are camping outside of the governor’s office and main intersections in a southern region of Tunisia, where they have shut down a key oil pipeline. They demand a quota for jobs filled by locals at the oil companies drilling in the region, the creation of jobs at an environmental agency, and an investment fund for job creation programs.

Like Millennials everywhere, the protestors of this “Second Revolution,” as they’re calling their leaderless, democratic movement, distrust the mainstream media, and are utilizing social media to organize. They reject involvement and alignment with any political party.

 

Hong Kong and Demosisto

Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed between the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom in 1984 led to the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty back to China in 1997. Due to the vast cultural differences that had developed over 155 years, Hong Kong, in theory, exists under the principle of “one country, two systems,” whereby Hong Kong maintains political and economic independence from mainland China. This arrangement to maintain the existing way of life will continue for fifty years, until 2047. In practice, however, the Chinese government has been incrementally exerting its influence in Hong Kong.

Joshua Wong was fourteen years old when he started the student organization Scholarism in 2012 to protest the National Education curriculum the Chinese government wanted introduced in Hong Kong public schools, which Scholarism viewed as an attempt at brainwashing. After ten days of protests, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive announced schools would hold autonomy over the decision whether to implement the new curriculum or not. Scholarism had won the battle.

In 2014, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council was engaged with the Chinese government in an electoral reform consultation process, where the Chinese government decided its Nominating Committee would pre-screen and determine who the final slates of eligible candidates would be in Hong Kong elections. By the fall of that year, Scholarism was leading protests and strikes against the decision. Hong Kong citizens did not want to see the development of incremental conditions that had led to the Chinese military killing thousands of peacefully protesting students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

What became known as the Umbrella Revolution later that year, named for the movement’s supporters using umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas, was an impromptu merging of Scholarism with Occupy Central, who were organizing in response to the Chinese government’s decision. For nearly three months, upwards of over 100,000 protestors peacefully occupied the city’s main financial and business district, including the main roads. Initially, the movement had the support of a huge proportion of Hong Kong citizens, but as time passed, with transportation blocked and businesses in the area losing revenue, support gradually slipped. People wanted to know what the movement was accomplishing, and the Chinese government knew they only needed to wait out the situation. Scholarism had won an early battle, but ultimately lost the war against the Chinese government when police cleared the protestors and their encampments.

Regardless of the outcome, Scholarism had applied the principles of nonviolence in their movement successfully. Wong and his fellow activists announced Scholarism was folding, and in its place, the launch of their Millennial-led, pro-democracy political party called Demosisto. In the 2016 Legislative Council election, 23-year old Nathan Law, one of the founders of Scholarism, was elected. He is Hong Kong’s youngest ever legislator. Like Otpor in Serbia, Demosisto realized societal change occurs through the political system, not occupying streets. Demosisto is calling for a referendum to take place in 2047, to determine Hong Kong’s future.

 

Nonviolence in Established Democracies

There are issues in this world bigger than ourselves and our opinions about them, bigger than the circle of people and corner of the world we identify with. Everyone who supported Otpor, the Dignity Revolution, and Demosisto is as varied within their nation as they are compared across regional lines. Political polarization, partisan bickering, and ideological hatred is antiquated and, frankly, boring. This is not what humanity is meant to be or to be focusing on. Millennials have so much potential available to us to create the future, not destroy and divide. Variety and diversity of thought, opinion, and experience is an invaluable element of humanity. When we first unite in what we share, then the differences among us are much more understandable and can be addressed in a positive way.

The mainstream media often reports revolutions as spontaneous uprisings, but successful movements only occur after years of a shift in societal consciousness and organization behind the scenes.

Building a movement takes time and must have the buy-in and support from all segments of society. Successful social movements appear to be, and often are, led by youth. But success only comes when the rest of society supports those youth, because essentially youth leaders are the face of a society’s sentiment, and have the energy, and even at times naivete, to take on threats older generations have fought before or didn’t have the opportunity to. The people of a society must be capable of engaging in the movement, not too busy just trying to survive to be able to mobilize. Revolution itself is also not enough, we must be prepared for the work that comes afterward to retain the gains and continue to move forward, toward new goals.

What do these successful examples of nonviolence movements in Serbia, Tunisia, and Hong Kong have in common?

  • Internal resistance, not external intervention, is the best driver for political change.

  • The core principles of nonviolence are unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline.

  • Don’t be predictable or confrontational.

  • Have a vision and clear plan of action, with tangible goals for supporters to build a strategy around.

  • Target the right pillars of support – the turning point in every successful nonviolent movement is flipping certain key institutions in your favour.

  • Expand the battlefield and pull third parties toward your goals.

  • Join forces with religious institutions – the church has been an important pillar in many successful movements.

 

When Nonviolence Fails

The leaders and supporters of the nonviolence movements in Serbia, Tunisia, and Hong Kong, and many others, made their decisions to organize with the expectation they would meet a violent response. There is no guarantee of success, or that there won’t be arrest, torture, or death. Dictators don’t give up without a fight, especially in societies where democracy and personal freedoms are not the cultural norm.

In the case of terrorist movements, research by political scientists Audrey Cronin and Max Abrahms shows these almost always die off without achieving any of their strategic aims, such as the failed independence movements in Puerto Rico, Ulster, Quebec, Basque Country, Kurdistan, and Tamil Eelam.

You have the choice to accept continuing to live in a system that does not meet your democratic expectations and needs, or you can do something to change it. What options for change do you have – meet violence with violence, guaranteeing violence, or meet violence with nonviolence, reducing the chance of violence?

Assuming the World Health Organization’s definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation," it could also be argued that our democratic government and capitalist societies are already nonviolent, so if we don’t like the way things are, what use is more nonviolence?

Abuse and neglect are also forms of violence, and the non-physical psychological application of violence also aims to exert power and control, whether intentional or as result of incompetence, which leads to both mental health and physical health problems. The impact of psychological violence can be just as significant as that of physical forms of violence, where the actions humiliate and degrade, limit or monitor access to things or people, and threaten or exploit vulnerabilities, leading to anxiety, stress and stress-related physical pain and illness, and depression. If you’re underemployed or unemployed, possibly for an extended period of time, with limited or no future prospects despite your best efforts, you’re likely to criticize the negligence of your government in creating those poor economic conditions. Even moreso if you question the abuse of power by politicians and bureaucrats who continue to benefit while you continue to suffer. 

In their book based on their 2011 study, Chenoweth and Stephan found almost three-quarters of nonviolent movements get either some or all of what they demanded, compared with only a third of the violent ones. They also show that the success rate of nonviolent protest movements has steadily climbed since the 1940s, while that of violent movements has fallen since the 1980s.

There are no guarantees in life, about anything. At least the odds with nonviolence are in your favor.

How MiFID II Regulation Impacts Millennial Employment

MiFID II, the EU’s continued response to the 2008 financial crisis, came into force just over a year ago and took on a number of regulatory avenues in the financial markets. The regulation, introduced January 2018, is meant to create further transparency for investors and customers. One particular area of focus is the impact on research costs.

Prior to MiFID II, an investment firm would be able to charge investors for research costs by lumping it under their commission or brokerage fees.[i] With MiFID II, “research costs” are to be recognized separately from this previous form. From now on, research costs are either recognized as an isolated revenue stream, or absorbed by the investment firm as an additional cost. [ii]

Although this affects Europe specifically, the intersectionality of global markets means that the new regulation for research costs will have an impact abroad as well. Plainly, non-EU firms that distribute research to European clients will be held accountable to regulation outlined by MiFID II as well.

The influence of these guidelines are yet to be fully understood, the response that investment firms will employ when faced with the regulation; is wedged between deciding whether or not to charge customers for research. Sustaining this activity could enable a new set of opportunities for firms to specialize in research, and potentially create an industry predicated on the different faucets of research opportunities.[iii]

Conversely, while this shift may represent growth for some, another potential outcome lies in the possibility of substantial cuts to research teams. Investment banks have already begun to cut back on research department resourcing to cut excess costs.[iv] The CFA institute- a global association of investment professionals- conducted a survey of its European members and found that 53% expect the firm to pay for research.[v]

Since research costs are to be accounted for separately, it also sheds light on a growing need for the definition between what constitutes research costs, and what would be considered “other expenses”.[vi] Items that might be labelled “ideas and commentary” and not constitute as a true “recommendation for action” could fall under the spectrum of marketing costs, instead of revenue-generating research costs.[vii] This change in the cost allocation impacts the number of analysts needed in teams, and resultantly teams will be looking to slim down to retain only a certain number of staff. The research job pool has already seen sizeable cuts with the number of analysts at the 12 biggest banks/investment banks having fallen by over 600 in the last 4 years.[viii] The CFA Institute recently noted “any changes in where research is sourced from may have implications for where analysts are employed, as well as for the aggregate number of analysts employed.”[ix]

Millennials can expect some impact; analyst roles in financial institutions are largely filled by entry-level positions, typically comprised of fresh graduates looking to establish their careers. This is not to say that Millennials will necessarily see major job cuts, but it is worth pondering whom, if not those who are just getting their foot in the door, will be most affected by this new regulation.


[i] Bloomberg (September 19, 2016) MFID II set to disrupt investment research worldwide

[ii] Ibid Bloomberg

[iii] Quinlan & Associates (August 2016) Research in an unbundled world

[iv] Financial Times (February 7th 2017) Final call for the research analyst?

[v] CFA Institute (2017) MIFID II: A new paradigm for investment research

[vi] PricewaterhouseCoopers (September 2016) The future of research

[vii] Ibid PricewaterhouseCoopers

[viii] Ibid Financial Times

[ix] Ibid CFA Institute


About the Author

Savraj Syan is a young professional with a background in finance and accounting, who has a penchant for politics and public policy.

Generation Identity: Millennials Fighting for the Future

There’s a movement taking place across Europe, of thousands of Millennials in each nation united under a banner called Generation Identity. In response to the cultural and economic crisis created by mass immigration, feeling alienated and as minorities in their homelands, these Millennials define themselves specifically as ethno-pluralist, not nationalist. They are not against immigrants or foreigners, only the government-sponsored mass migration movement and its disastrous, unintended consequences. Even so, the mainstream news media have predictably called supporters of Generation Identity racists and xenophobes. Yet this is a generation that doesn’t trust, give credence, or need the supportive voice of these so-called journalists, as the movement continues to grow rapidly. Accusations of extremism are so over-used in society today, the terms are meaningless to a generation sick of being told to conform to ideological groupthink.

Until now, the silent majority in Europe who are against mass immigration and Islamization of their societies have had no platform or voice for their concerns, and those who do speak up are routinely silenced and their reputations destroyed. Hundreds of thousands have viewed Generation Identity’s YouTube videos despite algorithms searching for and deleting their content across the internet, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have suspended their accounts and pages without any justification. The Identitarians have responded with legal challenges to this censorship, and already won court cases against those seeking to deplatform their members. In the face of censorship by payment gateways such as Paypal and Mastercard, Generation Identity accepts donations in the form of blockchain cryptocurrency.

Up to 50 percent of Millennials in some European countries are unemployed despite being university educated and are without future career prospects. Social safety net services are being redirected from native citizens in need to migrants, even those who have been ordered for deportation. Attacks on women, seniors, gays, and Jews have dramatically risen, and police and emergency services avoid no-go zones. On these and on every other issue, politicians from every party refuse to listen to their nation’s citizens. Now, the largest generation in history is fighting back.

 

Who Are Generation Identity?

The pan-European Identitarian movement is inspired by Génération Identitaire, which began in France in 2012 by occupying the roof of a nearly completed mosque in the city of Poitiers. This was highly symbolic because this town is near where Charles Martel repelled a Muslim invasion in the year 732 A.D. during the Battle of Tours, thus saving France and Europe from an Islamic domination. In 2016, Génération Identitaire installed barricades on Calais city’s bridges to prevent Muslim migrants from entering the town and harassing its inhabitants.

Generation Identity, which is also called the Identitarian Movement, is now a Europe-wide patriotic youth movement that promotes the values of homeland, freedom, and tradition through peaceful activism, political education, and community and cultural activities. They aim to preserve the cultural heritage that has characterized European countries and the continent over many thousands of years and see it as their mission to argue for a peaceful and secure future within Europe, and value the path forged by the ethno-cultural tradition of their European ancestors.

They believe the crucial questions of the twenty-first century will be asked in the field of identity politics and acknowledge that the current demographic situation is unfavourable for the indigenous European population. These Millennials foresee continued increase in ethnic, cultural, and religious conflicts unless there is a political rethink. They are unaffiliated with any political party, who have all failed their citizens on the issue of immigration despite rhetoric for decades claiming they would tackle the issue in alignment with public opinion, yet in practice allowed government policy to fester.

As a non-violent youth movement that highlights the need for open and honest public debate about immigration policies, identity, and the future of their nations and of Europe, their three core aims are to stop the Islamisation of Europe, oppose globalisation, and stop and reverse the Great Replacement of ethnic Europeans.

The affirmation of their own identity is a self-evident, basic consensus which does not require any party programs. Politically, they do not fit into the pre-fabricated left-right political spectrum and believe patriotism and love of native country are central societal values that do not need to be forced into party political templates.

Generation Identity’s opponents include far-right and far-left activists who attempt to neutralize their effectiveness by infiltrating and discrediting their movement, including through violence, yet Generation Identity has done a remarkable job of identifying and expelling these individuals and their networks. Generation Identity is explicit that they do not provide a platform for any national-socialist or fascist groups or views, nor involve themselves with conflicts outside of Europe.

Every winter Generation Identity supporters organize to provide food, clothing, and humanity to those abandoned by the State’s social welfare system that has become the benefits program for migrants.

 

Authentic Change

Generation Identity believes political change is not only possible in parliament and in party politics, but also in cultural activities, public debates, the media, and on the streets. Therefore, they act in a kind of ‘pre-political space’ which determines discourse and thus serves as the basis for direct and concrete political decisions. The Identitarians strive for a normal, patriotic state of affairs and aim to shape public debate and influence public opinion in a peaceful and democratic way to thus serve as an impetus for the electoral decisions, political awareness, and cultural activity of Europeans.

The collective guilt of earlier generations of Europeans from the consequences of the First and Second World Wars do not burden the shoulders of these Millennials. Fed up with political correctness and being sidelined by the Establishment Elites, Generation Identity are fighting a battle for ideas, and for what is acceptable to think and say. They do not just aim to influence public discourse with their activism, but also seek to bring the most motivated and creative people into their ranks through spectacular action; a silent, passive life for these activists is out of the question.

In every western nation, Millennials are consistently criticized as a generation that is self-interested and unwilling to participate in creating the future, yet the Identitarians go one crucial step further than many protest movements by developing and outlining their demands with concrete solutions. Less preoccupied with selfies, Generation Identity believes materialistic values provide too little meaning and understand the need to create real communities based on real values. Generation Identity addresses the need for meaning by creating local community touchpoints and cultural connections for young native Europeans.

Experts in the Politics of Nonviolence, an actionable theory established by Dr. Gene Sharp that has instructed generations of successful political youth movements, Generation Identity disseminates their ideas and engages in street activism, delivers serious analysis and solutions to current social and political developments, and supports young people in the application of their talents.

Their Battle Cry

Generation Identity’s symbol is the lambda, which was used by the Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae in 480BC. Led by King Leonidas of Sparta, the Greek forces were vastly outnumbered, over 21 to 1 by a massive Persian army. The Greeks held off the Persians for seven days before their rear-guard was annihilated in one of history’s most famous last stands. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans, fighting to the death.

Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native soil. The lambda circle can also be seen as a shield. The top of the arrow stands for the metapolitical centre Generation Identity intends to conquer, with the Identitarian movement as the spearhead.

Generation Identity’s Demands

Supporters say by loving and respecting our own identities, we can understand how and why others love theirs. Generation Identity seeks to reverse the European population replacement by mass immigration, a direct cause of decades of government policy since the middle of the twentieth century, and they have a plan. European political leaders have admitted their culturally neutral policy of multiculturalism, dependent on the assumption of assimilation and integration, has failed. States need a strong culture for the state to exist and remigration is required.

Between 700,000 and 800,000 migrants in Austria and about 900,000 migrants in Germany alone leave each year, yet this is still far less than the number coming in, which has totaled over 15 million in the last decade. This demographic dynamic is created by incentives; by inversing the push-pull factors that incentivize mass immigration, such as freezing social spending, cutting back the welfare state, and activating policies of de-islamization, European countries can change tendencies where migrants choose to leave. Reverting the Great Replacement in this manner can be achieved without violence or changing basic laws, simply by abiding by the constitution, which European politicians should have been doing all along and intentionally failed to do.

Preservation of Ethno-Cultural Identity

“We demand a long-overdue open debate on the question of our identity in the 21st century. The established range of positions is limiting this question solely to the utopia of a unified one world ideology. We, on the other hand, insist on a world of plurality, peoples and cultures. We believe in true diversity in which all peoples have a right to preserve and promote their group identity in their homelands.

“As it stands, the establishment are working tirelessly to deny this to our peoples. We want to preserve our peoples’ ethnocultural identity: an identity that is anchored in common consensus and viewed as a fundamental right in our society.”

Defence of Defining Values

“We believe that both love of one’s own country and genuine freedom of speech are essential values for our societies. For many years the political ‘left’ has dominated media and culture, often stifling views counter to their own. Now is the time for an Identitarian counter-voice to enter the stage.

“Love of one’s own country is something completely healthy and natural. It is simply a normal part of human nature. We want everyone to be able to take pride in their own culture and traditions without having to experience suppression and marginalisation.”

Remigration

“We call for the humane repatriation of anyone who has entered our countries illegally. Concerning legal immigration, The Great Replacement in Europe requires us to work towards reversing migration flows. This reversal will serve the preservation of peace, security and stability in all European countries.”

International Aid on the Ground

“We desire a world where every human feels secure in his or her homeland. We, therefore, strongly support regional development work for countries shaped by war and poverty, helping people to remain in and develop their own homelands. This is encapsulated in our statement: ‘immigration destroys Europe, emigration destroys Africa’. “

Secure Borders

“We need effective measures from our governments to regain security and control over our state territories. Our borders must be categorically defended against mass migration and The Great Replacement. Securing our borders will establish far more security and stability in our countries.”

 

Defend Europe Missions

During the summer of 2017, Generation Identity led the Defend Europe mission in the Mediterranean. The goal was to prevent the boats of pro-illegal migrant associations from working in complete freedom and to denounce the practices of these NGOs, which in reality is human trafficking. This mission made it possible to draw attention to the situation in the Mediterranean and forced politicians to position themselves on the topic. Today, the activities of these associations are closely monitored.

In April 2018, Generation Identity started the Defend Europe Alps mission. This operation took place in three phases. First, they closed the border to prevent illegal immigrants from entering France. Next, they deployed in mobile surveillance teams to monitor a larger area. Finally, they conducted investigations in order to understand where the illegal immigrants were getting through, identify who was smuggling them in, and how this was all organised in order to denounce them. Thanks to this operation, Generation Identity proved to the public authorities that with political will it is possible to regain control of Europe’s borders. As a result, the government decided to increase the number of police officers at this crossing point.

 

Countering the Critics

What does the term 'Great Replacement' mean and who is responsible for it?

The Great Replacement describes the process by which the indigenous European population is replaced by non-European migrants. We are facing a demographic crisis across Europe where our peoples are becoming a minority in their own countries. Declining birth rates, mass immigration and the sharp increase in Islamic parallel societies will lead to the almost complete destruction of European societies within a matter of decades if no countermeasures are taken.

Our multiculturalist self-abolition ideology, which dominates a large part of our societies’ political debate, is further accelerating this process and leading to a fatal blindness among politicians and the media to future consequences if the current policies of open borders continue. Experts predict a migration wave of up to one billion people from Africa and Asia to Europe over the coming decades.

We can predict quite precisely that a continuation of current immigration policies and the multicultural agenda will lead to many European peoples becoming a minority in their own countries. In many urban areas, we can already observe the occupation of areas by Islamic parallel societies and other non-European communities.

Ethnic, religious and cultural tensions have already been established in our societies. It is therefore of vital importance that we Brits, Irish and Europeans, reconquer the cultural vacuum resulting from this and resolve the demographic crisis in our countries through peaceful means.

 

What does the term 'Reconquista' mean?

The term Reconquista (“reconquest”) is based on the historical event of the Visigothic kingdoms successors’ gradually recapturing the Iberian Peninsula, which had been held by Muslim conquerors. Today, while we may not be facing an immediate military confrontation, the threat is one of self-destruction through a multicultural zeitgeist. Our fight is therefore a war of words, ideas and politics.

We, Generation Identity, want to reconquer the social discourse, which have been dominated by a left-wing hegemony. We are a loud patriotic voice that shows its face, one that is creating new pathways for the values of tradition and national pride. Love for our own and an awareness of our ethno-cultural identity are matters we should take for granted and of which we should not feel ashamed. We want patriotism to become an important value for society.

We also believe in true freedom of expression so that these important issues will have a place in the public discourse. These are our demands and for this cause we go on the streets every day to form a phalanx for the Reconquista.

 

Are you against foreigners?

Not at all. Our criticism and political actions are not directed against immigrants and refugees as individuals or groups. The pull factors of the migration movements to Europe are largely caused by the political and social elites’ fatal incentive policies, as they, directly or indirectly, push the ideologically-driven and fraudulent multicultural experiment.

Our protest is therefore directed at the centres of decision-making and influence that continue to push this ‘asylum’ insanity ever further though misleading and false politics. The phenomena of mass immigration and Islamization are tendencies of a systemic development observed throughout Europe for a number of years. Our focus is primarily directed towards this ideological inclination for self-abolition.

We do not lapse into simplistic protest against immigrants themselves. For us, alongside criticizing current politics, it is also important to rebuild a self-confident relationship with our own ethno-cultural identity and to emphasize our ‘own’ without falling into xenophobic reflexes. 

What do you mean by 'Identity'?

Human identity is formed through a complex network of historical, biographical, cultural, religious and social associations. Throughout the stages of our personal socialisation, distinctive features of our identity emerge. There is always an interactive relationship between the individual and collective identity. The ethno-cultural aspect is a collective feature of our identity which forms the core of Identitarian political activity and is what we aim to preserve. We believe that every people on Earth is distinguished by its particular diversity and that each brings some unique way of life, values, culture, origin, religion and social practices.

All peoples have the right to preserve and defend the characteristics and features of its ethno- cultural identity. And it is this preservation that we demand for our own regional, national and European identity. In the 21st century, with the pressure of mass immigration and Islamization, the question of identity has become a polarizing theme, on which we, as Generation Identity, take a strong stance.

We stress that identity is characterised by uniqueness on the one hand and by diversity and distinctness on the other one. The perception of a ‘we’ inevitably comprises the perception of the ‘other’. Only those who hold an honest identity for themselves and their own can, at the same time, openly acknowledge the diversity of the others. This position is a clear rejection of racism and chauvinism, since we want to preserve the identity of each and every people and culture, and we reject an uprooting or depreciation of a particular ethno-cultural community. We want to preserve the identity of our own people in its distinctiveness along with all the other peoples of the world.

The ethnic and the cultural aspects of our identity are of equal value to us. We reject an over- emphasis of any one particular aspect of identity.

Ethno-cultural identity has always developed as a holistic relationship and has left its basic marks throughout history with peoples perpetuating themselves. As Identitarians, we want our European identity to have the right to exist in one-hundred years’ time and beyond.

Identity unfolds at different levels: on the regional level it is characterized by a direct attachment to one’s own city, village and region. Dialects, customs and regional history shape this identity. At the next level is national identity, which is characterized by its direct tie to a people or a state, representing a comprehensive identification framework, characterized by social, linguistic and cultural rules. As Generation Identity, we reject dogmatising national identity. We believe the national and regional levels complement each other. Such aspects of identity, taken together, create a common framework that builds upon and complements one another.                                                                                                                                       

Finally, there is the identity of civilisation that for us is constituted in the European identity. Through origin, history and culture all Europeans share both a common heritage and a common destiny, the emphasis and awareness of which is now all the more necessary as the current developments affect our continent as a whole. The history of Europe has always been shaped by cultural exchange and cooperation.

 

How do you want to implement your aims?

We instill our messages in the public space through spectacular campaigns in order to break through the spiral of political and media silence.

For far too long the left-liberal establishment has claimed authority for itself to interpret reality for the public. As patriotic youth we are confident and confront those decision makers and elites with their failures who have had our generation growing up with the grand delusion of a multicultural utopia. We break through their deceptive consensus and challenge them in their own comfort zones.

There is now a patriotic antithesis in the UK and Europe. We take to the stages that convey our agenda on the widest possible level.

At the same time, we are creating alternative educational programs that give young people practical tools of application in the area of political activism and campaign management, enabling them to effectively develop their talents.

Are your goals not racist OR extremist?

Not in the least. To work for a patriotic and free homeland is the foundation of every cohesive human society. Identity is the defining factor creating social support as well as a cultural and moral orientation for people within their own environment. A nation-state is characterized by spatial, temporal and historical factors and this forms the basic consensus in any serious debate on national and international law, history, politics and social sciences.

However, the fact that standing for the preservation of ethnocultural identity is today classified by established politicians as outside the bounds of acceptable discourse, demonstrates that our political and social decision-makers do not consider it necessary to develop a self-confident attitude towards their own identity. They try to ostracise and vilify those who criticise the unbridled mass immigration or those who demand a sovereign border policy and the proper enforcement of asylum laws. As Generation Identity we hold the imperative of non-violence in all our actions and political work. We rely on a peaceful and creative protest that succeeds without threats or intimidation.

Our actions always focus on the love of our own home regions, countries and Europe and emphasize this right to home, culture, origin and rootedness also for the stranger, who we approach with respect and recognition according to our principles of ethnic pluralism. Our political actions are based solely on the preservation and historical continuation of a common ethno-cultural identity and millennials-old heritage for the whole of Europe.

In most other countries such a commitment to this basic social foundation is considered the minimal societal and political consensus. Therefore, we merely demand the same patriotic normality for Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe, which has nothing to do with extremism or racism.

What goals and demands do Generation Identity seek?

As a non-party political movement, our central political operation field lies in raising awareness of our positions and their link to our ethno-cultural identity. Thus, we are influencing the existing political discourse, which currently denies, discredits, and in some cases even criminalizes the natural affirmation of what is one’s own.

We call for an open debate about the meaning of our own ethno-cultural identity in the 21st century that is free of any ideological and universalistic bias.

Aside from that, we also follow real political developments with a critical view – the unrestrained mass migration, the loss of our own territorial integrity by the opening of the state borders, the resulting loss of internal security, and the dominant spread of Islamic parallel societies – for which we aim to raise awareness through activism, campaigns and educational work.

We see ourselves as agents for shaping public opinion and we counterpose the general left-leaning trend in our societies with a patriotic alternative.

Chapters by Country

Austria

Czech Republic

Denmark

France

Germany

Hungary

Italy

Poland

Serbia

Slovenia

Switzerland

United Kingdom and Ireland

Demosisto, Hong Kong’s democracy movement

Hong Kong was established as a British colony and existed under British rule from 1841 to 1997. In 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China under a transfer of sovereignty, with its freedoms guaranteed for 50 years.

A new political party started by Millennials, called Demosisto, campaigns for the self-determination of Hong Kong, pledging to hold a referendum in 10 years to let the people decide their own fate beyond 2047, when the principle of “one country, two systems”, from the transfer of sovereignty agreement, expires.

 

The Umbrella Revolution

The political, pro-democracy Umbrella Revolution was a series of peaceful, sit-in street protests by students and young professionals in Hong Kong between September and December 2014. Umbrellas became the symbol of the protest, as protestors used them to shield themselves from tear gas. Supporters of the Umbrella Revolution fear civil liberties are disappearing at a rapid pace by the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government in advance of 2047.

The Umbrella Revolution protests ignited out of the NPCSC's (National People’s Congress Standing Committee) decision against electoral reform for the 2017 Hong Kong Executive election. Protestors demanded Beijing allow fully free elections of future leaders, retraction of the NPCSC’s decision, universal suffrage, abolition of functional constituencies of Legislative Council of Hong Kong, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

As leaders of the Umbrella Revolution, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were among those who founded Demosisto. Among the fractured opposition movement, nine newcomers were successfully elected in 2016 legislative elections. Law was elected the city's youngest ever lawmaker, but he was one of several disqualified from office by Hong Kong courts after Beijing enacted a rarely-used power to "reinterpret" the city's constitution, putting more stringent requirements on how legislators took their oaths of office. Law’s oath was determined to be “insincere”.

Wong was too young to run in the 2016 elections.

 

Fight for Justice

Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow, were found guilty of unlawful assembly for the Umbrella Revolution protests and ultimately sentenced to time in prison. In November 2017, Wong and Law were released on bail pending appeals against their jail terms; Chow did not apply for bail. If they lose their appeals, Wong and Law could be sent back to serve the remainder of their sentences, six months and eight months, respectively.

Wong is now seeking a High Court ruling that a ban on anyone who has been jailed for more than three months from running for elected office for five years is unconstitutional. The rule ruins the political aspirations of Wong and another imprisoned Demosisto activist, Ivan Lam.

 

Looking Ahead

Wong, who is featured in a new Netflix documentary about himself and their democracy movement, acknowledges that continuing the fight is likely to become increasingly difficult as Chinese leader Xi Jinping emphasises zero tolerance of any challenges to Beijing’s sovereignty, “In the future — from elections to social movements — I believe Hong Kong people will advance and retreat with us,” he says. “It’s more dangerous and risky to fight for democracy in Hong Kong. But I think as the suppression intensifies, our resistance will be stronger.”