By Caitlin Parr
A resurgence in political ideologies is often the first sign of public unrest and dissatisfaction with the country’s current political, economic or social climate.
The resurrection of socialist ideals amongst the youth of today has become increasingly apparent following recent global social justice crises such as economic recessions, prevailing systemic racism, an increasing wealth gap, the predominating climate emergency and the Coronavirus pandemic to name but a few.
With the UK slowly beginning to adjust to a post-Brexit and post-COVID economy, many are falling on difficult financial times following redundancy and diminishing job security in the labour market. By March 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic had already played a part in the loss of more than 50,000 jobs, as unemployment totals hit 1.3 million following the pandemic’s phenomenal impact on the economy.
Younger people around the world are witnessing these depressions from the side lines, becoming increasingly frustrated, and taking vocal public action in an attempt to encourage change.
It has always been a well-known fact that money makes the world go round, but how can an economy on its knees keep pushing us forward when the youth of today will dig their heels in until our capitalist state is abolished for good?
Often misconstrued as an attempt to tackle liberal and leftist social causes, socialism actually represents the economic theory that wealth traded and exchanged within the labour market should be controlled by the workers themselves.
With resources allocated to those who physically produce the market’s goods, the public needs are more likely to be recognised and met. This is not the case when organisations are owned by private and elite members of society whose empathy may never stretch far enough to fulfil employee needs.
In economic theory, socialism is constantly intertwined with global social justice issues, as the majority of these issues will be escalated by contributing economic factors such as the prevailing wealth gap and gender pay gap, life below the poverty line, and also the hoarding of wealth and invaluable resources by wealthier counterparts.
The class gap
After being raised in a society where your accumulated wealth is perceived to be the only way to truly measure your success, it is understandable why young people entering the world of work or higher education for the first time are aiming high.
Though a young person’s socio-economic background is still likely to encourage preconceived middle- and upper-class prejudices against them, with employers often automatically undermining their true maximum potential solely based on their names or postal codes.
The belief that money still equates to power in the UK leaves little to no hope of a recent graduate or school leaver being respected in our current labour market, and will often lead to their employers, landlords, or lecturers exploiting them for more capital gain.
The populating opinion that internship and placement roles don’t qualify as being worthy of a regular salary in our current climate has made it increasingly difficult for the class of 2020 to secure any form of experience in their skill set areas post-graduation. As working-class students are often unable to commit to employment tarnished with no income, these opportunities are left open for more affluent peers who can afford self-sustainability across the contract.
Following recent outrage surrounding the 2020 A-Level results of working-class public schools undeniably altered by a Government algorithm, we can see that lower working class pupils and their families are once again reminded of the continuously reinforced class gap that still prevails in the UK – even after teaching staff attempted to prove that these students were just as capable as their wealthy counterparts in private education.
In a society where the perception that the working-class are valued solely on their contribution to the labour market is becoming increasingly popular, it is understandable where attitudes of resentment begin and where the tolerance of capitalism ends.
The expiration date of capitalism is something that a rising number of young people are very publicly advocating for, whether that be to benefit them financially in the future, or for the sake of socio-economic justice being served for their working-class peers.
State-side, Donald Trump’s opinions on socialism have not gone amiss either, with the President avidly disagreeing with the youth’s push for socialism and describing the theory as “one of the most serious challenges our countries face”, before also noting that the ideology was the “wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies”. As the art of digital canvassing is now a huge contributor to the political alignment of young people, comments like this from Trump do not get off lightly and can be shared worldwide in mere seconds.
How are young people in America hearing this from their elected President but not aligning with his views? Well, it is important to remember that not only were a mere percentage of young people old enough to vote back in 2016, but also that Trump didn’t win the most votes in the election anyway – a catalyst for resentment among democratic socialists nation-wide.
The future of capitalism
With every injustice the working-class face, the expiration date of capitalism could be edging closer. After witnessing enormous public revolt against life-threating social justice issues such as the murder of George Floyd, our climate emergency, and female employee exploitation etc in recent months, we are beginning to experience a shift in social attitudes world-wide that has not been seen for many decades.
Socialism is an immediately attractive option to eradicate even a handful of these problems hastily and it is becoming increasingly likely that political alignments will begin to sway. The Brexit referendum and Coronavirus outbreak have been two unique challenges in our political history, but do both offer an insight into just how quickly traditional regional allegiances to particular parties and ideologies can change based on the current demands. As swiftly as we saw this change in the 2019 General Election, it could all change again.
As we progress, electoral powers will be gradually passed on to the younger generations. With these young people being those who are populating the social media discussions and debates, our political landscape is sure to change phenomenally following the influence of this fresh voting demographic. Their passion for social justice is our future, but after entering yet another recession just this week, can we ever fund this utopian dream without converting the top 1% first?