STOP AGONISING, START ORGANISING

You might think that things couldn't get any worse after finding out politicians claiming to represent us are using taxpayers' money to build houses for ducks rather than homes for people and a government preferring to attack each other than attack the recession. With Big Brother back on our screens, it's like going from one reality show to another.

But in the real world, people are getting sacked, evicted and left on the scrapheap of the recession. And young people are getting hit the hardest, with unemployment rates much higher than other age group in "last to join, first to leave" jobs. These aren't just passing concerns but "permanent scars" even going as far as damaging their physical and mental health.


So rather than choose which sides to take in the political football games going on in Westminster village, isn't it time to stop agonising and start organising? To choose to campaign to fight the recession where we are, whether that's neighbourhoods, our campuses or our workplaces?


You may have set up an online group because you were getting ripped off. You may have invited people to a campaign session so people can live better off. You may have written to your MP to support the campaign you care about the most. You may have pitched up your tent to prevent the world turning to toast.


You may have stayed at a shelter to help the homeless. You may have gone down the beach to clean up the mess. You may have taken part in a flashmob to show people how exploitation of young people at work just isn't right. You may have marched through the streets to reclaim the night.


You may have been a street captain spreading hope not hate, you may have interviewed the wild and wonderful to instigate debate. You may have got into a bath of baked beans to raise money for comic relief...Or you may not have got involved with any of these.


Whether you've been involved in organizing before or not, you're might be curious about how to campaign and who knows even fired up about an issue you'd like to campaign on. There is no right or wrong way on how to turn an issue you care about into a campaign - just look at the examples above and you can see all the different and exciting ways people have gone about it.


So just imagine if you could bring together people who are campaigning in their communities, people that are getting their voice heard in the media and those using new and creative tools to put this in action.


Just imagine if you could work with each other to develop exciting ways to campaign, finding out how others are organising and creating the spaces where activists with different skills involved in different groups can affect real change together.


We have all been to conferences where most of the time the only way we have ever got input into our events is over a drink down the pub. Don't get me wrong, I'm still keen on having those sideline chats at the end of the bar, but there are probably other ways which are just as exciting.


That's why we've joined up with TUC Young Members and Toynbee Hall to launch a weekend to fight back against the recession.
On Saturday 20th June, you'll be able to get together into groups to discuss what impacts the recession is having on young people and what the Government should be doing in response. You'll then be able to put forward ideas on how we might more effectively organise and campaign for the rights of young people in and out of work.

On Sunday 21st June, we'll share grassroots stories from local campaigners, get together with facilitators so you can develop your skills on new campaigning techniques. You'll be able to get involved with other young people in trying these out to create new campaigns together to fight the recession.
We want the workshops to be driven as much by the people taking part as the speakers facilitating, as much by the intensity of developing a campaign in such a short space of time as the excitement of activists with such a diversity of experiences - working together to tackle issues which matter to you.

We do want to produce something at the end of the day however and although it will be intense, ultimately you'll have developed a campaign that you can take away together and take forward across your networks.


So let's dive right in, get our hands dirty and start campaigns - let's help people create change for themselves, from the grassroots up.


It's time to take back our future, it's time for you to take back your communities.

Noël Hatch, National Chair, Compass Youth


To take part and find out more about our activities next weekend, please go to www.compassyouth.org or contact noel.hatch1@gmail.com

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