JOIN THE WAVE

Compass Youth are campaigning on Young People and the Recession. But we know this isn't just an economic crisis, it's an environmental one too. But let's stop agonising and start organising. Saving the environment saves you money - swap your clothes with friends rather than buy those made from sweat shops. Fighting climate change is exciting and successful - swoop a power station and you too can stop it pumping out dirty coal like at Kingsnorth.

We want to start bringing together Compass Youth activists interested in climate change, so after our successful workshop SWaP your Story, you told us you wanted to hold politicians to account on this issue and get together with other activists to make your voice heard - that's why we're joining the Wave!

DROP OUTS OR START UPS?

The more there will be people losing their jobs, the more there will be people with more time and less money.

What can young people do with their time and energy if they've got no job to go to? How can they spend their time more creatively? Can young people out of work be the next generation of social entrepreneurs?

We don't know...That's why we want you to come and tell us what ideas we should campaign on to tackle youth unemployment. That's why we want you to come to the first of a series of sessions focused on different ways young people out of work can develop their skills.

As well as being able to have your say in shaping our priority campaign for 2010, you'll be able to hear from an amazing trio of social entrepreneurs, David Floyd (Social Spider), Peter Ptashko (Young UnLtd) and Amisha Ghadiali (Amisha/The Hub) who'll share their stories.

Sign up here!


Events

COMPASS POINTS TO THE FUTURE

ARE YOU READY FOR THE WAVE?


On 5th December we're going to see The Wave: the UK's biggest ever climate demonstration, 2 days before the most important climate meeting ever, begins in Copenhagen.

The Wave is organised by Stop Climate Chaos, a huge coalition of organisations that are all mobilising their members, and will bring together people from all walks of life, including people that don't normally go on marches.

I'm trying to get as many people as possible to the Wave, because I see this as the best opportunity we've ever had to bring all those people that care about climate change together.

If we get a really impressive number of people out on the streets we can show not only the UK government, but also the UK public, how big this movement is and how many people want the sort of radical changes we'll need to stop climate chaos. I'll see you there on the 5th!

KEEP YOUR COINS, WE WANT CHANGE!


A couple of friends and I have decided to organise a rather last-minute stunt to raise awareness about the Copenhagen talks on 6-18th Dec and The Wave march on Saturday 5th Dec.

We're calling on all buskers / musicians / street performers / out of work actors / photographers to take to streets in the lead-up, and instead of busking for money, to provide passers-by with entertainment and flyers to raise awareness. Hence the (borrowed) name, "Keep your coins, we want change!"

The aim is to try and inspire a decentralised thing where people can just go and do it in whichever town or city they live on whatever day they're free. However, we also want to gather a group of people in London on the weekend of 28/29 November and spend an hour or so busking and spreading the word.

Although we are particularly looking for musicians, we also need flyerers and photographers. So noone is free from the invite. ;-)

If you are interested in helping, here are a few things you can do:

Sign up to the Facebook event

Follow us on Twitter

Add to our collaborative Spotify playlist of busking songs

Let me know if you can make it on the 28th/29th Nov

Spread the word!

As you may have guessed, this is a bit of an experiment. However, it also feels like something that could just spark an interest in the wider public, something that The Wave, and climate discussions drastically needs.

So, if you wanna get on board, get in touch, or forward this to all your friends!

Many thanks,

Becky

Do you have a story to tell about how you're using exciting campaigning techniques to make a difference to the issue you care about? Email youthchair@compassonline.org.uk now!

DROP OUTS OR START UPS?



Events

LET'S NOT BECOME WHATEVER GENERATION


Now is a critical time in British politics and it's a shame that no one cares. I'm not prepared to label everyone but the evidence suggests that the majority of young people don't care and won't vote, and whilst this is true of the whole population (with a general decline in voters turning out) apathy is worst amongst the 18 to 24 year old age group, with less than 40 per cent using their vote compared to over 75 per cent of those aged 65 or over.

This isn't about age or ideology but I simply believe that the priorities of those aged 65 or over are very different from those of people aged 18 to 24 and as we are currently inheriting a huge debt from the generation gone before us I would like to see everyone my age taking this seriously and using their vote to make their voices heard. The common argument is that it won't make a difference - of course it will, and personally I believe that those people who haven't actively engaged in the democratic process - have no right to complain when they think things in Westminster aren't quite what they want - please people, don't bury your heads in the sand.

The decisions made at the next election (or any for that matter) do affect you and we might be living with the consequences for years to come.

Take the time to figure out what's important to you - this isn't about reforming the democratic process but simply engaging with it. Politics like wider society in general relies on people engaging with it, you can't expect it to come to you. I think it's fair to assume that the things that matter to people are those that they see as influencing their lives either now or in the future i.e. employment, the environment. Please make your voice heard.

It could not be easier to vote - it takes five minutes after registering and all you need to do is put a cross in the box of your chosen candidate.

A study by the University of Plymouth in 2003 argues that the UK has amongst the lowest voter turnout in Europe and for the population as a whole in 2001 turnout was as low as just 23 per cent - do we want to live in a country where over three quarters of the population haven't had a say in how their lives are determined?

Be grown up please and accept that it's your responsibility, the reason that politicians don't know what you want is because no one tells them!

One of my concerns is that people simply don't know how to vote and I would like to see a campaign aimed at young people to educate them - a one stop shop where people can register to vote, have the political parties manifesto's explained and learn about the voting process and why it's important. Having it all available, in one easy place, will make it very simple and take a lot of the hard work out of looking for it yourself.

I think its a tragedy that people aren't taught about the governing bodies and processes of their country at school, perhaps a campaign would go some way to compensating for this.

Would people like to see apathy legitimised too? Is there an argument for included in the ballot card a box that simply says "I do not want any of these candidates" ? If people don't feel their interests are adequately represented then this will give them a chance to voice there concerns and say - for arguments sake if 50 per cent of the population said no then the election would be held again - this would be a true democracy, currently there isn't this choice obviously and I liken it to walking into a car show room and wanting a red car and all they have is a blue and yellow car - and right now, the way it is (without this ability to say no) you'd have to choose either a blue or a yellow car. This may be one reason why people just don't care

I believe that young people are intelligent and actually very politically aware - the majority of people will without realising it, have probably engaged in some kind of consumer politics i.e. buying a fair trade product or boycotting those that they feel are unethical - this is great and I know being only 22 myself that the stereotype of a young, apathetic and lazy person is untrue - so please let's not become the "whatever" generation and actively influence our circumstances.

Drop outs or start ups? Next generation social entrepreneurs

The more there will be people losing their jobs, the more there will be people with more time and less money.

What can young people do with their time and energy if they've got no job to go to? How can they spend their time more creatively? Can young people out of work be the next generation of social entrepreneurs?

We don't know...That's why we want you to come and tell us what ideas we should campaign on to tackle youth unemployment. That's why we want you to come to the first of a series of sessions focused on different ways young people out of work can develop their skills.

As well as being able to have your say in shaping our priority campaign for 2010, you'll be able to hear from an amazing trio of social entrepreneurs, David Floyd (Social Spider), Peter Ptashko (Young UnLtd) and Amisha Ghadiali (Amisha/The Hub) who'll share their stories.

Sign up here!


Events

BIG IDEAS, SMALL SPACES, REAL CHANGE


Last week Compass Youth hosted an event in London to discuss an issue close to the hearts of many members: political reform. The aim was to submit Compass Youth ideas to the Power 2010 campaign for democratic change. Members took part in workshops and agreed on the best ideas to submit between them.

To put this in some kind of political and historical context is important. Unlike most other countries in the world, democracy in the United Kingdom doesn’t have a date of birth. There’s no written constitution; no Declaration of Independence; no Declaration of the Rights of Man. Parliamentary Democracy has evolved slowly over the last 1000 years. In that time we’ve seen Magna Carta; the evolution of Parliament; the decline of monarchy and aristocracy; universal suffrage; civil rights; human rights; workers rights; rights to freedom of speech, all enshrined in law.

I mention these developments because the movements that led to these changes often started in circumstances similar to the ones in which we met last week: a relatively small gathering of people, in a relatively small space, discussing big ideas.

To give some historical precedents, those familiar with the English Civil War may have heard of the Levellers. They started as a small group of political activists. Many were ex-soldiers. They decided that they had not fought and watched their friends and comrades die to go back to business as usual.

They wanted real change. They printed pamphlets, mobilised support and eventually became so powerful that they were able to go to Oliver Cromwell, the most powerful man in the country, to make an historic demand: that every many in the country be given the right to vote. The electoral franchise at the time was by some estimates just 2% of the adult male population. Sadly this was not to change for two centuries. But the Levellers influenced every democratic movement since, especially the Chartists who re-printed some of their pamphlets. Their writings have even been cited in US Supreme Court rulings. The Levellers were without a doubt the founding fathers of British democratic socialism.

Over three hundred years later in 1977 a small group of political dissidents in Czechoslovakia got together to produce Charter 77, a demand for human rights in a totalitarian state. Though this started as a small group, it was a pivotal development that led to the downfall of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe.

Inspired by Charter 77, 11 years later a group centre-left academics, writers and activists produced Charter 88 in the UK. For the first time, the ideas that are at the centre of the debate for constitutional change today were at the heart of a movement for political reform. They put issues on the table like Freedom of Information, House of Lords reform, and proportional representation. Some of their goals have been realised, some are half-finished and others are yet to make progress.

It is very much in this tradition that we met to discuss reform last week. The aforementioned groups were not prepared to stand for the system as it stood in their time, and it is to finish the work that they started that has spurred on the Power 2010 campaign and the role of Compass Youth within it.

Campaigns for political reform are as old as politics itself and it is not an issue that gets the pulses of the nation rising. But those who gathered last week and those who will gather for the Power 2010 Convention have much to be concerned about.

Election turnouts are falling. In 1950, the General Election turnout was nearly 84%. In the European Elections this year it was nearer 34%. The current Government commands a majority of 62 in the House of Commons, yet it only received a 35% share of the vote. In the 1980s the last Government changed the country beyond recognition yet it never received a majority of the popular vote. There is still a House of Lords with influence over legislation that is accountable to no-one. Scottish MPs have influence over English matters but not vice versa in many cases. A rotten handful of MPs have used the House of Commons as a cash cow rather than a legislative chamber. And local government has been emasculated by an increasingly powerful centralised state.

This is a broken system that is leaving millions disconnected. To me and many others this disconnection is due to more than just disillusion with politics and politicians. The only thing that will reverse the trends is real change to the way we do things.

The ideas that were proposed last week included proposals centred on proportional representation, open primaries, better accountability, more local democracy, greater freedom of information and the use of direct elections to senior government positions. These ideas will be submitted to the Power 2010 campaign by Compass Youth. If you would like to submit an idea of your own you still can. Visit Power2010 for more details.

2010 will be an important year for politics. Hopefully through events like this
Compass Youth will take its place at the centre of the debate.

Ed Mayne

BE SCARED, VERY SCARED

We’ve been out and about. People often confuse exciting and gimmicky. There is nothing gimmicky about cleaning up politics and fighting for a fairer voting system. This would transform our democracy. But with such a complex issue, the only way to get people fired up is to tap into what makes them tick.

As Crazy Epic says "Gen Y are politically motivated, politically mobilised, and have the tools to spread their opinions. Events such as Zombie Walk show that they also have the creativity to make themselves heard."

That's why we toured London to film young people with Ed the Duck on what they would do if they were MP for a day and dressed up as zombies for Halloween marching down Westminster as part of the Vote for a Change campaign. Watch the video and be scared, very scared.

WHO PAYS?

As taxpayers, we provided £40 billion to save the banks yet one million young people are now out of work and two million households are waiting for social housing. We bailed out the banks. We failed to bail out the people. As we approach the threat of a double dip recession, what policies do we need to make sure we put people first before the market?

Speakers

* Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting Essex University
* Cat Smith, Vice Chair Compass Youth
* Sam Tarry, Chair Young Labour
* Duncan Bowie Chartist EB
* Gus Baker, Compass Youth Students Coordinator


Join us at Portcullis House (Thatcher Room) on 10 December between 6.30-8.30 pm.

Events