Millennials prefer other modes of influence over formal politics

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  • According to a report from Orb Media, the younger generation prefers to take to the streets rather than wait for political parties to implement change.
  • Between corruption, lack of accessibility, legacy political parties and increase in incidences of injustice, the youth feels demonstrations and protests are more effective ways of bringing about change.
  • That being said, as the younger generation gets more proactive about informal avenues, the elder generation prefer to keep to the systems in place.
It’s not that the youth isn’t invested in politics, it’s just that they aren’t satisfied with the formal avenues of political engagement according to a new report by Orb Media. Their analysis states that the younger generation prefers to take to the streets rather than wait on politicians for a change in society.

That being said, the older portions of the population prefer to avoid protests altogether. The under-40s that fall in-between, are 17% more likely to engage in demonstrations than the generation before them. Not only is there a divide present, but it’s also getting wider.

Even in India, there has been an increase in the protests and demonstrations over the past couple of years.

It’s not surprising that the youth want to be heard because they feel like their vote doesn’t matter. In the sea of corruption and regressive societal structures, sometimes protesting isn’t just a preference but a last resort.

Diving into the divide

Call it rebellion or lack of accessibility, but numbers show that young adults prefer to be anti-establishment. It’s not uncommon to hear the debate of voting for the ‘lesser evil’, which is why they seem to prefer opposing the system altogether as their own way of taking a stand.

The voter turnout of the youth has always been relatively low but their favour lies with democracy. And, even though the younger generation isn’t as enthusiastic about volunteer or party participation, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a part of the political process. According to the report, the younger generation cares but just prefers other modes of influence like demonstrations on the street or digital campaigns.

Trouble on the inside

Young or old, a common perception is that mainstream politics is morally compromised. And quite honestly, that may not be too far from the truth. Éven PM Modi’s demonetisation exercise to wipe black money from the Indian Economy seems to have failed in the backdrop of India being the 81st least corrupt nation.Not that the ranking was much better under the Congress regime.

But then again, according to the report even though corruption is a fact that dictates youth mindset, there was no correlation between the corruption perceptions index and preference for activism.

No-entry

There’s a trend, in India especially, of top-down legacy formats applied in political parties. The Gandhi legacy is the most prominent in India and the Congress Party has been repeatedly called out on it. Activists, on the other hand, function along horizontal networks.

And when it comes to election process, the average age of Members of Parliament (MPs) in India is 56 years which is in sharp contrast to India’s average age of 24.

Even globally, only 2% of world’s political leaders are under 30 years of age. If new voices aren’t able to enter the fray, and the disparity is evident, then they will obviously look for alternatives.

Last resort

Having to take to streets to voice your opinion isn’t always about preference, sometimes it’s the only option after all other avenues have been exhausted. The system is slow. With the amount of red tape and bureaucratic processes in the way, change is hardly ever instantaneous without public pressure giving it a push.

Instances like the Nibhaya Movement in 2012, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) agitation in 2015 or even the post-Jallikattu Protests in 2017 reflect instance where the law has either been incapable or outmatched when dealing with controversial situations.

While survey took 128 countries in consideration and collected data from nearly a million people, India in particular, has seen an increase in violent incidents of late. While some blame the current political party, it could just be that the country is struggling to stay ahead of the rapidly changing society and its needs.
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