I recently went to the Mouvements Des Jeunes Socialistes biennial convention in Paris; MJS is the youth wing of the French Socialist Party. However, they have held autonomy from the main party for the last twenty-five years. They are also members of two international socialist organisations: the Young European Socialists and the International Union of Socialist Youth. I myself was there as a socialist delegate from the UK and a part of the Young European Socialists and only one of the many socialist delegates from across Europe and the wider world. This level of inclusion is in my mind key to our future. As our political and even social sphere becomes fractured with the ever-growing divisions forced upon us by a cynical political elite concerned mainly with merely playing politics rather than evolving our political system.
The youth across the world are facing inheriting a political system with so many divisions and closed doors that we will be forced to spend our lifetimes having to undo this damage rather than focusing on developing and evolving our political system and community. Throughout the Young Socialist meeting in Bondy, we heard speakers from France and across the globe that felt the same frustrations. Despite the wealth of differences between all the nations and issues we represented we all had the same worries about the world and future we are facing. Both hope and foreboding ran through each speech; foreboding that our futures hold little more than a fight to undo the damage we are due to inherit but still a hope that the inclusion and cohesion that was represented by this diverse room may yet be our way of transcending the pettinesses of divisive politics.
As the host of the convention the Mayor of Bondy, Sylvine Thomassin, opened the event with an impassioned speech imploring the next generation of socialists to keep their autonomy from mainstream politics. She still stressed the importance of the youth’s support of the mainstream socialist agenda where applicable. But highlighting the importance of the next generation’s role as an independent critical body. As it is our generation that is to inherit the political consequences of the actions that are made by our governments today and as such, we need to be sure that the agenda they layout is one that we want to build on tomorrow. Otherwise, we could find ourselves being the rubber stamps to an agenda that robs us of the future we want.
It is clear that many young people across the world share the same ideals of cohesion and social justice and we know how to make it work. We have grown up in a world of globalisation and interconnection; our world is one of bridges, not walls and we do not want to lose that. We have watched in fear as diplomacy has reached a childish new low and as a result, pointless political standoffs and agitations have arisen where there was once discussion and negotiation.
Therefore we should not accept the current situation. We should carry on building our international network and make sure that by the time it is our turn to be the leading voices that we have maintained our connections with one another and maintained our conversations with one another so that we can take up where we left off. Rather than picking up where petty politics left off. This is not about some youth revolution; this is about a union of youth ensuring that our future is not about rebuilding the bridges knocked down by those that will not have to face the brunt of the consequences. When we have the power to say no to the divisions and keep the dialogue open with one another over the future we want to share. It is vital that we put more effort in than ever before to ensure sustained open channels of communication between our international neighbours. As it is possible, and it means the difference between a future of progress and hope rather than one of struggle and parochialism.