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  In 2011 the world witnessed huge and often violent protests in Spain and Greece as their economies melted down. There was even talk of a "youth rebellion".
   After 2012 the demonstrations largely melted away.

   Youth unemployment in the EU is around 25%. In Greece and Spain it is nearly 60%. In Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain, around 20% of those aged 15-29 were not in education, employment or training.
   So why aren't they out in the streets?  Did the economies of those countries improve? Did the governments become more responsive?

 What happened?

 As economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013, the youth of Greece became invisible in social and economic life. The young have been largely absent from politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe...
   Similar patterns can be observed in several other European countries, though perhaps not as extreme. What is the youth of Portugal doing as the country's social structures continue to collapse? Where is the youth of France as the country drifts further into stagnation and irrelevance?
 To answer this question, consider Spain.
 Spain’s forthcoming Citizens’ Security Law. A decidedly Orwellian item, it proposes fines of up to 30,000 euros ($41,000) for “offensive” slogans against the country and up to 600,000 euros ($824,000) for unauthorized street protests...
   The original draft of the law covers a lot of ground, including fines of up to 30,000 euros for “participating in the disruption of citizens’ security while using hoods, helmets, or any other article of clothing or object that covers the face, rendering identification difficult or impossible,” or for “disrupting citizens’ security at gatherings in front of the Congress of Deputies, the Senate, and regional legislative assemblies, even when these are not in session.” Fines of up to 1,000 euros ($1,400) are prescribed for hampering pedestrian traffic, losing one’s identity document more than three times in five years and circulating images of members of state security forces that might infringe upon their “right to honor.”

  It's somehow fitting that the same Spain that George Orwell nearly gave his life for has imposed authoritarian laws.
   It isn't just Spain. If Orwell had gone to Spain to fight for democracy today, he would have been arrested as a terrorist when he got back to England.

  If convicted of fighting abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive" – a charge they would find hard to contest – they would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. That they were fighting to defend an elected government against a fascist rebellion would have no bearing on the case. They would go down as terrorists.
 Notice how fighting for money isn't one of those things listed.

  As for Greece, more than 50% of Greeks want to emigrate, and nearly 70% believe the worst of their depression is yet to come.

  None of this is complete without considering the Orwellian doublespeak in the financial media.

  For example consider this headline Greece is pulling off an amazing recovery with this headline Greece jobless rate hits new record of 28%.
  As for Spain, consider this headline Spain's recovery with this one Spain 56% youth unemployment is unacceptable.
   As for Ireland, consider these two headlines: Irish economy to grow faster this year and this headline of Irish economy unexpectedly contracts.

  Orwell would roll over in his grave.

  Instead of fighting the police, the youths that can leave are fleeing, and are leaving the continent by the tens of thousands. About half of those remaining are living with their parents.

  Somewhat surprisingly, it isn't Greece or Spain that has the highest emigration levels in Europe. It's Ireland, which has the 4th highest unemployment rate.

  The European Commission’s statistics office figures show 35,000 more people left Ireland than arrived last year. This amounts to a net migration of -7.6 people per 1,000, compared with -7.1 in Lithuania, -5.8 in Latvia, -5.7 in Estonia, -4.0 in Greece, -3.6 in Portugal, and -3.5 in Spain.
 The youths that have the most marketable skills and the most ambition, the youths that are most valuable to a nation, are the ones most likely to leave and not come back. Europe is going to pay for this lost generation for a very long time.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Spain and Greece will remain mired in Mediocrity.. (6+ / 0-) long as Spanish and Greek pols remain wedded to the Euro.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:04:36 PM PDT

  •  This isn't the Spain (8+ / 0-)

    that Orwell fought for.  His side lost and the fact that Generalissimo Franco is still dead doesn't mean that his side came out ahead in the end.

    More's the pity.

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:08:07 PM PDT

    •  Franco, dead? (5+ / 0-)
      the fact that Generalissimo Franco is still dead
      Isn't a fact at all.

      The carbon unit may be dead, but the evil lives on!

      "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:12:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the fascists in Spain are making a comeback (14+ / 0-)

      Still a ways to go, but no longer fringe

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:19:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No longer fringe in Europe and often (8+ / 0-)

        in league with Oligarchs. Which is to say: the usual.

        The founders and original board members of the John Birch Society, who's vision dominates the Republican Party, were mainly bankers and oil, if memory serves. And you'll notice we have, similar to Spain and even before it, those same 'it's a crime to protest near public officials' laws on the books now.

        When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

        by Jim P on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:29:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Often, the Fascists are the only viable party.. (4+ / 0-)

        ..opposing the Euro, and in doing so, represent the only hope for the working and middle-class.

        Who to blame for the rise of Fascism in the periphery?

        The "mainstream" parties that have turned their back on the working class, in large part b/c the ruling class in Greece and Spain care more about how it's perceived in Brussels than in Athens and Madrid.

        Frankly, we can't blame any citizen of the periphery for voting for a political party that promises to leave the EZ, regardless of other planks in its platform.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:39:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can almost write the Greek tragedy now (10+ / 0-)

          How the mainstream left parties are so married to the hopeless Euro currency that they are unable to do the right thing and break from it.
             Because the mainstream left long ago colluded with the right-wing to crush the far-left, this leaves only the far-right to oppose the Euro.
            If the Euro continues to crush the European economies then there will be no alternative but to see a rise of fascism in Europe again.

          "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

          by gjohnsit on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:46:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  SYRIZA Party leading in latest polls (6+ / 0-)

            SYRIZA is leading over ruling New Democracy which is encouraging. However that Golden Dawn is 3rd is scary.

            Specifically, the opinion poll showed that SYRIZA is standing at 20.5% while New Democracy is at 19%. The newly formed party “Potami” (the river) and the ultra nationalist Golden Dawn place third with 10.5%. Elia (Olive Tree) movement comes forth with 7.5% followed by the Communist Party (KKE) with 6.5%, the Independent Greeks with 4.5%, Democratic Left with 2%,  Front of the Greek Anti-capitalist Left (ANTARSYA) with 1.5% and Ecologist Greens with 1%. The percentage of swing voters is rather high standing at 12.5%.

            As far as the local elections are concerned, SYRIZA is leading in Greek citizens’ preference with  22.5% followed by New Democracy with 21.5%. Golden Dawn is third with 11% while Potami comes forth with 8.5% followed by PASOK and KKE (6.5%), Independent Greeks (4.5%), Democratic Left (2%), ANTARSYA (2%) and Ecologist Greens (1%). Swing voters reach 11%.

      •  Synthesis of Left and Right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, pat bunny, lotlizard

        as imagined by Robert Reich in his book Aftershock in the U.S. but an even more imminent possibility in countries in more dire economic straits.

           The platform of the Independence Party, as well as its message, is clear and uncompromising: zero tolerance of illegal immigrants; a freeze on legal immigration from Latin America, Africa and Asia; increased tariffs on all imports; a ban on American companies moving their operations to another country or outsourcing abroad; a prohibition on "sovereign wealth funds" investing in the United States. America will withdraw from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund; end all "involvements" in foreign countries; refuse to pay any more interest on our debt to China, essentially defaulting on it; and stop trading with China until China freely floats its currency.

              Profitable companies will be prohibited from laying off workers and cutting payrolls. The federal budget must always be balanced. The Federal Reserve will be abolished.

              Banks will be allowed only to take deposits and make loans. Investment banking will be prohibited. Anyone found to have engaged in insider trading, stock manipulation, or securities fraud will face imprisonment for no less than ten years.

        The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

        by Wolf10 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:00:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Orwell was allowed to leave. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The P.O.U.M. are history.

  •  A burgeoning underground movement seems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, pat bunny

    a likely possibility.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 04:41:25 PM PDT

  •  Wow, that's bad. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Wolf10, gjohnsit, Egalitare

    REALLY bad.

    Laws like this often end in extreme violence.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 05:06:24 PM PDT

    •  The problem isn't the Euro so much, as the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      banks that control it want to put all countries in debt. Imaginary money equates to real profits with no regard for the millions disenfranchised and struggling to survive.

      We will know when humanity has survived adolescence by when putting profits before the welfare of people is seen as unsavory and selfish as it is. Its hard to argue against the IMF as a means of putting entire nations underwater for the financial gain of a few.

      Sometimes I question if the social maturity of the Star Trek world is even possible to achieve given inherent traits as a species. Then again it may just be the reflection of our social immaturity that such a society seems so impossibly far away, just as its hard to see your 13 yo as a married adult with children and responsibilities.

      I get torn between wanting the human race to expand through out the galaxy and beyond, and the fear that maybe we aren't the best species for that and it would be best to leave that to some others less inclined to individual selfishness. Our technological advancement is outpacing our social advancement by such a large scale its hard to imagine them ever in sync again.

      When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

      by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:05:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  On the other hand, if Spain's youth (0+ / 0-)

    is anything like America's, many if not most of them are probably too caught up in their social media and digital device-based shallow lives to even care.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:00:34 PM PDT

  •  European social democracy (0+ / 0-)

    is being sacrificed for banks.  Not a good trade-off at all.  I easily can see some of those legal measures being enacted here, and under a Democratic administration.

    I spent considerable time in Colombia a couple of years ago and the main Bogotá paper ran a story about Colombian emigrants to Spain, some of whom were choosing to return to Colombia.  When I was in Spain in 2010, I saw a homemade banner draped from a balcony saying "España se hunde" ("Spain is sinking"). Would that banner even be legal today?

    When you see some of the choices being made by democratic countries, it's fair to ask whether democracy is over.

    A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

    by eightlivesleft on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:30:34 AM PDT

  •  The Spanish are not out in the streets? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a little surprised at the premise of this post. "So why aren't they out in the streets?", you ask. "Instead of fighting the police, the youths that can leave are fleeing," you write. Your entire post seems based on this presumption that the demonstrations have "melted away" and the youth has become inactive.

    But, I mean - you wrote this on April 10. Less than a month before, at least tens of thousands (and according to the organizers, hundreds of thousands) of protesters came to Madrid. And they walked to Madrid, making long treks from cities all around the country in a "dignity march" to raise more support and involve more communities.

    The mass rally which resulted in Madrid went violent. Thousands of youths fought pitched street battles with the police. My girlfriend is Spanish so we watched the news footage online. Brutal fights. The BBC has photos and video. That was less than three weeks before you posted this!

    A new grassroots movement based roughly on the "Indignados" from yesteryear has established itself, called Podemos. In order to be allowed to take part in the European elections, it needed to quickly gather 15,000 signatures - and succeeded. According to this post, it had already earlier on collected 50,000 signatures for its cause in little more than a day. Unlike the traditional, communist-led left, this new movement wanted to have open primaries, and some 33,000 people took part. The resulting candidate list is striking in that all but one of their top 10 candidates are in their 20s or 30s.

    So I dunno. I could see the reasoning behind posting a piece like this a year ago, but just weeks after a massive protest in which the youths were indeed "fighting the police" - a little all too brutally even, to my taste - it seem a somewhat odd argument to make, no?

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