If you believed everything that you read in the corporate media then you would think that all young people are apathetic and that Australian youth are the most apathetic in the world. This is what two recent articles in the Sydney Morning Herald allege.
"Young people nowadays are simply not interested in politics", argued Ben Heraghty, in an article titled ``Youth needs to be seen, heard and inspired, politically'', which appeared in the March 13 Sydney Morning Herald. It quoted a recent study from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) which declared that Australian youth are overwhelmingly apathetic and apolitical.
An earlier article, "Our youth lead in world apathy", appeared in the March 6 Sydney Morning Herald. It maintained that only 40% of 14-year-olds were prepared to participate in a protest march and that Australian students were less likely than students in other countries to support the idea that governments had a social responsibility for the development of industry, the fair redistribution of wealth and the provision of decent living standards for the unemployed.
It's true: many young people are apathetic -- some don't care about the environment, workers' rights or the quality of education. But those who try to claim that most youth in this country are passive and inactive can't distinguish the forest for the trees.
Historically, young people have responded the most strongly, radically and quickly to political crises. It is often young people who have led mass movements for social change and who are the most vocal demonstrators for social justice. The massive anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and `70s mobilised young people in their hundreds of thousands worldwide to put an end to the unjust war being waged by the United States -- and it succeeded.
Recently in Australia, young people...