Wednesday, 3 June 2009

New voters, new views

Current in the news (as Rick Falkvinge highlights) is the results of school ballots that show the support for Piratpartiet outstripping the mainstream parties - taking more votes than the two leading parties put together. Turn out is low (~20%) - but even so, support of 30% or more shows how important PP's core issues are to the young (bearing in mind that the school ballots include a good slice of first time voters). Given that PP support is highly skewed between the sexes the support among young men must be sky high.

Critics - commenters on newspaper coverage - criticise the result as young people that 'don't understand' and are just interested in legalising filesharing, i.e. are voting for their own self-interest. Perhaps there's something in that, but it's nonchalant in the extreme to disregard their political awareness.

The young have the vision to see society how they would like it to be. They have yet to be bound in by the millstone of inertia in the existing establishment. They don't have jobs, and they don't have mortgages, or children, or elderly parents needing care - clearly they have different priorities in choosing which issues matter to them. Young voters are not voting for which party will give them the biggest tax cuts or the biggest handouts. ..and maybe the young have yet to learn by experience what a big bad place the world is.

But anyone criticising the young for voting Pirate really need to wake up and think about the real issues behind the filesharing debate. Today the world is moving fast towards a surveillance society where the Internet is a tool for the government to keep track of it's citizens.

The brightest, best and most creative thinking comes from the young... that they see the consequences of the introduction of the Internet - and the pressing need to preserve our freedoms and rights by protecting it's freedom from censorship and surveillance - should be a wake up call. What have you lost sight of?

Filesharing is a part of youth culture - and of course that means there is interest in defending that culture from 'the evils of industry'. But if that leads young people to be informed and engaged on issues of personal freedom and integrity then for me that is a great thing. ...a whole new generation that clearly see the need to defend rights and to create a better more open society.

Update: Check out Pure Nandi's description of a school political debate - and notice that it's integrity and not filesharing that is under the spotlight. (in swedish..)

No comments: