Guest post: How much worse prospects for young people today are

Originally a comment by Nell on Capstone shmapstone.

We had a similar situation in the UK. When Corbyn emerged as the front -runner, feminist commentators used exactly the same arguments to try to get young women behind one of the female candidates. It failed. I think something that many older, more established people can’t seem to intuitively grasp is how much worse prospects for young people today are.

Most of us are thousands of pounds in debt, with no jobs or insecure casual jobs with wages that barely cover the travel costs. The government’s austerity measures have hit young people and women particularly hard. Housing benefits and unemployment benefits are going to be scrapped or curtailed for under 25s, and child benefits are going to be limited, but it only for women starting to have children now. We can’t afford to live once these changes come in. Rates of mental illness are increasing – about a third of my generation now have some form of mental illness, and mental health care is being slashed. and there is no sign of things getting better, no one likes thinking about the future because we can’t see anything good in it.

In the leadership elections both female candidates were pro-austerity, they said they would carry on with what the Tories started. So when commentators start saying you have to vote for the female candidate or that the left wing candidate is unelectable, pick one of the ‘centrists’, no one listens. Being able to vote for a female candidate on the basis that she is a woman is a luxury you can have if you don’t depend on the services she has pledged to cut. And we don’t really care if she was more electable because with her politics it wouldn’t matter, as long as they’re pro austerity we are screwed whether Labour or the Tories get in.

I don’t know what it’s like for young women in the US but if it’s anything like it is here, appeals to feminism and electability aren’t going to work, it will just turn people away from feminism and from mainstream politics. There’s also the danger that you turn people away from the Democrats completely. Over here, among many young people, and all generations in Scotland, the Labour-Right have become as hated as the Tories. If Corbyn gets overthrown and replaced with an ‘electable’ right winger, young people aren’t going to rally around his replacement, they’re just not going to vote. There’s a danger that using these tactics young voters will end up as anti-Clinton or Democrat as they are against the Republicans.

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