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From: The Socialist issue 502, 20 September 2007: Nationalise the banks

Search site for keywords: Apathy - Youth

What do youth think?

'Youth are apathetic'; they only care about new trainers and the latest games consoles. 'Young people are dangerous'; they hang about in big groups and intimidate people with their scary dogs. 'Young people don't care about their futures'; they binge drink every weekend before getting into fights and putting each other in hospital or jail.

Carlene Ritchie, Walthamstow branch

If you look at news items and documentaries about Britain's young people in the mainstream media this is the picture that is painted of how we think, feel and behave!

As young socialists in Walthamstow, and Leyton & Leytonstone branches, we decided to go out in our borough to find out what other young workers and students really think.

We used a simple questionnaire to get an idea of what issues are important to young people. We asked if they had ever been on a demo; what they would change about our borough; what issues they would like to campaign on.

We asked them to prioritise what was most important to them from a list of issues such as war, education, gun & knife crime and the NHS.

Having these questions on the form made it easy to chat about the campaigns that we are involved in and talk about the possibilities for fighting for decent pay or better youth facilities for the borough.

We had to be bold and direct. Young people won't necessarily think that you are out on the street to talk to them because they're not really used to being asked what they think about politics.

We found that by going over, asking directly if they would like to take part, and explaining that we are trying to find out what young people think, many wanted to have their say.

It was easy to get chatting to people about how they felt, what made them angry and what they thought of politics and socialist ideas.

On each questionnaire we ask if you would like to know more about International Socialist Resistance (ISR), a socialist youth organisation, campaign with ISR or join ISR and there is a space for contact information including email addresses.

We are continuing to use the questionnaire on stalls alongside our big bright Low Pay Wall of Shame and are using the information to build a youth campaign on the issues that really matter to young people.

If you would like to see a copy of the questionnaire to use or adapt for you area please email us at

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