Young graduates: Could economic and political setbacks radicalise a generation?

Hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, young adults in the US and Europe feel marginalised by mainstream politics but are mobilising around single issues such as climate change and social inequality

The harsh experiences that people in their early 20s have had over the past two years are likely to radicalise their outlook. PHOTO: AFP
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(FINANCIAL TIMES) Krista Burton had a moderate Democrat outlook before arriving at New York University to study politics. But after watching America's healthcare system become overwhelmed by coronavirus cases and seeing the surge in unemployment during the pandemic, her views became more radical. "Seeing how much (the system) failed so many people, I just lost a little bit of that hope I had," she says.

After graduating in May last year with scant prospects of landing a job, the 24-year-old has pursued a graduate degree, focusing her studies on informal community and mutual aid networks. The choice, she says, better reflects her disillusionment with politics and a belief that change must come from grassroots activity - convictions sharpened, like those of many of her peers, by a transition into the workforce at a time of global pandemic.

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