We are the generation of broken promises: what does “resist” mean for a youth nowadays?

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The latest ISTAT surveys show that an increasing number of Italians is no longer looking for a job. What can youths do in addition to “grit their teeth” in a society that seems to have room only for creative talents and own businessmen?

More and more often we hear calls for the birth of a new “resistance”. From Roger Waters to Roberto Saviano, by way of Salvatore Settis, intellectuals, artists, humanists remind us ‒ almost every day ‒ the importance of “resisting”: in the face of the lack of humanity, cultural depletion, the shattering of our dreams. However, what does really “resist” mean nowadays?

My generation is that of broken promises: we were born in the middle of the ʼ80s, we grew up believing that self-denial and education would be enough to find our place in the world, but then we have been rebuked for not realizing that rules have changed (in progress): to survive ‒ and not to excel ‒ now you have to be your own businessman, start upper, creative talent.

But how many rockstars have a chance in this world? What will become of the others? The latest ISTAT surveys show that in Italy, despite the drop in unemployment, inactive people, those who give up on find a job, have increased in July 2018.

So, what kind of resistance we really need? Resisting doesn’t mean only to be resilient ‒ that is, having the ability to absorb the blow ‒ but to stay clearheaded in a context which has been annihilated by critical thought’s presumed death. A context where a comforting post-truth is preferred to the facts.

If it is true that we are losing touch with reality (numbed by social media algorithms), the only way to resist then becomes not yield to a race to the bottom, despite the requests we direct at our worst instincts.

Resisting, especially for youths, must mean having the strength to explore deeply even when outward appearance seems easier and more comforting. This strength can only come from the realization of the irreversible change of tools for interaction and comprehension of the world.

An effort is needed to resist and to remain human: to build a society that is not based on consent but on dialogue, where ideas don’t proliferate in “homologated thoughts” driven by smartphones, but develop into a human interaction.

Nowadays resisting must mean for Southern youths to choose to remain in (or to come back to) their land. To find this courage not just for the sun or the warmth of the people, but because of the firm belief that a future is possible here too. Resisting means fighting to better this place, while recognizing its identity and peculiarities.

Resisting for current youths must mean never to stop dreaming, combine disenchantment and courage: to question everything while preserving the past, to understand the sense of history in order to live the present.

Resisting doesn’t necessarily mean to join a cause or a political party (be it anti or pro- government), but to understand that our freedom will be more successful the more people will be able to understand reality through knowledge.

Everybody is called to resist, by going beyond ideologies. Democracy will do the rest, because, if it is used in a proper way, and so far from being sick, it still remains the best instrument which allows us to come forth to see again the stars once more.


Translated into English by Daniela Marsala

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