This is my call out to those running in youth elections on the left at the moment, its time to be the person who makes the changes to build a positive movement
- Adam Allnutt, Chair of the Young Fabians
Look Behind You
Youth politics on the left is in the spotlight at the moment, and rightly so. The culture in parts of it has been unpleasant in perpetuity, maybe since its founding. Those running in the current elections need to bring a wind of change.
We need near-peer activists putting down ladders for others to climb up and help others build experience with more positive role models laying down paths for young people to follow.
The young left has, at one point or another, been a nasty hyperfactional place where harassment and bullying were (or are) the norm. There were too few positive role models and the environment just puts ordinary people off getting involved. The seed of it’s modern iteration that is spoken of in whispered tones is ‘remember what happened in Scarborough’ when the latest wave hyperfactionalism came front and centre.
We need to have a line drawn under it.
We need people to support and help each other, not pull each other down.
The Young Fabian elections are upon us and as the outgoing Chair I have an expectation of everyone who is running to be on the Executive Committee, or for a role in a Policy Network, Region, Nation or Advocacy Group - to look behind you.
If you choose to step up and take a role then it is on you to steward the people coming after you and provide them with the opportunities that you would’ve loved to have.
The favourite part of my three years on the Young Fabians Executive Committee has been the opportunities that I have been able to give people, whether it is chairing an event, being on a panel, writing for a publication, getting in contact with someone of prominence, setting up their own thing, promoting a piece of work they’ve done, co-opting people onto different committees, or just supporting other people's ideas without taking them over.
It has been the greatest gift this movement has given me so far - the ability to help other people on their journey.
When I ran in the Young Fabian elections I pledged to help create a training ground for activists and give young people in the society a voice. I feel I have laid the foundations to make this a reality and the next Exec, whoever it’ll be, has something to build from.
Now it is your turn.
Look behind you and provide the next person with the opportunities that you wanted and be the near-peer mentor that many young people need. Provide encouragement, forgive good-faith mistakes and help mend the situation, build on something and don’t take it over, make the connection, help with logistics, share the limelight, be positive, and keep an open door.
We need you to change the Labour movement one small action at a time. We need you to help create a positive environment where young people can flourish and develop a positive attitude in their activism. We need you to build a progressive movement for the future.
Having this experience and being able to have a platform has been a privilege for me. I left education at 16 to work as a yard boy in a heavy machinery hire yard, 15 years later I am ending my year as the Chair of a youth-led think tank with a professional job in Central London. I got here because people helped me and I worked hard. With the help of others and some encouragement, anything is possible.
This is me offering to help you. Take the step. Contact me with an idea and I will do whatever I can to help. The only thing I ask - that you then do the same to the people coming next. If enough good people do it, then we might just create a positive environment for young activists to develop in.
People join the Labour Party to change the world - they just need someone to give them a hand up to achieve it. Be that person.
Email me on - email@example.com