“This is just the beginning,” promises the organisation [Juventud sin Futuro](http://“This is just the beginning,” promises the organisation Juventud sin Futuro (Youth with no Future), expressing its thanks to those who showed up to demonstrate in Madrid on April 7. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people turned out, and the organisers are happy with those numbers. For the next demonstration, planned for mid-May, they have high hopes. The truth is that at least a small part of Spain’s youth – that element “who are better armed with diplomas” than ever before in history and yet “will live worse off than their parents,” as proclaimed in the group’s manifesto – is outraged and has taken to the streets in answer to the call from the 93-year-old French activist Stéphane Hessel, author of the pamphlet Get Angry! Whatever the view one takes of this movement – fear, rejection, paternalism, understanding or support for it – anyone can see why Spanish youth is fed up: a decade of job insecurity, if not rampant unemployment; of mileurismo, or having to get by on 1,000 euros a month; of overqualified university graduates; and of the difficulty if not impossibility of finding a place to live. And now, after more than two years of economic crisis, youth unemployment (over 40 percent) is double the European average, and half of the jobless are under 34 years of age. In addition, the welfare state they had barely begun to enjoy is now in jeopardy, and the cushion once provided by the family is growing threadbare. “The environment is not explosive,” says UNED sociologist José Felix Tezanos, “but it is flammable; a spark will be enough... The Web is where it is brewing up,” he adds. In general, there’s a growing feeling that the cost of the economic crisis is being paid by those who had nothing to do with it, while the economic elites who did bring it on have slipped out from under the wreckage without a scratch. The prologue to the Spanish edition of Hessel’s pamphlet was written by José Luis Sampedro. Hessel, in turn, has contributed the foreword to a collection of articles entitled Reacciona (React!). In the latter, Sampedro, at 93 the same age as the French activist, addresses himself to that diffuse entity called the young, and not only to bestir them to respond to their particular problems: “The system needs a profound change that young people understand and that they should tackle better than the older generation, who are still living in the past. [...] Although their leaders are still at the bridge and at the helm, and although from there they continue to give orders that are well behind the times, the young people at the oars can steer the ship.” The discontent, exacerbated by the crisis, is undoubtedly real. So too is the call to mobilise. The question is whether a movement like Juventud sin Futuro, or any other, can channel it in any direction and take it further. Pablo Padilla is an anthropology student, 22 years old, deeply involved in the organisation. Talk of the passivity of the young brings him to protest: “And the rest of society is really on the move, is it?” Many experts, however, emphasise the passivity and the apathy. “The distrust in politicians could take the form of conflict or of apathy and disinterest. And that is the model that, in the end, it has taken. The lack of political tradition still weighs on a country that is not accustomed to mobilising, that has no strong professional associations or unions that renew their traditions from generation to generation,” says Marta Gutiérrez Sastre, a professor from the University of Salamanca. For Antonio Alaminos, a sociologist at the University of Alicante, some alternatives and some clear objectives are needed for this sort of protest to succeed. Or else an “irrational trigger.” The Arab protests, for example, he says, do have these clear goals (both economic and democratic improvements), and in the EU countries where these have emerged that irrational trigger was also produced. “The difficulty in mobilising Spanish youth proceeds from the expectation that nothing will come of it. Spanish youth (and many Europeans), at bottom, want to go on living just like their parents – in a capitalist world of consumption. They don’t want to break up the relationship,” he says. “It is capitalism that has broken up with them.” It may be true that the youth who have taken to the streets so far have been very few in number. It may be that, somehow or other, the family, untaxed work in the shadow economy and the social safety net continue to keep discontent indoors, since basic needs are still being satisfied. And that passivity of the majority of the youth may eventually prevail over the momentum of those who do get out and demonstrate. “Young people do not have a markedly rebellious attitude. They’re perplexed, rather, by the breakdown of the social contract,” says sociologist Jose Felix Tezanos. However, he warns: “Very profound movements are stirring, and if there are no major changes in society, the problems will boil up to the surface.”) (Youth with no Future), expressing its thanks to those who showed up to demonstrate in Madrid on April 7. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people turned out, and the organisers are happy with those numbers. For the next demonstration, planned for mid-May, they have high hopes.

The truth is that at least a small part of Spain’s youth – that element “who are better armed with diplomas” than ever before in history and yet “will live worse off than their parents,” as proclaimed in the group’s manifesto – is outraged and has taken to the streets in answer to the call from the 93-year-old French activist Stéphane Hessel, author of the pamphlet Get Angry!

Whatever the view one takes of this movement — fear, rejection, paternalism, understanding or support for it — anyone can see why Spanish youth is fed up: a decade of job insecurity, if not rampant unemployment; of mileurismo, or having to get by on 1,000 euros a month; of overqualified university graduates; and of the difficulty if not impossibility of finding a place to live.

And now, after more than two years of economic crisis, youth unemployment (over 40 percent) is double the European average, and half of the jobless are under 34 years of age. In addition, the welfare state they had barely begun to enjoy is now in jeopardy, and the cushion once provided by the family is growing threadbare. “The environment is not explosive,” says UNED sociologist José Felix Tezanos, “but it is flammable; a spark will be enough... The Web is where it is brewing up,” he adds.

In general, there’s a growing feeling that the cost of the economic crisis is being paid by those who had nothing to do with it, while the economic elites who did bring it on have slipped out from under the wreckage without a scratch. The prologue to the Spanish edition of Hessel’s pamphlet was written by José Luis Sampedro. Hessel, in turn, has contributed the foreword to a collection of articles entitled Reacciona (React!).

In the latter, Sampedro, at 93 the same age as the French activist, addresses himself to that diffuse entity called the young, and not only to bestir them to respond to their particular problems: “The system needs a profound change that young people understand and that they should tackle better than the older generation, who are still living in the past. [...] Although their leaders are still at the bridge and at the helm, and although from there they continue to give orders that are well behind the times, the young people at the oars can steer the ship.”

The discontent, exacerbated by the crisis, is undoubtedly real. So too is the call to mobilise. The question is whether a movement like Juventud sin Futuro, or any other, can channel it in any direction and take it further. Pablo Padilla is an anthropology student, 22 years old, deeply involved in the organisation. Talk of the passivity of the young brings him to protest: “And the rest of society is really on the move, is it?”

Many experts, however, emphasise the passivity and the apathy. “The distrust in politicians could take the form of conflict or of apathy and disinterest. And that is the model that, in the end, it has taken. The lack of political tradition still weighs on a country that is not accustomed to mobilising, that has no strong professional associations or unions that renew their traditions from generation to generation,” says Marta Gutiérrez Sastre, a professor from the University of Salamanca.

For Antonio Alaminos, a sociologist at the University of Alicante, some alternatives and some clear objectives are needed for this sort of protest to succeed. Or else an “irrational trigger.” The Arab protests, for example, he says, do have these clear goals (both economic and democratic improvements), and in the EU countries where these have emerged that irrational trigger was also produced. “The difficulty in mobilising Spanish youth proceeds from the expectation that nothing will come of it. Spanish youth (and many Europeans), at heart, want to go on living just like their parents — in a capitalist world of consumption. They don’t want to break up the relationship,” he says. “It is capitalism that has broken up with them.”

It may be true that the youth who have taken to the streets so far have been very few in number. It may be that, somehow or other, the family, untaxed work in the shadow economy and the social safety net continue to keep discontent indoors, since basic needs are still being satisfied. And that passivity of the majority of the youth may eventually prevail over the momentum of those who do get out and demonstrate.

“Young people do not have a markedly rebellious attitude. They’re perplexed, rather, by the breakdown of the social contract,” says sociologist Jose Felix Tezanos. However, he warns: “Very profound movements are stirring, and if there are no major changes in society, the problems will boil up to the surface.”