Frustrated Expectations


Almost half of Spanish youngsters would accept any job, anywhere, for a small salary. Eighty percent of them believe they have to depend economically on their families (or better said, on the retired in their families). Not even with Franco was the fear and desperation so great.

Insecurity, scarcity, uncertainty, and confusion all lead to fear and distrust, and are all suffered today by a large section of Spanish society. And the causes are connected to a culture of hyper-individualism, hedonism, and competitiveness that has been encouraged in the last few decades. They are also connected to the weakening of the family unit – which is still what people fall back on in hard times – and an education system that, in thirty years, has not ceased to perpetuate the divisions between the working class and the ruling elites.

Some sociologists speak of how the current situation looks set to cause subversion and violence, and to favour populist or totalitarian political proposals. Millions of angry people ask that the State steps in to control the chaos engulfing the country. A whole generation of 18-to-34-year-olds is seeing its expectations for the future frustrated. Their hopes of employment (or employment related to what they have studied), independence, housing, and a family of their own have all been dashed. And, as a result, there has been a clear and reasonable loss of trust in a corrupt political framework represented by political parties that do not serve the People.

Social movements demand more democracy, but this will not arrive without a greater role for families and for society. There will be no prospects for hope without a strong society which assumes responsibility for political decisions and does not delegate power to others. And that requires a cultural revolution – one of solidarity. The immediate problems will have to be dealt with, yes, but we must be aware that the path will not be short, and that shortcuts will only return us to despotism.

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