How COVID shock has radicalized Generation Z

Like their predecessors in the uprisings that followed the 2008 crisis, this generation of young people is ready to draw systemic conclusions from the way political elites have handled the pandemic. They know they will be paying higher taxes, carrying bigger personal debts and facing more uncertainty than any generation since the second world war.

They understand that, on top of the aftermath of Covid-19, they will be dealing with a climate emergency for the foreseeable future. And they are equally certain they cannot influence the political present.

This, as we are likely to see as summer arrives, is an explosive mixture. From Dublin to Cardiff, Barcelona to Berlin, young people are responding to the easing of lockdown restrictions with demonstrative partying: flashmob raves, sudden beach invasions, instant gatherings in the clubbing districts of various cities. Wherever there is political protest – such as the two pro-Palestine demonstrations in London last month – they have turned up in large, vocal and defiant groups.

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