Text by Anna Saraste
Although there are a variety of possibilities for young people to show their impact in society, joining a political movement counts as perhaps the most established one.
Joining a political party means that you are registering as a member of a political party and letting them and people on the outside know that you generally support their causes and activities, writes the SpunOut.ie website.
In most countries, political parties have corresponding youth organisations that act as separate organisations, but reflect the values of the “mother party”. Before you sign up and become a party member, here’s what you should do to find out more about politics and the parties themselves:
1. Read the party programme online
Political parties tend to publish their party programmes for the general public. Normally, this programme reflects what the party aims to achieve in the political sphere of the country for that year. It gives an overview of the priorities the party has set. Many party youth organisations also have their own programmes.
2. Turn to voting tools and opinion tests before elections
Several newspapers and media outlets tend to prepare voting tools before elections that help voters determine their opinions on different issues, and that show candidates with the most similar opinions. Try these polling options for yourself and see which candidates and parties you identify with the most!
3. Meet politicians
Interested to find out more about what a party is currently working on? Want to give your opinion on what their next focus should be? How did a career politician get started? To find answers to all these questions, it’s time to look for opportunities to meet politicians and party activists in person! Politicians normally publish their event schedules on their websites, where you can find out what discussions and events they are attending. Naturally, before elections (no matter if they are held on a local, regional, national or EU level) candidates are also actively touring around and meeting their electorate. Join one of these events to get better insights, and to lobby for what matters to you most, with the politicians.
4. Attend a party (youth organisation) meeting
As politics is normally about living democracy, most party meetings will be also open for anyone to attend. A party’s youth organisation is commonly the place for young people interested in politics to get familiar with political decision-making, and they welcome people to attend their events even before signing up for membership. Look for the closest meeting to your place and check it out.
5. Practice politics also at your school or workplace
Most universities and schools have their own boards with student representatives, which hold regular elections. Find out about the groups that are politically organised in your place of study. In workplaces, it’s mostly unions that tend to have representatives, but this is often also a highly political area worth getting to know.
*the possibilities described above are features of viable democracies and don’t apply to all countries