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April 2009


By Luke Pearce
vas. Compass Youth recognises Welcome from the Chair,
Compass Youth is fast becoming that collectivism, environmentalism Sam Tarry
the most active and influential and democracy must be pursued
political youth organisation in the in the here and now. Many mem- In recent
UK. With the Labour government bers will no doubt go on to gain m o n t h s
still lacking a radical social de- influential positions in government, Compass
mocratic policy agenda despite public services, NGOs and business Youth has
the departure of Blair and the in years to come. But in the mean raised its
huge popular demand for an al- time there is a huge pool of en- profile and
ternative to neo-liberalism, a ergy available to fight for change continued to
space has opened for organisa- and the Good Society as advo- build links
tions which provide a voice for cated in the Compass Programme with trade
politically and socially conscious for Renewal. Compass Youth pro- u n i o n s ,
young people. Inspired by its par- vides the necessary umbrella to NGOs, politi-
ent organisation, Compass Youth bring together and empower cians and
seeks to provide activists with the campaigning groups from across fellow social-
tools, contacts and support to the political left. ists in the UK and Europe.
pursue single-issue causes and Frustrated by many politicians’ In December, a delegation of
more generally a left-of-centre continuing inability to realise that20 visited the European Parlia-
agenda in tune with both the power and principle are two sides ment in Brussels. We met MEPs to
general public and the electoral of the same coin, ambitious but discuss working time legislation,
base of the Labour Party. conscientious young activists and the Party of European Socialists to
Other youth organisations affili- thinkers have been attracted to hear about the upcoming cross-
ated with the Labour Party con- Compass Youth in large numbers. EU elections, along with the Soli-
centrate on providing opportuni- To be part of this movement, visit dar NGO umbrella organisation.
ties to socialise, network and can- Compass Youth had a notable
presence at February’s Progres-
POLICY-MAKING By Ruth Walker-Grice workshop and debate around
Want to lead the world in environmental hypocrisy and idiocy by build- ‘progressive future’ campaigning
ing a third runway at Heathrow? Just follow these simple steps below: ideas. We also held a popular
1. Raze all of Sipson, and parts of Harlington and Harmondsworth to the ‘Obama Campaigning Workshop’
ground (overall destroying 700 properties, many acres of greenbelt land, in Parliament and produced a
wildlife and animal habitats) ‘Living Wage Toolkit’ to assist cam-
2. Increase CO2 and NO2 levels (don’t worry that Heathrow already paigners across the UK.
breaches EU regulation on NO2 levels) The coming months will be cru-
3. Put Londoners’ health at risk and breach current noise pollution limits cial in building our presence in the
4. Increase road congestion in and around the London area debate about what kind of soci-
5. Make Heathrow solely responsible for one fifth of UK emissions by 2050 ety can be constructed from the
6. Make UK climate change targets a near impossibility recession. If you’re interested in
Go on, do it, the environment can always take one more hit. Besides, getting involved with Compass
think of the money you’ll get from the airlines for all those extra flights! Youth, please do get in touch.

“We are not just here to manage capitalism, but to change society
and to define its finer values.” - Tony Benn Send your inspirational and
humorous political quotations to


By Nick O’Donovan funds and mobilise supporters, a
As things presently stand, the next online. They are quickly learning new progressive group, aims to
general election will be decided that the internet cannot be change this situation. The website
by apathy and anger. The finan- treated as just another medium for is at heart a rolling petition, one
cial crisis has brought long- the message: you cannot 'use' that enables members to stay
simmering resentments to the boil. new technologies to catapult peo- connected from campaign to
While the government is on the ple from sofa to voting booth, you campaign so they can back up
receiving end of much of the re- can only use them to communi- their protests with a coordinated
sulting vitriol, there is an increasing cate, and whether people re- electoral response. The organisa-
awareness that the Conservative spond depends on what you're tion aims to work alongside exist-
solution bears a startling resem- saying. So far, the likes of Conser- ing think-tanks, charities, pressure
blance to the policies that got us vativeHome, LabourList, WebCam- groups and discussion forums,
here in the first place. The result eron and GoFourth have not been combining the expertise, ideas
could be an election that sets a saying anything new. There are and commitment of political ac-
new low in voter turnout. websites out there offering much tivists with the numerical strength
In an effort to engage the mil- more to the progressive-minded of busy but concerned individuals
lions of people who were unin- browser, with newspapers, think- frustrated by the lack of an elec-
spired by the last election, to say tanks, charities, and bloggers all torally viable progressive alterna-
nothing of the 4m or so new non- serving up cutting-edge content. tive to a defunct status quo. If
voters who were too young not to But the profusion of progressives enough people join, we can
bother in 2005, politicians of all sites is not without its problems. Po- make that progressive alternative
parties have turned to the inter- litical parties run for election; the electorally viable, empowering
net. Impressed by the success of blogosphere does not, and even if progressive MPs and candidates
Obama's presidential campaign, it did, it would probably prove too of all political denominations to
and the sheer size of activist fractious to have much of an im- speak up, and providing tools for
groups such as, they pact. Disembodied designs need progressives all over the country
hope that they too can raise living advocates, and the force of to coordinate their time, resources
the better argument is and votes, constituency by con-
even more dilute in the stituency, once an election is
real world than in its virtual called. It's free to sign up, and you
counterpart. The internet can do as much or as little as you
makes it possible to organ- want- even just by registering, you
ise petitions and protests are showing politicians that there
on a massive scale, and is a constituency for genuine
online activism of this ilk change in this country, and help-
can influence policy- ing to put a progressive agenda
makers. But because there on the political map.
is no relay connecting The best cure for apathy is
these single-issue cam- something worth voting for, but
Cartoonist: paigns to the world of we need to act now to choose
Cat Smith electoral politics, politi- later. If our leaders won't lead us,
Send cartoons to cians can ignore them we will have to lead them. To do
email below right with relative impunity. that, we have to organise, quickly.

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