(Spanish version)

The shift of young people towards far-right political options is a concerning and widespread trend across all European Union countries (Mieriņa & Koroļeva, 2015; Zagórski et al., 2021). However, the phenomenon is not peculiar or unique when analyzed as a response to political incapacity and inaction.

The future does not exist

The substantial difference between young people now and those of the past is that it has become impossible to imagine the future. The climate catastrophe, wars for control of resources, water scarcity, and the ongoing economic crisis in which we are immersed have ceased to be hypotheses or future scenarios. These issues do not question the continuity of the economic system or the political model, but rather our own survival. In the current scenario, it is difficult to envision a life beyond the “now,” and the future appears uncertain. Futuristic dreams of humanity focused on space exploration, technological advancements, and knowledge have come to an end. Utopias of progress, where we evolve beyond our political differences and social limitations, have disappeared. Now, for our future, we settle for staying alive and not dying of starvation amidst the filth of a polluted and thirsty world. One of my favorite pastimes is contemplating which post-apocalyptic dystopia would be more fitting: Mad Max or Fallout?

In the face of this situation, young people are disoriented. There is no clear direction to move towards, and as a result, building a life project becomes impossible. Young people inherit a world seemingly in a terminal phase, on the brink of collapse. The distant horizon of climate change outlined by science materializes before us, relentless and at a faster pace than anticipated. What will the world be like in 10, 30, or 50 years? Believing that it will remain the same is the chimerical fallacy that has brought us to the current point of collapse.

The political failure

In this scenario, democracy has diluted into a performance. We vote, celebrate debates, maintain a parliament and political structure, make decisions, pass and repeal laws. Even in European social democracies, interesting social advances are achieved. However, despite all this, the essential does not change: politics has been unable to steer the course and set limits to an economic system based on resource predation and the myth of unlimited growth. Political alternation also fails to bring about changes because the boundaries separating the left-right axis have blurred. From both extremes, and towards the center, neoliberal capitalism echoes as the only viable system.

The inability to access housing, job precarity, mental health issues, abuse, inflation, unemployment, insecurity, and the degradation of public services (healthcare, education, etc.)—these are issues stemming from neoliberal capitalism, the lack of regulation, and the limitless nature of an economic system without morality or ethics, dehumanizing individuals to maximize their performance. These problems affect both countries with right-wing and left-wing governments. In my view, what drives young people towards anti-system political options and antidemocratic values is not the problems themselves, but the inability of politics and democracy to provide a strong and credible response, the impossibility of genuinely prioritizing the common good and citizens’ well-being over capital accumulation.

In the eyes of the youth, politics and democracy have failed. Despite our votes, protests, and scientific evidence, it has been proven (time and again) that economic interests are always the sacred chalice to preserve, even if it means our own destruction. It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism (Jameson/Žižek). In fact, capitalism has always had the ability to benefit from catastrophe (Berardi, 2017). We vote, debate, and pass laws, but it all amounts to nothing. What message is being conveyed to the youth? Democracy as an act of collective self-control is dead in a context where neoliberal capitalism takes center stage. As Fisher (2016) suggests, a “capitalist realism” is imposed, not only as the only possible and viable economic system but also as the only one we can imagine.

Protesting is futile

Faced with this, only anger remains. However, young people have abandoned activism and protest as a catalyst for change. These forms of social mobilization have proven entirely ineffective in steering the course of politics fundamentally (generating a change in the model). Protests are forgotten as days go by, overshadowed by an information torrent inundating us every moment. Large protests, like Spain’s 15M, which at some point seemed capable of triggering a lever for change, are Machiavellianly absorbed by the system through new political formations, which over the years become indistinguishable parts of the state machinery. Protest receives only silence as a response, indifference.

All this, of course, without forgetting that protest among the youngest occurs almost anecdotally, in the best and most optimistic scenarios of critical thinking. Young people suffer from the hyperfragmentation generated by social media and platforms. They are confined to ideological spaces disconnected from the public sphere, denied the ability to articulate a common political reasoning (Hang, 2022). Among the youth, there is no common frame of reference, no shared reality. In summary: they live isolated from each other, away from public debate, and are used only as inert bodies capable of consumption: customers, spectators, or commodities in the attention economy scheme (Franck, 2019).

Protest is ignored… but what is the use of protesting? Taking to the streets has not changed or will change the collision course. The act of protesting has become, like so many other things, a product, a pretense, a photo for Instagram: protest is a “drumming” to appease the conscience of those peering into the abyss.

Unconscious nihilism

Young people have become aware of their powerlessness against a degenerated democracy that only exists to satisfy and serve an economic system. The lack of a clear political proposal, whether left or right, capable of generating change and ending this schizophrenic escape from reality, pushes young people to vote for absurd political options, such as those proposed by the far right or Donald Trump. They do not opt for the far left because such a thing does not exist.

Yes, I argue that young people vote nihilistically and self-destructively, even if they are not aware of it. They vote with the hope of creating a rift in the political system, for an anti-system option led by someone with nothing to lose to reach power, leading to a moment of singularity and catharsis large enough to completely subvert the current order of things. It is ultimately a kind of unconscious accelerationism where they seek to crash the locomotive into the wall. What else can they do? What alternative do they have? What other future awaits them?


Berardi, F. (2017). El aceleracionismo cuestionado desde el punto de vista del cuerpo. A. Avanessian y M. Reis (Comps.), Aceleracionismo. Estrategias para una transición hacia el postcapitalismo, 69-76.

Fisher, M. (2016). REALISMO CAPITALISTA: ¿No hay alternativa? Caja Negra.

Franck, G. (2019). The economy of attention. Journal of Sociology, 55(1), 8-19. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783318811778

Hang, B.-C. (2022). Infocracia. Taurus. Madrid.

Mieriņa, I., & Koroļeva, I. (2015). Support for far right ideology and anti-migrant attitudes among youth in Europe: A comparative analysis. The Sociological Review, 63(S2), 183-205. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12268

Zagórski, P., Rama, J., & Cordero, G. (2021). Young and Temporary: Youth Employment Insecurity and Support for Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe. Government and Opposition, 56(3), 405-426. https://doi.org/10.1017/gov.2019.28

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