Do the political parties support their youth for political participation?

Do the political parties support their youth for political participation?


It was ony Dr. Yassin Saeed Noman who made the decision. Peace upon you and warm greetings to all of you . Thank you for being here today for this debate that I hope you will enrich with your input as well as the teams A quick explanation of the debate’s idea: the debate is sponsored by Resonate and Safer World to tackle an important issue at this crucial time the country is going through Are youth only used by political parties to serve their agendas or are there genuine intentions to integrate youth in the political process and prepare them to become leaders in these parties. We will have two teams. Each time has a different idea the first believes that parties do support youth and they are trying to help them become leaders The second team consists of independent youth and sees that parties have not provided youth with what it takes to help youth so far We will start the debate with 5 minutes for each team to Mr. Baraa Shiban who will tells his opinion about youth participation and political parties’ support then we will move to Mr. Bassem Al Haj Peace upon you all Youth represent more than 70% of the Yemeni population, which makes them a target for partisan polarization so that political parties can take advantage of them in electoral campaigns as well as parties agendas’ advocacy. However, this wide base of youth in parties have limited participation regarding decision making and leadership positions within parties In 2011, all Yemeni parties (Ruling and opposition) were way behind in comparison with the popular movement and creative spirit of the youth of the revolution and their team work abilities regardless of religious, ideological, partisan, geographical and gender identities Parties also failed in coping with modern techniques as they still stick to traditional slow methods not to mention their attraction to the past Many studies emphasized that youth political participation within their parties is very weak compared to their numbers and effectiveness Safer world’s study in 2011/2012 in Taiz shows that even though youth were on the peak of their political work 85% of 400 youth (42 of them are members in political parties) prefer staying away from leadership positions in parties Only 21% of the partisan youth feel that they do participate in decision making 46% expressed that social status defines the possibility to reach leadership positions in parties in comparison with 28% who see that these decisions depend of qualifications Finally, only 17% said they are effective in decision making within their parties These percentages point that the impact of youth in political parties is limited And these results show the marginalization of youth, which was took control in the era of the former regime before the 2011 revolution And this did not change after the GCC initiative In the end, we remember a quote by a revolutionary who once said that progress in any society is measured by women and youth status. Good evening. I touch on a few topics. First, I can say that the political scene in Yemen and in the Arab world before the Arab spring has witnessed political parties aging as well as political reluctance. This made youth in war with politics which achieved the saying: “Enemies of politics are enemies of tyranny The Yemeni society is youthful society so having youth outside the political process has created tyranny When the youth decided joining politics during the Arab spring they did not only change parties and also changed the whole regime The problem is that youth still refuse joining the political process The youth managed to topple the political regime but stayed outside the political process Therefore, when the GCC initiative was signed, the youth couldn’t continue the revolutionary path This made the political process the only way to achieve the goals of the revolution through political parties unions and other forms of protestation This is why toppling the political regime seemed easier than building it as this take political awareness The main challenge is becoming part of the political process The parties are rusting and youth joining these parties is part of the struggle for change. On the other hand, I methodologically disagree with the title. Parties are not established on this base Young, old and generation gap Parties are established on bases determined by class and social interest This is why I consider this classification a misconception The youth exist within various classes, interests and programs and this is why the classification should be based on programs not generations In spite of that, let’s review our party’s experience Regarding the youth. The socialist party was founded by youth who ruled in the south at a very young age and you can go back to pictures of that period This was the first phase The second phase was during the 1994 war when youth took responsibility to re-establish the party all over again especially at places the older generation failed at due to the arrest and marginalization they faced Here the youth participated in the most important historical phase for the party through rebuilding it under the siege back then The third phase was during the revolution The socialist party had a program for reform within the JMP The party was not revolutionary oriented Yet, many of the youth who are not in leadership positions in the party made a historical decision considering that the country needs more than reform They realized that the country is in need of a revolution I remember at the very beginning when we were having a meeting and Yahya Al Shami member in the political office walked in while we were discussing the continuity of protests and sit ins Back then he asked us to act not as if we were only in charge of the party but the whole country We went down that road. Later, the first release about the revolution was issued by socialist students So I believe that within parties, youth are capable of achieving change even they were not included in certain positions A vision is needed. And the focus should not only be on young people There re progressive modern people we can address from older generations from the 50s and the 70s in the end youth can change. Those were the three phases and than you. Thank you so much Mr. Bassem and Mr. Baraa Now the question is to Mr. Mohammed. As Mr. Bassem said the problem is not in parties. Parties are open for youth and youth can be effective within these parties in one way or another So the problem is not in the parties, it is in youth not joining parties. Do you have a comment? What Bassem said describes part of the problem and not the whole problem The issue can be summarized in 4 points. First, are the parties institutionalized? Is the socialist party institutionalized? For example, When the GCC initiative was signed did the general secretary and the central committee meet to make the signing decision? The socalist, the Nasserite and many other parties even Justice and Construction are all similar in that In my opinion the only organized party is Islah and anyone of you can look at these parties websites and you will notice how Islah signed agreements with organizations in a way that made Islah rooted in the Yemeni civil society Reconstruction in Abyan, Hadramout was expected to happen if not through the government then through the socialist party since it once ruled The socialist party is abandoning its popular base Unfortunately, we never hear the members of those parties unless there are presidential decrees appointing positions and did not count them in when 200 thousand were recruited according to the minister of defense himself in 2012 parties remained silent which means they are not against quotas unless they don’t include them The other thing includes 4 factors Yemeni youth also allowed this to happen. And here I disagree with Bassem Who are youth? Are they the ones who honor Hamid Al Ahmar or Al Mohsen or the ones at the Coffee Corner? We need to evaluate youth and the youth of revolution When the Egyptian revolution started, I remember that Nawara Nigm wrote in her blog We don’t have a problem with parties. Political parties are the equivalent of democracy “We don’t want parties, we want Egyptian flags only” Finally, I really hope the youth would participate in parties. But again look at the first lines in parties Look at those who meet with ambassadors and international community as well as Jamal Bin Omar you will find among them people who wear dentures and 60 year olds so all of this must be reconsidered. Thank you Now we move to Mr. Safwan We all know that parties in Yemen are all personalized and not institutionalized For example, I know the socialist party as Dr. Yassin Saeed Noman’s Justice and Construction as Mr. Mohammed Abu Lohoom’s party Our parties one person centered. Therefore what is the point of joining such projects when parties still haven’t gotten over the one person. Good evening all first of all I have an objection to saying that parties are not institutionalized Parties adopt institutionalization in order for them to continue and this includes Islah Islah, even though it is not my party as I am from Justice and Construction has nominated youth since 2007 Tawakol Karman and Huda Al Bnna were among the youth that nominated themselves in 2007 and they became part of the youth movement Parties want to make use of youth. youth who went to the square were made independent decisions from their partiesv There were many partisan youth who joined the revolution since the very beginning Later, parties attempted to administrate the revolution in a way that allows them to benefit If we as youth are not framed, the political process will get out of our hands. Thank you Safwan My question to Ms. Hend is that if youth do not participate in political parties we will find the same faces reproducing themselves and parties so far are the only alternative, the best of the worst When we speak about CSOs we have more than 10 thousand CSOs among which I can barely think of 10 effective CSOs And parties might be the best alternative. What is the alternative you suggest instead of parties? I think that youth in parties will reach a level where they start a revolution within their parties The party that does not give me the chance to speak and practices patriarchy and censorship and treats us like children If the party does this, we will have to rebel on them or start our own party It is wrong to blame youth for limited participation in parties It is true that youth need to stand up but party leaders also need to understand that leadership is not by inheritance. In general, I won’t answer one specific question and would rather cover the discussion in general. I believe that also the debate organizers chose a misleading title which directed the discussion in a certain direction. I believe that AbdulBari Taher is more vibrant and youthful and much more of a representative to the youth principles than Yasser Al Roaini who is kind of the vice president of the NDC and is supposed the youth So the relationship between the young and the old, the youth and the parties is not a culture clash relationship We are not at war or dealing with an us and them issue the relationship is more interactive and comprehensive and both sides decide how this relationship goes. Islahis and Houthis are competing on religious polarization and quran memorization sessions and cursing eachother Socialists and Nasserites are competing on theorizing and Guevara’s pictures Where are people’s causes in their agendas? I hope there would be competition on helping people and establishing centers How many socialists were sent to learn English or computer skills by their party? Parties must be up to life’s needs and development. Will the problem be solved when numbers change? When we have 50%youth in parties? There are different quotas: 25% or 35% as in India and Pakistan and some suggest 40% If I become general secretary and he becomes general secretary assistant, things will change? Parties stand on interests and coalitions. What is my party’s message? does it answer to my dreams of equal citizenship? Principles of social justice? Principle of progressiveness, modernity, democracy and human rights? This is why we shouldn’t get into a fight on generation bases.

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