With his powerful criticism of Conservative austerity and his hopeful approach towards a more compassionate and fairer future – he did not disappoint the hundreds of eager listeners, all excited by his transformational politics.
Despite the prominent socialist furore reverbrating throughout the room, it’s hard not to be pessimistic about the lack of real advancement this would induce in student activism.
Students are full of great energy and passion – but apparently only when expressing their own opinions. There’s very little evidence of their active involvement in politics and affecting change outside of a one-off petition on change.org.
When you tweet that poetic quote from Jez, or snapchat your excitement at his presence, you’re only contributing to worthless mania. Corbyn’s modesty as a leader, with his encouragement for focus on socio-economic justice rather than his own irrelevant characteristics, is what makes him trustworthy and admirable. By putting disproportionate emphasis on his celebrity status instead of his political principles, you are acting completely conversely to his political intentions.
Of course we are all susceptible to idolatry, and can’t help get excited about meeting a man who’s caused such a stir in British politics. However, our reverence for his politics is meaningless unless we apply his principles ourselves. We need to go out and make change happen, as powers of communities exist and need to be exercised.
Imagine if the collective effort young people make to have an online argument was put towards actually fighting for those principles, and what a real difference that would make. The university currently has so much to offer for students who have this great gusto, but very few take up the challenge to fight for their ideal future.
Whether its Campaign Against the Arms Trade, War Child, Amnesty, Fossil Fuel Divestment or Help the Homeless – there is something for every student to stand up for. Even if you want to help positive change apolitically, there’s always RAG. It’s just discomforting to see that students have so much potential creativity and energy to give for a Top Yak, but they don’t expend that towards securing the fairer future which they so firmly believe in, especially when there are so many options right in front of them.
Jeremy himself encouraged students to come and campaign on Saturday with Margaret Greenwood for the Missing Million potential voters who would not be represented if they do not register – but that’s just one of the hundreds of possibilities you can be part of in creating your ideal society. While you have the time, energy and bright hope for the future – go and be part of making it happen. For some issues, change seems like a slow and painful process, but occasionally in others you can see the change happening before your eyes. Either way, if it’s for something you feel passionate about, it’s worth your time – so, as Shia Lebeouf put it:
JUST DO IT.