I’m not sure if Paul is following on from my ramblings or taking a different tack altogether, but no matter. As he says, what the heck. Let’s go for it. Could turn into a TV series?
THE CABAL AND ITS CREDO
Ironically, they took their name from ‘Positive For Youth’, a little known, mostly forgotten, attempt by the Government of the time to hide the reduction in public expenditure on young people.
Its release, – just before Christmas in those early recessionary days when we still imagined a return to the days when consumerism was sacrosanct – passed unnoticed by all but a small group of die-hards who were employed to work with young people.
In those days youth work was a profession, like nursing or teaching, that held little value in the eyes of The Cabal who, as we now know, were directing the global changes happening at the time. There was no profit to be had in caring, it was just a loss leader, that (in The Cabal’s eyes) merely served as a useful foil for creating a divide about who deserved care and therefore who got public money spent on them.
The first 15 years of the century were critical years when The Cabal began inculcating the populace with what we now know as The Credo. Even then, it was always about control, and more specifically the illusion of control. They began breaking down some of the national institutions, such as the media and religion and of course parliament, through cleverly manipulation of the Everweb, or Internet as it was known then. They cleverly created the Leveson enquiry to oversee the decline of The Cabal’s only real rival, known then as News International. Conflict between races and religions has always been easy to manipulate. The global recession proved remarkably easy to manage in a world without alternatives to capitalism. A vacuum was created for The Credo and of course its author The Cabal, to step into. People wanted change. People wanted certainty. The Credo provided both.
But I digress…buried in the middle of Positive for Youth was a page and a half about youth work. If Positive for Youth was the epitome of obscurity, then these few lines represented the dot on the letter ‘i’ in obscurity.
But youth work showed remarkable resourcefulness and resilience. It found itself at the centre of a remarkable movement, which we now know as Catalyst.
While The Cabal’s institutions of control, such as The National Citizen Service, were attracting the majority of young people with its promises of pathways to work, responsibility and of course power, other groups offered young people seemingly respectable involvement in ‘intergenerational’ projects with the elderly population. The Cabal’s confidence was its undoing and it neglected two small groups as ineffectual outsiders. Under the guise of active citizenship young people were meeting with older people. Older people who remembered what it meant to protest. They retained a spark of rebellion. The young people were kindling waiting for a spark. Together they started an underground fire that swept the country.
The young people were showing their elderly compatriots ways to bypass the controls on The Cabal’s information flow. The older people showed their young compatriots how to use the off line Everweb – libraries. Skills were exchanged. Young people helped with the ‘In Defence of The Book’ movement. They helped remove books from the Libraries. They helped with movement of books, and inevitably they read them. Then they started to commit their blogs to paper, using their online networks to direct others to their cause, and teaching older people how to do the same.
In the middle of this was Catalyst – youth workers creating networks, talking to young people about the world, listening when a young person expressed dissatisfaction at The Credo, listening when young people spoke positively about the their love of the Credo, allowing young people to imagine a future for themselves, encouraging young people to explore possibilities, and when appropriate introducing them to other members of Catalyst via other ‘youth projects’. For years they worked diligently but quietly, building an alternative Credo, one that valued people before profit.
Youth Worker is no longer a paying occupation of course. Now all jobs that bring adults into contact with young people happened under strictly controlled conditions, with very clearly defined outcomes. This is for the “safety of all involved” and were clearly marked for those considered gifted in the Credo of Economic Prosperity.
For many, Catalyst only exists in stories whispered around camp-fires by groups of young people daring each other to see who can push most against the boundaries of conformity. They say that there are people who live outside The Credo defying The Cabal. But that’s just a story for children. After all, why would anyone want to live in a world where your future wasn’t already determined?