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Parties in High School aren’t what they used to be

“We are the Green Party. It's not entirely environmental, it also focuses on social justice issues.” Audrey points to a graph: “This is where we are on the political spectrum, so rather left-libertarian. If you look at where political parties stand on the left-to-right spectrum, that's kind of surprising, because they are usually a lot more right than you’d think.”

Do you all belong to that same place on the spectrum?
“We are not necessarily doing this out of our beliefs, we're just simulating a party. We looked up green parties that already exist, and most of them fall into that area. We're working on our manifesto right now. We've just chosen the things we're focusing on: Environment, infrastructure, employment, healthcare, racial justice, taxes. We will tax the big corporations. If we do ecotourism, there will be a lot of jobs.”

“This is a new unit called Knowledge and Politics,” Theory of Knowledge Teacher and DP Coordinator Mary explains. “It's actually one of five optional themes but it was an obvious one to choose because of the elections in America. We started two weeks ago by looking at the political spectrum, and then enjoyed placing themselves on it using the ‘politicalcompass.org’ test. They also got their parents to take the test.”

Did they form parties based on their political interests?
“No, I created the groups because I wanted people in the group who were diverse. They’re from an international school background and on the surface, they're not politically very diverse; however, they might surprise themselves while undertaking this activity,” she adds. “They have a made-up country and I decided on certain parameters for them: They're coming out of the pandemic, they have a debt burden, they were previously economically strong, religion has become more important, there's the silver vote, they're also about to have a baby boom because they've been locked up for a long time. I've given them background, and it's all about coherence: They can't as a political party say they want a population growth spurt when they're actually about to have one; they cannot be planning for that. They need to think about what the situation currently is and what they will tell the electorate who will be voting for them.”

“We've talked about political values, like tradition, self-reliance, independence and how that might relate to where you are on the political spectrum. We talked about how your values are so emotionally important to you that you can find it impossible to understand why somebody would hold different values. They've also looked at how politics influenced their own personal life which is really interesting because they're from so many different countries. They've been giving examples from their own background about how politics influences their education, and how they have been involved in politics, maybe only in a small way - maybe they took part in a demonstration or strike or maybe they were in the student council.”