(Non-)Politicized Ageism: Exploring the Multiple Identities of Older Activists
1.1. Identity Building and Older Adults
1.2. Iaioflautas Social Movement
3.1. Iaioflautas as a Collective and Symbolic Innovation
The thing is Iaioflautas is a movement, but it’s also obvious that it’s minimally organized because we meet monthly, we have a coordinating group, a finance group… […] But the difference is this: an organization is a structure from top to bottom; ours is from bottom to top.
When I went to Plaça Catalunya [15M’s main protest venue in Barcelona], I saw a lot of good intentions, much rebelliousness, but no organization. And without organization, there are no ideas. […] Young people think that individually or with a friend…If there is no organization, ideas disappear.
Now everyone is thinking about how we renew ourselves. […] We already occupied a bank, a bus, the Catalan employers’ association, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, we stepped in and got ourselves kicked out of the Catalan government’s [head office], the German consulate…We can keep doing things like these, but we have to try new stuff.
The system educates us for work, productive work. […] And when the system arrives at the conclusion that we are no longer useful from a productive point of view, whatever that means, it makes it look as if our lives ran out.
The unions: “you are useless”; the parties: “you are useless, you are retired.” Bankers do not retire, even if they are 90 years old. But there is an attitude, I believe wrong, that once you reach a certain age, they cannot count on you [anymore].
I believe that older people are in a life stage that is viewed, like, as something negative, right? “You are no longer productive,” meaning, “What is your contribution? Are you going to cause us any trouble?” Because you are going to be sick more often than when you were 40 years old. You are going to cause more expenditure to the system. So, I am not saying this is [what] everybody [thinks], but I believe that a majority of the people that come behind us have that concept.
It is not only that they are useful, but that they are needed. And that gives you a personal value in your own life that the system intended to make you lose. It brings back your dignity. You are no longer a being that is used and thrown away.
When I say I am in Iaioflautas, they applaud me! Can you imagine [for] someone like me that has never joined anything; that has been in Iaioflautas for a couple of years? When we get to places, people applaud us! They get me here [pointing to her heart] (Olivia, female, 63).
I believe we still have much to say and do. There are people 80 years old carrying their canes, and they are always there. [It is about] showing that fighting is ageless. What we have to do is adapt our fight to the physical conditions we have nowadays.
I believe that Iaioflautas as a movement is indeed breaking stereotypes, [but] I do not know if [it is the case of] every Iaioflauta individually. Because in my life, I have met older people very concerned with [certain] issues. What I had never seen was a movement of older people.
3.2. Inter- and Intragenerational Relationships
Well, young people are demonstrating in the public squares, and we retirees are only known for playing bocce ball, dominoes, and going to centers for the retired. [But] it is inconceivable that we do not try to mobilize all those millions of retirees. With the current situation, we have to start doing something.
I could join 15M and listen to what they say, but I would feel more displaced than in Iaioflautas. I do not feel discriminated [against] but displaced because there are people twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two years old. […] And there are things they are, like, discovering that you already know that go nowhere.
The “casal” has always given me the feeling that it is the entrance to the cemetery. It smells like death to me when you go to a place like this, seeing the people there playing cards, dominoes, spending hours, and doing nothing else. […] From there to the grave.
3.3. Intergenerational Solidarity as an Identity Motto
One thing I believe is important is to think about the generations that come behind us. Because I am not saying that we do not matter. But damn, what are we going to leave our children? A situation with no [labor] contract, [unfair] labor relations, no pensions. Are we going to leave them that? (Antón, male, 63).
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Blanche-T., D.; Fernández-Ardèvol, M. (Non-)Politicized Ageism: Exploring the Multiple Identities of Older Activists. Societies 2022, 12, 40. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12020040
Blanche-T. D, Fernández-Ardèvol M. (Non-)Politicized Ageism: Exploring the Multiple Identities of Older Activists. Societies. 2022; 12(2):40. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12020040Chicago/Turabian Style
Blanche-T., Daniel, and Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol. 2022. "(Non-)Politicized Ageism: Exploring the Multiple Identities of Older Activists" Societies 12, no. 2: 40. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12020040