Responses to Demand the Impossible

Since 2012, over 150 young people have taken part in Demand the Impossible summer schools and long evening courses in London and Manchester, and dozens of activists, writers and educators have worked with participants. Below is a selection of what some of these people have had to say about our work.

 

 

“Demand the Impossible does unique work in providing transformative and critical political education for constituencies of young people who are entirely beyond the reach of mainstream politics. Their programmes combine intellectual rigour with a commitment to informed and progressive pedagogy, and have a genuinely life-changing impact on many of their participants. Any democracy needs an empowered and informed citizenry. At a time when many young people’s experience of formal education is  inevitably straitened by the limits imposed upon by government policy, we desperately need DI.”

- Jeremy Gilbert, author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism

 

"In geography, you do a tiny bit of economics, but you don't learn about the pros and cons of capitalism. In history, you don't learn about radical politics. You do explore ideas, but only in the way that the curriculum teaches them. With DI, it’s different."

- Jessica Luong, 18, participant in 2013 London summer school

 

"I wasn't really a feminist before. I thought it was about fighting for the right to vote. Now I realise how relevant it is, and how it's about domestic violence and street harassment."

- Mamataj Begum, 19, participant in 2014 London summer school

 

“Jacob and Ed were insightful, patient, calm and understanding. The days were long but the content was quality and the speakers were relevant and informative. Jacob and Ed were fair and respectful and promoted equality within the environment. I appreciated their call for quiet people to speak. Thank you! Very accessible.”

- Emily, 21, participant in 2017 Manchester summer school

 

“Demand the Impossible models the very best of youth education - highly stimulating, relevant and responsive to the needs, interests and curiosity of the young people participating. The world needs more critically-thinking, confident and empowered young people and Demand the Impossible has a key role to play in developing this.”

- Emma Rees, co-founder and former National Coordinator of Momentum

 

"Personally, I have found this course fascinating, I have never been to anything like this. To be able to speak our minds and be free is something I have always been closed from."

- Anon, participant in 2012 London summer school

 

"As someone who felt that I am a ‘scum’ for being on JSA … it made me realise that this was my basic right and shouldn’t feel bad to ask for support."

- Anon, participant in 2012 London summer school

 

"Demand the Impossible offers an amazing route into activism for young people who wouldn't otherwise have access to such a vast range of organisations, campaign materials and resources. At The World Transformed we worked with several Demand The Impossible course participants to put on an event in East London. They were a big help to our organisation and some continue to be involved to this day."

- Deborah Hermanns, The World Transformed

 

“Demand the Impossible is the main reason why I am now involved in the GJN Youth Network, Stop Trump Coalition and The Renters Power Project. Without DI I would have never, ever got involved in such things. It has given me the confidence to get more active.”

- Anouska, 24, participant in 2016-17 London long course

 

“Demand the Impossible has been an excellent boost for the young organisers in the These Walls Must Fall campaign against immigration detention. They've come back to the group full of ideas, enthusiasm, confidence and determination.”

- Michael Collins, Coordinator, Right to Remain

 

“I have met incredible peers and leaders (Ed and Jacob) - I will be participating in activist projects and hopefully becoming a full-time activist.”

- Kyle, 17, participant in 2017 Manchester summer school

 

“I’ve met some amazing people and gained a lot more confidence and slightly overridden my anxiety of travelling alone on public transport or talking and presenting in large groups.”

- Marina, 18, participant in 2017 Manchester summer school

 

“DI manages to combine a diverse set of young people with an equally interesting group of speakers advocating non-mainstream economic and political ideas. As such, it provides vital oxygen to those of us struggling to find a place to question the status quo.”

- Faiza Shaheen, Director of Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS)

 

“The experience has been a life-changing journey into activism for me. I went from being passive to very active in politics, organising and taking part in demonstrations. It has been a surreal and amazing year”

- Hidigo, participant on 2016-17 London long course

 

“I now feel comfortable discussing economic theory, the housing crisis, austerity, party policies and grassroots activism in depth, whereas before I had strong feelings about them but struggled to communicate them well.”

- Nina, 22, participant in 2017 Manchester summer school

 

“I have increased my knowledge / vocabulary and I feel like I’m in a much better position to change the world, I feel much more confident.”

- Hassan, 18, participant in 2017 Manchester summer school

 

"Demand the Impossible creates a space for young people to explore political thought in fun, interesting and dynamic ways. The course is super accessible using a range of tools and styles such as workshops, talks and role play with excellent facilitation. Demand The Impossible not only looks at how politics impacts society, but the ways in which we can shape and affect it too, which makes for an empowering and galvanising experience for everyone involved".

- Kennedy Walker, founder of KIN - network of black activists and organisers

 

"Being new to a huge city like London, DI provided a wonderful space to connect with interesting and lovely people from different backgrounds."

- Josefine Brons, 19, participant in 2016-17 London long course

 

"This sounds so cringy but honestly it has been one of the best things I have done in my young adult life. I have learnt so much, met amazing people and have developed better ways of articulating myself."

- Jack-Daniel, 22, participant in 2016-17 London long course

 

“I feel more developed socially and mentally. I have gained new friends, insights and perspectives and I feel like a person ready to take on the world.”

- Anon, participant in 2012 London summer school

 

"What I liked about this course was how easy it was to get in touch with these groups and start working with them immediately and to see that getting started in activism wasn't as hard as I thought it would be."

- Settit Beyene, 25, participant in 2016-17 London long course

 

“DI invited me to facilitate a session on mental health and capitalism - I was struck and impressed by how engaged the group was and how much confidence they displayed asking insightful questions and carrying on the conversation with each other. I wish I had had an outlet like DI as a younger person!”

- Ray Filar, editor at openDemocracy, editor of the book Resist! Against a precarious future

 

"I have met people that I know that I will be in contact with for a very long time. So from a political and personal aspect, I have gained a lot."

- Helen, 18, participant in 2016-17 London long course

 

"I had no idea I had the confidence and power to make a difference about things I’m passionate about."

- Anon, participant in 2012 London summer school

 

“I have seen how working in a group can lead to change and that the youth have much power”

- Anon, participant in 2012 London summer school

 

"Demand the Impossible offers a fantastic experience with a tremendous group of people. Through a mixture of talks, discussions, and exercises, these sessions let young people explore a series of ideas in engaging and interesting ways. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in where the world is headed today."

- Nick Srnicek, author of Platform Capitalism and co-author of Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work