In a scene from the TV series Downton Abbey, the Crawley family are eating a copious dinner, served by their multiple servants. It's 1914 and the youngest daughter of the family, Sybil, is excited because she has attended a political meeting: among the slogans, some were demanding votes for women. Her aristocratic grandmother, the Countess of Grantham, widens her eyes in terror. Unable to get used to electric light and swivel chairs, the Countess only wants her old world back. "A simple world," she says. "And as soon as possible."

Some weeks later, the war against Germany began and the Countess' world disappeared. A new, unimaginable reality won the fight and established capitalism as the ruling system. The modern world, as we know it nowadays.

But are we again at the edge of the precipice? Is the current political and economic system exhausted? Young Europeans have recently taken over the squares of southern Europe, asking for a new democracy - a real democracy. Are they asking for something impossible, or simply for something that we cannot yet conceive of? Something that will be a matter of common sense in the next century, just like universal suffrage is now for us?

We asked two young Europeans whose hearts are beating at the edge of the precipice, willing to jump, what it was like to take part in the demonstrations that have been going on in Greece and Spain in the last months, and why they are more than just an outburst of rage or an entertaining social gathering.

Pablo Bustinduy was studying in New York when the 15-M movement started in Spain. He didn't think twice and immediately took a plane to be at Madrid's main square, Sol, taking part in what he considers a historic moment in Spain's history.

Fed up with an economic crisis that was just growing deeper and deeper despite the government actions, Vassilia Tiniakoudaki decided to join the Indignants at Syntagma square in their various demonstrations. Far from craving violent encounters with the police, Vassilia regrets that the demonstrators have been depicted as hooligans by several media.

They are young, indignant, and eager to explain why you should join them.

Photo: Ramon Fornell (CC-NC-ND)
Indignados protesting in Madrid
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