January 11, 2010
Radical Youth Rights Activism: Foundations
All human beings have reason to speak out in defense of their own well-being. Young people are no different.
Toward the goal of helping youth become more effective in their efforts at self-defense, I offer the following principles… A foundation upon which future collaborative projects might be built.
- Youth have self-interest.
- Sometimes youths' interests and adults' interests conflict.
- Some adults abuse their power.
- Youth have reason to work against absolute adult power.
- Youth have reason to work together for their collective self-interest.
November 9, 2005
Consent is an extremely basic and crucial concept. Elsewhere I've written that "anything negotiated consensually is ethical". Possibly an overstatement -- but if so, not by much. As I understand it, consent is the very foundation for ethics.
MODELS OF CONSENT:
A) "An enthusiastic 'yes' without fear or confusion."
B) The Antioch policy
C) Creating safety for a partner to say "no"
E) Under what circumstances does a person say "yes"?
F) Safe words
G) "Power play" and "equality play"
October 29, 2005
Hybrid YL Philosophies
In a previous essay I talked about three main varieties of Youth Liberation. In this essay I will talk about a wide variety of Youth Liberation philosophies that can be generated by creating a hybrid of YL and some other school of thought / political movement.
- YL as an adjunct to another political philosophy
- YL as one project of a psychotherapy movement
- YL from the point of view of a particular subset of youth
- Single-issue activism that furthers YL's cause
October 23, 2005
Outline: Youth Power - Four Theory Frameworks
The "Youth Power Framework" can be organized as several interlocking frameworks, rather than one big one. This creates severability. If you disagree with one part, that's OK -- it can be jettisoned without harming the other pieces.
1. YOUTH POWER
- The command / obey relationship.
- The structure of adult power at the society level.
- Escape freedom.
2. AGE IDENTITY
- Adulthood as a membership organization.
- Strategies for avoiding childhood's stigma.
- Ageless being.
3. THE ALLY FRAMEWORK
- Model Youth Lib organization.
- Limiting adult participation.
4. THE OPPRESSION FRAMEWORK
- Adultism vs. Ageism.
- Oppression defined.
- Comparing adultism to other oppressions.
- Arguments for a progressive alliance.
October 22, 2005
Exploration: Difference - Accommodating the "Average" Human Being vs. "Normal Variations"
Contrary to the mainstream of YL thought, I believe that we must acknowledge the ways in which youth are different from the "average" adult.
However, at the same time we must avoid projecting a "false otherness" onto youth. There are few ways in which youth are actually unique. Youth have common cause with several vulnerable adult populations:
- little people ("dwarves")
- the impoverished
- non-English-speaking immigrants
- people with disabilities (esp. fine motor control)
...I argue that rather than basing civil rights upon the abilities of the "average" person, we must carefully look at the normal variations among human beings and attempt to create a society that accommodates everyone's needs. As always, toward the goal of minimizing suffering.
October 19, 2005
Nix Nov 1 YL booklet goal
I hereby officially nix my goal of getting a Youth Lib booklet done by Nov. 1. It's not gonna happen. I need to do more research in order to feel comfortable writing some of the bits that I want to go in this thing. And, I have an essay in my head that occurred to me last night that's important and needs to be written while I've got it here. ...I'll keep pursuing the booklet -- it may well be my focus again in November -- but I'm axing the deadline.
...I find myself wondering if there's really a point to me setting up deadlines at all with YL... Are they really part of my "fantasy life"? It would have been nice to have been able to give myself a booklet as a birthday present -- but when I start getting close to the cut-off date, it just seems stressful. And what's the point of that?
...I think I should probably write out a "Notes on Writing" version of the "Notes on Making Art" document at some point... I mean, look at me -- this has been a ridiculously productive month: creating sculptures, writing essays, doing research... Can't I just trust myself to keep creating (and working towards a greater perfection) simply out of love for the work?
October 13, 2005
The History of Youth Liberation
I have a pretty decent understanding of the history of YL... But now I'm wanting to do some serious research to make sure all my facts are straight. Before I go to the library again, or do another Google search, I want to briefly state what I know at present.
- Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor
- Richard Farson and John Holt
- Re-evaluation Counseling / Co-counseling
- From 1990 to the Present
Outline: What is Youth Liberation?
My current project is envisioned as a brief booklet (30 pages?) titled "What is Youth Liberation?" In this document I hash out an outline that I can start working from:
- Introduction / Overview
- A movement with organizations and manifestoes.
- Youth participation (a) in adult rights and (b) in the process of social change.
- A history of YL authors & activists.
- A consensus agenda.
October 12, 2005
Fragment: Limits of the "Civil Rights" Model
This is an unfinished essay that I was working on two years ago. The document appears to have been begun on August 4, 2003 -- and was last updated on August 6, 2003. I was intending to send this to the "YouthRightsLeaders" email list, but got sidetracked. I remember putting a fair amount of work into this one, so I wanted to save it from the dustbin of history -- put it into my official log of essays. I'll be leaving it essentially as-is, including a bunch of notes and alternate paragraphs at the bottom.
I. THE CIVIL RIGHTS MODEL
II. THE YOUTH MOVEMENT'S FOCUS ON CIVIL RIGHTS
III. RIGHTS ALONE ARE NOT ENOUGH
IV. ISSUES OF RESPECT AND DIGNITY
V. THE MOTIVE BEHIND ADULTISM
VI. JUSTICE TAKES CONSTANT EFFORT
VII. THE ROLE OF CIVIL RIGHTS WITHIN A LARGER STRUGGLE
VIII. AN ALTERNATIVE: THE "OPPRESSION / LIBERATION" MODEL
The "Youth Power" Framework (short version)
First I wrote that three-part essay, "The 'Youth Power' Framework". Then I wrote a "notes" document, looking at alternate ways to structure the material. Now I've written another essay -- completely from scratch -- trying to condense the ideas into something shorter and more to the point.
- Powers properly reserved for the individual
- The role of a government in protecting the powers of the individual
- The nature of the group "adults"
- How adult oppression is organized
- Power in the hands of parents
- Power in the hands of adult government
- Power in the hands of youth activists
- Goals of the youth power movement
October 11, 2005
The "Youth Power" Framework (notes)
I just finished writing a multi-part essay on the "Youth Power" framework. It was a big enough concept that I didn't want to get stuck on outlining beforehand -- so I just worked off of a long list of notes. Now that I'm done, the first thing my mind wants to do is go back and reorganize all this material. I don't have time right now to do too much editing -- but I thought that I might at least sketch a new outline. Here is the overview:
I. HOW HUMAN BEINGS SHOULD BE TREATED
II. A GOVERNMENT THAT PROVIDES FOR JUSTICE & WELFARE
III. THE GROUP "YOUTH"
IV. THE NATURE OF ADULTHOOD
V. THE ORGANIZATION OF ADULT OPPRESSION
VI. ADULT ABUSE OF POWER - WITHIN THE FAMILY
VII. ADULT ABUSE OF POWER - WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT
VIII. WHAT DEFENSE AGAINST OPPRESSION REQUIRES
IX. ADVOCACY THAT DOES NOT RECREATE OPPRESSION
X. SHARED INTERESTS IN ENDING OPPRESSION
The "Youth Power" Framework (part 3)
This is the third and final part of an essay in which I attempt to descibe the "Youth Power" sub-variety of Youth Liberation.
VI. THE NATURE OF ADULTHOOD [continued]
27. Adulthood is a membership organization.
28. The implicit "mission statement" of the adult organization is this: "maintain control over youth".
29. Both adults and youth try to dissociate themselves from childhood.
30. Members of the group "adults" can refuse to identify with the organization, and challenge its structure.
31. "Ending" adultism would require a transformation of culture as well as laws.
October 5, 2005
The "Youth Power" Framework (part 2)
This is the second part of an essay in which I attempt to descibe the "Youth Power" sub-variety of Youth Liberation.
III. POWER AT THE GROUP LEVEL [continued]
11. Self-protection requires youth to band together, to work for their collective well-being.
12. Adult authorities cannot be trusted to maintain fair and just institutions on their own.
13. Adult government must be kept in check by direct participation and activism initiated by watchdog groups.
14. Self-protection requires direct participation (not merely representation) in all decision-making processes that effect the life of an individual youth or the youth community.
15. The potential for injustice cannot be eliminated.
16. Most oppression comes in the guise of "protection".
17. Adult allies pose a threat of cooptation.
18. It is important that actual youth be the voice of, and in control of, YL organizations.
19. There is more to being a YL advocate than just being a youth.
V. THE NATURE OF YOUTH
20. Youth are persons.
21. Treating someone "like a person" means conscientiously respecting their right to control their own body.
22. It is unethical to treat any person as if they are human property.
23. Youth and adults are not identical.
24. Youth require care-giving. This does not justify granting adults absolute power.
25. Babies and fetuses fall outside of Youth Liberation's purview.
VI. THE NATURE OF ADULTHOOD
26. The line between adults and youth is artificial.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
October 3, 2005
The "Youth Power" Framework (part 1)
This is the first part of an essay in which I attempt to descibe the "Youth Power" sub-variety of Youth Liberation.
I. THE ORGANIZATION OF OPPRESSION
1. The primary problem is parental tyranny and its inevitable result, violence against minors.
2. The family is the fundamental institution of adult oppression.
3. The all-adult government elevates the order of power within the family to a societal level.
4. Negative beliefs about and caricatures of youth are propaganda that supports the order of power.
II. POWER AT THE INTERPERSONAL LEVEL
5. Adultism is motivated by self-benefit: the desire to be in control.
6. The essence of control is to treat youth as if they are human property.
7. Parental tyranny inevitably produces situations of violence against minors. This is the epitome of adultism's harm to youth.
8. Right treatment of youth is founded upon their consent (and their freedom to not consent).
III. POWER AT THE GROUP LEVEL
9. Youth should have the power necessary for self-protection, without mediation.
10. The most important freedom for Youth Liberation to win is the ability for youth to escape situations of suffering, at will.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
September 26, 2005
lulu.com book experiment
I spent Sept. 7 poking around on lulu.com -- an online, print-on-demand, self-publishing service. As an experiment, I took the four essays in the recent "Blueprint for Revolution" series and formatted them into a book. Poof! On the very same day I began exploring, I was ordering a copy of my very own 69-page softcover masterpiece.
Today, Sept. 26 -- two weeks and five days later -- that book arrived in the mail!
I won't be selling this book; I did no editing, so it retains all the disorganization and errors in the original material. Still, it does what I intended it to do: give me the feeling that I really CAN produce a book. That's worth $7.85 -- shipping included!
September 23, 2005
Generator turns 3 years old!
Today Generator turns 3 years old! This past week I've been reviewing my old YL writings -- and since Generator is primarily an outlet for my YL stuff, I see a nice synchronicity in sharing a few vital statistics about what I've found.
Below this self-congratulatory intro, you'll find a list of nearly every YL essay I've ever written. What I want to know: Just how many YL documents have I written at this point?
...My grand total? This entry will bring the count up to 180 documents, exactly. Nice round number!
September 15, 2005
Exploration: Criteria for YL Organizations
DEFINITION: A YL activist group is one that is (A) led by youth, (B) for the benefit of youth, that (C) engages with adult authorities.
For each criteria, I present a continuum of practical options:
A. Led By Youth
- all youth, no adult involvement
- led by youth, adult participation limited
- adults and youth work together as equals
- led by adults, youth participation limited
- all adults, no youth involvement
B. For Youth
- issue deals with all youth, and only youth
- issue deals with some youth, but only youth
- issue deals with youth significantly, but also adults
- issue deals with youth because all people are effected
C. Engages With Adult Authorities
- adults are asked to change their formal process for making decisions
- adults are asked directly to make a decision in youth's favor
- adults are not asked to make a decision, but merely to contemplate how youth feel
- adults are addressed indirectly
- no communication with adults occurs
September 6, 2005
10 essays from May-Aug 2005 uploaded
Here are ten documents from this summer, written during the period of May 2005 through August 2005. I'm pretty pleased with "Youth Against Youth Liberation" and "Youth Liberation Simplified", and expect to edit them into finished essays. The "Blueprint for Revolution" series has an enormous amount of material that I'll be able to draw upon later, but don't have a clear vision for at present. There are also several more installments here in my ongoing research on the "age of majority".
- Exploration: Youth Against Youth Liberation [05.26.05]
- Research: The Origins of Law [05.26.05]
- Exploration: Joining the Opposition? [05.27.05]
- The Evolution of Youth's Position Under the State - A Hypothesis [06.08.05]
- Historical Research on Adulthood, Draft #1 [06.25.05]
- Youth Liberation Simplified [07.22.05]
- Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 1) [08.23.05]
- Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 2) [08.24.05]
- Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 3) [08.25.05]
- Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 4) [08.29.05]
August 29, 2005
Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 4)
Well, apparently I have enough material in me for a fourth installment. Once again, this is not so much an essay as a brain-dump -- getting all the various practicalities of activism out of my head so that I'll be able to reshuffle the pieces into formal essays later.
- generalist vs. specialist movements
- multi-issue organizations vs. single-campaign projects
- putting the issue first?
- cadres vs. representative organizations
- coalition vs. alliance
- predictable internal conflicts
- bridge-building vs. confrontation
- separatism vs. partnership
- cultural pride vs. melting pot
- unified front vs. taking care of our own
- role of allies
- bridge-building vs. confrontation
- types of political organization
- watchdog group
- lobbying & legislative activism
- court-based activism
- against media defamation
- social events
- watchdog group
- the role of a community center
- parents' money supporting the movement
- working in a group vs. as an individual
- an organization is an illusion
- the power of going out for coffee
- activism cannot be done purely online
- always know when you'll meet next
- if it bleeds, it leads
August 25, 2005
Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 3)
The past two days I've been writing about the nitty-gritty details of doing activism. After 23 pages, apparently I still have more to say! New sections:
- making decisions
- sharing power
August 24, 2005
Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 2)
I'm breaking my own rule and trying to pick up an essay I was working on yesterday. New sections:
- being a leader
- facilitating a meeting
- meeting length
- the agenda
- meeting length
- the essence of all events
- participatory groups vs. planning groups
- levels of commitment to a group
- research for activism
- what level of government is involved?
- how does law-making happen at that level of government?
- where exactly do governmental meetings happen?
- who are the people sitting in the seats of power?
- what level of government is involved?
- state-level politicking
August 23, 2005
Exploration: Blueprint for Revolution (part 1)
Based on what I've recently seen on the NYRA online forums, the Youth Rights movement is desperate for ideas about tactics -- how to recruit people to the cause, how to effectively win battles. I've been chewing on these questions myself for years, and can't say that I have the final answers. However, I do (apparently) have a lot more experience working in political movements than the vast majority of folks in NYRA -- and much of my curiosity has been devoted to questions of movement-building, which can benefit Youth Rights.
- infrastructure for a national movement
- the purpose of a national organization
- fraud at the national level
- basics of activism: direct action
- the local organization
- meeting spaces
- meeting times
July 22, 2005
Youth Liberation Simplified
In my opinion, what YL activists have in common is a sense of anger and injustice at the way that many adults and adult-written laws treat youth. There are three essential things that offend us:
- unfair rules
June 25, 2005
Historical Research on Adulthood, draft #1
Reviewing what I have learned -- without checking my source materials (much) for accuracy. The purpose of this: before I get too bogged down with checking my facts, I have to get a sense of what exactly I've learned so far.
5. ENGLAND - ANGLO-SAXON ANTIQUITIES
6. ENGLAND - THE MEDIAEVAL COMMON LAW
7. THE THIRTEEN COLONIES
8. FOUNDING OF THE UNITED STATES
9. THE PROGRESSIVE ERA
10. LATE 20th CENTURY
June 8, 2005
The Evolution of Youth's Position Under the State - A Hypothesis
What is the earliest origin of the age of majority? I've finally begun to find clues for what actually happened in Greece and Rome, historically speaking... But before I get the actual details in order, I want to state my hypotheses -- to either be proved or disproved by the historical record.
It appears to me that the emergence of the age of majority -- full legal adulthood, as opposed to biological adulthood or maturity of character -- is tied to the emergence of an organized state. Thinking structurally, I see three periods that need to be addressed: (1) before kings, (2) the monarchy, and (3) the republic.