December 15, 2003
Intro to youthlib.com
[Here is some text I've just composed for the youthlib.com homepage.]
This website is about Adultism and Youth Liberation.
"Adultism" is an oppression -- like racism, sexism, or classism (etc.). It is the oppression of young people by adults. The root cause of adultism is the belief that "adults should command, youth should obey". This belief shapes how adults and youth relate in nearly all of our society's institutions: family, school, church, government, policing, criminal justice, child protection...
The norm of total adult control is harmful because it encourages petty tyranny and abuse of power.
"Youth Liberation" is a method of working for the welfare of young people. It is activism led by youth, for youth interests, that challenges adult power. This method stands in contrast with traditional child protection methods, which have depended solely upon the voice of adult advocates.
The movement of people using Youth Liberation theory is diverse. However, some of its distinguishing goals include:
- winning the right to vote in elections
- democratizing public schools and promoting school alternatives such as "unschooling"
- ending the practice of spanking / corporal punishment
- eliminating laws based upon arbitrary age lines (e.g. curfews, drinking age)
- challenging defamation of young people in the media
The goal of this website is to support the Youth Liberation movement. My focus here is on providing original content: essays that analyze adultism, and essays that describe how to do effective anti-adultist organizing. The intended audience is youth activists and their adult allies.
My hope is that these essays will inspire readers to start new direct action groups based on the Youth Liberation model -- and help existing groups to thrive.
"I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them."
--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
--Martin Luther King, Jr. (Letter from Birmingham Jail).
Posted by Sven at December 15, 2003 12:27 AM