What is the most overlooked form of prejudice? Ageism. The social anarchist Youtube channel LeftLibertyAppendix bears the ageist slogan “anarchism for adults”. I also saw an agorist shirt saying something to the effect of “Black Market: here we can act like adults”. What the hell? If “adult” simply meant “person with the maturity necessary to make informed, rational decisions about their own life” then I would have no problem. However, in modern American culture it usually means “person over 18”. Worst of all, these two things are seen as synonymous, as if you magically gain some mental faculty you didn’t have before on your 18th birthday.
Meanwhile, the youth rights movement is plagued with reformism. The NYRA refuses to address age of consent or child labor laws, even though they are two of the most important fronts in the battle against ageism. I even read an article by a so-called “youth rights” advocate who said that the age of consent isn’t a youth rights issue because the adult is the one who’s punished, and that the right to vote is the most important youth rights issue… sigh.
So, what’s the solution?
We need a real, radical youth movement. One rooted in anarchist principles of horizontal, decentralized organization, one providing a genuine critique of power relations in our society.
We don’t just need youth rights-we need youth liberation.