Aside from it’s best intentions, I guess that I’m leary of any organization that purports to represent the interests of ALL youth, despite its best intentions. To be frank, I don’t think that the interests of ALL youth can be represented by any ONE group, let alone a group formed and led by adults. Call me a purest, or radical, but I just don’t see this as an authentic model for advocating for young peoples’ interests. Another point of concern that I have stems from the “steam” behind Richard’s proposal, which is the idea of having every American youth contribute one dollar towards the cause. I mean, sure, a battle chest of $50,000,000 would make any lobbying effort substantive, and likely effective; however, this just isn’t a reasonable scheme for funding a national youth organization of any kind. I also look at this model in suspect because of its inherent scope: any organization that is this ambitious will inherently be corporatized quickly, and if it was actually successful, the leadership would be quickly suseptable to influence from corporate donors, who are usually out to prey on young people themselves.
I guess I would regard any attempt at forming a national youth union as a suspicious cause with questionable outcomes. That much said, I’m signing up. Richard has asked CommonAction to begin developing the Internet platform for the National Youth Union (NYU), and we’re going to take that on. With the right website tools, the NYU could be a democratized experience, and lead to popular referendums by young people addressing the issues that affect children, youth, their families, and their communities – we’ll see.
Let me know what you think.