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Youth politics may refer to political movements organized and carried out by young people, or it may refer to youth-targeted organizations devised by political parties. In addition, youth political movements may specifically deal with political issues of concern to youth. Examples of youth politics groups have included American Youth Congress, the British Youth Council, and the Egypt Youth Party.
The age at which individuals are considered youths varies by region. In some areas, the term youth may only be used in regards to a preadolescent child. Other regions might consider any individual under a certain age limit as a youth, such as teenagers or individuals under the age of 30. As such, the specific aims and composition of youth politics movements will likely reflect these differences.
Several issues have been viewed as youth politics-oriented, due to the age of the population they most impact. Any law that makes a distinction between a youth and an adult may be considered part of youth politics. For example, many regions establish strict age limits on activities ranging from military service to operating a motor vehicle. In addition, political movements aimed at perceived injustices against young people — such as child labor regulations or child abuse prosecution standards — are often a focal point of youth politics. Leaders of these movements may use certain tactics as a means to further political change, like labor strikes.
Further, young people will often become advocates for cultural and social issues of their time, which may lead to the formation of youth activism organizations. The American Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee of the 1960s is one such example. Members of this college-centered group participated in political protests relating to racial segregation practices.
Perhaps the most radical political change youth political movements can facilitate is revolution. In many regions where economic or cultural conditions are controversial, political strife grows. Large-scale protests and para-militia groups in these regions are often comprised primarily of young people. When political turmoil escalates, a whole government and political system can crumble under the pressure, and a region's youth are often leading this charge.
The younger branch of a large political party can fall under the umbrella of youth politics as well. Political parties of various regions often devise organizations targeted specifically at young people, with aims ranging from simple information dispersion to active party recruitment. Motivated young people of a certain political party affiliation may also organize youth groups themselves. These organizations may work directly with the political party as a representative for their peers. Youth politics groups also create outreach activities such as voter registration that are designed to get young people more actively involved in the political process.
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