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Draft Program for Young People's Liberation

Dear Young RCers,

I have been talking and listening to young people, when I can, about what they feel are the basic needs of young people, both in and out of RC. It seems as if it would be good for all the young people in RC to have a chance to speak up about this.

I have put together what I can remember various ones of you saying about this in the form of a draft program. Please use it as just that, a beginning draft. Write in to the magazine with all your ideas about any parts you want to leave out, add, or change.

If enough of you write in we will be able to re-write the program, using all your good ideas, and publish the new, better version in the next issue.

-Harvey Jackins

  1. Every human being deserves complete respect from all other human beings for her or his intelligence, goodness, power, and present and potential importance, no matter how young or old that person is or may be.

  2. To end the oppression and mistreatment of young people is of crucial importance to all people. Without the oppression of young people and the distress patterns installed by that oppression (in particular, the patterns of powerlessness), young people, as they become adults, would never accept any of the other kinds of oppression or participate in them.

  3. The oppression of young people consists almost entirely of the acting out by adults, at young people, of the mistreatment that was acted out at them when they were young by the adults of that generation.

  4. Young people have submitted to oppression in the past, in general, for one or more of at least five reasons:

    1. They have lacked enough accurate information about reality (in particular about distress patterns and the difference between the human and the distress pattern) so that they doubted their own good judgment and "trusted" the patterned adults to be right.

    2. Through most of their life as young people, they have been smaller and weaker physically than the adults and could thus be intimidated by physical force or physical violence or the threat of either.

    3. They have been under severe legal intimidation, so restricted in their legal rights as to be virtual slaves to parents and other authority figures.

    4. They have had little or no financial income of their own and little opportunity to earn one.

    5. They have loved the adults around them enough that, mistaking the patterns for the adult persons, they have submitted to the patterns in an effort to make the person or persons happy.

  5. Young people have been divided among themselves by internalizing the oppression, and the older young people oppressing the young ones as a result. By example, and on urging from adults and other conditioned young people, young men and boys have been encouraged to act sexist to young women and girls, white young people have been made afraid of Third World young people, leading to racist attitudes, stereotyping and disunity. Similar pressures have internalized other oppressions.

    To counter this we need to agree that every young person shall be an ally to, and a champion for, every other young person, everywhere and without exception.

  6. Most school systems are organized to train us to be oppressed rather than to help us acquire knowledge. We can take the lead in uniting parents, teachers, school administrators and others to force a change in the character of the "education" we receive. In particular, we must win the right to acquire the knowledge we are interested in, by our free choice, rather than be forced to study what has been decided by someone else.

  7. Adults are not the enemy of us young people. Oppressive patterns are our enemies. Adult humans are our present and potential allies. We will not give up on them, nor quit loving them, nor stop seeking unity with them.

  8. We need to build unity among ourselves. We should use all the situations in which society brings us together for its own purpose (schools, etc.) as opportunities to organize all young people (we must not leave anyone out) around specific, rational programs and goals. These goals must be ones that all informed young people can agree on and that all rational adults will support. Such a program might take the form of a Young People's Bill of Rights.

  9. All young people have the right:

    1. To accurate information about the world and freedom from being told harmful myths (such as, "You can't change human nature," or "There'll always be wars").

    2. To nourishing food, adequate clothing, and shelter to the extent that their parents, or the society, can provide it for them or assist in providing it for them.

    3. To be welcomed by their parents and other people and to having their existence appreciated at all times.

    4. To daily opportunities to play, and learn by playing, in the open-ended development of ones intelligence which unregimented and creative play provides.

    5. To freedom from physical intimidation or "punishment." To keep our self-respect we need to feel secure in our persons. "Punishment" is oppressive and invalidating. If we have not been hurt too much, we can be communicated with, and can reach agreement on differences with adults. If we are acting irrational it is because we have been hurt. In such circumstances we need counseling to get over the old hurts, not to have new hurts installed by "punishment."

    6. To the freedom to choose and pursue our own interests and life works, in consultation with adults but not dictated to by them.

  10. In the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities we need to achieve access to full information about RC and Co-Counseling for young people of all ages, not "baby talk" or "youth" versions of the theory and practice, but the whole theory communicated well to each age group in language each group can understand.

    We need to have access to regular workshops and classes with permission to skip the boring parts or leave early when it suits our needs. We also need classes and workshops specially planned for different ages of young people, where the pace can suit our quick learning abilities and our need to learn through play and recreation.

    We need space in all the newsletters and journals to present our viewpoints and thinking, but we also need to organize input from young people everywhere in RC for frequent issues of Young and Powerful, in order to have adequate contact with each other.

  11. The RC Communities need to help us arrange financing for our workshops and classes, by scholarships in every class, or by regular contributions from the adults who control the income of our families, or by making it possible for us to earn the necessary money.

At least once a year young people's leaders from all the RC Communities should be able to attend a workshop where we can bring our policies up to date and speak clearly to the whole RC Community.

"I solemnly promise, from this moment on, never to treat any young person, including myself, with anything less than complete respect."

Harvey Jackins
Young and Powerful No.1, 1978

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00