The Social Justice and Progressive Politics Divide

Cross-posted at Future Majority.  This is a rough articulation of a problem I'm grappling with, and its quickly shaping up to be its own chapter in my book (though it wasn't part of my original outline).  I need a lot of help teasing this out, so comments are very much appreciated.

As I've been considering the place of - or more frequently total lack of - organizations whose mission it is to reach out to, engage, and elevate young people of color in our politics, I've started to think a lot lately about the divide between two major progressive constituencies: those who understand political activity through the vocabulary and history of social justice movements, vs. those who consider themselves to be part of a new progressive movement.  

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Moving Millennials into Elected Office

Cross-posted at Future Majority

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Long March - the movement of Millennials into positions of political power.  At the time, I didn't know how many young people occupied elected office.  I've got some actual numbers now, courtesy of Andrew Gillum, Executive Director of the Young Elected Officials Network, and, surprisingly, we may well be ahead of the curve.

Strauss and Howe predicted that by 2019, Millennials would occupy 5% of government leadership positions.  According to the Young Elected Officials Network website, 18-35 year olds currently occupy 4.8% of all elected officials, from congress and governorships down to the school board level.  While that age bracket doesn't totally track with Millennials (28/29 and under), it's an encouraging number.  Andrew himself is a Cusp Millennial.  He's 27 years old and, along with his duties as ED of YEO, he's the city commissioner of Tallahassee Florida, a position he's held since the age of 23.

According to Andrew, the Young Elected Officials Network is currently comprised of 318 elected officials under 36 years of age.   And they occupy a wide range of offices:

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Early Polling on Youth Vote 2008

Cross-posted at Future Majority

Young Voter Strategies has compiled some early polls gauging youth support for both the Democratic and Republican contenders for President in 2008.  It's still way too early for us to be looking at this as anything more than a snapshot of a still relatively uninformed electorate.  But it's interesting none the less in that these polls confound - and confirm - some expectations.

Early 2008 Poll
(click to enlarge)

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The Long March (of Millennials)

Last week at Future Majority, my co-blogger Josh Koenig and I had  a conversation about the shape and speed of political change.  In our conversation, Josh talked about the Long March, or, the pace at which our generation is expected to progress through the ranks of political institutions into places of power and prominence.  In response to that, I thought I'd share some research I've done for the book I'm working on.  (Yes, thanks to these good folks I am turning my blogging into a book.)

As part of my research, I just read Strauss and Howe's Millennials Rising, in which the authors lay out a timetable for just when our generation is expected to take over the reigns of government.  I'd like to lay these down as markers, see where we are currently at, and make some suggestions about what Strauss and Howe are missing, and the complimentary roles of direct action and institutional change.

Here's what Strauss and Howe predict as the timetable for Millennials' Long March to power:

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YDA Tries Crashing the Gates at the DNC

Cross-posted at Future Majority.

UPDATE:Rum, Romanism and Rebellion has all the details from the committee meeting, and apparently it was even worse than I thought.

While we were all occupied with the candidates speeches at last week's DNC winter meeting, the Young Democrats of America were politicking behind the scenes to get young voters proportional representation in the ranks of delegates to the 2008 Presidential nominating convention. I exchanged emails with Tony Cani, Political Director of the Young Democrats for America, about this issue, and here's what went down.

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