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Children's Voices in Politics

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Michael S. Cummings

Is the official political silencing of children in a democracy rational and just, or is it arbitrary and capricious? How might democratic polities benefit from the political engagement and activism of young people? Michael Cummings argues that allowing children equal political rights with adults is required by the basic logic of democracy and can help strengthen the weak democracies of the twenty-first century. A good start is for governments to honor their obligations under the ambivalently utopian UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children’s political views differ from those of adults on issues such as race, sex, militarism, poverty, education, gun violence, and climate change. Young activists are now sparking change in many locations around the globe.

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Is the official political silencing of children in a democracy rational and just, or is it arbitrary and capricious? How might democratic polities benefit from the political engagement and activism of young people? Michael Cummings argues that allowing children equal political rights with adults is required by the basic logic of democracy and can help strengthen the weak democracies of the twenty-first century. A good start is for governments to honor their obligations under the ambivalently utopian UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children’s political views differ from those of adults on issues such as race, sex, militarism, poverty, education, gun violence, and climate change. Young activists are now sparking change in many locations around the globe.

“Drawing inspiration from the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the burgeoning worldwide movement for children’s rights, Michael S. Cummings’s monumental Children’s Voices in Politics brushes against the grain of the dominant trends in our dark times and advances an inspiring call for taking seriously the political energies of children and young people. Cummings draws upon a lifetime of reading, teaching, and activism to promote the political education, empowerment, and activism of youth. This is a book that speaks with a passion and wisdom rare in our moment.”

Philip E. Wegner, Professor of English and Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar, University of Florida

“Children’s Voices in Politics will become the standard reference text on children’s rights, politics, and activism. Based on...

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