Is This A Movement?

One of the realities of this work focused on youth engagement/youth voice/youth involvement/youth empowerment is that it is going on everywhere, and it has been going on for a long time. Traveling the country for the last ten years I have seen a consistent surge of energy, only to be tampered now, during this economic downturn. But even now these efforts linger, waiting… But the existence of a bunch of stuff in a bunch of places doesn’t necessarily make it a movement, does it?

Recently several authors and theorists have posed the idea that movements today exist without leaders, per se. Theorists Negri and Hardt’s 2004 book, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, took that idea at its core to explain the rise of resistance around the world at that time. Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, takes what is essentially the same concept and applies it to business. In thinking about all I’ve seen with these efforts across the country and around the world, I wonder if we need to take a similar tact in describing this “movement,” too.

Some of you may remember a meeting I hosted in Washington, D.C. five years ago where I asked the same question as the title of this entry. We came to no conclusions then – but I’m closer. Stay tuned!

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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