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A youth wing is a subsidiary, autonomous, or independently allied front of a larger organization that is formed in order to rally support for that organization from members and potential members of a younger age, as well as to focus on subjects and issues more widely relevant among that organization's youth. Youth wings may also be discussion forums for younger members and supporters of the organization to debate policy and ideology.
Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as "the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one who is young". Its definitions of a specific age range varies, as youth is not defined chronologically as a stage that can be tied to specific age ranges; nor can its end point be linked to specific activities, such as taking unpaid work or having sexual relations without consent.
The term "youth wing" is most often used to refer to the youth wings of political parties; in such youth wings, ranking or leading members are often seen, upon attainance of the minimum age requirement, as potential leaders or bureaucrats of the main political party. This has led to a perception of political party youth wings as being mere gateways of employment opportunity in the government bureaucracy for younger members, especially in the case of dominant- or one-party systems where a party is ensured of victory at the polls.
A political party is an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.
Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.
A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system, is a system where there is "a category of parties/political organisations that have successively won election victories and whose future defeat cannot be envisaged or is unlikely for the foreseeable future." Many are de facto one-party systems, and often devolve into de jure one-party systems. Usually, the dominant party consistently holds majority government, without the need for coalitions.
Political party youth wings mostly consist of young adults. The age requirement for most political party youth wings ranges between a minimum age of 15-years-old, to an upper age limit of 30-years-old (although there are youth wings of political parties that have an upper age limit as high as 35).
The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as recognized or declared in law. It is the moment when minors cease to be considered such and assume legal control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thus terminating the control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over them. Most countries set the age of majority at 18. The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age as opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may not actually use the term "age of majority". The term typically refers to a collection of laws bestowing the status of adulthood. The age of majority does not necessarily correspond to the mental or physical maturity of an individual.
Youth wings are distinct from student wings, as the former is not necessarily established on, nor solely focused upon, a student-exclusive basis.
Youth wings are not normally considered as factions of a political party, as youth wings are usually intended as youth focused extensions of party policy and ideology rather than being differently ideologised from the leadership of the party proper.
The Portuguese Communist Party is a major political party in Portugal. It is a Marxist–Leninist party, and its organization is based upon democratic centralism. The party also considers itself patriotic and internationalist.
Young Liberals is the youth and student organisation of the UK Liberal Democrats. Membership is automatic for members of the Liberal Democrats aged under 26, and opt-in for those aged 26–30.
The Young Conservatives (YC) is the youth wing of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom for members aged 25 and under. The organisation shares the same values and policies as its parent political party with branches being an integrated part of local associations, with the exception of college and university branches which are run independently. YC is both social and political, aiming to bring together young conservatives and encouraging young people to get involved in campaigning.
The youth vote in the United States is the cohort of 18- to 24-year-olds as a voting demographic. Many policy areas specifically affect the youth of the United States, such as education issues and the juvenile justice system. The general trend in voter turnout for American elections has been decreasing for all age groups, but "young people's participation has taken the biggest nosedive". This low youth turnout is part of the generational trend of voting activity. Young people have the lowest turnout, though as the individual ages, turnout increases to a peak at the age of 50 and then falls again. Ever since 18-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972, youth have been under represented at the polls. In 1976, one of the first elections in which 18-year-olds were able to vote, 18-24 year-olds made up 18 percent of all eligible voters in America, but only 13 percent actually voted - an under-representation of one-third. In the next election in 1978, youth were under-represented by 50 percent. "Seven out of ten young people…did not vote in the 1996 presidential election… 20 percent below the general turnout". In 1998, out of the 13 percent of eligible youth voters in America, only five percent voted. During the competitive presidential race of 2000, 36 percent of youth turned out to vote and in 2004, the "banner year in the history of youth voting," 47 percent of the American youth voted. Recently, in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, the number of youth voters tripled and even quadrupled in some states compared to the 2004 elections.
The Young Communist League of Canada (YCL-LJC) is a Canadian Marxist-Leninist youth organization founded in 1922. The organization is politically and ideologically united but organizationally independent from the Communist Party of Canada. The organization is of interest to students of left history for its role in the On-to-Ottawa Trek, the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion and other youth and student struggles. It continues to be active today.
The Young Fabians is the under age 31 section of the Fabian Society, a socialist society in the United Kingdom that is affiliated to the Party. The Young Fabians operate as a membership-driven think tank that organises policy debates, research projects, publications, conferences, and international delegations. The organisation holds no collective position on policy. The current National Chair is Charlotte Norton.
The New Zealand Young Nationals, more commonly called the Young Nats, is the youth wing of the New Zealand National Party, a centre-right political party in New Zealand, and a member of the International Young Democrat Union.
A Zionist youth movement is an organization formed for Jewish children and adolescents for educational, social, and ideological development, including a belief in Jewish nationalism as represented in the State of Israel. Youth leaders in modern youth movements use informal education approaches to educate toward the movement's ideological goals.
National Teen Age Republicans (TARs) is the youth wing of the United States Republican Party. Its aim is to provide support to the party and its candidates. Members work to perform community service, and learn about the political processes at local, state and national level.
The Young Greens are the youth wing of the Swedish Green Party, founded in 1986.
The Union of Communist Youth was the Romanian Communist Party's youth organisation. Like many Young Communist organisations, it was modelled after the Soviet Komsomol. It aimed to cultivate young cadres into the party, as well as to help create the "new man" envisioned by communist ideologues.
Youth politics is a category of issues which distinctly involve, affect or otherwise impact youth.
Socialist Youth is the youth organisation of the Socialist Party of Portugal. The Socialist Youth (JS) is a leftist political organization that emerges as a youth party of the Socialist Party. It is integrated, politically and ideologically, into democratic socialism. It is made up of young people over 14 and under 30, Portuguese or resident in Portugal. At the moment this organization is directed by Ivan Gonçalves, chosen in the XX National Congress of the JS, that was realized in Póvoa de Varzim in December 2016.  It is a political organization of young Portuguese who accept the political platform approved in Congress, the Declaration of Principles and Program of the Socialist Party, with the aim of building a more just and solidary society in Portugal. The Socialist Youth finds in this political and ideological current a progressive project of social transformation, centered on the values of Equality, Solidarity and Freedom.
The youth rights movement seeks to grant the rights to young people that are traditionally reserved for adults, due to having reached a specific age or sufficient maturity. This is closely akin to the notion of evolving capacities within the children's rights movement, but the youth rights movement differs from the children's rights movement in that the latter places emphasis on the welfare and protection of children through the actions and decisions of adults, while the youth rights movement seeks to grant youth the liberty to make their own decisions autonomously in the ways adults are permitted to, or to lower the legal minimum ages at which such rights are acquired, such as the age of majority and the voting age.
The Young Conservatives is a political youth organisation in the Czech Republic. It is the youth wing of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), a centre-right political party, and shares that party's conservative and economically liberal ideology.
The Revolutionary Communist Youth League (Bolsheviks) is a communist youth organization in Russia.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is an organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labor-oriented members in the United States.
A student wing is a subsidiary, autonomous, or independently allied front of a larger organization that is formed in order to rally support from students and focus on student specific issues, typically of those attending college or university. Student wings may also be discussion forums for student members and supporters of the organization to debate policy and ideology.
The Young India Foundation (YIF) is a nonpartisan national youth organization which primarily works on youth rights and their representation. YIF primarily deals with the large disenfranchised demographic. It provides consultation and advocates for youth rights in India, which currently has over 600 million young people below the age of 25 in India. Almost 70% of the country's demographic is below the age of 30.