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Posted on 16 August 2011 at 15:52 GMT

Hackney-Tottenham demo, 13 August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

Hackney-Tottenham demo, 13 August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

North London Unity demo - 'Workers and youth, unite and fight'

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

At the north London Unity 3,000-strong demonstration from Hackney to Tottenham Green on 13 August, Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) and Socialist Party members made sure everyone heard demands for jobs, restoration of EMA, no student fees and an end to racist stop and search.

Two youth workers on the demo were keen to attend the YFJ meeting in Tottenham on Tuesday 16 August and plan to bring the young people they work with.

One of them, who runs a Hackney youth service, said every time his service applies for funding they don't get it. He was angry that the "miniscule amount pumped into youth services is nothing compared to what politicians are putting in their back pockets".

Living in the area the demo passed through, Michael explained that young people are trying to get themselves heard. He listed EMA, university fees and lack of jobs as sources of frustration.

Hackney-Tottenham demo, August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

Hackney-Tottenham demo, August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

He asked how politicians can talk about "criminality" when the phone-hacking scandal has involved politicians and police. He was furious that the "pampered" politicians were on holiday while young people from the areas Cameron has labelled as "sick" have no jobs, let alone holidays.

Reflecting the search for a programme and strategy to deal with the recent events and conditions that created them, the open-mike rally at the end heard from a long list of speakers.

Many merely wanted to thank people for coming and make calls for further unity.

First up was Brian Debus, Socialist Party member and president of Hackney trades council. He pointed to the greed of the bankers and MPs.

Millionaire David Cameron, Brian reminded us, claimed taxpayers' money to have his Wisteria trimmed.

In Haringey the Labour council has slashed funding for youth services by 75%, closing eight out of 13 youth services. London YFJ organiser Suzanne Beishon demanded that all youth services be re-opened and invited everyone to attend the protest that YFJ has called with the Day-Mer Turkish/Kurdish youth group outside Haringey Youth Services.

Vik Chechi is the Unison secretary at Queen Mary university and one of the YFJ supporters marching from Jarrow in north east of England to London in October.

This is a march to highlight the way a generation of young people is being thrown on the scrapheap, with one in five unemployed. He called for investment in jobs and a plan for society so it can meet all our needs.

Vik also reminded us of the 26 March trade union demonstration and the 30 June public sector strike and called for the TUC trade union leadership to build on these magnificent shows of working class strength and unity by organising a 24-hour general strike.

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser, pointed to how £billions was made available to bail out the banks but young people are told there is no money left for their maximum £30 a week EMA payments.

She called for these payments to be immediately reinstated and increased to a living grant for all young people who want to study.

Hackney-Tottenham demo, 13 August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

Hackney-Tottenham demo, 13 August 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Althea, a Tottenham resident, denounced the heavy sentencing and the government's plan to evict the families of those charged for participating in rioting and looting.

She pointed out that Cameron had given his pal Andy Coulson, neck-deep in the Murdochgate scandal, a second chance.

Socialist Party member Clare Doyle, referred to as 'Red Clare' for her hair colour and the socialist ideas she raised in Brixton in 1981, pointed out that not a lot has changed for young people since similar events took place then.

She reiterated that it was the government and the bosses who are to blame.

Clare explained that capitalism, the 'looters' system', is in crisis, and that it can't provide jobs and education for the majority. With cuts being carried through by councils in the control of all three main parties, Clare called for the building of a new mass workers' party to give the fightback a political voice, alongside general strike action.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 August 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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