Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/418/4760
International Socialist Resistance
Fight for a political voice for young people!
Blair has claimed that young people are apathetic towards politics. He claims this in the face of more and more young people participating in demonstrations and campaigns; in the face of school students booing him during his general election campaign; in the face of over 75% of young people taking part in civic and political activities outside school. The truth is that young people are apathetic towards him, his party and the other parties of big business.
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, ISR national co-ordinator
Alex Folkes, campaign director of Vote at 16, said political parties needed to take a more coherent approach to getting young people involved in politics - and that included giving them the right to vote. International Socialist Resistance (ISR) believes that young people who can join the army, get married and work should certainly be allowed to vote but the main question is who is there for young people to vote for?
As the local elections appear on the horizon, the main parties try to show their concern for the low youth vote. The Liberal Democrats support the votes at 16 campaign. New Labour show concern that young people are not engaged. The Tories claim they want to listen to young people more.
But all three continue to implement and propose the same policies of cuts and privatisation, all three represent and do the bidding of the fat cats and all three have no interest in representing working class people - young or otherwise.
There are plenty of issues that we are angry about and are campaigning on. While billions are spent on the war we are told that there is not enough money to publicly fund education. While companies declare obscene profits and company directors award themselves billions of pounds in salaries we are told that £3 an hour is a fair minimum wage.
Not only will we have massive student debts to pay back but we are told that we will have to save more and pay more towards our pensions. We are told we will have to work longer before we can retire and yet there is no shortage of money in society.
Blair makes promises on tackling poverty in Africa and continues to spend taxpayers' money on promoting privatisation in the poorest countries. We see what privatisation has done so far - MRSA in the hospitals, deaths on the railways and we are promised even more!
We are told that fossil fuels are running out and that the environment is under attack and yet Blair seems to be pinning our future to nuclear power despite all the dangers associated with that. How can we trust a PM and ministers who have lied about war, about their financial interests and about the introduction of top-up fees to put safety first?
We want a party that will represent us and fight for our future. We want a party that is clearly democratic, where we can have a say as socialists and as young people. We therefore support the Socialist Party's initiative to launch a campaign for a new mass workers' party. At our 2002 conference we resolved to fight for a new party that will be a genuine political alternative and which will:
- Offer a radical voice for workers and young people, a genuine socialist alternative to the profit-driven policies of all the mainstream parties.
- Stand against war and imperialism, and support the international solidarity of oppressed peoples.
- Guarantee decent pay and rights at work for all workers.
- Abolish tuition fees and guarantee all students a living grant to support them through their education.
- Fight against discrimination on the basis of race, disability, gender or sexuality.
- Be funded by, and run in the interests of, the masses not the millionaires.
We believe that the Socialist Party's initiative is our best chance to achieve this. Fight for your future! Fight for a political voice for young people! Fight for socialism!
In The Socialist 1 December 2005: