Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/592/7683
One million unemployed young people: 'We demand real jobs!'
The head of the International Monetary Fund told a recent meeting of G20 finance ministers that the economic crisis has shifted from finance to a "third phase" of high unemployment. For young people, who are one in five of the population but two in five of the unemployed, this is not news. While some politicians talk about recovery, reality continues to fly in the face of their proclamations of false hope.
Ben Norman, Portsmouth Youth Fight for Jobs
Alistair Darling, the chancellor, is one of those who have spoken of a recovery. For some, maybe. Bankers have been celebrating. Meanwhile, this month will see youth unemployment figures surge towards the one million mark. Recent figures show that the employment rate of 16 and 17 year-olds dropped to 29% in April-June from 34% a year earlier, while the rate for people aged 18 to 24 dropped to 60% from 64%.
The government's response to the situation has been far from adequate. Instead of massive investment in a programme of socially useful jobs, this generation has been abandoned to the whims of the bosses.
But young people have been among those fighting back. For example, young workers participated in the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, demanding nationalisation to save their jobs and the environment.
However, the politicians fail to respond. Speaking to the BBC, shadow chancellor George Osborne feigned sympathy for young people, but called for drastic cuts in public services, demonstrating how the Tories are as politically bankrupt as New Labour.
He said: "if we don't get on top of the debt... it is not just you and I that will pay for this with higher taxes... it is future generations that will be burdened with this debt." Osborne laments for future generations in order to join his New Labour counterparts in sentencing this present generation of young people to a grim future without promise.
But it won't be the likes of expenses-grabbing Tory and Labour MPs nor the big business fat cats they represent who will bear the burden.
Future generations of workers and youth should not have to bear any burden as a result of the crisis of capitalism. But neither should the present generation. There is an urgent need to organise a mass movement to fight for the jobs we need, against the university fees that shackle us and for the future we are being denied.
Youth Fight for Jobs action
Protest at 11am on Wednesday 16 September at the Churchill statue in Parliament Square when the next unemployment figures are announced.
National demonstration in London on Saturday 28 November. Book your transport now.
See www.youthfightforjobs.com for more information.
In The Socialist 9 September 2009:
War and occupation
Trades Union Congress
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Postal workers strike
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review