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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 April 2010

Young people facing a fight for their future

 Youth Fight for Jobs demo in Barking, East London, photo Paul Mattsson

Youth Fight for Jobs demo in Barking, East London, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Do you want to be underpaid, undereducated and burdened with debt? That's what the establishment politicians offer young people in this general election.

Chris Jones, Youth Fight for Jobs

Compulsory low-paid work is the order of the day with Brown and Co. According to Labour's manifesto: "all those [young people] who are long-term unemployed for two years will be guaranteed a job placement, which they will be required to take up or have their benefits cut."

Labour's 'Backing Young Britain' campaign is an 'invitation' to businesses, charities and government bodies to "create more opportunities for young people" by bidding for Future Jobs Fund places.

Through this scheme, public money, which should be used to invest in socially useful job creation programmes such as council house building, will instead pay businesses to provide slave labour; temporary jobs on the minimum wage for 25 hours a week - far from enough to live a decent life on. Sounds more like 'opportunities' for big business.

The Tories' National Citizen Service would force young people to work on services that local councils should pay skilled workers to carry out. But they, and the other pro-big business parties, should be warned! In the 1980s 250,000 school students organised a strike which defeated Thatcher's Youth Training Scheme, a similar plan. Such mass action will have to be built again to defend the right to a decent job.

And all the parties promise the destruction of huge swathes of public sector jobs. The next generation's inheritance could be snatched away, leaving them with a future of low-paid, temporary work and minimal provision of public services.

All the same

In reality, the differences between the main political parties are superficial in the extreme. The Conservatives are keen on academy schools because Labour copied them from the Conservative manifesto in 1997! Both parties promise a huge expansion of academies, ie handing secondary schools over to private companies.

Labour's plans for everyone to be in full- or part-time education or training up to the age of 18 could see a major expansion of apprenticeships, but on a pittance. Colleges, already struggling with student demand and facing huge cuts, will either have to limit places or accept a huge drop in the quality of education.

Against this backdrop, the LibDems aim to mop up the 'youth vote'. But why vote for a party that would be happy to implement "cuts worse than Thatcher"? The LibDems recently dropped their commitment to immediately abolish university fees and the huge debt they entail for most students, claiming it was 'unaffordable' - just at a time when more young people are looking to higher education as a way of avoiding the dole queue.

This election shows that young people desperately need a real opposition to the bosses' parties. The Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs say no to cuts and no to writing off this generation. The bosses' crisis must not be placed on the backs of future generations.

Young people will have to join workers, trade unionists and socialists in campaigns and struggle after the election, in the fight for their future.

Video: Youth Fight for Jobs demo in Barking, East London

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In The Socialist 21 April 2010:

Stop these savage cuts: support the socialist alternative

Youth fight for jobs

Young people facing a fight for their future

National Union of Students conference: Campaign needed against fees and cuts

Socialist Party editorial

Left candidates excluded from media

LibDem Surge

Big business as usual for Liberal Democrats

TV debate - Party leaders compete for the same policies


Volcanic eruption brings travel chaos: Planned and integrated transport system vital

Planes, trains and automobiles

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cameron turns back clock on women's rights

Banks use microloans to fleece poor

Fast news

Socialist Party election campaign

Doncaster - Jarvis's vicious sackings and workers' fightback

Portsmouth North: "An ordinary guy to represent ordinary workers"

Lewisham councillors' record

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Coventry: Standing up for public services

Colne Valley / Huddersfield: Kirklees' only fighting councillor

Spelthorne: "The trade union candidate guy"

A chance to put your questions to your local Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates.


Why the BNP offers no way forward for working class people

Anti-BNP protest

International socialist news and analysis

Progressive Workers Federation of Pakistan founded

Sri Lanka parliamentary elections: Rajapaksa's clan consolidates its rule

Socialist Party features

National Care Service - fact or fiction?

1936 - A play about the Olympics

Socialist Party workplace news

Vote to boycott SATs

Civil service dispute continues

Fighting cuts at Coventry council

Strike ballot at Manchester Metropolitan University

Unison health conference

Laundry workers fight closure

Dover trade unions against privatisation

National Shop Stewards Network 2010 conference:


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