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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 March 2011

MARCH FOR JOBS 2011

75 Years ago 200 Jarrow workers were forced to March for Jobs

Why is sky-high unemployment back?

Dylan Hussey

David Cameron recently labelled the 20.5% youth unemployment rate a matter of "great regret".

More than one in five 16 to 24 year olds is unemployed. The inescapable truth is that big business, the banks and the fat cats are returning to profit while young people are being "shunted into the sidelines".

This October is the 75th anniversary of the 1936 Jarrow march when 200 unemployed men marched from Jarrow, a town in Tyne and Wear, to the Houses of Parliament in London. These men were marching against the extreme poverty that was tearing apart north east England.

So why do I find myself interested in the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March? Well, it resonates with me because the Jarrow march is something my family members have talked about since I was a child.

My great grandfather was one of those men who marched from Jarrow to London. My nan used to tell me stories of her life in Jarrow in the 1930s when she had no shoes except for one pair of black pumps for church on Sundays because no one had money for their kids' shoes.

And here I am, almost 75 years later, living in Britain with nearly one million young people without a job or the slightest hope of getting one. If we could dissect the figures I am pretty sure that a vast majority of these young people would be working class.

I hope to go to university when I finish college but I don't know if this is going to be possible because of the threefold increase in university fees. You see, like my grandad, I too am working class. So I'm pretty scared for my future.

It seems to me that we're in a similar situation to 1936 when my grandad crusaded for the right of working class people to have a future. I can't imagine the despair he and all those other men and women must have felt at the time but they were still brave enough to stand up and be counted.

And that's why I want to join the Jarrow March - I want to stand up and be counted. I want the same chances as those with wealth and power. Nobody will remember Cameron or Clegg in 75 years time but I bet people will still be talking about the Jarrow marchers.

Youth Fight for Jobs calls for investment in a programme of job creation rather than job cuts.

See www.jarrow2london2011.wordpress.com and www.youthfightforjobs.com for more details and information on getting involved.

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In The Socialist 23 March 2011:


PDF of issue

PDF of The Socialist issue 663, 24-30 March 2011


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