Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/500/3080

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 August 2007

Horror and heartbreak in Croxteth What is the cause? What is the answer?

Tony Mulhearn

The appalling murder of young Rhys Jones has generated outrage, disbelief, anger and a demand for a solution to the brutalisation of a section of youth.

Symbolising the massive attention this tragedy has attracted, Everton footballers and supporters at the last match had a minute's applause in sympathy with Rhys, a passionate Evertonian, and his family who attended the match. Many in the crowd were moved to tears. Everton footballers laid tributes at the murder scene.

Rhys's murder has provoked millions of words and gallons of ink: some demanding tougher laws, others calling for tougher policing, many writing off today's youth as a lost generation. The most reactionary solutions, ranging from forcing youth into a special army detachment to incarcerating those wearing hoods into special camps, have been voiced over the local airwaves.

As always, the reality demands a study of a situation that has developed over generations. While Rhys was gunned down in an opulent area of Croxteth, the largest private development in Western Europe containing a mix of semi-detached and expensive detached properties, it is surrounded by some of the most deprived districts in the city.

The adjacent Norris Green area has a history of youth belonging to gangs who have access to guns and drugs. A hard core tend to draw in other youth on the fringes into a life of criminality. They could be categorised as the children of Thatcher's children. 'There is no such thing as society' is Thatcher's legacy.

This area of Liverpool was once a much-desired area where working-class people from the slums of downtown Liverpool that couldn't cope with the exploding population were housed in the interwar and post-war period. Council housing with neat gardens and well-kept frontages was the rule. Work was found in the factories that lined the roads leading from the estate. Plesseys, CAV Lucas, English Electric, Bus manufacturers, and the Kirkby industrial estate, three miles up the East Lancs Road, provided work for tens of thousands.

In addition many continued to work as dockers, shipbuilders, merchant seaman and the plethora of trades connected to the thriving maritime industry, as well as finding trades in the construction, printing and the supply industries.

The policies of deindustrialisation started under a Labour government in the seventies and accelerated by Thatcher after her election in 1979 as a deliberate policy laid waste the bulk of industry. Between 1973 and 1983, when the Liverpool 47 took control of the council, 65% of manufacturing in Liverpool had been destroyed and, in spite of the titanic efforts of the 47 to create jobs and defend services for which they were surcharged and removed from office, the process has continued ever since.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report published in the year 2000 revealed that in parts of the Croxteth area between 50% and 70% were in poverty, and unemployment has been consistently around 36% since the 1970s. Peter Stoney, Liverpool University's leading economist, argued that the figures were still relevant today. In a nutshell, the capitalist policies of neo-liberalism have destroyed a whole culture.

It would be utopian to view the past through rose-coloured spectacles; sections of youth have always formed gangs, engaging in fighting to demonstrate their macho image. This activity grew or declined in intensity over the decades depending on the social and economic situation. Today, when the gap between rich and poor grows apace; when meaningful jobs have largely disappeared, when guns and drugs are attainable, a lethal cocktail exists, which directly impacts on the lives of ordinary, decent working-class people.

To paraphrase US senator Jesse Jackson, on his tour of deprived areas of Britain: 'When jobs and a future go out the door, guns and drugs come in through the window.'

A striking feature surrounding the latest tragedy is the absence of an intervention by the labour movement. Rhys's tragic death raises in the starkest fashion the need for a fundamental change in society. It raises the need for a socialist government which would directly address the needs of deprived areas with the same alacrity as New Labour encourages the super rich to increase their already obscene wealth or allocates billions to update weapons systems.

In 1982 when Croxteth Comprehensive School was earmarked for closure, the Liverpool Labour Party joined hands with local community activists in a campaign, which included demonstrations and marches, which assisted Labour to power in the city. In 1983 the newly elected socialist council, and the magnificent efforts by the local community, ensured that the school remained open as a vital facility.

New Labour today in Liverpool has neither the policies, political will, organisation nor members to organise the necessary level of activity to meet the needs of working-class communities.

The tragedy of Rhys's death underlines again what is becoming clearer; that a new workers' party is vital in defending and advancing the requirements of working-class communities.


Tony Mulhearn was President of the district Liverpool Labour Party during the 1983-87 battle by the Liverpool 47 Councillors against the Thatcher government
Read 'Liverpool - A City That Dared to Fight' online

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 30 August 2007:

Strike against public sector pay cap

Prison officers defy government's pay cap

Prison Officers' strike reports


Socialist Party workplace news

Strikers solid in London tubes stoppage

Swansea: Visteon strike threat brings concessions


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend Newcastle General Hospital

Sheffield Northern General Hospital bulk stores strike


Trades Union Congress

TUC conference resolutions need to lead to action

TUC conference fringe meeting


Socialist Party events

Socialism 2007 - a weekend of discussion and debate, hosted by the Socialist Party


Socialist Party news and analysis

Horror and heartbreak in Croxteth - What is the cause? What is the answer?

Massive deprivation in Norris Green, Liverpool


Socialist Party policy

The growing wealth gap


Education

Cardiff: More schools fight closures programme


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

'Agitate, educate, organise': the role of the workers' press


International socialist news and analysis

Greece is burning


Workplace news and analysis

Belfast Airport workers score a victory

Unison witch-hunt

Plymouth dockyard


Socialist Party reviews

Fela Kuti, revolutionary musician

'Holding Fire' by Jack Shepherd

Save the 'Westie' in Aldershot


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 August 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Liverpool:

triangleLiverpool Council must save care homes

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

triangleLiverpool: Support 15% pay rise for NHS

Labour Party:

triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

Working-class:

triangleTory Covid chaos

Gangs:

triangleKnife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

Policing:

triangleProtesting is not terrorism

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

30/9/20

Trade unions

Trade unions must fight to put their stamp on events

30/9/20

Covid

Under the microscope

30/9/20

Tax

News in brief

30/9/20

Unemployment

Tory scheme won't halt mass unemployment: mobilise the unions!

30/9/20

Jobs

Job Support Scheme - too little, too late

30/9/20

Covid

Covid restrictions expose Tory splits

30/9/20

University

Students trapped on Covid campuses speak out

23/9/20

Housing

Extend eviction ban! Cap rents! Build council homes!

23/9/20

Coronavirus

Testing shambles: unions must fight back

23/9/20

Universities

Covid and the campuses

23/9/20

Coronavirus

North East lockdown: simmering anger at Tory incompetence

23/9/20

NHS

Fund NHS and pay rise now

23/9/20

Coronavirus

Tory Covid chaos

23/9/20

Banks

'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!

23/9/20

Amazon

News in brief

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999