Tuesday, 22 March 2011
The ruling class assault on young people have caused unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds to hit record levels of over 20%
Young workers are facing increasingly precarious, low paid work. Employment is often found only on a temporary basis, where short term contracts are gained through parasitic agencies, forcing young workers to beg for a shift, frequently with as little as an hours notice given, to work long shifts at unsociable hours.
The lack of full time employment has caused the number of part-time workers to reach the highest level since records began in 1992 at 1.19 million in total.
Students face increased financial pressures after the trebling of tuition fees and the scrapping of education maintenance allowance, schools, colleges and universities face huge budget cuts meaning that students will effectively pay more for a lower standard of education delivered by smaller numbers of teachers and lecturers.
Cuts to Connexions services are ensuring that young people suffering from personal/health/social problems-exacerbated by this assault-will have less provision of education, employment, health and training support.
Dentists are reporting increasing cases of people refusing to book appointments in order to avoid charges (anyone 18 years old and over in work and students aged 19 years or over have to pay) Poor diet together with a lack of recreational facilities and after school clubs has produced an obesity epidemic among young people. Many of these avoidable health problems have caused scientists to forecast our generation to die at a younger age than our parents.
A recent report from Child Poverty Action Group showed that, despite being one of the richest nations, Britain one of the worst places to be a child in Europe mirroring a Unicef report from 2007 that concluded Britain was the worst country to grow up in the industrialised world. A report from Save the children in February 2011 demonstrated that 1.6 million children live in poverty, in Manchester and Tower Hamlets, 27% of children live in poverty.
In direct contrast to the government’s claims that we are all in this together, last year the 1000 richest people in Britain increased their wealth by a record 30%. Young workers and students in Britain are being forced to chase declining numbers of jobs and suffer worse conditions in employment while the rich are making obscene profits.
It is as if Britain’s youth have been collectively mugged, yet the mugger is having the audacity to ask the victim to pay compensation and to accept that this is the correct way of behaving.
How did the situation become this bad and what can we do about it?
We need to reject the argument, which has become the accepted orthodoxy of the CPI, TUC, Conservatives, Liberals, Labour and mass media, that this crisis was caused by a handful of reckless bankers and that it can be solved by minor reforms to bonus payments.
This position is misleading and misunderstands the causes of crises, which is that of over-productive, over-accumulation in a society controlled by a self-interested capitalist class. The Young Communist League rejects the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ capitalism; we recognise that this is a crisis of capitalism and that the cure is socialism.
The remedy to this crisis is a planned economy, where the dictatorial hegemony of the capitalist class and their monopoly control of the economy, the media and political process is broken forever. However, we also recognise that nothing of any significance changes if the forces who intend to force that change do not exist.
Our rights were never handed out to us; before we were born generations of young people had to fight for decent employment, housing and education. Young people have won in the past when they have been well organised and united in the struggle for socialism.
The brutal attacks that Thatcher launched on Britain’s manufacturing industries destroyed communities that provided the bulk of Britain’s communists, socialists and trade unionists. Many heroic battles were fought and lost but, in the face of such a powerful onslaught, defeatism set in.
The 1990s produced a wave of capitalist triumphalism, with communities broken and union membership plummeting, many socialists and trade unionists gave up fighting for a better world. With the success of counter-revolutions in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s many of those who had been socialist now avoided the term, dropped their commitment to socialism and began to believe in the illusion of a ‘nicer’ capitalism.
During the cold war, western governments had assured their citizens that the high rate of military spending was due to an exaggerated Soviet threat and that otherwise this money would be spend socially. But since the success of capitalist restoration in the East military spending has increased and NATO has been free to pursue imperialist wars where ever it chooses. In Britain the privatisation of public services has accelerated since the early 1990s and inequality has increased to record levels, the election of a Labour government in 1997 did nothing to reverse this trend.
As Tony Benn said of his experiences of the power of governments in a bourgeois democracy:
“As a minister, I experienced the power of industrialists and bankers to get their way by use of the crudest form of economic pressure, even blackmail, against a Labour Government. Compared to this, the pressure brought to bear in industrial disputes is minuscule. This power was revealed even more clearly in 1976 when the IMF secured cuts in our public expenditure. These lessons led me to the conclusion that the UK is only superficially governed by MPs and the voters who elect them. Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence intact. If the British people were ever to ask themselves what power they truly enjoyed under our political system they would be amazed to discover how little it is, and some new Chartist agitation might be born and might quickly gather momentum.”
In Britain power rests with the capitalist class who control the system of democracy, they fund the parties and own the media. In order to get into government, parties must make deals and compromises with the capitalist class, it is they who truly rule Britain. Recently Nick Clegg was asked if he knew he was in charge of the country as David Cameron had gone on a tour of the Middle East:
‘Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that.’
‘I’m holding the fort but I’m hoping to take the end of the week off with my kids. Someone else will have to do it then. It sounds more haphazard than it probably is.’
What we have is a government of the capitalist class; we want a government of the working class. We recognise that this cannot be realised until the forces for change are constructed, united and coordinated.
Young Communists must:
-Get active in our union branch and build fighting unions
-educate ourselves and our mates in Marxist-Leninism
-march for the alternative on the 26th of March and declare that the alternative is socialism!