Youth

How to organise young workers

One of the most visible impacts of capitalist globalisation has been the massive expansion of low-paid (and often semi-casual) jobs in the service sector. This “precarious” employment — in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, fast-food chains, supermarkets, high-street retailers, call centres and elsewhere — means long hours, barely-legal wages and unsafe working conditions. Young people fill these jobs. According to a recent TUC survey, workers between the ages of 16-24 make up nearly a third of the total workforce in hotels and restaurants in the UK (migrant workers and women of all ages...

Young Labour: democracy, struggle, Internationalism

Set up to back internationalist, class-struggle candidates in the current Young Labour elections (nominations close 27 September, ballot 19 October to 12 November), Young Labour Internationalists also aim to connect Young Labour activists with social movements and struggles. In particular, they plan to get young activists involved in the NHS workers’ fight, and in making solidarity with freedom struggles in other countries: Belarus, China, Montenegro, Poland... You can read their full platform

Young Labour: rebuild with internationalist politics

The left-wing tide in the Labour Party which carried Corbyn into the Leader’s Office in 2015 was driven by a surge in engagement in left-wing politics by young people. The elements of genuine socialism in Corbyn’s platform were a source of hope for many young people. That opened the possibility of building a real youth movement, and overcoming the Blairite stranglehold on Labour’s student wing and the sluggishness of a Young Labour that was prevented by bureaucracy and dwindling membership from developing real local roots. Unfortunately, five years on, that promise hasn’t been realised. While...

Organise to make the future safe and equal for all

The great wave of street protests after the killing of George Floyd on 25 May still continues, but the pace looks like slowing. Activists will be thinking about how they can continue their efforts over the months and years needed to win and consolidate change. That this killing has generated so broad a protest must be partly because a pandemic which has hit the worst-off hardest everywhere, and a wave of job cuts which has done similar, especially in the USA, are in everyone's minds.

Cut the roots of racism

The Office of National Statistics compile statistics on the number of Hate Crimes reported each year. They have more than doubled since 2012 to 103,000 in 2018-19. Of those, nearly 79,000 were race hate crimes. Between April 2018 and March 2019 the police made 376,000 stop and searches In England and Wales, a rate of 7 per 1,000 people. The rate for white people, however was 4 per 1,000 and for Black people 38 per 1,000.

A lack of opposition

Rachael Baylis, a student activist involved in worker solidarity at Brighton University and in Worcestershire Young Labour, spoke to Sacha Ismail. Keir Starmer is doing even worse than I thought he would. He isn’t oppositional, let alone socialist. “I’m sure the government is doing everything it can” – when we know this is nonsense. He seems quite relaxed about a very alarming situation. Politically, there seems to be a large element of returning to Milibandism, accepting the dominant political narrative but with left tweaks. It seems like the progress made under Corbyn is being reversed. We...

The anatomy of Labour's "youthquake"

In the 2017 British general election, Labour succeeded in closing a 20% deficit in the course of the campaign. Labour ended up with only 2% less than the Conservatives, and denied them a majority. There were many reasons for that turnaround. One was a “youthquake” — an increase in turnout among younger voters who overwhelmingly voted Labour. The effect was so notable that the Oxford English Dictionary made “youthquake” their neologism of the year. In the 2017 election around 62% of 18-24 year olds voted Labour. Only 27% voted Conservative. (Unless otherwise stated, data on age and voting is...

From 14 February, build towards COP26

The latest round of climate strikes, on Friday 14 February, the first of 2020, marked a year since thousands of school students first walked out to protest at political inaction on climate change. This round of walkouts was smaller, but the underlying political commitment is still strong. As the year progresses and in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow (9-19 November) the movement is likely to expand again. Around 1000 people, a mix of older school students, parents with younger school students, and a range of other people attended a demonstration in London, marching through Parliament Square...

The racism in “gang” panics

I want to start with a bit of a disclaimer. I first became deeply interested in the topic of crime and policing in response to a wave of gang violence that was plaguing the area of North West London I call home. I say this to illustrate that there are instances where gangs are the culprit. It isn’t my intention to delegitimise or trivialise those situations. However, in the words of an unnamed senior Met officer talking to Amnesty International: “Gangs are, for the most part, a complete red herring… fixation with the term is unhelpful at every level.” That hasn’t stopped all major police...

New "sardine" movement in Italy

In the past few weeks, as if from nowhere, a new movement, calling itself “the sardines”, has filled the squares of Italy, originating from Emilia Romagna’s capital city, Bologna. 25,000 came out in Milan on Sunday 1 December, and there will be a mass national demo of all groups and organisational conference in Rome on 15 December. Drawing in thousands of the young, and often very young, the dynamic of the mobilisation is focused against the reactionary racist extremism of Matteo Salvini and his party, La Lega nationale. According to some of the comments of the liberal bourgeois media, this is...

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