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Reading the riots
Suzanne Beishon, Youth Fight for Jobs
A Guardian/London School of Economics study has shown that Britain's summer 'riots' were fuelled by anger at injustice, the lack of money, jobs and opportunity, and how young people "felt they were treated compared with others".
A former Met police chief, Lord Stevens, has predicted years of public disorder due to the economic crisis.
This confirms the riots were not the result of "pure criminality" nor the breakdown of families, as Tories and right-wing commentators say. They happened because young people felt completely cast aside.
As a 23 year-old in Wavertree, Liverpool said: "It doesn't really matter if it's Labour or Conservative because the people behind the scenes are always the same, but especially this particular Conservative government ... It's in their eyes, you know what I mean? They hate the lower classes."
Sky-high levels of youth unemployment; education being snatched away; youth services being closed down; combined with the police harassment of young people, especially black and Asian youth, under the hated 'stop and search' laws - that's why we saw an outpouring of raw anger, as Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) said at the time.
YFJ supporters do not condone violence. We are building a movement where young people fight alongside trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners, so that legitimate anger can be channelled positively.
YFJ organised meetings and protests in Tottenham, where the first 'riot' took place following the police killing of Mark Duggan.
YFJ demands real jobs, training schemes and apprenticeships. We say no to slave labour 'workfare' schemes. Education is a right, fees should be abolished and EMA reinstated. We call for a programme of house rebuilding and refurbishment to create affordable social housing and to provide work.
We demand a future. The rich carry on getting richer while we see our youth clubs closed - why should we pay for their crisis?
Get in touch with YFJ: www.youthfightforjobs.com
In The Socialist 7 December 2011:
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