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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 March 2019

Anger after violent youth deaths - Communities need public services not cuts

Budget day protest, November 2017

Budget day protest, November 2017   (Click to enlarge)

Helen Pattison, London Socialist Party

The Good Morning Britain weatherman made headlines with his passionate on-air interjection to the debate about the tragic rise in knife crime and resulting deaths. Over the years, the Socialist has reported from often emotional meetings of communities in response to violence on the streets.

So far this year, ten teenagers have already lost their lives in London as a result of knife crime. In response to these tragedies, people are rightly demanding action to keep communities safe. Theresa May has received a backlash for bluntly saying there is no link between police budget cuts and rising violence.

It is understandable, particularly with the growing number of young people who have lost their lives this year to violent crime, that working-class people want to see immediate measures to keep their communities safe. Some are calling for extra police on the streets in the hope of discouraging crime.

But measures like these can have a contradictory impact - sometimes making whole communities feeling criminalised rather than protected - especially with police powers like 'stop and search' which disproportionately target black people.

Last year, we said in the Socialist: "Some poor people can, in desperation, turn to crime and drugs to make a living. Decent jobs, housing and benefits can combat that. Young people who, when they think about the future, feel confidence that they will have a good home, job, pay and security for themselves and their family, don't tend to risk throwing such a future away by embarking on a life of crime."

But young people haven't just seen their opportunities at a decent future taken away by austerity and cuts. They have also seen youth centres closed, which in the past were community hubs and places where young people could find support.

We have seen schools privatised, handed over to academy chains, and now the numbers of students being expelled and excluded is on the rise. Staff in education have said they need resources to support students who are struggling.

But school funding has also been slashed and Socialist Students members report that schools feel like exam factories, with extracurricular activities like school plays being some of the first areas to face cuts.

Rather than offering young people a future of poverty, desperation and even potentially crime, we want to fight to reverse these cuts, to bring back youth clubs and support services that can play a role offering young people a positive future.

Austerity is the message that profits, capitalism and this system are more important than the services we all rely on and the lives of working-class young people. That's why we need to fight for a socialist alternative.

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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.
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In The Socialist 13 March 2019:


News

Anger after violent youth deaths - Communities need public services not cuts

Weak Tories must go. General election now!

Them & Us


Opinion

History: Alice Wheeldon - an anti-war socialist persecuted by the state

The Socialist Inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

International Women's Day protests

For socialist change, not climate change!

Southampton: Socialist stand against cuts

No to racism - Fight for socialism

Memorial to working-class fighters who fought fascism


What we think

Only socialist planning can save the planet: Build a mass working-class struggle to achieve it!


Workplace news

Neither Tories or EU - only fighting trade unions and a Corbyn-led government can deliver workers' rights

PCS union elections: Huge support for Chris Baugh

Newark NSK strike: "Even Victorian workers got a day off each week. We're expected to have just one weekend off every three weeks"

Breaking news: Birmingham bin workers' strike suspended pending new deal

Workplace news in brief


Universal Credit

Tories out. Scrap Universal Credit. Fight for living wages and welfare!


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: The Threats, attacks and contradictions of Bolsonaro's regime


Obituary

Obituary Joan Beale - Labour women's activist and Militant supporter


 

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Related links:

Crime:

triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

triangleReading workers' movement responds to knife attack

triangleTV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism

triangleKnife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

triangleKnife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

Youth:

triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

triangleBristol Socialist Party: Organise, Fight - the Socialist Youth charter

triangleYouth without a future: fight for jobs and homes - fight for socialism!

triangleMore youth protests take aim at capitalism

Public services:

triangleTories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

triangleMore than ever, we need accountable union leaders

triangleCoronavirus - a workers charter 2020

Cuts:

triangleUnite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: How to fight the cuts

Young people:

triangleA-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

Socialist:

triangleYoung Socialists and Socialist Students day of action

Police:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Mother

Students:

triangleWhat would socialist universities look like?

Austerity:

triangleSaving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

London:

triangleNorth London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

Drugs:

triangleBig pharma's profiteering holds back drug supply

Stop and search:

triangleKnife crime - a product of capitalist misery

Black:

triangleFighting to end racism and capitalism

Poverty:

triangleDoncaster: Vigil for murdered women

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