AS WE noted a recent article, thousands of trade unionists will be marching in Manchester against the Tories on Sunday 2 October.
A day earlier another march will be starting. This one is organised by Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) and it will retrace the original 1936 Jarrow March to London. This will mark the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade – when in 1936, 200 unemployed men from Jarrow in the North East marched to London to protest against high unemployment and the appalling conditions they lived in. (1)
Announcing The March For Jobs 2011, YFJ noted that:
“young people are still among the worst hit by the economic crisis and Con-Dem cuts. The number of 18-24 year olds not in employment rose by 12,000 to 963,000 in the three months leading up to February.
This is on top of 218,000 16-17 year olds out of work. The number of graduates not working is currently at the same rate as before, one in five.”
The purpose of the 300 mile march is to demand a program of job creation not job destruction. The march is backed by many national trade unions.
One of those marching will be Lizi Gray, 17. Her great-grandfather - Michael McLoughlin - took part in the original demonstration all those years ago. In 1936 he was 32 and a shipyard worker on the dole, desperately trying to feed his seven children.
Talking about him, Lizi noted: “My great-grandad would be proud to see me on the march. But he would be desperately sad to know that after all these years we have to do it all over again. We are just like he was. We feel we are being abandoned and we’re getting desperate.”
On the subject of Cameron and Clegg she says “If we don’t stand up to the ConDems and their cuts, where will they stop? We will be back to the Thirties again.”
In a feature in the Sunday Mirror (of 25/09/2011) she went on to declare that:
“If they taxed big businessmore and stopped the wealthyfrom dodging their responsibilities there would be no need for such savage policies."
“It’s the profits of bankersand greedy corporations that should be cut, not the jobs of young people.
“We feel a long, long way from the politicians and decision-¬makers, just the way I’m sure that my great-grandad felt. We have to take our case to their doorstep. We have a message for ¬politicians, like my ¬great-grandad did.” (2)
Although we recognise that Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) is a Socialist Party front organisation, Solidarity Trade Union is calling upon its members and supporters to promote this new Jarrow Crusade. As we have noted before, we agree “with the basic idea of this march – and that’s to highlight the tragedy of joblessness among the young. We should support it on that basis.” (3)
Date: Saturday October 1
Assemble: Jarrow Park 12 noon
Date: Saturday November 5
Assemble: Temple Embankment (London) 12 noon.