Labour can only offer youth police state repression

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THE Labour government is bringing in additional legislation under which children as young as 14 years old will be banned from wearing hoods or clothing that the police say are the colours of local gangs.

Youth are also to be banned from having ‘violent dogs,’ or going into areas that the police declare are banned to them.

Young people are to be treated as if they are residents of an ‘Open Prison’.

Presumably, coloured hoods or clothing, or ownership of a ‘violent dog’ will still be OK for adults.

Civil injunctions which stop ‘adult gang members’ from meeting each other, wearing certain colours, going to certain areas or owning aggressive dogs were brought in under the Policing and Crime Act, which became law last week.

Now these powers to impose restrictions on alleged ‘gang members’ are not just being extended to include 14- to 17-year-olds – there are also to be special measures for 10- to 14-year-olds.

These measures are aimed at placing masses of young people outside ‘society’ by labelling them as criminals to be permanently repressed.

These measures are not just additional versions of guilty until proven innocent. They are intended to criminalise generations of young people to whom crisis-ridden capitalism is unable to offer a future so that they can be beaten by the state.

The ranks of criminalised youth will inevitably include a large number of black and Asian youth. Ruling class imposed racism will become respectable and state-sponsored.

Youth who refuse to accept these forms of state attack are to face a series of restraints, beginning with curfews and tagging and leading to jail sentences, or imprisonment in young offenders institutions.

Presumably, the state is working towards being able to give these youth, once they are 17 or 18, an offer that they cannot refuse. This will be either a number of years in jail, or ‘voluntary’ enlistment in her majesty’s armed forces.

Anita Coles of Liberty predicted yesterday that these measures ‘will sweep up the innocent more than the guilty and could quickly become divisive along racial lines’.

She added that the original law had been passed on the understanding that it would not be used on children.

However, said Coles: ‘The ink isn’t dry and the policy isn’t tested but ministers want to spin this power further. . . “Gangbos” are yet another gimmick for punishing people without a fair trial. They will sweep up the innocent more than the guilty and could quickly become divisive along racial lines.’

In fact, it is not only police officers who will be carrying out these state attacks. Housing Minister John Healy has said that thousands of ‘frontline staff’ and alleged ‘community champions’ in 130 local authorities will be trained to use these proposed extended powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Among their proposed powers are to be the drawing up of parenting assessments when 10- to 15-year-olds are being considered for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), and making orders against parents when their children have breached their ASBOs.

The offensive is to be carried forward from an attack on the youth, to taking action against their parents, varying from fines, to cuts in benefits and then eviction.

Capitalism cannot provide a future for working class youth and is frightened of them taking the revolutionary road.

Its only answer is repression, yet more repression and criminalisation.

Youth is rising up against capitalism. It must build a revolutionary leadership for the working class to put an end to it by carrying out a socialist revolution. Youth and revolution are synonymous, and will dominate the future.