THE Tory attacks on youth have reached a fever pitch over the past week with the announcement of more measures to be taken by the government to stop benefits and drive unemployed young people into unpaid work and now into ‘boot camps’.
Last week, Cameron revealed that in his drive to cut benefits to migrants, the Tories were prepared to end all working tax credits and housing benefits to every young working family aged between 18-22 – a measure designed to circumvent EU laws against discrimination against migrants.
Tories are rejoicing that they can discriminate against migrants whilst at the same time cutting off young working families from the benefits they are legally entitled to – a win-win situation for Cameron and Osborne.
This attack was swiftly followed with the announcement of a new scheme to force youth into working for no pay called WeCan. This scheme, which is actively supported by the likes of Marks & Spencer, Halfords and the BBC, aims at ‘encouraging’ businesses to provide weeks of unpaid ‘work experience’ for youth.
The scheme fits in with the plans by the government to force every unemployed young person into permanent unpaid work if they have been out of work for six months and is aimed at recruiting employers willing to take on unpaid youth under the guise of work experience which will then be extended to full-time permanent unpaid employment.
Yesterday, the Tory minister, Matt Hancock, unveiled the latest attack designed to drive youth into wage slavery. Hancock announced the creation of ‘boot camps’ for unemployed jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 years. According to Hancock, who heads Cameron’s ‘earn or learn’ taskforce, these boot camps will involve an initial three week intensive course on writing CVs and interview training, all overseen by a dedicated job coach.
Anyone refusing to take part in these boot camps or refusing to participate in ‘work experience’ will lose all benefits and be left penniless to starve on the streets as far as the Tories are concerned. Hancock was at pains to deny that boot camps were a form of punishment for unemployed youth, saying: ‘We are penalising nobody because nobody who does the right thing and plays by the rules will lose their benefits.’
In fact Hancock’s words betray precisely the intention of boot camps for young people – to discipline them into accepting without question the ‘rules’ of capitalism. This means today accepting blindly the fact that a bankrupt British capitalist system cannot provide full-time paid employment and can only make a profit by the most extreme exploitation of workers and youth.
It requires a docile workforce ready to accept poverty-level pay, if any pay at all, zero hours contracts and all the other wage-cutting measures put in place to ensure that companies like M&S and Halfords can make profits for their shareholders. To try and instil this docility in youth, these boot camps will follow the lines of the military, where the term ‘boot camp’ originated, as a regime designed to break the spirit of new ‘recruits’ to the workforce through force.
The next step in this attack will be outright conscription of youth into an army of unemployed to be used as a slave labour force for the capitalist class. This is the only future that capitalism holds out to the young generation of workers – either starvation or servitude. Youth, who are the most revolutionary section of the working class, will never accept that this is the only future for them.
Millions of young people are being forced to draw the conclusion that if capitalism cannot provide them with a future, then capitalism must be overthrown. The only answer to these attacks by the Tories is to bring them down, along with the bankrupt capitalist system they serve.
This means demanding that the TUC call a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism. Only the WRP and Young Socialists are fighting for this and we call on every young person to join today.