‘The working class saw our march and lifted it up on their shoulders,’ Young Socialists marcher Paul Lepper told an audience of 250 youth and workers at the News Line Anniversary Rally in east London yesterday.
The rally marked the culmination of the Young Socialists March for Jobs and Free State Education from Manchester to London.
The YS marchers had walked more than 200 miles through towns and cities already facing mass unemployment.
Paul Lepper said: ‘Don’t let anyone ever tell you people don’t care, what they’re looking for is a leadership that will fight for them.
‘We’re going to go forward and build YS branches all over the country.’
He said earlier in his speech: ‘The way we were embraced in every town we went through, shows the working class is ready for this fight.
‘Even when we went down the motorway, people were beeping their horns like crazy.’
He said that the government was out to destroy jobs and destroy the welfare state.
Lepper urged everyone to ‘get behind the banner of the Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists.
‘We’re going forward to a general strike to bring down this government, and we’re going to have a workers government.’
The YS marchers were joined by hundreds of youth and workers as they marched the final mile from Bethnal Green to the News Line Anniversary and Trotsky Memorial rally at Queen Mary’s University in Mile End.
Chants rang out from the demonstration of ‘From Manchester to London, we all agree, youth demand jobs and education must be free!’
Behind the YS March for Jobs banner, were the banners of the ex-Visteon workers, the News Line-All Trades Unions Alliance, and the sacked Gate Gourmet workers.
As the YS marchers entered the meeting, they received a standing ovation from the audience.
Rally chairman Frank Sweeney said the march was launched because ‘it was important to take a strong stand now.
‘And that’s what we found is the feeling in working class communities up and down the country.
‘The working class is more than ready.
‘It’s impatient for this kind of struggle.’
Speaking in a personal capacity, GMB national officer Sharon Holder said she was ‘proud’ of the Young Socialists marchers.
‘And I think we should give them another round of applause.’
She added that the Young Socialists march proved just what Frederick Engels had said, that Karl Marx’s work would live on through the centuries.
She said: ‘I became a trade unionist after leaving school and realising that everything in my life, and everything that we do at work, is about politics, I’m proud to join you all on the march.
‘That was fantastic.’
She said that it was ‘inspirational’ that ‘these young people travelled all the way from Manchester to London.’
Holder said she felt ‘let down’ by thirteen years of the Labour governments of Blair and Brown.
She said that they continued ‘the dogmatic pursuit of privatisation and capitalism, just as this government is doing now.’
And now the coalition government is determined to ‘rip apart’ the welfare state.