MORE THAN 100 youth won enthusiastic support from shoppers as they marched with the Young Socialists through Birmingham city centre on Saturday afternoon, as the YS campaign against curfews and ASBOs and bans on hoods and caps continued.
This was the second march in the YS campaign after a successful march through Hackney in east London in July.
‘Hoods and caps don’t make us criminals! – Tony Blair you’re the real criminal!’ the marchers chanted.
‘No ASBOs, no curfews! – Kick Blair out!’ and ‘Youth demand a future! – Forwards to Socialism!’ they continued, as well as ‘Education must be free! – We won’t pay tuition fees!’
The march began in the shopping centre near Chamberlain Square and made its way through the shopping centre to a rally in Woodview Community Centre in Edgbaston.
They carried bright red flags and placards saying things like: ‘Down with dispersal orders!’ and ‘Defend youth from state attacks’.
Afterwards there were performances by soul singer Prince and the ATA Attractions dancers who both got a big cheer and loud applause from the audience.
Addressing the rally, YS National Organiser Jonty Leff said: ‘We can be very proud of what we’ve done today. We stood up for our rights.
‘They said we couldn’t . . . but we did it all – and with our new comrades from Birmingham,’ he added to applause.
He said: ‘Law after law has been brought in to take away the basic rights of young people.
‘You would usually associate a curfew with a war!
‘If you break an ASBO you get arrested and you can be sent to jail.
‘We think that closing down schools is anti-social,’ he said, warning that 280 schools across the country are under threat of closure.
‘The only justice we’re going to get is under socialism,’ he concluded.
Workers Revolutionary Party General Secretary Frank Sweeney brought greetings to the rally.
He said: ‘The WRP is proud of the YS and the fact that, despite all obstacles put in their way, the YS took to the streets of Birmingham and did get a stirring response.’
He said young people were being ‘slandered’ by the capitalist press.
‘This is a class law,’ he stressed, directed at working-class youth.
‘We will take the whole struggle against ASBOs to different cities and build the YS as we go,’ he added.
YS Editorial Board member Dan Waller and YS Assistant National Secretary Nash Campbell also spoke.