They expect all young people to aspire to be kings and queens of ‘the heap’, to sit on its peak and look down on those who failed – those 74% of white British young men on free school meals who did not gain five A-C GCSE grades, including English and Maths in 2012, compared with 60% of young black men and 37% of all other young people on free school meals. Christopher Hope (www.telegraph.co.uk September 3, 2013), quoted Christian Guy, the Director of the Centre for Social Justice, which produced these figures, who said they were “sobering”. They suggest that despite much money and effort white working-class boys are in danger of becoming an educational underclass”.
They must be ‘thick’, and must be made to work, opine those who resent their own place in the work heap. Yet, they are wrong, for many young people take a conscious decision that the work heap is a shit heap, which is not worth climbing. They do not fail to attain five A-C GCSE grades because they have a low IQ, on the contrary, many have the insight to despair of their future prospects if gaining the entry level to ‘the heap’. They understand that over one million young people (their brothers and sisters) have been unemployed in Britain. Being ‘educated’is not the same as being intelligent.
Many of those interviewed in the Reading the Riots study (www2.lse.ac.uk,2011/12/riots), were from the country’s deprived areas, and were pessimistic about their future – 29% disagreed with the statement “life is full of opportunities” – compared with 13% among the general population. Their anger is reflected in the lyrics of the Anti Flag song “No Future”:
“everything that i see
there is no future for me
everything that i read
there is no future for me, for me, for me”.
This anger is part of a European-wide revolt of young people pushed to the edge. They are all labelled as “looters” or “anarchists” in the brainwashing, corporate press, but they are not. They know that their Starbucks coffee is likely to be made by debt-drowning graduate from a third-rate ‘university’. There is a greater supply of university graduates than a demand for them, because most available jobs do not require a university degree, including the much vaunted science ones.
The ludicrously named “economic recovery” has been nothing more than a transference of State sector jobs to private companies connected to fingers-in-the-pie politicians, whose “efficiencies” include lower wages built around zero-hours (zero-rights) contracts – vehicles of lousy jobs, insecurity and low wages. The ‘jobs’on offer to the young are mainly in the service sector. Britain is a post-industrial nation, a nation of call centres, supermarkets,and white van men. The only thing it produces in any quantity is hopelesness.
Those that aspire to a place on the capitalist shit heap, or are forced on to it, can not participate in society. They can not afford the cars, houses, and holidays enjoyed by those who live in the leafy suburbs. There are no coal mines, steel works, dockyards, and factories in which the white working class could earn enough to participate in society. Jobs have been outsourced, and State industries sold.
Many young men (both white and black) believe car theft and drug-dealing are logical alternatives to ‘the heap’, and are a means of being able to afford those things that working at Starbucks can not give. However much “money and effort” are thrown at the project of getting working class young men to obtain five A-C GCSE grades, it is like trying to sell them a future concocted by Disney, they simply believe the vision to be fantasy. Their reality are the police helicopters that patrol the night sky above the boarded-up shop widows of their forgotten towns.
Yes, many young men who participated in the 2011 riots had previous criminal convictions, but that can not be used as evidence that the riots were essentially about criminality, and not about the pent-up anger of a underclass, whose anger had already resulted in these criminal convictions.
Yes, the capitalist press are right, many young British men do not want the jobs that are available. For some strange reason only known to them, the prospect of serving coffee, cleaning toilets, or gutting chickens until they are 80 does not appeal to them. The ungrateful, lazy wretches!
They reject such work, and desperate employers have to exploit impoverished Europeans in their place – the stuff of popular, moral outrage. Yet, the really outrageous thing is this – British governments no longer accept their responsibility to create an ample supply of well paid jobs, they leave this to that holy of holies, ‘the market’, which has utterly failed to deliver.
The reason that most ‘hard working’ EU citizens from poor countries come to Britain to work is so that they can save enough money to be able to buy a house or business when they return home – to be able tp participate in their own country.
Those that can not participate in society will eventually attack it, and no amount of riot squads, plastic bullets, stun guns, tear gas, and water cannons will stem this tide. An alternative can be brought about by giving all people the means to earn a participatory wage, and that requires the replacement of corporate capitalism and its pro-capitalist politicians with a radical alternative.
lenin nightingale 2014