Tag Archives: youth

Jobless Youth In Ontario: Canaries in Coal mine?

youthunemploymntThe rate of Ontario youth unemployment rivals those of the European Union and the U.S. Rust Belt states. So says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in its recent report, “The Young and the Jobless. Joblessness among people aged 15 to 24 in Ontario is 16.9 per cent, which is higher than that in Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The actual employment rate is significantly worse. It ranges from 50 to 52 per cent in the province, meaning half of all youths don’t have jobs.
The gap between youth and adult employment in Toronto is the largest in the province at 21.8 per cent. The report states that “young workers are subject to the negative consequences of the same macroeconomic forces that are affecting the rest of the population. However, young workers are the labour market’s canary in the coalmine. When there are hiring freezes, they remain out of work. When there are layoffs, it is newer, younger workers who often feel the brunt of the job losses.”
Many believe that education is the key to success. Not quite so, at least not in our times. As the Toronto Star reports, a typical student makes about $26,000 a year, between four part-time jobs. Most of the earnings go towards tuition. And according to the Canadian Federation of Students, average student debt after graduating with a four year degree is $37,000. Yet, having a degree does not always increase your chance of getting a job. The 17.1 per cent unemployment rate among adults with advanced (above bachelors) degrees is higher than young workers who have completed high school (16.0 %).
Youth make up 17 % of the world’s population. According to the International Labour Organization, there are 73 million young unemployed people in the world, an increase of 3.5 million since 2007. At the same time, informal employment among young people remains pervasive and transitions to decent work are slow and difficult. For example, informal employment accounts for half of the jobs of young workers in the Russian Federation.
Against this backdrop, socialists argue:
  • The youth are the backbone of production. But young workers need to unite to become the brain of production as well. More jobs, higher wages, shorter working hours, and better working conditions are achievable only through organized struggle.
  • Education is a right not a privilege. Post-secondary education should be free. Drop fees and cancel student debt, now! To achieve these goals, get involved in the student unions, and challenge students’ union officials to lead the struggle. Follow the example of the Quebec students’ strike in 2012!
  • Bridge the gap between youth and the rest of the working class. Replace the labour leaders who accept divisive conditions, such as the two-tier wage system (lower starting pay) that increases the exploitation of youth.
  • Youth unemployment, like mass unemployment among adults, can be overcome if new jobs are created, such as by launching massive public works to provide housing and to modernize infrastructure. Expropriating the banks and giant corporations, and placing them under workers’ control, is necessary to finance and implement massive public investment projects.
Today’s rotting capitalism resembles a coal mine before a methane gas explosion. Youths should not be the canaries in that mine. They should organize, join workers’ struggles, and smash the cage in which they are trapped. — by Y. Fikret Kayali
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Education for Activists Conference November 15 – 16

TROTSKY SCHOOL – Education for Activists Conference

with special guest speaker Glen Ford, U.S. radio host of the Black Agenda Report

Friday, November 15

7 p.m.     Security, Surveillance and the Strong State

Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded and is current editor of the Black Agenda Report, which is widely broadcast, including on CIUT-FM in Toronto. Ford is the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion. He is on the board of directors of the United National Anti-war Coalition.

Lisa Luinenberg, immigrant workers’ rights activist, and a leader of Socialist Action-USA, based in Minneapolis.

Robbie Mahood, member Quebec Solidaire and a leader of SA/LAS Montreal.

Saturday, November 16

10 a.m.    How Revolutionary Youth Movements have changed the world  They ended the war in Vietnam, helped to desegregate the schools of Boston, and form the backbone of Idle No More, Occupy, and the Arab Awakening.

Lisa Luinenberg, Socialist Action-USA and YSA-USA.

Tyler Mackinnon, chairperson, Youth for Socialist Action-Canada.

12 noon Lunch break

1 p.m.    What is the Labour Bureaucracy – and what should be done about it?

Barry Weisleder, federal secretary, Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action socialiste; co-editor, Socialist Action newspaper; substitute teacher organizer, and member of OSSTF.

Lindsay Hinshelwood, ran for President of UNIFOR at its founding convention in August 2013, obtaining 17.5% of the votes cast. She is an assembly line worker at Ford Oakville and a member of UNIFOR Local 707, formerly of the Canadian Autoworkers.

4 p.m.    The Democratic Party – Death trap for U.S. Blacks – The case for independent Labour/Black political action

Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator.

Julius Arscott, V.P. OPSEU Local 532, steering committee member of the NDP Socialist Caucus, and a leader of Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action socialiste, will talk about independent working class political action in the Canadian context.

6 p.m. Social gathering at a nearby pub

November 15 – 16, 2013

OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway Station) Room 2-214.

$10 for the weekend, $5 per session or PWYC

For more information contact:

socialistactioncanada@gmail.com          phone: (647) 986-1917       http://www.socialistaction.ca