[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]
Red Tide #19
It’s a Hot Summer
By Michael Long [Michael Letwin]
This summer, things are falling to pieces for young people. We are the ones that are paying for the depression more than anyone else. And we’re paying heavily.
Without the jobs we need to survive, our sisters and brothers are getting into things that people do when the are desperate. Gangs are just one example. In most big cities, gang members number in the tens of thousands. All of these people know that as time goes on the number gets bigger and the stakes get higher. Recent figures show that most black youth will not have jobs before the 1980’s, if then.
But gangs aren’t all. Ripping off has been a way for many young people for a long time. Today, more than ever, we have no choice.
If we have no work–no money, then we have to survive somehow. The summer has made this even more true since hundreds of thousands of young people have just graduated from high school. Jobs are scarcer than ever.
Like always, except of course worse now, is the drug situation. Because things are so had, most people figure that the best thing to do is to get high and just not deal with what’s happening.
We’re not the only people that know this stuff. The cops are at least as on top of the situation as anyone else. That’s the reason that the S.W.A.T. squads are being trained to be able to stop “food riots.” They know that people need to eat, and they are going to make sure that we starve if we can’t pay.
The cops have also stepped up considerably their harassment of young people in a routine sort of way. Especially when we’re black or any minority, we can expect to be stopped on the streets by the first cop that we see.
What’s really sick is the fact that even when some of us have jobs, they never pay enough to really live on. Especially for any young people who have a family, the ends just don’t meet.
WE WON’T JUST DIE
One thing is clear. Young people will try to survive. If we can’t get jobs with decent wages and working conditions, we’ll have to survive some other way. The other ways are through gangs, ripping off, and getting high.
There is one other alternative [way] to survive. It’s called organizing.
As individuals, we have no power. But when people who are all being messed with decide not to take it any more, then we can change our situation.
That’s the way that working class young people in the last depression of the 1930s survived. They organized unions and fought for the things that they needed. Social security, unemployment benefits and all sorts of other things were won that way.
GET TO THE SOURCE
Our job today is to defend ourselves again. If we get strong enough, we can even go on the offensive. We will get rid of the problem at the source — the rule of the rich.
This must be done. We’re beginning to fight, especially for jobs for young people. See the article on page 4 to see how you can become involved.