COMMISSION 8: Rights of Youth to Education & Employment
The sight of young people sleeping in public parks is something unfamiliar to people living in countries in northern Europe such as the Netherlands. But as recent as spring of this year, the Dutch have been seeing an influx of young people especially from Spain arriving in the Netherlands in droves. They’re not the so-called backpack tourists who sleep in tents to save hotel costs, but EU citizens looking for work in the Dutch capital.
Spain now has the highest level of unemployment in the whole European Union, which explains this migration phenomenon. Spain has been included in the list of bankrupt EU economies on the verge of collapse, called PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). These EU countries now act like the monicker attached to them, forced to literally scrounge for the EU’s financial surplus and bailout from the EU Central Bank and loans from the EU’s still well-off members such as Germany, France, The Netherlands and the UK.
This situation in Europe (as in other parts of the globe) is but the protracted consequence of the global economic crisis that began years back when the capitalist free market bubble began to burst and the neoliberal globalization doctrine started to crumble. As the imperialist crisis was ravaging many economies, workers are losing their jobs, including their unemployment benefits. The big banks on the verge of collapse are being saved with bailout funds from public money with no clear term payments, if they are going to be returned at all.
To mitigate the crisis, EU economies have been adopting stringent austerity measures that have attacked the salaries of workers, education and student subsidies, social welfare and pension funds.
It is thus no wonder that big protests and street demonstrations are becoming frequent in many EU countries, in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and in PIGS. The bulk of the protesters are young workers, students, teachers, and labor unions denouncing the high unemployment and demanding more social justice.
The European scenario is probably something more recent, but in many third world countries like the Philippines and in several Latin American states such as Mexico and Argentina, the daily social protests have become the frequent menu of media coverage in these countries.
Every year, in the Philippines, for instance, the number of school drop outs, from the primary up to the university levels, has been alarmingly increasing. At the premier state university, the University of the Philippines, more than fifty percent of those who took and passed the very stringent admission examinations, simply did not pursue enrollment because of financial incapacity, even despite the relatively low and subsidized fees offered by the state institution.
Filipino workers and students are far ahead of their European counterparts in confronting the onslaughts of the global imperialist crisis and attacks on workers and other sectors such as the students and the education sector. In the Philippines, there exists a vibrant mass movement of the people addressing not only the sectoral issues of the youth and students but also fundamental issues of national sovereignty, democracy and social change.
A part of this people’s movement in the Philippines are the militant organizations and formations of young workers, students and education workers that are members of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). The issues and concerns of the youth and students, and education workers form part of the ILPS’s concerns under its Commission No. 8.
The ILPS banners the people’s resistance to the global depression and escalation of exploitation and plunder due to the continuing US-directed policy of neoliberal globalization.
The ILPS will hold its 4th International Assembly in Manila, Philippines, from July 7-9 with the theme: “Build a Bright Future! Mobilize the People to Resist Exploitation and Oppression Amidst the Protracted Global Depression, State Terrorism and Wars of Aggression”!
As the young workers and students throughout the world hold massive street protests to condemn unemployment, cuts in salaries and social subsidies and demand social justice, their voices would surely resonate in the 4th International Assembly of the ILPS as the global anti-imperialist alliance raises its political will and capabilities to mobilize a greater number of the people, especially the youth and students, in effectively advancing the anti-imperialist struggle nearer to the dream of a brighter future for everyone.