Convention Discussion: On Education & Jobs for Youth

BY: D. Mohney & J. Phillips| April 20, 2014

Submitted by D. Mohney & J. Phillips of Philadelphia

The following submission is taken from remarks made by J.P.  and recorded by D.M. at a break-out session of Part I of the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Convention held April 5, 2014.  Though some aspects may apply only to Philadelphia youth, we feel much of it applies to the CPUSA as a whole.

The most important issues facing today’s youth are:

#1 Education For young people in the African-American community, living to age 18 is a major accomplishment and milestone. Because so many young people don’t make it to that age, it hangs over their own heads and the collective heads of their families, and communities. Several generations have lived a perilous existence with this form of genocide.   

#2 Jobs Being able to get a decent job, or any job, is another accomplishment that seems impossible.   A job at McDonalds is a job, a “decent” job is that of manager of a McDonalds. Schools in West Philadelphia, one of several Philadelphia communities where the major population group is African-American, have the lowest test scores in Pennsylvania – public schools in this community are being ripped apart.  Busing has been posed as a solution — it is not, children are just bused from one crummy school to another.  Furthermore, charter and corporatized schools replace public schools, bringing their own culture of scripted lessons, non-union staffs, high teacher turnover, and a gutted curriculum dictated by corporate America.  Those students who have problems, don’t fit in, or don’t achieve, are sent back to what remains of the public schools.  The current system of education produces students who are poorly prepared for jobs, and unable to participate in the institutions of a democracy.

#3 Police brutality The Fraternal Order of Police is like a hit squad, they get away with brutalizing people.  They pull people over, especially young African-Americans, and arrest them because “they look like they committed a crime.”  Stop and frisk has been a disaster, resulting in police records for minor infractions that follow young people for the rest of their lives.

#4 Lack of community structure In many cases, the city has abandoned African-American neighborhoods. It has cut the budget for parks, recreation centers and schools. Youth often see drug selling, basketball or music as the only way out of the “ghetto.”  There needs to be more community support for students in middle school — a time when young people are making decisions about their futures.  Children are going hungry. My older brother and I often chose not to eat so our little sisters could eat and be ready for school the next day.  1000s more African-American kids go hungry every day.  Often parents are working two (or more jobs) from early morning to late at night, and still can’t make ends meet, leaving children to fend for themselves. Some areas of the city are beautiful because they are located near the University of Pennsylvania,  tourist destinations, or are overtly affluent.  Neighborhoods a few blocks from these areas look totally different because they lack city services and/or resources.

Because of this situation, the Communist Party and the Young Communist League must direct their work toward those youth in the African-American Community.  In Philadelphia we must focus on education, jobs, police brutality and community structure.  It is imperative that the Communist Party expose the callous indifference that now exists.  We must address these many-sided problems in an organized way.

Past experience has shown that tackling the problems of racism has brought anti-racists of all backgrounds and racial groups into the Communist Party.  Also, we know from experience that we must address issues that youth face because this is how we build YCL and, subsequently,  the CP.  The voices of both groups must be heard  in unison addressing the morality of leaving any child in such conditions, and to do what we can to give hope to upcoming generations., and the inspiration to think ahead to building a socialist USA.

The views and opinions expressed in the Convention Discussion are those of the author alone. The Communist Party is publishing these views as a service to encourage discussion and debate. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Communist Party, its leading bodies or staff members. The CPUSA Constitution, Program, and all its existing policies remain in effect during the Convention discussion period and during the Convention.

For details about the convention, visit the Convention homepage
To contribute to the discussion, visit the Convention Discussion webpage

30th National Convention, Communist Party USA
Chicago | June 13-15, 2014


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