The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago:
Youth without Options

Jun 19, 2017

In 2015, 90,000 young people in Cook County ages 16-24 were neither working nor in school. That is almost 20% of the population in that age group. And the situation has not changed between 2015 and today.

Add to this all the young people who are just taking one or two classes at a community college or toward a GED, and all those who have a part time job when they want a full time job, and the picture is much worse. According to a researcher who found these numbers, "This is a generation of people that are experiencing something unlike any prior generation."

The problem is concentrated in some neighborhoods more than others. The jobs that exist are downtown, on the north side, or in the suburbs. On the mostly-black south side and south suburbs, there are few jobs and little reliable public transportation. So almost 35 percent of black youth are without work and are not in school.

And, no surprise – those neighborhoods with the highest percentage of young people out of work and not in school are also those neighborhoods with the most violence. Is it any wonder that young people get caught up in crime and violence when there are no jobs, little education, and few prospects?

The future held out by capitalism is here and present in Chicago: a glittering downtown for the wealthy classes and a working class youth left behind with fewer possibilities than ever.