Rockford, Ill., youth demand jobs

Members of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) led a march of 30 people on Nov. 5 through the streets of downtown Rockford, Ill. With the theme of “Stop the racist wars at home and abroad!” the multinational and multigenerational group targeted institutions such as the Rockford Police Department, Chase Bank and City Hall.

Contrasting the ever-increasing military budget with the lack of funding for people’s needs, FIST exposed imperialism as the driving force behind the war on workers and oppressed people here and around the world.

When rallying at the police station, protesters chanted, “Who can we trust? Not the police!” and “Jobs not jails!” Their words filled the streets as FIST denounced police terror against oppressed communities and demanded an end to the prison-industrial complex. In a city torn apart by mass unemployment and incarceration, these demands resonated with onlookers who overwhelmingly supported the march.

At City Hall, youth spoke out on the lack of jobs, a crumbling education system and the criminalization of young people. In this period of unending capitalist crisis, youth are stepping up to the task of mobilizing in their communities and taking more of a leading role in the political movement.