Across the world, events are moving at a rapid pace. Young people are being thrown from pillar to post by the crisis of capitalism. Stability is a luxury of the past. From Ukraine, to Sri Lanka, to Britain: war, revolution, and class struggle are on the order of the day.
This is developing a mass radicalisation amongst the youth. Young people are drawing revolutionary conclusions.
According to research conducted by the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), 67% of Generation Zs would like to live in a socialist economic system. 75% see capitalism as responsible for climate change. And 78% blame capitalism for Britain’s housing crisis.
But in order to end this crisis-ridden system once and for all, we must get organised.
No trust in the capitalists
Young people are looking for answers – especially in regards to the climate catastrophe.
In 2018, the YouthStrike4Climate movement erupted. Thousands of students spilled onto the streets, many holding signs calling for “system change, not climate change”.
As this movement has ebbed, direct action groups such as ‘Just Stop Oil’ have emerged. Their tactic is to draw attention to their cause with stunts like throwing soup at paintings.
But at the end of the day, their demands are not radical at all. Instead, they are merely appealing to the ruling class to bring about change.
In truth, we cannot rely on the capitalists to save the environment. Their only concern is to make billions in profit for themselves, at the expense of workers and youth.
Instead, those who want to fight for an end to exploitation of people and the planet must organise to overthrow capitalism.
“The world political situation as a whole,” stated Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, “is chiefly characterised by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.”
This is still true today. In other words, the primary reason that we are still suffering under capitalism is because the leadership of the working class has not been up to the task of taking power.
The class struggle is sharpening, with no shortage of protests and picket lines. Mass movements are on the rise across the world, most notably in Iran. What is missing is a revolutionary leadership.
Young people must be at the forefront of building this.
Strikes and solidarity
NEU and NASUWT teaching unions are currently balloting for strike action. If successful, schools could be shut down nationally early next year.
Revolutionary school and college students must reach out and offer solidarity to their teachers, helping to organise support for these strikes, including walkouts, rallies, and visits to picket lines.
Unity of students and staff will strengthen the strike. And if workers win, it will improve both teaching conditions and learning conditions.
Even just a small group of active students can make all the difference. In NewVic College in London, for example, where only one Marxist student was initially organised, solidarity action with striking NEU members at the school led to the setting up of a radical student group.
This activist group is now fighting against police presence at the school, student bursary mismanagement, and other problems.
And having forged links with teachers during their struggle, these students have the backing of staff, aiding them in their battles against school management.
Similarly, hundreds of students at Deyes High School in Liverpool walked out earlier this year, in protest against bureaucratic decision-making by management. And pupils at Holland Park School are organising alongside parents and teachers to oppose the proposed takeover by a multi-academy trust.
These examples demonstrate the potential role that school students can play, if organised and mobilised.
Instinctively, many students are setting up socialist clubs and Marxist reading groups in their schools, looking to get active, get organised, and fight.
This is an important development, showing that young people are actively seeking out theory; to understand how capitalism works – and how it doesn’t.
Lenin stated that “without revolutionary theory, there could be no revolutionary movement”. His words ring as true today as ever.
Our focus on theory is not out of academic interest. Through the method of Marxism, we can understand the world around us; make sense of the chaos taking place; and organise to transform society. Theory, therefore, forms our guide to action.
The future is ours
As Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky all knew: the overthrow of capitalism can only be achieved by “turning ideas into a material force”. That means coming together, on the basis of Marxist theory, to fight for revolution.
This is the aim of the Marxist Student Federation (MSF), Socialist Appeal, and the International Marxist Tendency. We are organising across the world in order to build the forces of Marxism; to build a revolutionary leadership capable of the historic task ahead of us.
School and college students who want to change the world and smash capitalism should therefore get organised and join us in the struggle for socialism. No one else will do this for us. The future is ours to fight for!
If you would like help in setting up a Marxist student group at your school or college, or are already organising one and would like to link up with the MSF and other revolutionary activists in your area, please get in touch at marxiststudent.com/join