The start of a new year is a time for making resolutions. Many of us think about our life goals and how we can achieve them. The Marxist Student Federation is no different.
With the working class on the move, and a sharp crisis hitting workers and youth, we are considering what our goals for 2023 must be.
Increasingly, young people are being radicalised and looking towards Marxist ideas. The Institute of Economic Affairs reports that almost 70% of 16-24 year olds want socialism.
This is an important start. However, it is just this: a start. We need to translate this radical mood into the building of a revolutionary organisation.
What is to be done?
Through the Marxist Student Federation (MSF), students and young people can help to build the necessary revolutionary leadership.
The MSF is the largest and most militant left-wing force on UK campuses, active in over 50 universities. Our resolution for 2023 is to grow stronger. Every politicised and radicalised student must know who we are and what we stand for.
We want to spread the ideas of Marxism and steel ourselves with theory, through discussions and reading groups. And we want to bolster the struggles breaking out in the labour movement, attending more picket lines and protests than ever before.
Lenin once remarked, in What Is To Be Done?, that “without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement”. This axiom is at the heart of what we do in the Marxist Student Federation.
Last term we held meetings across the country discussing ‘Why We Are Communists’, ‘Why does capitalism go into crisis’, ‘Why we need a revolutionary philosophy’, and much more.
This term, as well as discussing these fundamentals of Marxism, we will discuss revolutionary historical events, as well as current mass movements taking place internationally.
Lessons of history
The history of the class struggle is filled with vital lessons that revolutionaries today must learn from. This term, Marxist societies will explore a range of key historical events.
This will include the 1871 Paris Commune, when workers took power into their hands for the first time ever. For a tragically short period, the French capital was ruled and run by the working class, who attempted to reorganise society on an entirely new basis – without exploitation or oppression.
Marx referred to this inspiring event as ‘the storming of heaven’, using the experience to further his analysis and understanding of the state.
Ultimately, the Commune was drowned in blood. Important mistakes were made that led to the massacre of this heroic movement. Nevertheless, revolutionaries today stand on the shoulders of these giants, and must learn from their victories and defeats.
This term we will also discuss ‘Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution’.
The British ruling class has always buried Ireland’s revolutionary history beneath a mountain of lies and distortions. But the fight for liberation from British imperialism has left a lasting legacy on the working class in Ireland.
With the re-release of this title from Wellred Books, we want to bring the lessons of these struggles to students and workers in Britain. Irish revolutionaries throughout history have given their lives to the cause of labour. It is up to the new generation to continue their fight for socialism.
Our discussions will not stop with history, however. We study the past in order to make sense of the present; as a guide to action now. It is vital for Marxists to understand the world around us, in order to change it.
This term, therefore, we will also be putting on meetings to analyse the explosive events that are taking place today, both in Britain and internationally.
From Peru and Sri Lanka, to China, Iran, and many other places: there is no shortage of mass movements and revolutionary fervour breaking out across the world.
Above all, in these meetings, we will discuss how we can support the struggle for socialism, at home and abroad. This means building the forces of Marxism, to forge the revolutionary leadership that is needed in all countries.
Our activity won’t be confined to the classroom. We will take our ideas out into the class struggle – onto picket lines and protests.
Marxist students are already regular attendees on local picket lines. And we will be upping the ante in the year ahead, supporting the growing strike wave in Britain.
Since the start of this academic year, comrades have visited pickets of union members from the RMT, CWU, and UCU. More recently, Marxist students have been showing solidarity with nurses, ambulance workers, and civil servants. And the coming weeks and months will see further action by all these unions and workers, along with potential walkouts by junior doctors and teachers.
Through the Marxist societies, we will build support amongst young people for striking workers: organising solidarity campaigns on campus; inviting trade unionists to speak about their struggles at our events; and arranging visits to the picket lines and rallies.
In summary, we will aim to be the voice of the labour movement amongst students, and the voice of students within the labour movement.
We have all of this – and more – to look forward to in 2023. Above all, however, we need to build.
The Marxist Student Federation has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. But we still have much work to do, in order to become a genuine factor in events.
Each and every revolutionary student must therefore resolve to throw themselves into building the forces of Marxism.
If you agree with the need for revolutionary change, then we urge you to help us – and to join us in making 2023 a red year to remember.