Why we fight

The past decade has demonstrated to the youth of Britain that capitalism offers them no future. Youth unemployment has been intolerably high for years now. As with the rest of the crisis, it shows only signs of getting worse, not better. With fees reaching unprecedented levels, student debt getting out of control, vanishing contact time and the promise of more unemployment to greet us at the end, it is no wonder fewer are applying to study.

In 2018 we witnessed an historic upturn in student militancy as the University and College Union (UCU) went on strike with the support of thousands of students all over the country. The conditions that sparked that are only going to get worse. And yet the leftwing of the student movement is in a confused state.

In our opinion, although there is a commendable spirit of militancy in the student movement, what is lacking is clear, revolutionary ideas. Short-term activism is prevalent but has proven insufficient to shift the NUS or the students unions to anything remotely leftwing. Apart from the militant methods such as occupations and rent strikes, the rise in activism has not led to any notable gain for the student movement.

As a result of these difficulties, the trend in student activism has been to move away from fighting for a clear socialist programme in the NUS, which is seen as a lost cause and/or old fashioned. In our opinion, the fight for a clear socialist programme in the student movement as a whole is absolutely indispensable, and cannot be achieved with the methods of activism alone. We need to build a strong national organisation of Marxist students to patiently, persistently and in a friendly, non-sectarian manner win the battle of ideas in the NUS and amongst students as a whole.

That means that our primary task is education in the ideas of Marxism. The Marxist Student Federation coordinates weekly meetings throughout the country in Marxist theory, open to all.

On the basis of educating a wider and wider layer of students, the Federation can launch campaigns and coordinate interventions in the NUS with the aim of raising Marxist ideas amongst students in a concrete fashion, and ultimately to win the NUS to a Marxist programme.

Our campaigns attempt to forge closer links with the labour movement and working class on and off campus. Workers are invited and encouraged to attend Marxist Student Federation meetings.

If you agree with these aims, and the below demands, you should join the Marxist Student Federation. Attend your local meetings and speak to the organisers there, or if there aren’t any near you, contact us at contact@marxiststudent.com.

The Marxist Student Federation is a democratic, student-led organisation. Our programme, our strategy and leadership are discussed and voted on at our yearly conference.

We demand that the NUS:

1. Oppose all cuts to education

2. Oppose all fees and actively campaign for free education for all

3. Campaign for a massive programme of investment in education

4. Campaign for an expansion of student services so that everyone can study

5. Campaign for the abolition of student debt

6. Campaign for the introduction of a living grant for students

7. Oppose obscenely high pay for University Management. Universities should be democratically run by elected representatives of the students’ and staff unions on the wages of skilled workers

8. Link up with the Labour movement and campaign within it for socialist policies

9. Campaign for the nationalisation of the banking system and major monopolies under democratic workers control. Use their vast resources to invest in public services