Youth and the fight for socialismSeptember 30, 2016
It becomes increasingly clear that capitalism is not and never will provide a future for young people today. Many young people find themselves bearing the brunt of attacks from the ruling class on the rights of workers and their families. People aged 16 – 24 are three times more likely to be unemployed than the vast majority of the population and are also paid much less on average. This is made all the worse by the enormous cost of going to university which has made many reconsider their futures.
This is no coincidence. A barrage of low average wages, zero hours contracts and crippling working hours is being deliberately aimed at young people by the capitalist class as a way of keeping the cost of labour down across the board.
It should come as no surprise then that young people across the world are looking towards socialist ideas as a genuine alternative which can provide them with a better future. Look no further than the last year or so in the United States. The campaign around Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primaries engaged with a lot of disenfranchised people, most of whom were in their teens and twenties. Whatever your opinion on him, Sanders has sparked a debate around the ideas of socialism which will become hard to ignore in the future.
43% of people in the USA under the age of 30 showed support for socialism in a YouGov poll in January 2016. This may not appear to be of much significance but just consider for a second that this is in America, a country which not long ago was arresting people for promoting socialist ideas. This is not just restricted to America either. In Britain a third of 18 – 24 year olds call themselves socialists or are open to socialist ideas. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party will no doubt have been a catalyst for this and has attracted thousands of young people and new members to the party.
Obviously there have been no shortage of nonsense excuses as to why this may be from the capitalist media. Everything from “young people have no understanding of what actual socialism is” to “They’ll grow out of it”.
The fact is that none of these reasons are true. The fact is that millennials are growing up in a world without the Cold War, where McCarthyism and anti-communist propaganda no longer dominate every day Western life as they once did and as a result are more open to the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky as a way out of a system which is, by its own design, digging its own grave. We refuse to exist for the sole purpose of being exploited by an elite class of people whose entire standard of living is owed to the working class.
Capitalism has nothing to give to the youth of today. The idea that people should be denied a decent education and denied fair working conditions and the money they need to live on is nothing short of criminal. Today’s youth have just as much of a pivotal role to play in building a revolution as they ever have. They have nothing to lose and a world to win and in the words of Leon Trotsky:
“Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full.”
by Andrew Macknight, Newcastle Marxists