As the class struggle sharpens in Britain, with industrial action spreading from one sector to another, Marxist students are getting organised to build solidarity and support for striking workers. Students and workers – unite and fight!
The Marxist Student Federation is active at over 50 universities across the country. We organise meetings, campaigns, and reading groups to educate students in the ideas of Marxism.
These discussions are not organised out of mere academic interest, however. We are arming ourselves with revolutionary theory as a guide to action.
On this basis, comrades are able to turn towards the labour movement, linking students’ struggle with that of the working class, in a united fight against capitalism.
While students can be a spark for wider mass movements, we understand that it is only the working class that has the power to change society.
Marxist societies therefore strive to reach out to the labour movement, and to stand in solidarity with striking workers.
And there has been no shortage of strikes to support recently, with one sector after another announcing action: from rail workers, posties, dockers, and bus drivers; through to nurses, barristers, and teachers. Not to forget the recent nationwide strike of our lecturers too!
In recent months, MSF comrades have been heavily involved on RMT, CWU and UCU picket lines, as part of the rising strikewave seen in Britain. And we will be joining NHS staff, civil servants, and workers in rail and mail across the country when they walk out this month.
Comrades have been at RMT pickets in London, Kent, Norwich, Devon and Cornwall, Leeds, Sheffield, and many other places. And in a number of cities, Marxist student comrades spoke at local ‘Enough is Enough’ rallies as part of the campaign’s national day of action on 1 October.
Also in early October, the chair of the RMT Young Members was invited to various Marxist society meetings across London, where he spoke about the rail workers’ strike, and how students can support their fight. We also held a collection for their strike fund collection at these meetings.
In Newcastle and other cities, meanwhile, Marxist students attended ASLEF picket lines, standing in solidarity with striking train drivers.
And in Southampton, comrades have regularly attended the local Royal Mail picket line. Based on discussions with the strikers, a student comrade from the MarxSoc wrote an article for Socialist Appeal on the posties’ dispute, which the union branch then shared around their workplace. The comrades have been greeted warmly on the pickets, with postal workers very pleased to receive solidarity from students.
Comrades were out supporting CWU members on the picket lines across Southampton and the Isle of Wight today.
Victory to the posties. ✊🚩 pic.twitter.com/woDMXQtgPx
— Soton Socialist Appeal (@AppealSoton) October 20, 2022
Over the last year, the Marxist societies have been the main force behind student-staff solidarity campaigns in the UCU strikes: organising support at picket lines; speaking at teach-outs; and inviting local trade union activists to address MarxSoc meetings.
Similarly, last year, comrades in the Cambridge Marxist society supported a campaign against outsourcing organised by the local Unite university branch.
Student activists attended rallies in protest against the university’s outsourcing plans, and a MarxSoc event was hosted alongside the Unite branch on the topic of ‘how can workers win today?’ On the panel were three trade union speakers and two student speakers.
In return, the Unite branch organised a collection which they donated to the Marxist society in support of our work.
In Leeds, the local Unison university branch was out on strike again in September. MSF comrades have built a good relationship with the union over the last year, with the Marxist society playing a leading role in building the student-staff solidarity campaign during the previous round of strike action. This included a massive 1,000 strong rally and march of students and trade unionists from Unison and UCU.
Consequently, the local Unison branch secretary agreed to speak at our first Leeds Uni MarxSoc meeting of the new academic year, which was even advertised by the secretary to Unison members too.
The MSF also organises in schools and colleges. One Marxist student in NewVic college in east London, for example, helped to organise student solidarity during a strike by NEU members earlier this year. And our school student comrades elsewhere will be emulating this if and when teachers’ undertake national strike action in the coming months.
These are only a few highlights. There is much more activity that the MSF has been undertaking across the country to build solidarity between students and workers.
With the class struggle sharpening, this will continue to be a key part of our work, as the Marxist societies strive to be the voice of labour on campus.
It is the students of today who will be the workers of tomorrow. Their fight is therefore our fight.
The education we provide in the MSF is helping to train a new generation of young workers and activists. There has never been a better time to be a Marxist, to intervene in the class struggle, and to join the fight for revolution.