On Saturday the 12th of February, school and college student members of the MSF kicked off their half-terms with a trip to Birmingham. Students travelled from as far as London, Liverpool and Cambridge and Nottingham to watch two talks relating to student work and perspectives for the student movement.
The first talk discussed in detail the reasons why the ideas of Marxism are gaining such a footing among students: a direct product of the conditions in Britain, and elsewhere, in today’s world.
The past few years have seen turbulent events unfold. Enormous protests have erupted in favour of climate action, the police are coming under scrutiny over their blatant misogyny and racism, and the cost of living is rising, all with the backdrop of a pandemic that has exposed tensions at the core of the capitalist system. The speaker drove home the point that the youth are being radicalised by these events, and fast.
Students at the event spoke inspiringly about many different topics, from climate change, to revolutionary organising to the lies told in school. We spoke of experiences that our comrades across the globe have had, and the lessons to draw from this.
The second topic at the student meeting was how students can build revolutionary work in their local areas and schools. This was a panel discussion, and the first speaker explained the need for this work to be carried out by students themselves, and inspiring students to take it upon themselves to educate and lead.
The next speaker gave a report on their involvement with a strike movement at their school. Teachers at the college/sixth form were taking action regarding a toxic culture of bullying from HR, and the marketisation of the institution. You can read more about the strike here. The report was very inspiring and served as an excellent example of the role young Marxists can play in workplace struggles. The baton was then passed to a member of the NEU Marxists, who spoke passionately about the work comrades in the NEU have been undertaking. This set the stage nicely for points to be raised about the NUS walkout planned for the 2nd of March.
Overall, the meeting was a huge success. This meeting held in Birmingham was a first for the MSF – never before has a meeting just for school and college students been held like this by the MSF. We would consider this an excellent leaping off point for the work of revolutionary school students and I can’t wait to see what we have done by next year.
Reuben Balch and Tommy Hunt