The last couple of years has seen a huge leap in political engagement, especially among young people. In particular, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of school students, demonstrate around the country to demand action on climate change. And after almost a decade of austerity, the general election is coming on 12th December that will give young people the chance to kick the Tories out of government for the first time in their conscious political lives.
We know that this General Election will be the most bitterly fought for decades. For years, the establishment and big business have done everything they can to smear Corbyn. That’s why we’ve launched the Students4Corbyn campaign, we know that a powerful coordinated youth movement is necessary to to defend Corbyn and fight for socialist policies. (Sign our open letter for a new socialist labour students here)
Firstly, all students need to register to vote. In some places, the university term may have finished by the 12th. Regardless, students are eligible to register in their home and university address. The key is to vote wherever you can make the biggest difference.
Students from the Brunel Marxist Society have teamed up with the Brunel Labour Society and the Labour candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Ali Milani, to get students registered to vote and to kick out Boris Johnson from his own constituency.
In their first meeting, Ali brought a cameraman to film the students for a promotional video talking about what a Labour government would mean for them. Students from the Marxist society talked about the ability of Labour to cut across divisions and unite the working class. Labour is the most powerful when they take bold class-based stances, coming from the grassroots of the party, and that is what will resonate with workers and youth across the country.
In 2017, Johnson’s majority in Uxbridge and South Ruislip was halved, going from over 10,000 to just 5034. This was due to the radical nature of the 2017 Labour Party manifesto, which offered something different to workers and youth than the Blairite Labour of the past and incentivised thousands to go out and vote Labour.
The power of the student vote was demonstrated elsewhere in the UK such as Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency. In 2017, they turned Sheffield Hallam into a Labour seat for the first time ever since 1885. The Marxist society & Labour students have already begun campaigning for this election, by door knocking student accommodation to keep the seat Labour.
In Canterbury, (which had been a Conservative safe seat for over 100 years) we saw the same repeated with a swing to Labour because of the mobilisation of students, inspired by a radical manifesto. And with Labour promising an even more radical manifesto than the last, this trend looks set to continue.
In Leeds, the Marxist society will be canvassing in Leeds North West, the closest marginal that’s a predominantly student area. Labour currently holds a majority of 4,000 which has just been won from decades of the Liberal Democrats.
Students in East London are going to mobilise for the election in Chingford and Woodford Green where Ian Duncan Smith has a majority of just 2000.
In Manchester, the Marxist society will be heading to Altrichman and Sale as well as Bolton West to do the same. The mood is electric. This is the most important election we’ve seen in years. However, the opportunity may slip away if we don’t have activists, on the ground, organising these students around bold socialist policies.
Southampton Itchen is held by the Tories by 31 votes. Newcastle-under-Lyme, held by Labour by only 30 votes. Our comrades are ready and determined to finish the job of 2017.
Boris Johnson’s rating with students is at minus 58%, the lowest of any leader in data going back to 2010. In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn has inspired optimism and hope amongst a significant layer of workers and youth who are looking towards a socialist solution to capitalist crisis. By promising to end austerity, nationalise the railways, invest in the NHS, invest in a National Education Service, he’s offering the future that young people have been robbed off. However, if we are to really see this programme enacted he must go further. He must nationalise the banks and use that money for the benefit of society. He must expropriate the commanding heights of the economy, without compensation, and invest in all the services we need.
This can only be done based on a mass movement of students and workers that can propel him to power.