The working class and the youth are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis. In the UK, young workers have been hit hardest by job losses during the pandemic. Those lucky enough to still be in work are subject to unsafe conditions, increasingly precarious, zero-hour contracts, and falling living standards.
It has been a similarly difficult time for young people in education. The past year has seen schools struggling to teach around constant partial closures due to Covid outbreaks, while university students have paid eye watering fees for the privilege of online classes and being locked in their accommodations.
Alongside this, the scourges of racism, sexism, and homophobia continue to run rampant in society. Ten years after the murder of Mark Duggan, racist policing has not abated one bit but has instead increased, buoyed by the hostile environment policies of the Tories and the cover of lockdown.
Rates of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have risen once again. ‘Everyone’s Invited’, a website recently set up to expose sexual abuse and violence in schools, has to date received a haunting 51,000 responses.
The climate crisis — the icing on the cake of young people’s prospects — has recently been described as a ‘code red’, signalling impending catastrophic and irreversible damage. It’s no wonder that with all this taking place, and with services cut to the bone, there is a crisis of mental health taking place.
It is no surprise, then, that across the world young people are saying enough is enough and are standing up against this oppression and exploitation.
What is the MSF?
The Marxist Student Federation is made up of revolutionary students and young workers, struggling against the horrors of capitalism and fighting for socialism. We meet regularly on campuses across Britain, getting to grips with the ideas of Marxism and working to build a worldwide revolutionary organisation capable of ending capitalism once and for all.
To be able to change the world, we first need to understand it. We need to be able to understand how it came to be that hundreds of millions of people live in poverty while a small minority are billionaires, how our social system has caused an environmental catastrophe, and the ways in which the capitalist class creates and benefits from racism and other forms of oppression.
More than this, we need to be able to answer the question: how can we overthrow this state of affairs? This is why the MSF emphasises the importance of education in revolutionary Marxist theory. Revolutionary ideas are the best weapon we have to fight the capitalist system. Marxism provides the answers to both why the world is the way it is today and how we can go forward to create a society which serves the interest of the many and not the few.
The ideas of Marxism are not dry, abstract, or academic. They weren’t plucked from the sky one day by people like Marx, Engels, Lenin, or Trotsky. Marx and Engels were the first to explain that socialism is not the invention of dreamers, but is rooted in the development of the productive forces and the class struggle. With these two thinkers, socialism finally became a science.
How can we dismantle and overthrow this rotten system?
What Marxist theory teaches us is that it’s the working class, students and workers united, that must lead this struggle against capitalism. As has been shown in protests which have erupted around the world in the last year, from the US to Myanmar to the UK, students and young people understand that the system as it stands now is unliveable.
However, in the UK we can not expect the Labour Party to give this anger amongst the working class, a radical voice. Keir Starmer is doing everything he can to keep the party within safe channels and please the capitalists.
This is the time for Marxist societies to step up and be the voice of the working class on campuses, taking up the task of fighting for the interests of workers and for the ideas of Marxism to be heard in our movement.
Our organisation is built on the important revolutionary lessons of the Bolshevik Party that led the first successful socialist Revolution in history, which took place in 1917. It is only through an organised revolutionary organisation, armed with Marxist Theory that we can win.
Educate, Agitate, Organise
This is what the MSF teaches us: to put theory into practice, looking beyond the whirlwind of student politics to link up with the working class and the labour movement. It is for this reason that the MSF is also proud to be part of the International Marxist Tendency, and the IMT’s British section, Socialist Appeal, the Marxist voice of labour and youth.
However, to be able to achieve this fusion of theory and practice, we need to be organised. Radical movements like Black Lives Matter, youth climate strikes, Kill the Bill protests, and student rent strikes have flooded the streets time and time again in recent years. These have developed spontaneously, with energy and enthusiasm, showing the outrage and disgust towards the evils of capitalism. They demonstrate an immense revolutionary potential which exists in society.
But these movements, without leadership, act only for a time before they enter a lull, losing momentum and in some cases fizzling out altogether without achieving any fundamental change. Often they end up being redirected down safe channels that do not challenge the capitalist system, such as the corporate co-opting of the Black Lives Matter slogan itself.
A revolutionary Marxist organisation can make clear that it is the most fundamental aspects of capitalism which are at the root of all of the oppression being faced today and so it is capitalism itself which must be uprooted.
No compromise with the capitalists or reforming of the system can resolve any of the problems which spark these movements; this can only be achieved through a socialist revolution.
Capitalism is in its deepest crisis yet, causing unspeakable levels of suffering for billions around the world. We are organising now on our campuses, in our schools and workplaces, to bring an end to this chapter of human society and the start of a far brighter one. There is no time to waste. Join the MSF and the fight for socialism in our lifetime.
by Mia Foley Doyle