This resolution on war was passed unanimously at the SEP Emergency Conference on the Social Crisis & War, held April 17-18 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Further resolutions and articles on the conference will be posted in the coming days. (See, “SEP Emergency Conference advances strategy for struggle against social crisis and war”)
When young people look to the future, they see only mass unemployment and unending war.
The economic crisis has led to the destruction of millions of jobs, and the youth are among the worst affected. In the United States, the youth unemployment rate is 19.1 percent, while the unemployment rate for teenagers is 26.1 percent and rising.
Conditions are similar worldwide. In Spain, youth unemployment hit 39.6 percent 2009, up from 19.1 percent in 2007. In Ireland, youth unemployment has risen from 9.2 percent to 27.8 percent over the same period. The unemployment rate for young people is 27.5 percent in Greece, 23.3 percent in France, and 19.6 percent in Britain.
The bailout of the banks has been followed by an attack on social programs that benefit the working class, including education. Tuition at colleges and universities is soaring; states and localities are shutting down public schools, laying off teachers, privatizing services and eliminating programs. Students today graduate with no job
prospects, burdened by thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
The denial of decent education and jobs will be used to dragoon many more young people into the military to be used as cannon fodder in neo-colonial wars.
Opposition to this attack is growing. In March, tens of thousands of students, teachers and workers participated in mass demonstrations in California in defense of public education. This opposition needs a clear program and perspective.
This conference calls for quality, free public education to be provided for all young people, from kindergarten through university. An emergency public works program is necessary to provide decent paying jobs to all workers, including the youth. Student loan debt, often owed to the very same banks that have bankrupted the country and received trillions in bailouts, should be canceled.
The interests of students and young people can be defended only through the political mobilization of the entire working class against the capitalist system. The fight for jobs, public education and an end to war is bound up with the socialist transformation of economic life. This requires the closest collaboration between workers and young people in every country.
This conference calls on students and youth to join and build the International Students for Social Equality, the youth movement of the Socialist Equality Party, and to actively fight for a socialist program in the working class.